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Fifteenth-Century Studies Vol. 27

Fifteenth-Century Studies Vol. 27: A Special Issue on Violence in Fifteenth-Century Text and Image

Edelgard E. DuBruck
Yael Even
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 310
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  • Book Info
    Fifteenth-Century Studies Vol. 27
    Book Description:

    Founded in 1977 as the publication organ for the Fifteenth-Century Symposium, Fifteenth-Century Studies has appeared annually since then. It publishes essays on all aspects of life in the fifteenth century, including literature, drama, history, philosophy, art, music, religion, science, and ritual and custom. The editors strive to do justice to the most contested medieval century, a period that has long been the stepchild of research. The fifteenth century defies consensus on fundamental issues: some scholars dispute, in fact, whether it belonged to the middle ages at all, arguing that it was a period of transition, a passage to modern times. At issue, therefore, is the very tenor of an age that stood under the influence of Gutenberg, Columbus, the Devotio Moderna,, and Humanism.Volume 27 is a special issue offering a selection of outstanding papers on violence that will interest students of medieval history and the early Renaissance, the humanities, art history, sociology, anthropology, and even the general reader. The articles highlight warfare and justice, violence in family and milieu (court, town, village, and forest), hagiography, ethnicity and xenophobia, gender relations and sexual violence, brutality on the stage, and the relation of text and image in the depiction of violence. Edelgard E. DuBruck is professor in the Modern Languages Department at Marygrove College in Detroit; Yael Even is associate professor of Art and Art History at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-460-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xvi)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    This special edition ofFifteenth-Century Studiesexpands upon previous anthologies concentrating on violence in late-medieval and early renaissance Europe in that it includes an unprecedented array of studies, each of which is the product of a distinct discipline and methodology. UnlikeViolence and Civil Order in Italian Cities 1200–1500(ed. Lauro Martines [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972]), a collection of twelve closely-related articles by historians of pre-modern Italy, the present publication provides scholars with seventeen essays which examine the fundamental nature of violence, present its various manifestations, and explore wide-ranging perceptions of this brutal phenomenon in France, Germany,...

  5. Spectator Responses to an Image of Violence: Seeing Apollonia
    (pp. 7-20)
    Marla Carlson

    Jean Fouquet’s miniature of theMartyrdom of Saint Apollonia(c. 1415/20 1481—fig. 1) represents a moment repeated, throughout late-medieval France and in other countries: an individual being tortured is on the verge of death, while a crowd, seeing the horror, looks on dispassionately, it seems. Two men bind the saint to an inclined plank with taut ropes, and another pulls her golden hair, while a fourth man yanks out her teeth with pliers that are nearly as long as her body. Apollonia’s torture became slow and cruel in late-medieval hagiography and iconography, in contrast with the swift and violent...

  6. Der ernsthafte König oder die Hölle schon auf Erden: Gewalt im Dienste des Seelenheils
    (pp. 21-43)
    Marianne Derron

    Der vorliegende Beitrag befasst sich mit einem Motivkomplex des Mittelalters, der von einer sehr subtilen Gewaltanwendung erzählt: es handelt sich weniger um physische Grausamkeiten als um eine psychische Gewalt, die letztlich von der christlichen Kirche ausgeübt wurde. Dieser Einfluß besteht im Schüren der Ängste vor der Ungewissheit des Todes und des Lebens danach sowie in der Vergegenwärtigung und Androhung von Strafen im Jenseits. Die Pein, welche die menschliche Seele nach Gottes Gericht oder schon vor dem leiblichen Tod in Anbetracht des ungewissen Schicksals erduldet, stellt unsere Erzählung allegorisch durch die Schilderung lebensgefährlicher Situationen und einer Scheinhinrichtung dar. Die Veranschaulichung dessen,...

  7. Lazarus’s Vision of Hell: A Significant Passage in Late-Medieval Passion Plays
    (pp. 44-55)
    Edelgard E. DuBruck

    On the European passion stages of the late Middle Ages, Lazarus’s report from hell, an apocryphal story, was undoubtedly meaningful for theatergoers, who were constantly enlarging their own geographical universe and, hence, would have been interested in hearing an explicit description of the netherworld by someone who had been resurrected miraculously. For spectators led to visualize tortures and unhappiness, Lazarus’s report (paralleled later by Christ’s own suffering) made Jesus’ death and the redemption of the damned souls urgent; to avoid these punishments meted out for a life of sin, Christians would try anything within their spiritual and material means to...

  8. Violence and Late-Medieval Justice
    (pp. 56-67)
    Edelgard E. DuBruck

    According to Christiane Raynaud, an expert on medieval justice, French law had reached a certain degree of sophistication by the early fourteenth century.¹ Judicial duels were suppressed by the king, after convictions some appeals were possible, and proof was established byenquête. Still, because law was an amalgamation of revived Roman law, influences of canon law, and a great deal of customary laws, violence persisted. The best collection of customary laws was by Philippe de Rémi, sire de Beaumanoir, c.1283.² Municipal courts were established, as the town population and its trading activities grew; the legal ‘system’ of town and country...

