After several globally challenging years, we here at Ceræ are proud to bring our readers our largest volume yet with the long-awaited publication of Volume 9. Themed ‘Ritual: Practice, Performance, Reception’, Volume 9 is comprised of seven themed articles, one non-themed article, one varium, and five book reviews. We invite readers to browse through the Table of Contents on the Volume 9 page here:
We decided to focus this volume on the consideration of rituals because, whether they are religious, social, or political, rituals are essential for expressing and understanding communal values and beliefs. They also allow us to explore who is left out of rituals and the implications of that neglection. By examining rituals across the medieval and early modern period, this volume considers the ways that rituals were – and still are – used to help shape individual and collective identities.
To that end, Solveig Marie Wang explores the depiction of Saami ritual in Old Norse texts, arguing for the potential that the Saami rituals within the texts can be seen as both normative and transgressive. Wang is also the recipient of our 2023 Essay Prize for best themed or non-themed article by a graduate student or early-career researcher, so we wish to extend our sincere congratulations to her, here!
Staying in the north, Caroline Wilhelmsson’s article deftly examines five centuries of Swedish royal history through the eriksgata, a royal procession that requires the king-elect to travel across the realm to have his kingship established by provincial assemblies.
We shift from the north to England for our next two themed articles. First, Grace Catherine Greiner examines Chaucer’s portrayal of performance and loss in his fourteenth-century dream vision, The Book of the Duchess. This is followed by Michele Seah’s consideration of the performative ritual of King Henry II during his 1174 pilgrimage to the shrine of St Thomas Becket.
Our final three themed articles take us to continental Europe. Giulia Torello-Hill explores the ritual performance of dynastic weddings in northern Italy, focusing on the iconography of cassoni, or wedding chests. Following this, Samantha Happé examines almanacs produced during the reign of Louis XIV and considers the role they played in the circulation of knowledge of events during the period. Finally, Elisabeth Niederdöckl considers the use and staging of portable altars and the specific ceremonies associated with them in the days between Maundy Thursday and Easter.
Our non-themed pieces are equally compelling: Yianni Cartledge and Brenton Griffin provide a study of the ‘heretical’ Paulician and Tondrakian movements that emerged in medieval Armenia, while Jennifer Perkins takes us back to England in a varium on the human-bird interactions within Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. Finally, our selection of book reviews have been carefully chosen to further reflect upon the ‘Ritual’ theme of Volume 9.
We also want to extend our sincere gratitude to Matt Firth. A part of the Ceræ team since Volume 6, Volume 9 marks his first as editor and we are all thankful for his dedication and effort as he helped us navigate our largest volume yet. We would also like to acknowledge not just our Deputy Editors, Jenny Davis Barnett and Zoë Enstone, without whom Volume 9 would not have been possible to publish, but also the Book Reviews Editors Amanda Burrows-Peterson and Maria Gloria Tumminelli, as well as all of the Ceræ Committee who contributed to the reviewing, proofing, and copy-editing process. Thank you all!
Each contribution to Volume 9 is available as an individual PDF, and the volume in its entirety is available at the Volume 9 page here:
If you wish to submit your own research to Ceræ, we accept submissions all year round (though themed submissions for Volume 10 have now closed), and the editorial committee would be more than happy to discuss your proposal.
We hope you enjoy reading Volume 9 as much as we have done!
Featured image: The Trier Adventus Ivory, c. 4th century CE, Trier Cathedral Treasury, Trier, Germany, photo by Ann Münchow.