Ibero-Mediaevistik. Grundlagen, Potentiale und Perspektiven eines internationalen Forschungsfeldes

Nikolas Jaspert, Historisches Seminar, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
02.05.2019 - 04.05.2019
Sebastian Rothe, SFB 1150 "Kulturen des Entscheidens", Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

During the last years, international research on the Medieval history of the Iberian Peninsula has seen an exceptional boost. The international and interdisciplinary conference was organised by Nikolas Jaspert in order to provide a common platform for presenting the status quo of this wide field of research – an approach which has been supported in Heidelberg during the last five years within a lecture series on “Ibero-Mediaevistik”. The conference was opened by NIKOLAS JASPERT (Heidelberg) who drew the participants’ attention to the long tradition of German research on the Iberian Medieval history conducted by famous historians such as Heinrich Finke (1855–1938), Johannes Vincke (1892–1975), Odilo Engels (1928–2012), Ludwig Vones or Klaus Herbers. The conference aimed, first, at providing recent results and new approaches of the Spanish and Portuguese scholarship to a German audience (“Perspektiven”); secondly, at offering a platform for a fruitful exchange between scholars from different countries about common or specific methods and problems (“Potentiale”); and thirdly, at providing practical knowledge about the archives in the Iberian Peninsula as the foundation of any research (“Grundlagen”).

ANTONIO MALPICA CUELLO (Granada) reviewed the emergence of the Medieval archaeology in Spain with its particular historical interest in how a feudal society emerged in the North of the Peninsula and how it subdued the tributary-mercantile society of al-Andalus. He criticized the present trend of an “arqueología espectáculo” caused by the “valorisation of cultural heritage”. Therefore, Cuello called for a theoretical contemplation on the epistemology of archaeological knowledge and its position in the sciences.

MARÍA ISABEL DEL VAL VALDIVIESO (Valladolid) gave a talk on the water supply in Castilian towns of the Late Middle Ages, which could be solved differently depending on the sources given (rivers, springs, wells, rainwater) and on the storage systems. It required a political, technical and economic effort, in turn, rulers could express their power through the ostentation of a good water system. The investigation of water supply and the collaboration between the municipal governments and others involved helps us better understand questions of power and administration.

Studying rural landscapes of the Medieval Crown of Aragon, and especially, their irrigation systems, ENRIC GUINOT I RODRÍGUEZ (Valencia) addressed another aspect of Late Medieval water policy. Analysing physical geography, residence spaces, circulation routes, workspaces and plots, as well as hydraulic networks with methods not only of archaeology, but also of historical analysis (sources: e.g. lawsuits, cartas de repoblación), he showed that the social organization of the Medieval rural space reflects the structures of feudal power.

CHRISTIAN NEUMANN (Rome) looked at the history of the Kingdom of Mallorca from the perspective of “maritimity” and “insularity”. He compared the two so-called “reintegrations” into the entity of the Crown of Aragon (1285–1298; 1343–1349). Focusing on maritime aspects such as sea robbery, seizures of good and ships in ports, networks of spies in ports or wooden watchtowers at the coastline, he was able to offer an alternative reading beyond the political, economic, fiscal and military questions which had been in the focus of attention so far.

SEBASTIAN STEINBACH (Heidelberg) considered the “Spanish imperial title”, a phenomenon which already had been extensively examined by famous historians such as Ramón Menéndez Pidal or Percy Ernst Schramm. Steinbach took into consideration not only the written sources, but also the material sources (coins and seals), compared them to those of the German emperors, and, thereby, revealed the significance of the symbolic adaption and communication of the emperor’s idea in the 12th century. He distinguished between a first period of a hegemonic imperial idea with a Neogothic-military connotation (9th / 10th century) and a second period of institutional emperorship with a Hispanic-religious orientation (11th / 12th century).

The Late Middle Ages are traditionally characterized by demographic decline, commercial crisis and a drop in agricultural production, and recent research regarding climate change in the Late Middle Ages has brought that ascription up for discussion again. By analysing the specialization of agricultural crops (such as saffron), the connections between public debt and peasant communities’ dynamics or the relation between product markets, commercial circuits, consumption and life standard, CARLOS LALIENA CORBERA (Saragossa) could contribute to a much more differentiated understanding of rural life in the Late Middle Ages.

