Gwendolyne Knight – Editor’s Foreword
Belated but at last, I am excited to present Volume 8 of Ceræ: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies! In this non-themed issue, our two articles consider different aspects of cross-cultural appropriation, awareness, and influence. In our first article, Chrysovalantis Kyriacou examines the ways in which the appropriation and re-interpretation of Byzantine culture in seventeenth-century Cyprus became a tool for inter-faith contacts and communications. In our second article, Albrecht Classen explores representations of Persia in Middle High German literature. Classen argues that, although most of the references are largely fictitious, they represent an interest and openness towards non-European cultures in the high and late Middle Ages. He concludes by considering the place of these representations in relation to the concept of a ‘Global Middle Ages’.
Our Varia section continues to show just how varied it can be. Whereas last issue we had to the pleasure to welcome our first creative piece, in Volume 8 we are delighted to present two pieces of very different character. In her contribution, Raissa R. Bombini presents a re-evaluation of the use of gemstones within medieval medical recipes, using the emerald as a case study. In our second Varia piece, Luiz Guerra, a contributor to one of Ceræ’s sessions at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds (UK), gives a presentation of the Brazilian research network and study group GEHM. Ceræ accepts non-themed articles (peer reviewed) and Varia pieces (not peer reviewed) throughout the year – if you are interested in contributing, we would love to hear from you!
In addition to our new issue, Ceræ is excited to have participated in the Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS) in June with three sessions, speaking to a variety of ways in which magic and witchcraft fit in to the conference’s themes of embodiment and reception. In July, we are at the International Medieval Congress with two sessions that engage with the conference theme of borders by challenging conventional borders of time and space in medieval research.
I would, as ever, like to express my sincere gratitude towards the committee and editorial team of Ceræ for their hard work and dedication this past year. This is my final issue as Editor, and I am excited to leave the journal in the very capable hands of Matt Firth as incoming Editor, and Jenny Barnett and Zoe Enstone as Deputy Editors. They already have preparations for Volume 9 off to a rolling start, and I can’t wait to see the future volumes they produce. My thanks as well to the committee of Ceræ, who keep the organization running, and keep us all on track as we continue in this new stage. Matthew Cleary has been an enormous help, and I am glad that he is remaining on the committee following the conclusion of his own tenure as Deputy Editor. Patrick Huang has done an excellent job in his first year as sole Book Reviews Editor. And of course, we are all very grateful to our contributors, peer reviewers, and publishers, without whom this journal would be impossible to produce. We are proud to support and promote early career researchers through our journal, organization, and conference presence, and to foster connections and networks that transcend regional and period borders. Being a part of the Ceræ team has been a rich and rewarding experience for me, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with all of the committee and editorial team members over the last two years.
Gwendolyne Knight, Stockholm University and Rikkyo University
Chrysovalantis Kyriacou – The Empire Strikes Back: Multi-Faith Cyprus and Byzantine Orthodox Culture in Seventeenth-Century Eastern Mediterranean
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to explore ways in which Byzantine symbols, ideas, and practices constituted a transcultural ‘language’ of communication for groups of Christians in Ottoman-ruled Cyprus in the seventeenth century. Aspects of this koine are sometimes visible in the contacts between Cypriot Christians and Western Europeans (mainly Catholics, but also Lutherans) outside Cyprus, and perhaps also in the interaction between Cypriot Christians and Muslims. The Byzantine koine indicates a process of interaction between Greek and non Greek cultural agents, through which new and mutually understandable forms of Byzantine culture emerged. By concentrating on the micro-region of seventeenth-century Cyprus and its plurality of ‘micro-Christendoms’ (per Peter Brown) this paper wishes to shed light on little-known aspects of the appropriation of Byzantine culture (mainly church culture) and ideology in the post-Byzantine Eastern Mediterranean and early modern Europe in general, helping us to understand more comprehensively phenomena of identity formation, conflict, and coexistence in multi-faith societies.
