Mánaðarskipt færslusafn fyrir: september 2017

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Árni Daníel Júlíusson

Lesið í leifarnar

Um menningar- og búsetulandslag miðalda í Dalvíkurbyggð og Hörgársveit

Fimmtudaginn 5. október 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Árni Daníel Júlíusson

Menningar- og búsetulandslag tveggja meginbyggða Eyjafjarðar á miðöldum er viðfangsefni þessa fyrirlestrar. Þessar byggðir eru Hörgárdalur og Svarfaðardalur (nú Hörgársveit og Dalvíkurbyggð). Menjar um kuml og forn- (fjölskyldu) kirkjur eru mestar við ströndina og virðast benda til þess að þar hafi byggðin verið mest í fyrstu. Nú síðast fannst stórmerkur kumlateigur í Dysnesi sem fellur vel inn í þá mynd sem áður er komin fram.

Fornleifar og ritheimildir gefa sérstaklega skýra mynd af dreifingu kumla og fornkirkna á þessu svæði, mynd sem óvíða er að fá annars staðar jafn skýra. Víða um svæðið, sérstaklega um það norðanvert, í Svarfaðardal og Árskógsströnd, getur að líta garðlög, fornar girðingar. Þær gefa góða hugmynd um hvernig landnýtingu var háttað og einnig þá hugmynd að landamerki hafi verið þau sömu í þessum sveitum um mjög langan tíma, því þær eru oft á núverandi landamerkjum. Miklar minjar um búsetulandslagið eru einnig dreifðar um allt svæðið, eins og rústir af seljum, sem eru nánast við hvern bæ víða í Svarfaðardal og Hörgárdal, en mun færri í sveitunum við ströndina. Rústir af bæjum sem voru í byggð á miðöldum en hafa síðan verið í eyði eru mjög víða.

Hvernig ber að lesa í þessar gríðarlegu leifar? Hvernig tengjum við saman og túlkum einstaka þætti þeirra? Ritheimildir, sem koma til sögunnar eftir 1100, bæta síðan í myndina, aðeins lítið í fyrstu, en síðan meir og meir. Við lok 12. aldar verða miklir atburðir í héraðinu sem skráðir eru í Guðmundar sögu dýra. Átök standa milli að því er virðist tvenns konar pólitískra kerfa, hins gamla goðorðakerfis annars vegar og nýs höfðingjaveldis hins vegar. Í þessum heimildum sést skyndilega inn í heim höfuðbóla, stórbýla, virkja, sem bæta alveg nýjum drætti í myndina af byggðinni. Skjalaheimildir bætast við og verða miklar að vöxtum á 14. og 15. öld. Þær gefa líka alveg nýja innsýn í byggðina, skipulag hennar og efnahag, og vísa jafnframt aftur í tímann, í þeim eru vísbendingar um eldri tíma. Rannsóknirnar sem þessi fyrirlestur byggir á voru gerðar við Þjóðminjasafnið, í rannsóknastöðu Dr. Kristjáns Eldjárns. Hluti þeirra var lagður fram í bókinni Miðaldir í skuggsjá Svarfaðardals, en hér bætist við stórt svæði og ný túlkun. Hvaða sögu má segja út frá þessum heimildum? Hvaða þróun varð í þessu samfélagi við Eyjafjörð á tímabilinu 870–1500? Í fyrirlestrinum verður reynt að svara þeim spurningum.

Árni Daníel Júlíusson er fræðimaður við Þjóðminjasafnið og ReykjavíkurAkadamemíuna. Hann hefur doktorspróf frá Kaupmannahafnarháskóla og hefur sent frá sér fjölda greina og bóka um fræðasvið sitt, bændasamfélag fyrir nútímavæðingu. Á meðal rita hans má nefna Landbúnaðarsögu Íslands 1. og 2. bindi.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Margaret Cormack

Holy Water, Holy Wells

Justification of the Spring Blessings of Guðmundr Arason

Fimmtudaginn 28. september 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Margaret Cormack

On the continent and the British Isles, a tradition of ‘holy wells’—wells that are ‘other’ than everyday water sources, which may have special powers of healing, foretelling the future, or even cursing—are today often associated with saints, although in some cases their use can often be traced to the prehistoric period. Not so Iceland, whose human habitation began in the ninth century. However, many Icelandic springs/wells had a reputation for healing powers in medieval times, which in some cases survived to the present day. These water sources are commonly associated with Bishop Guðmundr the Good Arason (d. 1237), a religious innovator whose activity, including the blessing of water sources caused controversy. Fourteenth-century versions of his saga contain a defense of the practice, said to have been delivered to the Archbishop of Trondheim; an analysis of this defense forms the main part of my paper. I will discuss various means of producing ‘Holy Water’, and then discuss the origins of the ideas presented in Guðmundr’s defence of his practice of blessing springs.

