Session217
TitleEnvironmental History of the Middle Ages, II: Borders between Human and Non-Human
Date/TimeMonday 4 July 2022: 14.15-15.45
 
OrganiserPolina Ignatova, Institutionen för kultur och samhälle, Linköpings universitet
 
Moderator/ChairWilliam Beattie, Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
 
Paper 217-a On the Border between the East and the West: The Personification of the Jordan River in the Holy Trinity Chapel of Lublin, Poland
(Language: English)
Aleksandra Krauze-Kołodziej, Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych, Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Index Terms: Architecture - Religious; Art History - Painting; Byzantine Studies; Religious Life
Paper 217-b Beastly Borders: Animals and the Construction of 'Barbarians' in 12th-Century Latin Texts
(Language: English)
Bee Jones, Faculty of History, University of Oxford
Index Terms: Anthropology; Language and Literature - Latin; Mentalities; Social History
Paper 217-c Fish Sentience in Medieval Sources
(Language: English)
Polina Ignatova, Institutionen för kultur och samhälle, Linköpings universitet
Index Terms: Art History - Decorative Arts; Learning (The Classical Inheritance); Mentalities; Science
 
AbstractThis session will explore the real and constructed borders between human and non-human. Aleksandra Krauze-Kołodziej will analyse and interpret the personification of the river Jordan in the scene of Christ's Baptism in the Holy Trinity Chapel in Lublin, Poland. The Holy Trinity Chapel constitutes an excellent example of mutual interactions between Latin West and Byzantine East traditions. The Baptism scene will be analysed in the context of the ancient Greek and Roman models of the personifications of rivers as well as early Christian and medieval baptismal scenes. Huw Jones will discuss medieval constructs of 'barbarians', which were often described as animalistic in their undirected and uncontrolled violence. Because animals do not use aggression indiscriminately, but for purposes such as obtaining food, territory, and security, the representations of 'barbarians' as violent animals depended on an equally constructed human-animal binary. Both 'barbarians' and animals were robbed of agency and intentionality. Polina Ignatova will investigate medieval representations of aquatic organisms, arguing that medieval narrators often endowed fish with significant amount of sentience, from the ability to feel pain to experiencing complex emotions such as parental love, anger, or jealousy. Medieval perceptions of fish come in a sharp contrast with modern attitudes, as the latter often refuse fish sentience and even its ability to experience suffering.