Chrysovalantis Kyriacou, Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation
Albrecht Classen – The Topic of Persia in Medieval Literary Imagination, with a Focus on Middle High German Literature
Abstract: After a review of how the western world has viewed Persia and Persian culture since the turn of the eighteenth century, this article explores older forms of reception of Persia, first during the seventeenth century, but then, which is the main focus, in the high and late Middle Ages. As far as I can tell, Middle High German poets seem to have been at the forefront within the European context of engaging with the topic of Persia in their romances and other genres. Many of those references, of course, constitute nothing but fiction, and they were most likely not based on practical travel experiences or personal encounters. Nevertheless, we can identify a significant interest in that part of ‘the East,’ probably determined by the strong impact of the myth of Alexander the Great and his conquest of the Persian empire in the third century BCE on medieval literature. However, most of the references to Persia go far beyond that ancient topic and might signal a significant opening up toward non-European culture to the east already during the high and late Middle Ages. The thematic approach identified here facilitates the combination of a number of different texts from the late twelfth to the late fifteenth and even sixteenth century and intends to provide a new puzzle piece to the exploration of the notion of the Global Middle Ages.
Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona
Raissa R. Bombini – A Brief Account of the Emerald and its Magico-Medical and Symbolic-Religious Qualities against the Black Death
A re-evaluation of the use of gemstones within medieval medical recipes, using the emerald as a case study.
Raissa R. Bombini, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo and Stockholm University
Luiz Felipe Anchieta Guerra – A Presentation of Grupo de Estudos em História Medieval
A presentation of the Brazilian research network and study group GEHM.
Luiz Felipe Anchieta, Guerra State University of Montes Claros (Unimontes)
Stefka G. Eriksen, Karen Langsholt Holmqvist, and Bjørn Bandlien, eds., Approaches to the Medieval Self: Representations and Conceptualisations of the Self in the Textual and Material Culture of Western Scandinavia, c. 800-1500 (Minjie Su)
Stefka G. Eriksen, Karen Langsholt Holmqvist, and Bjørn Bandlien, eds., Approaches to the Medieval Self: Representations and Conceptualisations of the Self in the Textual and Material Culture of Western Scandinavia, c. 800-1500 (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2020). Print, viii + 339 pp., €89,95, ISBN: 9783110655551.
Reviewed by: Minjie Su, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Yaniv Fox and Erica Buchberger, eds., Inclusion and Exclusion in Mediterranean Christianities, 400–800 (Meredith Cutrer)
Yaniv Fox and Erica Buchberger, eds., Inclusion and Exclusion in Mediterranean Christianities, 400–800 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019). Print, 400 pp., €80.00, ISBN: 9782503581132.
Reviewed by: Meredith Cutrer, Worcester College, University of Oxford
Sinah Theres Kloß, ed., Tattoo Histories: Transcultural Perspectives on the Narratives, Practices, and Representations of Tattooing (Erica Steiner)
Sinah Theres Kloß, ed., Tattoo Histories: Transcultural Perspectives on the Narratives, Practices, and Representations of Tattooing (Routledge: New York, 2020). Ebook $68.99 (print, 336 pp., $252.00), ISBN: 9780429319228.
Reviewed by: Erica Steiner, University of Sydney
Aisling Byrne and Victoria Flood, eds., Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages (Veronica De Duonni)
Aisling Byrne and Victoria Flood, eds., Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages, Medieval Texts and Cultures of Northern Europe 30 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019). Print, viii + 332 pp., €80.00, ISBN: 9782503566733.
Reviewed by: Veronica De Duonni, Università degli Studi di Salerno
Emily Dolmans, Writing Regional Identities in Medieval England: From the Gesta Herewardi to Richard Coer de Lyon (Victoria Shirley)
Emily Dolmans, Writing Regional Identities in Medieval England: From the Gesta Herewardi to Richard Coer de Lyon (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2020). Print, xiv + 235 pp., £60.00, ISBN: 9781843845683.
Reviewed by: Victoria Shirley, Cardiff University
Oisín Plumb, Picts and Britons in the Early Medieval Irish Church: Travels West Over the Storm-Swelled Sea (Erica Steiner)
Oisín Plumb, Picts and Britons in the Early Medieval Irish Church: Travels West Over the Storm-Swelled Sea (Brepols: Turnhout, 2020). Print, 204 pp., €55.00, ISBN 9782503583471.
Reviewed by: Erica Steiner, University of Sydney
Featured Image: Giacomo Borlone de Burchis, The Triumph of Death, 15th century, fresco, Oratorio dei Disciplini, Clusone, Italy.