Medieval Topics: Scholasticism, Architecture, Chivalry Lecture
Lisa M. Lane 2010
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[ Inaudible ]

>>Well I was trying to figure out, you know, this projector is kind of dicey on showing color. But I said that's the rose window from [inaudible] cathedral. Yeah, so people who are [inaudible] because this is what we're going to be looking at stained glass, you know, one of the things we want to remember about the high middle ages is the literacy rate is quite low and so stories, to get people to understand the stories of the lives of saints and stories of Jesus, you really want a lot of visuals. It's an age of visual learning and visual teaching and stained glass and statuary and all those fancy stuff that they put in was not just for decoration. It's illustration. So the windows were extremely complex and would contain people and saints that folks should learn about so that they would recognize that there were in that kind of religious environment. So some people were learning for the illiterates basically when you look at stained glass and statuary and other visual features, paintings, [inaudible] from the churches. Okay, three topics, I'm just going to talk about three topics because I felt that your textbook and the documents gave you information, they gave you data if you like but didn't put it within any sort of framework. Even the last section of the chapter that dealt with architecture didn't put in the, any kind of context. It's just like well here's the architecture and here's some more architecture. This disturbed me so three areas I thought where a little context was needed. The first one has to do with the first two documents and the issues discussed in your textbooks about scholasticism and that's a word I chose to put on the slides. Abelard was trying to do it and got punished for it. The crime is, this is my interpretation now, is the exact same thing [inaudible]. And so that's why I put it at the top of the slide. What a difference a century does. You do something in the 12th century and it's terrible and your books are burned. You do the exact same thing in the 13th century and you become Saint Thomas Aquinas.

>>[ Inaudible question ]

>>Yeah, I picked the wrong quote. They both use the same structure and the same method but you're right that Abelard says right up front, what are you doing? And Aquinas just does it.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>No not so much editing is that I had trouble finding the actual [inaudible] not in translation to where I could pull a specific argument out of Abelard that would line up exactly with the Aquinas. So you have to kind of trust me. What both of them are doing is setting up doubting arguments, both of them. I mean you could see it in Aquinas that you have. But Abelard was very straight forward in saying what he was doing. He's kind of got the transparency going where Aquinas really doesn't. He just sets it out. Even that approach says something. Abelard, his personality, he wanted to say, hey look, look what I'm doing. This is something different, this is something we only do. Aquinas just did it.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Oh yeah.

>>[ Inaudible]

>>No, it's because he was with Heloise.

>>Heloise?

>>Yeah, the affair he had with Heloise was very, very complicated. You can actually buy a book of their letters back and forth. I gave you one tiny piece of that. It was life long conversation between the two of them. And her uncle was upset. He's the one who led the gang that castrated Peter Abelard. So no, it's tangentially related to his point of view because I think if he hadn't been seen as so much of a radical, the disapproval might not have been so intense. But the uncle just hated his guts. So some of it's just personal. What he's trying to do is he's trying to say that human reason is important and that you can take documents that are documents of faith and subject them to analysis, intellectual analysis. So you can take the writings of the church fathers like Ambrose or Jerome or Saint Augustine is the one that you have read and you can look at them as documents that express the truth but you can also use your mind, your human reason to analyze those documents. And that in doing that you can deal with some of the apparent contradictions. So if you actually get into studying any sort of Christian theology you will quickly stumble onto the fact that the gospels tell stories somewhat different from each other about the same thing. And that the church fathers, when they write about things, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine, Saint Ambrose, that sometimes the points of view are in conflict. They contradict each other. And what Abelard was encouraging is what we would call critical thinking. You sit down with a document, you take a look at them, you try to understand where they're coming from, you analyze and dissect them and then you compare and contrast them with each other and see what you come up with. His conclusion was that they're all true somehow. In other words, he's not trying to take doubt and extend it to things like doubting that God exists, doubting that Jesus is the son of God. He's not doing that. They acted like he was doing that but that wasn't what he was doing. Yes?

>>I have two questions.

>>Yes.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>You mean Saint [inaudible]?

>>Yeah.

>>[ Inaudible] She's a mystic. So she would come down more on the side of [inaudible] as being separate. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux also were people who said that you can't do what Abelard's doing because subjecting objects of faith, which includes all these texts, to read them is wrong. That human reason is too limited and that it's human faith that's what's important in these documents. You shouldn't even be reading them critically, that's not their purpose. So she'd be on that side of the equation as a mystic. What was your other question?

>>About the [inaudible] -

>>Yes.

>>Is that [inaudible]?

