Author Archives: thegrailquest

About thegrailquest

Anastasija Ropa holds a doctoral degree from Bangor University (North Wales), for a study in medieval and modern Arthurian literature. She has published a number of articles on medieval and modern Arthurian literature, focusing on its historical and artistic aspects. She is currently employed as guest lecturer at the Latvian Academy of Sport Education. Anastasija’s most recent research explores medieval equestrianism in English and French literary art and literature, and she is also engaged as part-time volunteer horse-trainer. In a nutshell: Lecturer at the Latvian Academy of Sport Education Graduate of the School of English, University of Wales, Bangor. Graduate of the University of Latvia Passionate about history, particularly the Middle Ages A horse-lover and horse-owner

New Book: Practical Horsemanship in Medieval Arthurian Romance

practicalhorsemanshipThe figure of a knight on horseback is the emblem of medieval chivalry. Much has been written on the ideology and practicalities of knighthood as portrayed in medieval romance, especially Arthurian romance, and it is surprising that so little attention was hitherto granted to the knight’s closest companion, the horse. This study examines the horse as a social indicator, as the knight’s animal alter ego in his spiritual peregrinations and earthly adventures, the ups and downs of chivalric adventure, as well as the relations between the lady and her palfrey in romance. Both medieval authors and their audiences knew more about the symbolism and practice of horsemanship than most readers do today. By providing the background to the descriptions of horses and horsemanship in Arthurian romance, this study deepens the readers’ appreciation of these texts. At the same time, critical reading of romance supplies information about the ideology and daily practice of horsemanship in the Middle Ages that is otherwise impossible to obtain from other sources, be it archaeology, chronicles or administrative documentation.

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Call for papers: Horse History Sessions at the International Medieval Congress

chretien's perceval‘…the most impressive thing in the world [is] an armoured knight on horseback’ wrote Luis Zapata de Chaves in his late 16th-century treatise Del Justador. Recent flourishing of studies in horse history proves that horses not only at the core of pre-modern society but that they make an important part of medieval studies today.

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Why Put Artwork All Over Your Document? Querying Illuminated Charters

Why would you want to insert penworked letters, gold-leaf and illuminations on your legal document: company statues, a contract, a grant of land or even an indulgence? This may seem like a waste of time in the modern business context, but in the medieval culture visuals carried their own significance. The messages could be multiple. Look, it’s important, because whoever ordered or produced this document put extra time and materials into it! This document won’t get thrown away, because it’s so beautiful! It’s so rich, it must be authentic. Not to mention the visual shorthand the illuminations would generate for the document’s content. All of which, of course, could be highly misleading, because a forgery can get illuminated just as easily as an original, which I learned through my study of medieval Livonian charters.

Illuminated indulgence at the State Archives in Vienna

Illuminated indulgence at the State Archives in Vienna

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Book roundup: Illuminated Charters

Illuminierte Urkunden. Beiträge aus Diplomatik, Kunstgeschichte und Digital Humanities/Illuminated Charters. Essays from Diplomatic, Art History and Digital Humanities

illuminated chartersEdited by: Gabriele Bartz und Markus Gneiß

2018, Ca. 520 S.
116 s/w- und 75 farb. Abb.
23.5 x 15.5 cm
Preis: ca. € 70.00 [D]  |   ca. € 70.00 [A]
978-3-412-51108-1

Illuminierte Urkunden sind lange Zeit als Stiefkinder der Forschung behandelt worden. Nicht zuletzt durch den Einsatz digitaler Hilfsmittel sind sie im vergangenen Jahrzehnt zunehmend in das Licht der Öffentlichkeit getreten. Das neu geweckte Forschungsinteresse konzentriert sich auf die veränderte Performativität von Urkunden durch den Zusatz von Schmuckelementen. Der reich bebilderte Band präsentiert Aufsätze von Forscherinnen und Forschern aus elf Ländern, die illuminierte Urkunden aus den unterschiedlichen Blickwinkeln ihrer Disziplinen untersuchen.

The book is an interdisciplinary work in diplomatics and art history, focusing on the form and function of illumination in historical documents, notably charters. The contributions in German and English are based on the conference papers delivered at the international conference on Illuminated Charters as part of the Illuminierte Urkunden project conducted at the University of Graz.

Call for papers for session papers on medieval equestrian history at IMC Leeds 2019

Your horse won’t eat any oats, nor will he be bled until I get my revenge’ threatens his lady Orgeuilleux de la Lande, making his displeasure evident by abusing the lady’s horse. Horses were vital agents in daily life throughout the medieval period, but with the advent of technology in the twentieth century, they have been somehow marginalized in academic studies. Recently, interest in equine history has surged, but there are still many issues waiting to be tackled by scholars.

chretien's perceval

In this fourth year of thematic horse sessions at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, we invite papers on the following themes:

  • Breeding, training, feeding and curing horses
  • Osteological study of horse remains
  • Equipment for ridden and working horses
  • Horse-related buildings and infrastructure (stables, roads, hyppodromes, markets, etc.)
  • Horses in the East and West – regional peculiarities
  • Imaginary, fantastic and magical horses and equids, including unicorns, centaurs and grotesques, and their relation to real horses
  • Other equids and ridden animals (donkeys, mules, zebras, etc.)

If you would like to propose a theme that does not fit in the above categories, please contact the organizers.

Paper abstracts (up to 500 words) and short biographies (up to 100 words) are to be sent to Dr Anastasija Ropa (Anastasija.Ropa@lspa.lv) and Dr Timothy Dawson (levantia@hotmail.com) by 31 August 2018.

Publication of selected papers is planned.

If you would like to be involved in organizing the sessions or editing or reviewing the publication, please contact the organizers (Anastasija.Ropa@lspa.lv, levantia@hotmail.com).chretien's perceval.png

CFP: Re-defining the Monster

poster_monster_01.jpgCall for Papers for Special Session at the

International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS 2019)

May 9 to 12, 2019

Western Michigan University

The proposed session will discuss and debate on the various definitions of the concept of the “monster.” Defining the monster is a challenge. Monsters and monstrosity-related aspects have been topics of academic research either connected to identity or cross-cultural encounters, explored as ‘others’ in the context of voyages (real-imagined), as heritage from Antiquity, as races reflected in travellers’ reports inserted into Western art, philosophy, and theology.

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CFP: Visualizing Women in the Apocrypha

poster_apocrypha_01.jpg

Call for Papers for Special Session at the

International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS 2019)

May 9 to 12, 2019

Western Michigan University

The proposed session is devoted to the construction and visualization of women as reflected in apocryphal sources with the aim of bringing into attention this generally neglected topic/sources which seem to be underrepresented. The existent literature, in the general field of apocrypha, indicates that there is space for debate on issues connected to gender in these sources.

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