Converting Minds, Eyes, and Bodies : The early Cult of Relics between Rhetoric and Material Practices in Northern Italy and Gallia



Rok publikování 2021
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Convivium
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Klíčová slova Ambrose of Milan; cult of relics; christian reliquaries; Gallia; Gregory of Tours; material culture
Popis In Late Antiquity, the new practices surrounding cult of saints and their relics represented a fundamental rupture in the ancient relationship with bodies and bodily remains. Promoters of the cult such as Ambrose of Milan in the fourth century thus had to justify and – just like relics were themselves inserted within reliquaries – “frame” these new practices within a network of rhetorical and material realities. Furthermore, local saints invented by Ambrose were sent as “emissaries” in a moment of consolidation of the Christian community between the Italic peninsula and Gallia. Two centuries later, with an insistence on local saints, Gregory of Tours in his turn reframed the cult and its material dimensions, within another geographical and cultural horizon. Within this classical narrative of the rise of the cult of saints, this article aims to understand the tension between the intellectual and ideal setting of the cult of relics promoted by Ambrose and his circle and its actual material reality and transformations over these two centuries, until Gregory. This analysis focuses on the actual efficiency of the material implementation of the cult as opposed to its rhetorical framing, ultimately showing questioning the efficacy and longevity of the initial networking promoted by Ambrose, especially when implemented in a place and time where Christianization was still underway.
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