Patterns of commemoration in central Italy : manuscript calendars and social time in Perugia, Assisi and Gubbio, c. 1100–1500
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This thesis examines the use of medieval calendars as commemorative devices. Medieval calendars were practical and open-ended texts that could remain in use for several generations, accumulating layers of modification according to the needs and preferences of their users. Composed to regulate social time and annual collective commemoration, calendars bridged past, present and future action and synchronised individuals and communities within urban centres, on a regional level and across vast distances throughout Latin Christendom. Scholarly interest has typically focused on individual manuscripts and key calendar traditions, such as that of the Roman Curia, aiming to reconstruct seminal liturgies. This thesis instead repositions calendars in their social context and compares the calendars of three neighbouring towns and diocesan centres of distinct size, political, economic and religious influence in Central Italy – Perugia, Assisi and Gubbio – set against an extended corpus of Central and Northern Italian calendars. Altogether, the material comprises eighty manuscripts and 21354 calendar entries. By revealing how calendars served differing functions between the centres of this geographically compact area, and how these practices evolved following divergent trajectories, the comparative approach allows for the identification of trends and patterns of commemoration that would otherwise remain hidden. The thesis argues that while the primary functions of medieval calendars – sustaining communal memory and structuring the liturgical year – are widely recognised, a great variety of practices can be uncovered considering sufficient comparative context. The thesis demonstrates that although commemorations of patron saints remained a staple of calendars, to the point of seeming almost detached from surrounding socio-religious and political developments, there are fundamental and systematic differences between the centres examined in how calendars were used to perpetuate minor local commemorations, reconcile local patterns of commemorations with those of transregional religious orders and to construct and maintain connections with neighbouring regions. Such differences go well beyond the appearance of individual saints in particular manuscripts and reflect the varying needs and preferences of the communities producing and using the manuscripts, affected by the scale, centrality and geographical orientation of the urban centres examined, as well as by broader developments such as the expansion of the Franciscan order and the Papal Curia’s presence in the region over the thirteenth century.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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Embargo Date: 2027-08-31
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 31st August 2027
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