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The authority of Rome in the Manuscripts of Early Medieval Europe

"The authority of Rome in the Manuscripts of Early Medieval Europe," a public lecture by Professor Rosamond McKitterick, of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge conducted in association with the Dunedin Rare Book School and the Centre for the Book.

Prof McKitterick describes her presentation: "The special place of the Roman past in the memory of Europe as a whole has been considered by many scholars from many different perspectives. The reception, assimilation and adaptation of texts from ancient and early Christian Rome was undoubtedly a creative process. This process involved not only the adoption and promotion of written culture for administrative, legal, religious, and educational purposes and the universal use of Latin, but also the transmission into new contexts of secular, scientific and early Christian texts and knowledge from the classical and late antique Greek and Roman traditions.

Study of the role of such cultural models in the early middle ages in both the barbarian successor states of western Europe and North Africa, and throughout the Frankish realm created by Charlemagne, enables us to see how both the knowledge of the past and of earlier texts could be appropriated. In the Carolingian period in particular there is ample evidence of active intellectual engagement and the innovative presentation of knowledge to accommodate new needs and new institutions. Textual, social and visual memory all played their parts. The manuscript evidence is crucial in this respect.

Yet the transmission of texts and knowledge raises the overall question of the status and authority of Rome and Roman texts - both secular and religious. This lecture, therefore, will address the questions of how and why the authority of Rome was communicated and established in the various contexts of politics, ideology, law, the organisation of knowledge, language, and religious orthodoxy in early medieval Europe.

Professor Rosamond Deborah McKitterick FRHistS, FRSA, of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, is the author of numerous books and articles on Carolingian history, and the editor of several Cambridge University Press series on history and medieval culture.

Date Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Time 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Audience Public
Event Category Humanities
Event Type Public Lecture
DepartmentEnglish and Linguistics
LocationArchway 2 Lecture Theatre
Contact NameDr Shef Rogers
Contact Phone64 3 479 8892

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