Saturday, April 12, 2008

In Marca Hispanica -- the series


Jonathan Jarrett is the author of a blog called A Corner of 10th-century Europe. Its appeal time for me is that it's an academic blog that is primarily about scholarship but is charming nonetheless. Not to mention well illustrated (see above). The corner of Europe the title refers to is Catalonia in northeastern Spain. The documentation for this corner, as for other areas in this time, is mostly charter evidence for the transfer of property by important people. From this kind of evidence, scholars like Jarrett try to reconstruct the society of the time.

Recently, I'm not sure when, Jarrett traveled through present-day Catalonia to consult archives and see the country. Lots of medieval buildings and street-scapes still exist there. He's been recording the trip on his blog and just recently concluded the series. I like the series well enough that I am putting links to its episodes in the order that the posts were written. The reason? If I said, "go to the blog and read these posts," few would have the patience to go backwards through the blog and find them. This is the disadvantage of the blog format. But if I list the links here maybe a few will actually read the series. If you are a scholar or a fan of scholarship, do not miss the very last episode.

Note: the first In Marca Hispanica post does not tell us when exactly this trip took place. Hey, it began life as a blog entry among other blog entries.

The series:

In Marca Hispanica I: Girona
In Marca Hispanica II: Barcelona from Romans to Gaudí
In Marca Hispanica III: cartoon nationalism
In Marca Hispanica IV: Sacalm and Tona, and nationalist sentiment 889-2008
In Marca Hispanica V: Vic (charters, cathedrals, metal bishops and stone slabs)
In Marca Hispanica VI: Plana de Gurb (but not the castle)
In Marca Hispanica VII: Besalú and its rainy gardens
In Marca Hispanica VIII: pilgrimage to see Emma
In Marca Hispanica IX: actual charter scholarship

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for going to this effort to put this stuff forward to others; I'm glad you're enjoying it too. In return the least I can do is answer your question: I was out in Catalonia between 5 & 14 March this year, and I hope to be out there again later in June to visit three castle/monastery sites on unfortunately separated hilltops. Hopefully then the weather will be a bit more conducive to attractive photographs as well.

    One thing I might add is that the joy of the evidence I'm using is that it's not always important people. It's always hard to prove that someone's not much richer than you see them in one or two charters, but a few places turn up enough density of documentation, and show the same people over and over again, often dealing in tiny fractions of estates and plots of land, or even just in goods, that you can be pretty sure you're seeing everyone and therefore reading peasants' documents. Rich peasants perhaps, if they're able to trade land at all, but still peasants. And sometimes it's even odder than that; my favourite example is a charter preserved at Vic, in which one man swears to another that he will not prosecute the latter one for stealing loads of bread and wine from him when they used to share a house. I can't explain why we still have this document, but this isn't counts and kings— this is Laurel and Hardy! That one at least has been written about somewhere people can get at, in an article by Adam Kosto in Speculum 2005. Worth a look if people find what I have to say interesting.

    Thanks again for the links, meanwhile, and also the appreciation!

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