Other news: Issue 3, September 2009
MeMO progress report
In May 2009 the MeMO project started. The project group consists of Truus van Bueren and
Rolf de Weijert, the general project leader and assistant project leader, Koen Goudriaan
and Renťe Nip, who will supervise and coordinate the proceedings for several databases,
and Rutger Kramer who coordinates and supervises the work for the application by DANS.
Also several young scholars were hired:
- Charlotte Dikken, PR manager for the MeMO project.
- Fenna Visser, project leader for the database Memoria in Beeld / Representations of
Memoria. Fenna will also work on the thesaurus which will be included in the MeMO
Two advanced students will do an internship in the project:
- Kim Ragetli will be working on the memoria bibliography with Viera BonenkampovŠ
(see elsewhere in this newsletter) and she will make the database Jeruzalemvaarders in
Beeld / Representations of Pilgrims to Jerusalem. Her main task will however be the
preparation - both contents and practical organization - of two symposia.
- Trudi Brink will work on the preparations for the database Gravestones and
Rolf de Weijert is currently preparing MeMO DS. MeMO DS is a description standard for
describing memoria related source material, such as the four source types that are
central in the MeMO Project (narrative sources, memorial registers, sepulchral monuments
and gravestones and memorial paintings and sculptures). The aim is to make an internationally
approved standard that can be used by scholars in different countries. In December 2009
and January 2010 several expert meetings will be organized to discuss different aspects
of MeMO DS. In April 2010 the Editorial Board, consisting of internationally acclaimed
scholars of memoria research, will meet to discuss MeMO DS. The standard will be
presented at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in 2010.
In 2009 and 2010 two symposia will be organized. The first symposium, on Memoria and
interdisciplinarity, will take place at the end of November or the beginning of
December. The second event will be combined with the meeting of the Editorial Board (see
MeMO DS) in April 2010. At this symposium we hope to have in-depth discussions about
problems and possibilities of memoria research. The organizers - Kim Ragetli and
Truus van Bueren - aim for small groups of participants to accommodate extensive debate.
More information will be available on the MeMO website in October.
See also in this Newsletter
- A New Website: Medieval Memoria Online.
- Memoria in beeld/Representations of memoria.
- Commemoration in the convent of MariŽnpoel: prayer and politics. A Rich
- Jeruzalemvaarders in beeld / Representations of pilgrims to Jerusalem. A new
- A request for your aid in the development of a bibliography on medieval memoria.
Address MeMO project
3512 BL Utrecht
Tel. (0031) (0)30 2536164
Please note that this will be the last progress report in MMR. Progress reports will from
now on be published on the new MeMO website.
A New Website: Medieval Memoria Online - by Charlotte Dikken, PR manager
While MMR offers information on memoria research in general for the Netherlands and
Belgium, the new website Medieval Memoria Online will present specific information
on the MeMO project. It will be launched on the internet in October and it will be
updated at irregular intervals.
Contents of the website:
- The article on the MeMO project which appeared in the special issue of MMR (May 2009):
Medieval Memoria Online (MeMO): New research possibilities.
- An agenda.
- Links to websites related to the MeMO project.
- A bibliography with publications of Dutch and Belgian researchers on memoria,
commemorations practices, death and burial, etc. This bibliography will be updated
Scholars on the mailing list of MMR will be kept posted on the updates of the website.
Memoria in beeld / Representations of memoria
- by Fenna Visser, Project
leader Memoria in Beeld / Representations of Memoria
In August and September Memoria in Beeld / Representations of Memoria is being
thoroughly updated. The renewed website will contain:
- An improved browser with more systematic search options.
- Better scans for a large part of the works of art.
- Extended introductory texts.
- Links to websites useful for research of memorials.
To enable non-Dutch scholars to use the website the introductory texts are also in English.
Besides a glossary will be included.
Commemoration in the convent of MariŽnpoel: prayer and politics. A Rich Internet
Application - by Truus van Bueren and Leen Breure
On September 25 the first version of the Rich Internet Application (RIA) Commemoration
in the convent of MariŽnpoel: prayer and politics will be launched on the internet.
This interactive application enables students to be introduced to the subject by
exploring the subject and discovering the many aspects of medieval memoria. Possibly it
will also stimulate scholars to take a step further from the research material they are
usually working with, and open up to other sources that might help them explore their
research subjects more extensively. The convent of MariŽnpoel was chosen because from
this convent several memoria related sources have survived, such as memorial
registers (registers of gifts and a necrology), a chronicle and paintings, among which a
memorial painting of Boudewijn van Zwieten, the founder of the convent, and his family.
Apart from textual information the RIA contains quality scans of documents and works of
art which will enable the user to have a closer look at the presented research material.
At a later stage spoken texts and music will be included, because the responsory Libera
me, domine which the nuns sang at funeral masses has been preserved. The RIA will be
a scholarly publication and will therefore be annotated and contain a bibliography.
The authors, Leen Breure and Truus van Bueren, have asked a number of scholars to take
part in a usability test, after which the RIA will be finalized. Of course your comments
and suggestions are very welcome too.
