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by emotion prohibited marriage to near kin. The Gregorius story (Hartmann von Aue’s poem is the most famous version) shows that incestuous sexual unions were regarded with horror. Here a brother and sister sleep together. The child is sent off in a boat at the mercy of the elements. He is rescued and brought up by monks, but feels an overwhelming ‘vocation’ to become a knight. He is allowed to do so and rescues a queen from a dangerous unwanted suitor. They fall in love and marry. Then it emerges that he is her son. He performs a penance of unbelievable austerity

in Law, laity and solidarities
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requests for simple funerals. Catherine Felbrigge of Norwich (1460) chose to ‘expressly forbid’ ( expresse prohibeo ) large banquets or other useless provisions. Servants’ wills in Venice made requests for burial ‘without pomp’, and James Grubb has argued that in the Veneto ‘austerity and self-effacement were closer to the norm’. 56 These requests need to be

in The life–cycle in Western Europe, c.1300-c.1500

careful investigation of this term and found that glas lends itself to the idea of austerity, for ‘it has a figurative sense of “fresh, raw, sharp” (of weather), and “harsh” (in a moral sense)’.21 It was associated with the type of bloodless, lifelong martyrdom developed in the East from the second century on by the likes of Clement of Alexandria, whose essence lay in bearing daily witness to Christ. Stancliffe claims that glas martyrdom may be linked in particular to the importance of penitence in the early Irish Church, and to the sort of fearsome penances which we

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture

also ‘money that makes the world go round’. Even Pope Adrian IV, in response to John’s questioning on the avarice of the curia, suggested that John should ‘not seek to measure our [the papacy] austerity or that of temporal princes, but attend rather to the utility of all’, using, as we saw in Chapter 3 , the fable of the starved stomach to argue that the curia be sufficiently funded. 122 The contradiction in this debate between Adrian and John is acute; it is, in essence, a debate between the value of spiritual poverty, as preached by the apostles, and the material

in John of Salisbury and the medieval Roman renaissance

peace, the stones will cry out’. That is to say, if the clergy grow dumb in showing the secular branch in word as in deed that the way is hard, then like the stones they will shout out, harshly and with a certain austerity, that Christ is God and man, who should be imitated in his order by all of the faithful. And thus, Christ made up his church out of three parts. 77 He wanted the first, which is the clergy, to be priests, and for them to be associates of deacons and be integrated with them. The achievement of that integration would lead to the perfection of the

in John Wyclif
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Reading, space and intimacy in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde

In purely structural terms, Chaucer’s poem Troilus and Criseyde erects a narrative edifice impressive for its classical austerity. In fact, the text seizes every opportunity of showcasing its highly artificial symmetry: for example, each of the five books begins with an invocation of the Muses or a similar rhetorical topos – the first instances of such invocations in

in Love, history and emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare

; in greatness of soul they were evenly matched, and likewise in renown, although the renown of each was different. Caesar was held great because of his benefactions and lavish generosity, Cato for the uprightness of his life. The former became famous for his gentleness and compassion, the austerity of the latter had brought him prestige. Caesar gained glory by giving, helping and forgiving; Cato by never stooping to bribery. One was a refuge for the unfortunate, the other a scourge for the wicked. The good nature of the one was applauded, the steadfastness of the

in Justice and mercy
The parable of the Prodigal Son

born in a stable in winter and that in this, a reader may observe ‘meknes and pouert and penaunce’ (pp. 33–4). Likewise, the author describes Jesus’ circumcision as an ‘ensample to do penaunce for oure sinnes’ and recommends that his readers cut away lust and sin as a form of compassion, suffering with the circumcised child (pp. 50–1). The term ‘penaunce’ may have a different meaning in each instance: the first, in which the circumstances of Jesus’ birth manifest penance, may simply indicate austerity or suffering, while the second, based on a figurative reading of

in The politics of Middle English parables
The Church

able to do, will fall into a greater sin. Hence, if we err in the degree of penance we impose, surely it is better to give a ruling motivated by mercy, rather than cruelty? For where a Lord is bountiful, his steward ought not to be stingy. If God is mild, will he wish his priest to appear austere? 22 Elsewhere Bartholomew offered a similar admonition on the need to mitigate penalties, counselling that excessive austerity is to be avoided. 23 Bartholomew summarises the guidance of the canons for his reader by again invoking

in Justice and mercy