Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 13740
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Bodarwé , Katrinette.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Roman Martyrs and Their Veneration in Ottonian Saxony: The Case of the "sanctimoniales" of Essen
  • Source: Early Medieval Europe 9, 3 ( 2000): Pages 345 - 365.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Essen, Nordrhein- Westfalen, Germany- Monastery for Women Hagiography Mary, Virgin, Saint- Cult Monasticism Relics Rome Sacramentaries, Liturgical Books Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: Germany
  • Century: 9-10
  • Related Resources:
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  • Table: Two tables. Table One Listing of Essen relic caskets, late tenth and early eleventh centuries. Table Two Inscriptions in the crypt at Essen, 1051 C. E.
  • Abstract: The relics of Roman martyrs played an important role in the christianisation of Saxony, and the ninth and tenth centuries saw a “second wave” of relic translations from Rome northwards across the Alps, as well as the translation of Roman relics already in Francia into Saxony. But what happened to the relics of the Roman martyrs once they were introduced into a new cultural landscape? This paper looks at the reception of Roman relics in Ottonian Saxony, focusing in particular on the female religious community at Essen. No translation accounts or historical texts are preserved from Essen, but it is possible to gain a clear overview of the relics existing there through liturgical manuscripts and inscriptions; evaluation of these sources sheds light on the mechanisms through which relics were diffused through Saxony, and on their liturgical relevance. It is also possible to investigate attitudes towards these supernatural patrons through their mention in contemporary charters and their depiction in dedication illustrations. Whilst the Roman martyrs Cosmas and Damian (whose relics had been obtained by Altfrid, Essen’s ninth-century founder) were seen as the patrons of the community by those outside, the “sanctimoniales” of Essen continued to identify primarily with the Virgin Mary. Gender identification, as well as political and legal claims, therefore played an important role in the reception of the cult of the Roman martyrs in tenth-century Saxony. [Reproduced by permission of Blackwell Publishers who publish Early Medieval Europe. Notice: The abstract is under copyright and may not be reproduced without permission.]
  • Author's Affiliation:
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2000.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 09639462
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