In a case study of the diplomatic relations of the kingdom of Navarra in the 14th and 15th century, ELOÍSA RAMÍREZ VAQUERO (Pamplona) showed that one can distinguish three main actions which made diplomacy an instrument of power: perceiving the interests and contacts of one’s opponents; the presentation – of one’s homeland, country, lineage, dynasty –; information and communication. Navarra is of special interest for studying Medieval diplomacy, because the monarchs – as princes du sang – also maintained relations with the French kings.

Following recent investigations on queenship, SEBASTIAN ROEBERT (Leipzig) examined the essential role played by Eleanor of Sicily (1349–1375) in her joint reign with her husband Peter IV “the Ceremonious” (1337–1387). He compared the phases when the queen was acting as consors (administration of goods, care of the family memory, bail for juridical decisions) with those when she was exercising the delegated royal authority as lieutenant (appointments, administration of justice, logistics, estate management, assembly of the estates). Her case shows that queenly participation was crucial for realizing the complex task of Medieval monarchic government.

Despite the fact that the great majority of the Jews were poor, the different historiographical schools concerned with Jewish history have privileged the study of the Hispano-Jewish Medieval elites and, thereby, contributed to the persistence of the Jews’ wealth cliché. JAVIER CASTAÑO (Madrid), however, asked who the poor Jews were, which the different degrees of poverty and what the attitudes towards the deserving and the undeserving poor were. He regarded public and private charitable foundations and hospitals, on the one hand, and Jewish confraternities, on the other hand.

LUÍS MIGUEL DUARTE (Porto) investigated the social dimension of crime and justice in Late Medieval Portugal. After having presented the main sources preserved in the Arquivo Nacional Torre do Tombo (local and general laws, judicial processes, notary documentation, pardon letters), he focused on the cartas de perdão in order to develop a typology of crimes. He emphasised the difference between laws, which were draconic in great part, and their execution, which could raise the question of the existence of two separated systems of justice.

ROSER SALICRÚ I LLUCH (Barcelona) examined captivity and slavery in the Western Mediterranean. The traditional scholarship was used to resort to notarial sources which provide a great quantity of information about gender, age, price, colour and origin of the captives / slaves and the socio-economic background of their vendee. Salicrú, however, drew attention to a variety of sources kept in the archives of the former Crown of Aragon that until now had been unconsidered, and which provide details about the backgrounds of the captives, their seizures and their processes of adaption to their new daily lives.

Presenting a case study on the Castilian-Navarrese border, SANDRA SCHIEWECK (Heidelberg) dealt with differing Iberian border configurations in the transitional phase from the High to the Late Middle Ages. After a brief presentation of several historiographical strands on Medieval borders, she traced the formation process of the Castilian-Navarrese frontier in the last third of the 12th century by examining contractual documents. Finally, she concluded with some theoretical remarks on how to use space as a heuristic tool.

PERE VERDÉS I PIJOAN (Barcelona) presented new perspectives for the study of Late Medieval taxation. Taxation has been extensively studied as a fundamental aspect for the “genesis of the modern state”. However, Verdés showed that the fiscal documentation conserved in the exceptional Catalonian municipal archives can serve as well for the investigation of cultural, social or economic history. Taxation, for example, played a role in the formation of a particular identity discourse in the Catalan cities and the principality of Catalonia.

FLOCEL SABATÉ I CURULL (Lleida) discussed processes of identity building in the Medieval Catalonia. There had been a duality between the king and a collective which, out of political interest, had been defined by its representatives through terms as land (terra) and nation (natio). Beside this discourse of representation, Sabaté also dealt with the external perception by observing a polysemous use of the Catalan demonym in the Mediterranean, as after the expansion of the Crown of Aragon also Majorcans or Valencians were perceived as Catalans. Finally, he recalled the social segmentation into a Christian majority and minorities such as the Jews.

MATTHIAS MASER (Erlangen), firstly, showed that Andalusian Christians preserved Latin knowledge although they had adopted the Arabic language for the purpose of political participation. Secondly, he considered the paradox that Islamic law, on the one hand, excluded the Christian community from society, and, on the other hand, included individual Christians into the society by regulating possible conflicts between Muslims and Christians. Studying the representation of papal authority in the Arabic translation of the Hispana collection of canon law (11th-century manuscript), Maser, thirdly, argued that there had been a cultural exchange between Andalusian Christians and Christian communities of the Eastern Mediterranean.