The application can currently be viewed
Jeruzalemvaarders in Beeld / Representations of pilgrims to Jerusalem. A new
Several years ago historian Louise van Tongerloo and art historians Maartje van Dijk and
Truus van Bueren made an inventory of portraits and memorial paintings with pilgrims to
Jerusalem. The tradition of portraying pilgrims to the Holy Land, seems to have been a
common phenomenon for the Northern part of the Low Countries. Apart from these 'Dutch'
works of art only a few works have been discovered for the Southern Low Countries and the
German regions. We are pleased to have an opportunity to make the material available to a
wider public of scholars. In the fall and winter of 2009/2020 Kim Ragetli will prepare a
database that will be searchable on the internet. As it is closely related to Memoria
in Beeld / Representations of Memoria the two databases will be linked.
Reminder: A request for your aid in the development of a bibliography on medieval
memoria - by Viera BonenkampovŠ and Kim Ragetli
Since the early 1990s the study of commemoration has become an important field of research
in the Netherlands. With increasing regularity articles and books, dealing with the
concept of medieval commemoration are published, exhibitions are staged, conferences and
symposia in the Netherlands and abroad are organized, and lectures are published. As a
result the number of publications on medieval memoria has become so voluminous,
that a specialized bibliography is needed. The organizers of the Dutch-German symposium,
which is organized twice a year in Germany and the Netherlands by memoria researches
from the University of Duisburg-Essen and Utrecht University, decided to draw up a
bibliography on medieval memoria and related subjects. This bibliography is to
contain publications by the members of these Dutch-German symposia. The bibliography will
be published in the newsletter Medieval Memoria Research in the Low Countries (MMR),
and will be updated regularly. Because the group of Dutch and Belgian participants and the
number of their publications is not that large, we wish to also include publications by
non-participants in this bibliography.
It would be a great help if you could send a list of your publications and, if possible,
also any other all relevant titles of publications on medieval memoria and related
subjects, to Viera BonenkampovŠ and Kim Ragetli (contact info on page 21 of
this month's issue of MMR).
The first issue of the bibliography will be published on the MeMO website (see MeMO
The Church Monuments Essay Prize
In 2006 the Church Monuments Society (CMS) launched the biennial Church Monuments Essay
Prize of £250 with a certificate for the best essay submitted in the relevant year, which
was awarded for the first time in 2008. The prize-winning essay on a fifteenth-century
epitaph at Saint-Omer Cathedral appeared in vol. 23 of the annual peer-reviewed journal
Church Monuments, while another entry on two heraldic tombs in Llandaff Cathedral
(Wales) is due to be published in vol. 24.
The purpose of the CMS Essay Prize is to encourage esp. students and young scholars to
research and publish church monuments of all periods both in Britain and elsewhere.
The length (including endnotes) shall not exceed 10,000 words and a maximum of 10
illustrations. Essays may be historical, art historical, genealogical but also literary in
their approach (e.g. epitaphs), and international contributions are especially welcome.
The contents of earlier volumes of the journal (with abstracts of articles) may be viewed
on the CMS website.
The competition is only open to those who have not previously published in the journal
Church Monuments. The next deadline for entries to the next round of the CMS Essay
Prize competition is 1 January 2010. More information about the journal, the Prize,
rules and guidelines can also be found on the CMS
website or by contacting the Journal Editors Dr Kerry Bristol or Dr Sophie Oosterwijk
(contact info on page 22 of this month's issue of
Commemoration and Community in City Churches - Christian Steer
(announcing a session of the 10th International
Conference on Urban History in Ghent, 1st - 4th September 2010)
Medieval European cities, despite their myriad differences, all possessed a multitude of
churches - ranging from the individual parish churches, through those of the mendicant
orders, to the great cathedral churches - all of which were accessible to their populace
and visitors alike. Increasingly, study of these urban churches is departing from the
traditional viewpoint of institutional histories, considering each in isolation, to
instead recognize their role in the lives of individuals, and indeed in the lives of
their communities. Amongst these uses of urban churches was a feature common to all human
societies, the commemoration of the dead.
Commemoration, while always acknowledged in historical work - most visibly through the
existence of tombs - has only recently been seen as community history, most famously in
the work of Oexle, who places it at the heart of the creation of Tonnies' gemeinschaft.
This can take many forms, which can be summarised as 'commemoration of the spirit, and of
Research on all of these aspects of commemorative activity in medieval churches is
ongoing throughout Europe, including in the work of the Monumental Brass Society, Church
Monument Society in Britain and the Medieval Monument Research project in the Netherlands.
Yet comparison and collation of insights between them has seldom been achieved. This
session invites scholars to bring together current research into the "spiritual" function
of commemoration, such as papers on fraternities, bede rolls and anniversary/obit services,
and also the "stone" and in particular the physical marker of the funerary tomb,
inscription and chantry chapel. It is intended that this session will bring together
scholars from across Europe to share differing forms of medieval commemoration throughout
the continent, and to highlight the valuable shared experiences with the aim of stimulating
further research drawing upon this wider context.
||Christian Steer (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Justin Colson (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Work in progress: watersheds in Dutch memorial culture - by Kees Kuiken
To me as a historian and a sinologist, the apparent universality of memorial culture in
East and West has been of particular interest. My doctoral dissertation 'The Other Neng'
(Groningen 2002) is about the topographical and hagiographical contexts of the veneration
of an early Medieval 'ancestor' of the zen (or chan) lineage of Chinese Buddhism.
