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Danuta Shanzer (Uni. of Vienna): Some Readings of Clerical Masculinity and Violence in the Early Middle Ages

Odo Bayeux Tapestry
Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 5:30 pm – 7:10 pm

Taking as my point of departure a quick case-study in female gendering and re-gendering, I will concentrate not so much on violent clergy (the more usual topic), but on how clerics as male persons are depicted dealing with violence and the violent in society around them. Even though we know of appallingly violent situations that men of God had to live through, we often lack narratives with the necessary subjectivity to help us interpret their responses. This paper is inevitably somewhat anecdotal and will concentrate on new close readings of various intriguing passages from Gregory of Tours. These will include accounts of sanctuary violation, episcopal intercession, and judicial mediation. I will touch on themes such as horror, pity, brutality. I plan some comparisons backwards to Late Antiquity and will include one amusing outlier from the 10th-11th centuries.

Zoom availability:


Meeting ID: 981 3811 8684

Passcode: medspub


Danuta Shanzer studied at Bryn Mawr and Oxford. She has held appointments in the Classics departments at Berkeley, Harvard, Cornell, and the University of Illinois. Since 2011 she has been teaching Late Antique and Medieval Latin Philology at the University of Vienna, specializing in the Latin literature and in the social and religious history of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Favorite authors include Martianus Capella, Prudentius, Jerome, Augustine, Avitus of Vienne, Gregory of Tours, and Desiderius of Cahors. Her interests range from the philological and literary to the historical and theological and include research on epistolography, on the afterlife, and on the development of judicial ordeals in the Long Late Antiquity. She serves on the editorial board of the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (De Gruyter) and as Latin Series Editor for the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (Harvard UP).