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Although the Armenians began their collection of canon-law in the fifth century, no counterpart for secular law existed. Legal disputes were settled at the courts of the great noble families. By the twelfth century most of these noble families had emigrated and the need for a code became critical. In the absence of royal patronage two solutions were considered: the translation of foreign codes, and the creation of an original code from traditional Armenian sources. The origin and later fates of these two solutions form the basis of this lecture by CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Robert W. Thomson, Calouste Gulbenkian Professor Emeritus of Armenian Studies at the University of Oxford.
This master class focuses on the conception and design of the exhibition Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections which is now on exhibit at the Getty Villa. DIscussants inlude: Anastasia Drandaki (Benaki Museum, Athens), Maria Vlazaki (Greek Ministry of Culture), Mary Louise Hart (Getty Villa), Susan Ahrensberg (National Gallery of Art), Robin Cormack (Emeritus, Courtauld Institute, London), Jenny Albani (Greek Ministry of Culture).
CMRS hosts the joint 2014 meeting of MAA and MAP at UCLA. The meeting’s theme is “Empires and Encounters.” The program includes about 160 papers on all aspects of medieval studies, including art, archaeology, history, language, literature, law, music, religion, philosophy, and science. Plenary speakers will be Professor Susan Boynton (Music, Columbia University) and MAA President Professor Richard W. Unger (History, University of British Columbia). Other meeting-related events include a manuscript exhibition in the Department of Special Collections in UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library, and a Byzantine art exhibit at the Getty Villa. More information at http://cmrs.ucla.edu/medieval_academy/index.html.
A talk for the CMRS Roundtable by Dr. Guendalina Ajello Mahler. Long admired by grand-tour travelers and romantic poets, the castle of Bracciano recently had a renewed flash of celebrity as the site of the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. But in 1615, when Paolo Giordano II Orsini inherited the castle and its dukedom at the age of 24, the town of Bracciano was little more than a collection of houses without so much as a proper town square to call its own. A seventeenth-century plan in Special Collections at UCLA reveals the radical remedy devised for the town by the young Duke Orsini and his trusted architect, Orazio Torriani. It involved creating a new monumental town center outside the city walls, complete with a town hall, palaces, a vast monastery and housing, all arranged around a main square. For the Roman nobility this kind of vast urbanistic project was almost unthinkable in the dense urban fabric of Rome, but country properties allowed for much greater creative freedom—at least in theory. This paper traces the lifelong efforts made by the passionate and eccentric Duke Orsini to see his project through, in the face of local resistance, structural disasters, and near financial collapse.
This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the unique textual culture of the Moriscos of early modern Iberia. These texts, written in Spanish using the Arabic alphabet—comprising a corpus generally called “Aljamiado”, offer an intimate glimpse into a minority culture seeking to survive under extraordinary pressures after 800 years of Islamic presence in Iberia. This corpus of Morisco texts is easily available to those who already read Spanish— once they have learned the letters of the Arabic alphabet and some of the ways in which it was adapted to the writing of the Romance language. The workshop will offer an introduction to the corpus of Aljamiado manuscripts and practical work in learning the Arabic alphabet and its use in writing Spanish texts. At the close of the workshop participants will be able to read a few lines of an important Aljamiado manuscript and will have the appropriate tools to continue to develop their knowledge of this relatively unexplored aspect of early modern Iberian culture.
Professor María Teresa Narváez Córdova (University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras) is a specialist in Aljamiado and Spanish Golden Ages literatures and has published the only edition of El Tatado [Tafsira] del Mancebo de Arévalo . This workshop, *conducted in Spanish*, is being offered in conjunction with Prof. John Dagenais’s Spanish 223 seminar on late-medieval Iberian prose fiction. It is open to UCLA students, faculty and staff. All those interested in learning the rudiments of the Arabic alphabet and Aljamiado texts are encouraged to attend.
Sponsored by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Center for 17th and 18th Centuries Studies, XI Graduate Student Conferences and Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
The ritual of placing the first stone, at the very start of the construction of a church, appears relatively late in the history of Latin Christendom. What was the purpose of this type of ceremony? In particular, how shall we understand the presence of the king and the ritualized meeting between the sovereign and the clergy in such a public event? Finally, what do we learn about the community of the faithful (the Church) from these rituals concerning the foundations of the building (the church)? In this lecture, CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Dominique Iogna-Prat (Director of Studies, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) considers these and other questions.
Peter Brown (Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, Princeton University) is credited with having created the field of study referred to as late antiquity (250-800 A.D.), the period during which Rome fell, the three major monotheistic religions took shape, and Christianity spread across Europe.
Professor Brown has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (1982), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989), and the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2001). In 2008, he won the Kluge Prize of the Library of Congress. His most recent book, Through the Eye of a Needle (2013), examines the rise of the church through the lens of money and the challenges it posed to an institution that espoused the virtue of poverty. It shows how the use of wealth for the care of the poor competed with older forms of philanthropy deeply rooted in the Roman world, and sheds light on the ordinary people who gave away their money in hopes of treasure in heaven.
Co-sponsored by California Consortium for the Study of Late Antiquity, UCLA Department of History, UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Peter H. Reill Term Chair in European History, USC Dornsife Center for Religion and Civic Culture, and University Religious Conference at UCLA.
In this illustrated lecture, Dr. Sylvie Merian (Reader Services Librarian, Morgan Library and Museum) will explore an unusual type of metal decoration found on a number of Armenian manuscript bindings. These bindings were embellished with odd objects haphazardly attached onto the covers, and sometimes even onto the spine and flap. The items may include coins, crosses, crucifixes, seal stones from personal signet rings, metal belts, jewelry, and small metal repoussé objects shaped like hands, eyes, crescent moons, or human faces. Some of these objects were clearly donated by the faithful as memorials to themselves and their families to express their Christian piety. Others surely functioned as ex-votos. However, this does not fully explain their entire purpose. In view of the ubiquitous belief in evil forces, the evil eye, and malevolent spirits in the Near East, Dr. Merian will discuss the use of these objects as apotropaic devices to avert evil, thereby protecting not only the donor but also the religious manuscript itself.