Margaret Cormack is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston, SC, and Affiliate Professor in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Iceland. She has published The Saints in Iceland: Their Veneration from the Conversion to 1400 and edited several volumes pertaining to the cult of saints at different times and locations. She is interested in vernacular religion in all its forms.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Kristján Ahronson, Jonathan Wooding, and Alexis Pantos

Marked caves in Scotland and Iceland

Recording an early medieval phenomenon

Fimmtudaginn 21. september 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Kristján Ahronson

Early medieval religious impulse marked hundreds of special places with simple sculpture across the Irish and Scottish littoral zone. In Scotland, marking caves with rock-cut crosses and other early Christian carvings was a discrete subset within a wider early medieval monastic tradition. Looking to Iceland, we discover a similar phenomenon and, critically, recent research identifies what appears to be the earliest human presence on the island at and in the immediate vicinity of a cave site, around AD 800.

Detailed analysis of the sculpture suggests that the Scottish and Icelandic phenomena are connected. A suite of typological similarities makes a persuasive case for connections between the Icelandic and Scottish cave sites: a number of shared features such as the distinctive sunken form, expanded terminals, bold V-cuts and sinkings indicate particular connections between the Seljaland caves (Vestur-Eyjafjallahreppur, southern Iceland) and western Scotland, as well as wider connections to the Irish and Scottish littoral zone more generally. However, there are also regional differences.

Building on the recent publication of Into the Ocean: Vikings, Irish and Environmental Change in Iceland and the North (University of Toronto Press, 2015), this presentation is the very first airing for new recording and illustration of rock-cut crosses from southern Iceland.

Kristján Ahronson is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Bangor University, UK. He is interested in the medieval north Atlantic, inter-disciplinary thinking, and in the ways that people relate to their environments. Recent publications include Into the Ocean: Vikings, Irish and Environmental Change in Iceland and the North (University of Toronto Press, 2015)

Jonathan Wooding is Sir Warwick Fairfax Professor of Celtic Studies at the University of Sydney. His research interests are in early medieval Celtic and North Atlantic history, with special interests in monasticism, pilgrimage and literature of travel — especially the Irish ‘voyage’ tales, such as the Nauigatio of St Brendan.

Alexis Pantos MA MSc is a freelance archaeological photographer specialising in digital imaging techniques and heritage visualisation.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Jean-Claude Schmitt

History of Social Rhythms in the Middle Ages

Miðvikudaginn 20. september 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Jean-Claude Schmitt

Rhythms do not only involve music, speech, dance or biological functions. They are also social phenomena. The measure of time, the organization of work, of the day, weeks, months and years, this and much more is shaped by social forces. Rhythms vary form one society to another, more particularly from one historical period to another. Social rhythms have been studied by social scientists for a long time, as well as by philosophers and art historians. The historical comparison of social rhythms has however been neglected. The conference will present the results of Jean-Claude Schmitt‘s extensive research on social rhythms in the Middle Ages. They were published last year in a landmark study: Les rythmes au Moyen Âge (‘Rhythms of the Middle Ages’).

Social rhythms do not only manifest themselves in the way time is accounted for or in the tempo of the day. They can also be perceived in numerous types of social behaviour, as well as individual lifestyles, architecture, visual arts, poetry and of course music.

Rhythms in the Middle Ages were shaped to a large degree by the Christian faith, which was dominant in the period. The story of the Creation is echoed in the organization of the week and the Church year commemorates stages in the life of Christ, from his birth to his crucifixion. But other things also had an impact on the rhythms of medieval society as will be discussed in the conference, which will be illustrated by numerous examples from the visual culture of the Middle Ages, on which prof. Schmitt has produced much innovative research over the years.

Jean-Claude Schmitt is a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is one of the best known representatives of his generation of the Annales school in historical research. He has been a pioneer in historical research which is also inspired by anthropology and folkloristics, but also in the interdisciplinary study of medieval visual culture. Schmitt has written a number of books which have been translated into many languages, among others Ghosts in the Middle Ages (1998), La Raison des gestes dans l’Occident médiéval (1990) and, published last year, Les Rythmes au Moyen-Âge (2016).

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.