  9. La noblesse face à la violence: arrestations, exécutions et assassinats dans les Chroniques de Jean Froissart commandées par Louis de Gruuthuse (Paris, B.N.F., mss. fr. 2643–46)
    (pp. 68-92)
    Olivier Ellena

    LesChroniquesde Froissart de Louis de Gruuthuse présentent seize scènes de violence exercée à l’encontre de la noblesse par ses propres membres.¹ Ces scènes, dont le nombre est sans équivalent dans l’illustration des manuscrits desChroniques,mettent en valeur des épisodes qui ne se distinguent dans le temps long de la chronique que par l’importance qui leur est accordée dans l’illustration. La multiplicité des représentations trouve sa raison d’être dans le présent de la commande et dans la personnalité du commanditaire. Louis de Gruuthuse, chambellan de Philippe le Bon, puis de Charles le Téméraire, est l’un des grands seigneurs...

  10. The Music of the Medieval Body in Pain
    (pp. 93-112)
    Jody Enders

    At first glance, what can be seen is an exquisite image. The orator is a master musician, his body a lyre as Cicero describes him “playing it” during a rhetorical performance by striking the chords of its harp:

    The whole of a person’s frame and every look on his face and utterance of his voice are like the strings of a harp, and sound according as they are struck by each successive emotion. For the tones of the voice are keyed up like the strings of an instrument.¹

    Cicero is talking about delivery (actio,promuntiatio, orhypokrisis), the rhetorical canon...

  11. The Emergence of Sexual Violence in Quattrocento Florentine Art
    (pp. 113-128)
    Yael Even

    The earliest representations of sexual violence in Florentine high art date from the middle and late Quattrocento.¹ Their emergence seems to have been spurred on by the use of secular subjects and of Greco-Roman themes in particular. Most extant portrayals of sexually motivated pursuits and assaults (male to female, primarily) display such mythological tales of unbridled lust as those penned by Ovid and Plutarch and such historical accounts of brutal rapes and enforced marriages as those written by Cicero and Livy. Often conceived by art historians as images which pay tribute to male heroism, these portrayals have not formed an...

  12. Some Lesser-Known Ladies of Public Art: On Women and Lions
    (pp. 129-148)
    Yael Even

    Images of female violence, like those of female valor, are extremely rare in early renaissance Italian culture. Virtually no trecento or quattrocento portrayals of women can compare with those featuring Greco-Roman youths who either fatally wound wild beasts or decimate monstrous creatures. Nor are there representations of Christian maidens who are shown mercilessly subduing dragons, as those depicting the triumphs of Saints George (figs. 1–2) and Michael, respectively. In a culture abounding with statues, paintings, statuettes, and prints of mythological heroes, protagonists who perform courageous but injurious acts are presented primarily as male. These protagonists occasionally appear as coming...

  13. The Self in the Eyes of the Other: Creating Violent Expectations in Late-Medieval German Drama
    (pp. 149-160)
    Matthew Z. Heintzelman

    An investigation of the spread of perceptions and prejudices should examine in particular, how Christians in the later Middle Ages thought Jews thought of Christians.² That is, how did Christians expect Jews to interact with them? Each person’s interactions with another are colored by numerous pre-formed opinions: expectations about the other person’s intentions and character are often associated with larger sets of identifications given that person or group, and often these expectations are based upon perceived, and sometimes actual, power relationships. Thus, members of different ethnic and religious groups, such as Christians and Jews, have expectations or prejudices—at times...

  14. Cleansing the Social Body: Andrea Mantegna’s Judith and the Moor (1490–1505)
    (pp. 161-176)
    Carol Janson

    One of the most violent religious scenes painted during the fifteenth century was the decapitation of the Assyrian general Holofernes by the Jewish protagonist Judith. According to the (apocryphal) biblical narrative of the Book of Judith, the heroine captured Holofernes’s interest because of her beauty and skill with words. When the general invited her to dine with him, she eluded his intention to rape her and instead proceeded to decapitate the drunken Holofernes in his tent; Judith and her maidservant Abra returned to their community, the city of Bethulia, flaunting the head of Holofernes. Demoralized by the slaying of their...

  15. Aggression and Annihilation: Spanish Sentimental Romances and the Legends of the Saints
    (pp. 177-184)
    Claudia Krülls-Hepermann

    Grisel y Mirabellawas written by Juan de Flores between 1480 and 1485. It is a sentimental romance that tells of violation of norms, breach of faith, and loss of royal authority. The action takes place in a society whose social and political order is threatened, as conflicts between different ways of thinking lead to an escalation of violence. Juan de Flores focuses on traditional punishment rituals and methods of torture which appear in both the sentimental romances and the medieval legends of the saints.