CARLOS DE AYALA MARTÍNEZ (Madrid) traced the development of a military spirituality in the Iberian Peninsula during the 12th and 13th century. In a first phase (1100–1130), religious brotherhoods of a military nature were founded, especially in the Eastern part of the Iberian Peninsula, and on the initiative of bishops. In the second phase (1130–1150), the Knights Templar as well as the Knights Hospitaller arrived in the Spanish territories. In the third phase (1150–1220), the military orders of Spanish origin emerged which, in contrast to the aforementioned brotherhoods and military orders, consisted of contemplative monks, not of active Augustinian clerics.

ANA ECHEVARRÍA ARSUAGA (Madrid) looked at the social history of Muslims under Christian rule. According to earlier scholarship, Mudejares had been poor and lost their cultural legacy as Muslims. Presenting recent studies on Arabic manuscripts, she showed that Mudejares still had access to knowledge, especially in cultural centres such as Toledo or Saragossa, and that at least the elite knew how to read and write Arabic. As several libraries and archives in Spain still hold uncatalogued manuscripts, Echevarría concluded with an urgent demand to qualify young researchers for this task of studying this material.

EDUARDO MANZANO MORENO (Madrid) focused on the so-called “biographical dictionaries” and what they can tell us about the social change in al-Andalus after the Arab conquest. They have been analysed by scholars since the 1980s and provide a huge amount of data which help to identify the scholarly filiation of more than 11.000 Andalusian scholars. In the 9th century, Andalusian scholars travelled to the East to learn – in this way, techniques, material and objects of knowledge came to al-Andalus.

MATTHIAS M. TISCHLER (Barcelona) drew attention to the Carolingian manuscripts produced in Catalonia from the 9th to the 12th century. Presenting the case of the Arxiu i Biblioteca Episcopal de Vic, Tischler showed the richness of the manuscripts conserved in the archives of Catalan cathedrals and monasteries, the majority of which have not been studied yet. They can serve as sources on the basis of which the Carolingian identity building process and the so-called “Transformation of the Carolingian World” can be better understood. Regarding Catalonia as a transmission zone, attention was given to different spatial and cultural configurations of the Middle Ages.

CHRISTIAN VOGEL (Saarbrücken) compared 10th-century testaments, testamentary executions and donations from the North-western part of the Iberian Peninsula (Galicia, Asturias, Leon) with those from Catalonia. Differences in the level of formalisation, institutionalisation and spirituality concerning the handling of the last wills and the use of diplomatic formulas can be explained as traces of a Roman tradition in the West, influenced by the church, and a Visigothic tradition in Catalonia, influenced by the army.

The conference ended with some observations and perspectives presented by KLAUS HERBERS (Erlangen). Most of the papers dealt with the Late Middle Ages, while the Early and High Middle Ages were almost exclusively considered by German scholars. With regard to the papers on the history of water, rural history or fiscal history, Herbers highlighted the plurality of topics and variety of disciplines, unusual for conferences held in Spain; still, basic topics such as the reconquista, the contact with Islam or the Jewish minority were dominant. Although the papers presented based on sources from many different archives of the Iberian Peninsula, the Archivo de la Corona de Aragon (ACA) remained dominant probably due to its exceptional richness of sources. Nearly omnipresent was the attempt to query terms like Carolingian, Catalan, Christian, Muslim, its difficulties became obvious during the stimulating discussions. These remarks were meant to reveal general tendencies in the studies of the Iberian Peninsula or, at least, in the way Germans perceive them.

In conclusion, let me just acknowledge the exceptionally great attention that had been paid to the foundations of historical research: the sources and archives. Thus, the conference distinguished itself in providing not only a great variety of innovative perspectives and methods, but also, first and foremost, practical knowledge about a huge number of Spanish and Portuguese archives and the potential which lies within its source material for further investigations on the Medieval history of the Iberian Peninsula.

