Death at Court

Death at Court

Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Spieß, Professor for Medieval History and Historical Sciences, Department of History
Alfried-Krupp-Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald, Martin-Luther-Strasse 14
Vom - Bis
12.07.2010 - 14.07.2010
Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Spieß

Since the early 1980s, studies of numerous aspects concerning rulers, their courts and residences, have become an integral part of Medieval research. This renewed interest has been particularly stimulated by the Residenzen-Projekt based at the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen (of which the organizer of the present conference is a member), which is due to expire next year. Conferences organized by this institution had, quite naturally, a particular focus on the Reich, while its European neighbours have also, though rather less frequent, received some attention. Only a single conference, however, entitled ‘Das Gehäuse der Macht. Der Raum der Herrschaft im interkulturellen Vergleich. Antike, Mittelalter, Frühe Neuzeit’ as part of the German Historikertag held in Kiel in 2004, has applied a specific intercultural and comparative approach.
The upcoming conference, for its part, is not only concerned with a comparative approach to European court culture, but aims for a more global perspective. Thus, it continues the work of the Court Culture Group, which was very recently founded almost exclusively by American scholars, but which can since claim a worldwide membership. A volume of conference proceedings (‘Rhetoric and the Discourses of Power in Court Culture: China, Europe and Japan’) has been published in 2005 as part of this work and a second conference was organized in Coburg in 2006, entitled ‘Courts as Symbolic Systems and Forms of Communication’.

Die um Herrscher, Hof und Residenz kreisende Forschung hat seit dem Beginn der achtziger Jahre des 20. Jahrhunderts nach vielen Jahrzehnten der Vernachlässigung einen großen Aufschwung erfahren. Maßgeblichen Anteil hieran hat das Residenzen-Projekt an der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, das im nächsten Jahr ausläuft. Vorrangiges Ziel der zahlreichen Tagungen der Residenzenkommission war die Erforschung der Dynastien und Höfe im Reich, doch finden sich auch immer Seitenblicke auf die europäischen Nachbarländer.
Die Tagung reiht sich ein in die noch sehr vereinzelten Versuche, die Hofforschung über die nationale und europäische Perspektive hinaus in einen globalen Vergleich zu bringen. Sie ist erwachsen aus einer zunächst fast ausschließlich von amerikanischen Wissenschaftlern gebildeten „Comparitive Court Culture Group“, die bereits 2005 den Sammelband „Rhetoric and the Discourses of Power in Court Culture. China, Europe and Japan“ vorgelegt hat. 2006 fand eine weitere Tagung der Gruppe unter Beteiligung deutscher Historiker in Coburg statt, die dem Thema „Courts as Symbolic Systems and Forms of Communication“ gewidmet war.

The conference will be sponsored by the German Research Foundation, Bonn and the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald, financed by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach-Foundation, Essen.

The conference is open to the public. Conference fee (service charge): 15 EUR (for students 5 EUR).


Monday, 12th July, 2010
9:00 Greetings

„Death at Court in Western Europe“
9:10 Prof. Karl-Heinz Spieß (Greifswald): Introduction and Moderation

9:30-10:15 Prof. Gert Melville (Dresden): „Death and Apotheosis at the Burgundian Court”

10:15-11:00 Prof. Arjo J. Vanderjagt (Groningen): „Descending into the Grave'. The Identification of the Body of Jean sans Peur (1371-1419)”

11:15-12:00 Prof. Werner Paravicini (Kiel): „Theatre of Death. The Transfer of the Remnants of Philip the Good and Isabel
of Portugal to Dijon in 1474”

12:00-12:45 Prof. Scott L. Waugh (California): „Deathbed Scenes in Medieval England”

14:00-14:45 Dr. Immo Warntjes (Greifswald): „Burial Customs of the Nobility in Late Medieval Western Europe”

14:45-15:30 Assistant Prof. Rita Costa Gomes (Towson): „Alfarrobeira: the Death of the Tyrant?"

15:45-16:30 Prof. Hermínia Maria de Vasconcelos Alves Vilar (Évora):
„Between a Lineage and a Territory: Royal Death and Burial at the Portuguese Court”

16:30-17:15 Dr. Klaus Oschema (Bern): „The Cruel End of the Favourite – Clandestine Death and Public Retaliation at Late Medieval Courts in Europe”

20:00 Public Lecture: Prof. Patrick Geary (Los Angeles): „Carolingian Royal Death and Burial”

Tuesday, 13th July, 2010

„Death at Court in Byzantium and Asia“
9.00 Pauline Yu, President of the American Council of Learned Societies (New York): Introduction and Moderation

9:15-10:00 Prof. Claudia Rapp (Los Angeles): „Death at the Byzantine Court. The Emperor and his Family”

10:00-10:45 Prof. Eugene Vance (Seattle): „St. Ambrose's Eulogy of Theodosius the Great and the Ideology of the True Cross“

11:00-11:45 Associate Prof. Ruby Lal (Atlanta): „Invocations of the Dead in the Early Mughal World”

11:45-12:30 Dr. Ali Daud (London): „Aristocratic Cultures and the Memorialization of Battle Death in South India, 700-1300 CE”

12:30-13:15 Prof. Stephan Conermann (Bonn): „The Death of a Mughal Emperor: Chaos at Court or Business as Normal?”

14:15-15:00 Prof. Joe Cutter (Tempe/Arizona): „O Woe! Alas!: Threnodic Writings for Royal Women in Early Medieval China”

15:00-15:45 Prof. David R. Knechtges (Seattle): „Pallbearers’ Songs in Early Medieval China”

15:45-16:30 Prof. Stephen H. West (Tempe/Arizona): „The Documents of Death: Literary Production and the Death of Song

16:45-17:30 Prof. Steven D. Carter (Stanford): „Staying Alive: Poetry and Death in the Late Medieval Japanese Court”

17:30 Conclusion

Wednesday, 14th July, 2010
Excursions: Burial sites of the Dukes of Pomerania


Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Spieß
Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Geschichte des Mittelalters und Hist. Hilfswissenschaften
Historisches Institut, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität
Domstr. 9a, D-17487 Greifswald
0049 (0)3834 863302
0049 (0)3834 863305
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