Silvia Beltramo (Politecnico di Torino), Catarina Almeida Marado (Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (CES-UC)) and Gianmario Guidarelli (Università di Padova, ICEA)
Mendicant Orders, Urban History, Medieval and Modern Cities
The purpose of the session is to study the urban, architectural, social and economic consequences that the arrival of the Mendicant Orders involved in the European cities of the Middle Ages. The development of the city, in fact, is profoundly influenced by the establishment of convents in the suburbs, where the new “borghi” develop. The “crown” of convents around the center of the city forms a “belt” of urban hub from which new neighborhoods develop, but also a place for the exchange of ideas and people. In fact, the friar moves from one city to another, importing ideas, styles of preaching, social issues. For this reason, the convent is an important place of passage. Moreover, the convent is an open space that functions as a place of study, but also as a place of welcome for the masses of the poor who come from their companions and for the pilgrims who use it as a stop on their journey.
The session proposes to explore all these aspects of the role of convents in the Medieval and Early Modern city, considered as a place of interchange between cultures - even artistic- and people, in a multidisciplinary and international perspective. They are invited to present proposals of different historical disciplines (topics on built environment, on artistic and architectural history, on religious, economic, social subjects connect to urban history) aimed at investigating the theme proposed in the session. In particular, we believe it is useful to start a debate regarding some urban phenomena triggered by the convents of the mendicant orders and verify their actual consequences on the urban structure and architectural solutions adopted, starting from some specific cases. In this way, we aim to verify how a phenomenon on a European scale can interact with individual local cases, both in big cities and in small villages.
Friars in Motion: Mendicant Mobility in 14th Century Cologne (Franciscan and Dominican Friaries)
Frederik Felskau (Freie Universität Berlin)
Mendicants, Mobility, Cologne
In past decades, historiography on Mendicant friaries was broadly engaged in the understanding of their urban positioning and their role and functions within the religious, social and economic system of the towns. Their success was dominantly explained with their ability to express and to apply innovative urban forms of preaching and practiced piety. Though it is commonly acknowledged that the friars’ refusal of the stabilitas loci contributed to the effectiveness of both: their inner-monastic organization and their outer-monastic initiatives, systematic surveys on Mendicant mobility below generic observations are usually discussed within the frame of network theories or communication channels which constituted ‘monastic landscapes’; prevailingly the studies are dealing with the exchange of knowledge and of cultural, physical objects.
The paper collects evidences of mobility related to the monasteries of the Dominicans and Franciscans in 14th century Cologne, the biggest town in the Holy Roman Empire where they were present since the 1220s. It intends to cover a broad range of reasons and circumstances for friars to move within the town, to leave their ‘home friary’ and/or to enter a new, a hosting one. The motivations for such a move could be manifold and affected the status, the perception and the future of the involved friar as well as the community they left behind or entered: commissioned legates and visitatores, provincial or custodial meetings, visits of begging stations (terminationes), missionary travels, pilgrimages, journeys from or to markets and/or from one to another friary, let it be short or long term (inter-monastic exchanges; dispatches, transfers) pertain to the aspects of mobility usually lesser investigated due to their very scattered or arbitrary tradition. Apart from that, the effects of the “mobility of the intellectuals” on the life of the friaries will be highlighted which was already of high level thanks to the studia generalia of both Orders (installed in 1248, resp. 1260) and which even increased after the foundation of the university in 1388. In a holistic, conclusive manner the findings on mobility will be summarized as indicators for the degree of permeability and fluctuation the two monastic houses showed.
