Hybrid Joint Seminar: ‘Cities of the Living and the Dead: Sultanic and Royal Burial in Late Medieval Cairo and Paris Compared’, Caitlin John, and ‘Trade of Devotional Objects in Later Medieval London: Evidence from the City Customs Accounts, c. 1380-1530’, Eliot Benbow, Thursday 18 November 2021, 5:30PM – 7:30PM (GMT)

This year, most of our seminars will be held in a hybrid format, with an in-person audience and a zoom room online. The seminar will take place in UCL’s Cruciform LT2. Anyone who wishes to attend in person is welcome to, but you must register online. The online form will ask you to specify whether you will attend in person or online. Those attending online will receive the zoom link via email. If you have registered but lost the zoom link, feel free to email me for a reminder before the seminar. We ask all those attending in person to wear a face-covering, in line with UCL general policy.

Cities of the Living and the Dead: Sultanic and Royal Burial in Late Medieval Cairo and Paris Compared

This paper looks at the burial of kings and sultans in and around the late medieval cities of Paris and Cairo from a comparative perspective. The topographies of royal and sultanic burial and how these changed over time are explored. Sultans and kings’ burial locations were all intimately connected to the urban space, despite some being more geographically central than others. Both sultans and kings were buried in highly exclusive locations. Yet, more than just reflecting the social hierarchy of the city, royal and sultanic burial played an active role in reinforcing this. Dynasty and individual ambition were expressed in the burial spaces and architecture of both kings and sultans, although to differing extents, relating to the distinctions between these two forms of rule.  


Trade of Devotional Objects in Later Medieval London: Evidence from the City Customs Accounts,  c. 1380-1530

The medieval customs accounts of the City of London form an important, and hitherto underutilized source for the study of material culture, trade, and daily life in later medieval England. Many of these accounts, detailing taxes paid on imports and exports to and from London, have been recently edited and published for the first time by Stuart Jenks and the Hanseatic History Association. They reveal interesting patterns concerning the trade, and of particular interest for this paper, the importing of devotional objects. Particularly frequent examples are cargoes which include paternosters or bedes, otherwise known as rosaries. These prayer beads were imported in large quantities and in a wide range of materials. The studying of these accounts further provide insights about the people importing these objects, how they might have been made and sold, as well as where they were coming from. This paper will seek to show the accounts provide important further evidence of the range of devotional goods available for purchase across a wide range of late medieval English society. Furthermore, it will argue that the accounts deserve further attention as sources for material culture, and particularly, less expensive, everyday goods, which are often considered to lack the vital documentary evidence to contextualize their regular archaeological survival.  

Please register online here.

Please note that there is a limited capacity on campus. If you have not selected an ‘in-person ticket’ please do not go to UCL, but join online. You are requested to wear masks at UCL.


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