IHR European History 1100-1550 Lecture Series: Hybrid Meeting – UCL, Cruciform Lecture Theatre 2 & Online via zoom
On 7 August 1266 the crusading Count Eudes of Nevers died in Acre. Eudes had come to Outremer in 1265 to aid the permanent French garrison maintained in the city, known as the stependarii. At the time of his death and in the months that followed three knights who served as his legal executors drew up a detailed inventory of his personal and household goods, tallied his accounts, and paid off his final debts. No doubt such accounting was routine for men like Eudes who lived and died in the east, away from home and family. The survival of such records, however, is rare if unprecedented. Five parchments rolls, now in the Archives nationales in Paris, shed light the contents of his wardrobe, kitchens, pantry, stables, and chapel, and list the pay he owed to over three dozen men in his employ, the value of the clothes and textiles he possessed and the jewels, relics, and personal items he treasured. My talk begins with an introduction to these texts and offers a close reading of the material world of an aristocratic crusader in the mid-thirteenth century. Reconstructing Eudes’s material life also means reckoning with the extravagant wealth a crusader of his stature carried into the east and thus considering the function of objects: their role as stores of wealth, mechanisms of patronage, affectations of masculinity, performances of power, and markers of piety. My remarks also address the potentials and limitations of a material methodology and our discipline’s current reckonings with ‘materiality’.
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