Voices of freedom? Franciscan singing in the Mongol empire



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Following up on the approach of entangled history, the paper addresses the question of the function and roles of music in medieval Euro-Asian contact. Particularly it is concerned with the role of Franciscan singing in the process of establishing their relationship with the medieval Mongols. For both sides, Franciscans and the Mongols, music was an essential part of their culture, although it bore different messages and was performed on different occasions. During the Franciscan missions to the Mongols in the 13th and 14th centuries, various prayers and hymns were voiced at the Mongol courts. In contrast to diplomatic communication, which was dependent on the language skills of interpreters and subdued to strict self-censorship of the friars, singing offered a relatively safe platform for their expression due to the Latin language and ritual context of blessing. The paper focuses on the question regarding what sort of roles could these hymns and blessings play in the communication between the friars, the Mongols, and other present audiences?
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