Conference Overview:

Óscar Loureda (Heidelberg): Greeting

Nikolas Jaspert (Heidelberg): Introduction

Section I: Humans and Nature

Antonio Malpica Cuello (Granada): La arqueología medieval en el panorama historiográfico de la Península Ibérica: Viejos problemas y nuevas soluciones

María Isabel del Val Valdivieso (Valladolid): El Acceso al Agua en los Núcleos Urbanos Castellanos al final de la Edad Media

Enric Guinot i Rodríguez (Valencia): Hidraulismo y paisajes rurales de la Corona de Aragón bajomedieval

Christian Neumann (Rome): Maritimity and the Kingdom of Mallorca in the Late Middle Ages

Section II: Dominion and Power
Chair: Jörg Peltzer (Heidelberg)

Sebastian Steinbach (Heidelberg): Regnum Gothorum and Imperator Hispaniarum – Strategies of Identity, Claim and Legitimacy in the Kingdom of Castile and León between the 9th and 12th Century

Carlos Laliena Corbera (Saragossa): Historia rural y economía campesina en la Corona de Aragón (siglos XIII-XV)

Eloísa Ramírez Vaquero (Pamplona): Conocer, representar, informar: La diplomacia como instrumento del poder regio: Navarra (siglos XIV-XV)

Sebastian Roebert (Leipzig): El gobierno reginal en la Corona de Aragón – un elemento constituyente de la monarquía

Public Lecture:
Chair: Johannes Heil (Heidelberg)

Javier Castaño (Madrid): The Poor and Charity in Hispano-Jewish Society

Section III: Social and Economic Historical Perspectives
Chair: Stefanie Gänger (Heidelberg)

Luís Miguel Duarte (Porto): The Social Dimension of Crime and Justice: Portugal in the Late Middle Ages

Roser Salicrú i Lluch (Barcelona): Cautiverio y esclavitud: Nuevas preguntas y nuevas perspectivas de estudio desde las fuentes de la Corona de Aragón

Sandra Schieweck (Heidelberg): Iberian Border Regimes: The Case of Castile and Navarre at the Beginning of the Late Middle Ages

Pere Verdés i Pijoan (Barcelona): Más allá del impuesto: Nuevas perspectivas para el studio de la fiscalidad bajomedieval

Section IV: Intra- and Interreligious Interdependences
Chair: Maribel Fierro (Madrid)

Flocel Sabaté i Curull (Lleida): Collective Medieval Identities. What is a Catalan in the Late Middle Ages?

Matthias Maser (Erlangen): Law, Order and Authority – Normative Traditions and Legal Orders of the Christians in al-Andalus (8th–11th Centuries)

Carlos de Ayala Martínez (Madrid): Iglesia, espiritualidad y violencia. Obispos guerreros y órdenes militares (siglos XII-XIII)

Ana Echevarría Arsuaga (Madrid): Muslim Minorities and Intellectual Production in the Iberian Context

Poster Presentations:

Lisa Walleit (Erlangen): El Libro de Pregones. Städtische Verkündigungen und öffentliche Kommunikation in Toledo am Übergang vom Mittelalter zur Frühen Neuzeit (1457–1518). Mit einer kommentierten kritischen Edition des Libro de Pregones

Tim Knoche (Heidelberg): Execution of Wills in Spanish-Islamic, Mozarabic and High Medieval Castilian Law

Robert Friedrich (Paris): Mendicants and Power: Franciscans and Dominicans in the Kingdom of Mallorca (1276–1349)

Patrick Marschner (Wien): How the Iberian Christians Became the New Chosen People: The Bible in Christian-Iberian Historical Wiriting, 8th to 12th Centuries

Julia Bühner (Münster): New Histories of International Law: The Conquest of the Canary Islands (1402–1496)

Sebastian Rothe (Münster): Ambiguous Conversos – Uncertain Inquisitors – Indispensable Scholars: Practices of Decision-Making in the Inquisition of Cuenca (1489–1518)

Section V: Religious Institutions and Knowledge
Chair: Blanca Garí y de Aguilera (Barcelona)

Eduardo Manzano Moreno (Madrid): The Social Construction of Knowledge in Umayyad al-Andalus

Matthias M. Tischler (Barcelona): Knowledge Transfer on the Carolingian Periphery: The Case of Early Medieval Catalonia

Christian Vogel (Saarbrücken): Der lange Schatten der Antike: Erbrechtliche Diplomatik im 10. Jahrhundert

Klaus Herbers (Erlangen): Abschließende Bemerkungen

Tagungsbericht: Ibero-Mediaevistik. Grundlagen, Potentiale und Perspektiven eines internationalen Forschungsfeldes, 02.05.2019 – 04.05.2019 Heidelberg, in: H-Soz-Kult, 17.06.2019, <www.hsozkult.de/conferencereport/id/tagungsberichte-8318>.