Lay Authorities and Liminal Zones of Religious Enclosure in 15th c. Dubrovnik
Ana Marinković (University of Zagreb)
Clausura, Observance, Public space
Spaces of religious enclosure scattered throughout and inserted into the dense urban fabric are one of the most characteristic features of late medieval cities. Albeit a common element of the European urban landscape, the strategies used in spatial formulation of clausura as well as in its interaction with the surrounding public spaces differ, generally depending on gender and religious order, but also on the specific circumstances, among which, notably, the lay impact exerted on the practice of religious enclosure. In this respect, the city of Dubrovnik stands out as an example of the extreme control of the lay authorities over the practice of clausura. The paper focuses on the contact or liminal zones of several Ragusan friaries and nunneries, varying from the usual semi-accessible spaces (lower choirs, cloisters, parlatories) to the specific ones related to the access of the enclosed community to the public infrastructure and services (notably, water and wine) to the more substantial construction work regarding the complete encircling of monastic complexes by tall walls. The background of the strict enclosure is to be found both in the rigorous supervision of the nunneries housing the female members of patrician families, as well as in coordinated campaign of imposing the Observant reform to Mendicant and Benedictine communities around 1460 with the aim of their seccession from the ecclesiastical provinces situated in Venetian Dalmatia and controlled by the Venetian prelates. The bulk of Ragusan city councils' decisions passed during the 15th century regarding spatial barriers between clausura and the public space witness to the importance of this segment of urban life in more general social and political schemes of the Ragusan Republic.
Friars in Decline. Paris Left Bank Mendicant Monasteries : Urban Economy and Morphological Influence
Preston Perluss (University Grenoble Alps)
Mendicant Orders, Paris, Monasteries
This paper seeks to convey a general overview of those mendicant monasteries found within the university neighborhood of Paris at the time of their dissolution in 1790. The Franciscan monastery (Cordeliers), the Dominican monastery (les Jacobins), the Austin Friars (Grands Augustins), and the Carmelites (the Grands Carmes) all functioned as monastic colleges destined to receive monks who came to study in Paris. These institutions had large in-house populations in the Medieval period but their residents had dwindled in the 18th century. Despite, their reduced population, the monasteries exercised various degrees of urban influence: their chapels were sites of piety and sermons; they occupied central zones in the heart of the Left Bank and owned rental properties whose revenues formed the largest source of income for all save the Franciscans, but the latter received crucial incomes from renting out parts of the monastery itself!
My paper will discuss the physical distribution of the monasteries, their main sources of income, their urban rental construction projects (or lack thereof), and their overall imprint on the pre revolutionary urban built environment.
The Construction of the European Convent City through the Projection of Monasticism in Andalusia and North Rhine-Westphalia.
Francisco Javier Ostos Prieto (University of Seville and RWTH University), Christa Reicher (RWTH Aachen University, Faculty of Architecture) and María-Teresa Pérez-Cano ( Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura Sevilla)
Andalusia, Convent City, North Rhine-Westphalia
One thing that characterises the European medieval period is the spread of the Christian religion throughout its territory. The Christian faith was not only transmitted through a new morality and religion, but also through art and convent architecture. While the monastic orders sought isolation from society, the mendicant orders are attracted by urban centres and city life. Their aim is to find strategic positions within the urban core as new facilities.
In Germany, the present-day region of North Rhine-Westphalia is located in a geographical area historically shaped by the river Rhine. Cities such as Aachen, Cologne and Münster are important centres for the founding of monasteries. In fact, the division of ecclesiastical provinces in 1500, which is not related to the political division, understands the aforementioned territory as a single unit that can be extended to present-day areas of Belgium and the Netherlands. On the other hand, the region of Andalusia in Spain stands out for a conventual foundational process as a result of the Christian conquest of the Muslim territories between the 13th and 15th centuries. Seville, Jerez, Cordoba and Écija are the main conventual structures in southern Spain, constituting one of the most important monastic territories in the Iberian Peninsula.
In this context, a territorial and urban model comparison is made between two European regions in the 15th century: Andalusia and North Rhine-Westphalia. In both regions there is a strong conventual implantation typical of monastic orders, although there may have been different developments. The aim is to identify whether the city-monastery binomial in Europe had a unique function on the continent or, on the contrary, changed depending on the territory. The superimposition of the layer of the convent system on the city system will make it possible to discern whether the founding strategies are similar or different from each other. The number of orders and their position in the cities are key to defining the type of strategy.