Public non secular perform lay on the center of civic society in overdue medieval Europe. during this illuminating examine, Andrew Brown attracts at the wealthy and formerly little-researched data of Bruges, one in all medieval Europe's wealthiest and most vital cities, to discover the function of faith and rite in city society. the writer situates the non secular practices of voters - their funding within the liturgy, commemorative prone, guilds and charity - in the contexts of Bruges' hugely diverse society and of the adjustments and crises the city skilled. targeting the spiritual processions and festivities backed by way of the municipal executive, the writer demanding situations a lot present considering on, for instance, the character of 'civic religion'. Re-evaluating the ceremonial hyperlinks among Bruges and its rulers, he questions even if rulers might dominate the city panorama via non secular or ceremonial capability, and provides new perception into the interaction among ritual and tool of relevance all through medieval Europe
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Extra resources for Civic Ceremony and Religion in Medieval Bruges c.1300-1520
Developments in the Holy Blood and other processions may be explained by a drive to promote civic unity, yet they must also be set within the context of wider religious and liturgical changes that took place in the later Middle Ages. This context has been variously described. Huizinga famously perceived late medieval religion in northern France and the southern Low Countries as running to extremes in a climate of morbidity and autumnal decay. Religious symbolism was becoming ever more rampant, following an internal logic of its own; masses were heaped upon masses in a frantic accumulation of good works.
The Burgundian ‘theatre-state’ tends to become simply an adjunct of statebuilding. 109 This study does not adopt a particular model of ritual but it bears in mind three general considerations about ceremonies. The first is that the connections between the exercise of authority and the use of ceremony are very indirectÂ€– which implies that ceremony might be an insecure means to establish social or political domination. There was a strong tendency in the later Middle Ages for lay powers, whether civic or princely, to express their authority with reference to the sacred:Â€all authority ultimately derived from God.
CrouzetPavan, ‘Sopra le acque salse’. Espaces, pouvoir et société à Venise à la fin du Moyen Age (Paris, 1992), p. 551; R. C. Trexler, Public Life in Renaissance Florence (New York, 1980), p. 222. 66 20 Introduction It would not be difficult to discern the same trend in late medieval Bruges:Â€ the Holy Blood procession did come to be associated with Flemish military success; secular festivities were used to promote a sense of civic unity (see Chapter 5). But it may be asked whether town governments, when organising processions, wished to access the liturgical associations of such events rather than turn them into secular occasions.