Ancestral metaphors have indeed been an important topos in the legitimization of
spiritual authority among Chinese Buddhists (and also among Taoists). For some time in the
early Middle Ages, a network of Buddhist and Taoist monasteries played a pivotal role in
the memorial culture of the Imperial House - not unlike the Reichsabteie in Early Medieval
Latin Europe. A detailed comparative study of these political-spiritual traditions would
require funding on a scale that appears unavailable at this time.
For practical reasons, my research is now focusing on western memorial culture. I have
published case studies on the memorial and funeral cultures of two medieval elite
networks in the Low Countries: the network around St. Liudger (d. 815) and the sponsoring
network of the earliest Norbertine foundations in the Netherlands. In terms of material
culture, the use of monolithic sarcophagi in the latter has my special attention. How was
the distribution of these mostly anonymous objects related to the memorial culture of the
Ottonian-Salian era? Were they an expression of the renovatio imperii-ideology of
the Ottonians and Salians? And why did the use of sarcophagi become obsolete shortly after
the Salians died out? I intend to write an article, or a monograph, on the political,
ideological and economic correlates of this 'Salian sarcophagi culture'.
The formulation of my third question suggests that the end of Salian rule may indeed have
been one of a series of revolutions, or, to use a rather local metaphor: watersheds, in
the memorial culture of Dutch elites. The iconoclastic fury of 1566, followed by the
secularization of monasteries and most memorial foundations in the Northern Netherlands
between 1580 and 1600, is the best known among these watersheds. Yet the French-inspired
'Batavian Revolution' of 1795 also profoundly changed perceptions and practices of elite
funeral and memorial cultures. As I have noticed in a recent essay on the funeral culture
of nineteenth- and twentieth-century elites in Friesland, the nineteenth century inspired
a national funeral culture, while the twentieth century, especially in that province,
produced regional variants of elite burial and memorial practices.
Among my current projects is a diachronic study of the memorial culture in one particular
Dutch area: Het Bildt in Friesland. Since its reclamation in 1505 by a network of
investors from the western Netherlands, this polder has been a linguistic enclave in the
predominantly Frisian-speaking countryside. A local elite network can be identified from
the 1550s on. Until 1600, they were still largely oriented on the western provinces
('Holland' proper). Protestantism and 'Batavian' Patriotism, the driving forces behind
the revolutions of 1566 and 1795 respectively, both had early and substantial followings
among these local 'gents'. The several transformations of their memorial culture, and
their collective memory in general, have been the subject of a series of essays in
historical and genealogical publications under the title: Van Steven tot Rembrandt:
beelden en zelfbeelden van Het Bildt 1505-2006 (a Steven has been labeled the 'common
ancestor' of the early western immigrants).
Memorial culture is obviously a manifestation of collective memory and hence closely
related to what historical anthropologists have studied as 'mentalities' and/or 'social
identities'. The clan-like self-perception of the nineteenth-century elite in Het Bildt
is a good point in case. Yet in our research of Medieval memorial cultures, social
identities can only be (re)construed to the degree in which their bearers can be
identified. It follows that genealogy, or rather: prosopography, and also heraldry are
useful adjuvants to students of these memorial cultures. Although my recent research on
heraldic culture has focused somewhat on eighteenth-century elites, I am rather more
interested in what I would call the Corpus Buchelii: the data on the material
culture of Medieval memoriae in the western Netherlands collected by Arnoldus Buchelius
around 1600. My training as a herald and my genealogical and prosopographical experience
will hopefully contribute to its systematic study.
For a list of Kees Kuiken's publications see:
Pilgrims insignia, a new Website
Recently a new website, www.kunera.nl, was launched
which may be very useful for memoria research, especially for the research of memorials
(Memorialbilder) and for grave stones and sepulchral monuments. The website contains an
extensive database with pilgrims insignia. The website is a project of Jos Koldeweij
(University of Nijmegen) and his collaborators, who have been successfully working on
pilgrims insignia over the past decades. A link will be included in the website Memoria
in Beeld / Representations of Memoria.
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This page was last updated on: October 7th, 2010
December 16th, 2016:
The seventeenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
March 11th, 2016:
The sixteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
May 23rd, 2015:
The fifteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
November 24th, 2014:
The fourteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
March 25th, 2014:
The thirteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
September 19th, 2013:
The twelfth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
January 14th, 2013:
The eleventh issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
September 12th, 2012:
The tenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available. This is a double issue so be sure to check out
both Part One and Part
March 6th, 2012:
The ninth issue of Medieval Memoria
Research is now available! In this issue you will find many new book
announcements and information on projects dedicated to digitising memorial registers.