    The story ofGrisel y Mirabellacan stand as an example: a king of Scotland has...

  16. Der Malleus Maleficarum (1487) und die Hexenverfolgung in Deutschland
    (pp. 185-199)
    Ina Lommatzsch

    Beim Stichwort “Hexerei” oder “Zauberei” fällt den meisten Leuten gegenwärtig—unabhängig vom jeweiligen Alter!—wohl der Name Harry Potter ein. Die Abenteuer des bebrillten Jungen, Schüler eines Zauberinternats, werden verschlungen, das Erscheinen eines neuen Bandes mit mitternächtlichen Ver-kaufsveranstaltungen gefeiert, Pressefotos von übermüdeten kleinen Hexen und Zauberern, aus verknitterten Kostümen siegessicher ob des eroberten Lesestoffes blickend, gehen um die Welt und machen die, die auf Übersetzungen in die eigene Sprache warten müssen, hemmungslos neidisch.

    In medizinischen Ratgebersendungen wird Experten die Frage gestellt, was denn gegen hartnäckige Warzenerkrankungen wirklich helfen könnte. Im Zuge der Diskussion äußerst unterschiedlicher Therapiemöglichkeiten kommt schließlich unweigerlich die...

  17. “For They Know Not What They Do”: Violence in Medieval Passion Iconography
    (pp. 200-216)
    Robert Mills

    Even in today’s climate of video nasties and cinematic gore, medieval images of torture demand a powerful response. Modern viewers react variously with laughter, disgust, even horror, when confronted with the cartoon-like savagery of a saint being mutilated and torn to pieces; the response is more powerful still when the subject of the image in question is Christ’s passion. Perhaps there is no image of the crucifixion that jolts contemporary sensibilities so much as a late-fourteenth-century carvedCrucifixfrom the Corpus Christi Church, Wrocaw (formerly Breslau, Germany; now a part of Poland) (fig. 1).¹ It is a supremely provocative and...

  18. Zur Bedeutung von Gewalt in der Reynaert-Epik des 15. Jahrhunderts
    (pp. 217-237)
    Rita Schlusemann

    Das mittelniederdeutsche VerseposReynke de vos (R), das 1498 von der Mohnkopfdruckerei in Lübeck gedruckt wurde, bildet das Ende einer stattlichen Anzahl mittelalterlicher Übersetzungen und Bearbeitungen des berühmten niederländischen VerseposVan den vos Reynaerdeaus dem 13. Jahrhundert.¹ DerReynkeist die Übersetzung und Bearbeitung einer mittelniederländischen Vorlage, die als solche nicht erhalten ist, die aber ihrerseits in ein Geflecht von Überlieferungen und Bearbeitungen einzuordnen ist. Zahlreiche Abschriften, Übersetzungen und Bearbeitungen desVan den vos Reynaerdeentstanden bis in die heutige Zeit. Einen regelrechten Boom erlebte dieReynaert-Epik jedoch im 15. Jahrhundert, vor allem im letzten Viertel des Jahrhunderts. Fragmente...

  19. Terror and Laughter in the Images of the Wild Man: The Case of the 1489 Valentin et Orson
    (pp. 238-256)
    Shira Schwam-Baird

    During the Middle Ages and early modern times, wild men (silvani) lived in forests and may well have been prey to unrestrained impulses of lust and violence. These men were the opposite of courtly knights, whose ladies they desired and seized when they could. Their frequent appearance in medieval art and literature testifies not only to their hold on medieval minds, but also to the persistence of a belief in animalistic human types that can be traced back through antiquity to prehistory. The horned dancing god, part human, part animal, in neolithic cave painting, for example, becomes Pan in classical...

  20. Rereading Rape in Two Versions of La fille du comte de Pontieu
    (pp. 257-272)
    Nancy Virtue

    La fille du comte de Pontieu, one of the first French novellas,¹ recounts the plight of a woman who is raped by bandits in the presence of her husband. Dating from the thirteenth century and later revised in the fifteenth,La fille du comte de Pontieuraises some important questions both about how the story of rape has (or has not) been told and about the problematic use of rape as subject matter for novellas, stories intended to entertain their readers. This article will examine the novelists’ representation of rape in the two versions of the tale.

    The topic of...

  21. The French Kill Their King: The Assassination of Childeric II in Late-Medieval French Historiography
    (pp. 273-294)
    Sanford Zale

    Childeric II was assassinated, but he refused to die. While the seventh-c. noblemen who murdered him no doubt thought that they had rid the Frankish kingdom of this Merovingian monarch, the collective memory of their act came back, eight centuries later, to trouble historians in Valois France. On the one hand, in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, royalist historical propaganda held that the French past had been free of regicide. On the other, Childeric II, whom modern scholars qualify as a Frankish king of Austrasia (662–75) and Neustria (673–75), but whom medieval French historians anachronistically regarded as...

  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 295-295)