>>The easiest way to remember it is this. Remember it like an equation [inaudible]. Scholasticism, what Abelard's trying to do is putting together faith and reason saying they are sides of the same coin and you need one to get the other, okay? They're together. Nobody's trying to separate them and become, you know, scientifically minded without God or anything like that. What they're trying to do is say that the two go together and those two are objecting to that like Saint Bernard of Clairvaux are saying that they do not belong together and that they are separate from and have nothing to do with each other. You have no business using reason to analyze anything that happened [inaudible]. You should not be doing that.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Oh yeah.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah and arrogance is not just arrogance in front of other people, being a show-off, you know, it's conceived before God, the very idea of your human key brain to understand the Lord and just the scripts. Yeah, so that's the arrogance in a major, spiritual [inaudible].

>>Yeah, so [inaudible] he, he didn't encourage doubt [inaudible].

>>That was a process, that's part of a learning process.

>>[ Inaudible ], okay.

>>It's like what we would call it, you know, scientific inquiry, you know, but, but again he's saying you have to start with doubt, if you start with looking at a document and you say, oh this is true, how are you going to critically analyze that? Critical analysis starts with, well wait a minute, let's take a look at this. That's doubt and it's just, he was upfront about it and said that's where you start. Then he had this whole process and he taught at the university so he's having his students engage in this scholastic process of, he got into major trouble for this. It's almost, I see him kind of in a category with Socrates, right? He's trying to do something that leads to a universal truth but the methods that he's using is so questionable. In the culture which he lived in, it gets him into trouble. Socrates didn't [inaudible] but again Abelard got what was tangentially related to the problem [inaudible] were hated by an awful lot of people. Now again, Aquinas comes along in the 13th century and sets up these [inaudible] of proving God exists for example and starts with the idea that let's start with the idea that God doesn't exist. So that, that's the same format that Abelard was using. Start with doubt and then work your way back to the truth using logic and reason. Aquinas says the same thing and he [inaudible] Saint Thomas Aquinas and is revered by the church for doing this. Scholasticism, by the time you get to 1270, it's totally accepted as a [inaudible] and they love it. Now, the question historically then because we be on [inaudible] the question is, what happen in [inaudible] that ship and that's where I thought the textbook let you down. Because it separated out in the last unit that whole step about the towns growing, you remember that, that was like last week and, and, separated it from this issue. And it's not separate. It may well be a major cause of why Abelard was not cool and Aquinas was cool. Because when it happened in between was that towns had grown and trade had grown and international trade had grown and a whole bunch of heretical ideas were coming in and especially from the East. And there were concepts that were not Orthodox concepts that were being accepted by groups of people. You read about these groups of heretics, right? How is the church going to counter that among intelligent people, literate people who are heading over to these heresies because they know longer find the Orthodoxy of the Roman Church to be satisfactory. And they're looking at all these new religions and new ideas coming in from the East. They have to be talked back into Orthodox, you see what I mean? You know, [inaudible] of these people you can't just say well let's [inaudible] a miracle, let's have an act of faith and everybody's just going to go along, they have to be talked back into Orthodoxy. They have to be convinced. In other words, you have to use reason, this alone doesn't work. If you're trying to pull people back from heresy who are educated professional towns people, you need help. And the church got anywhere they could. Eventually you have these new orders that are [inaudible] like the Franciscans, the Franciscans are designed, they're ordered speciall, the order specifically designed to go around to these towns. They're not rural people, their townspeople and convince townspeople that the Orthodoxy of the church is the way to go. But then unlike Aquinas, by then, by the 13th century they needed him desperately. They need somebody who can set this up and logically convince people in the church of the Orthodox [inaudible]. So it wasn't okay for Abelard but Aquinas is made a Saint. And the reason for that is historical, not theological. Because times have changed, the problem is different now. Yes.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah, they were switched in time, Abelard would have been the Saint, Peter Abelard and yeah. That's my, I don't like to play what if history, you know, without fear but, yeah.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Exactly, based on, my feeling is based on what I've read about what they did and how they suffered for what they did, it's pretty clear that the church didn't realize it was going to be this and it's really [inaudible]. The conditions weren't there yet and so saw him as a heretic. Yeah.

>>Couldn't Canon law [inaudible].

>>Canon, Canon law is the churches law based on those documents that are being analyzed here.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yes because that's where heresy is a crime. Heresy is not a crime in civil law. The King doesn't say heresy's a crime, right? So it's Canon law, church law that makes heresy a crime. So that means that if you are arrested for heresy or rounded up, your groups rounded up for heresy you'll be tried in church court not in a civil court.

>>According to the law?

>>Yes, but it's against, we wouldn't say it was against the law but at that time it's against church law. And church law was setting itself up to be kind of moral law but. Yes, so this does relate to Canon law. Okay, anything else on the [inaudible] what scholasticism is, what the difference is between these two guys? And that's my set up, my [inaudible]. I like the [inaudible]

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>[ Inaudible ]?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Just get back today? Okay, second one is architecture. Oh, these pictures are not quite as lovely as I was hoping there even with the, all right, we've got to pick a pair of romanesque [inaudible] gothic and again, same problem in your textbook [inaudible]. You know, you'd think it would be in your history books. All right, so what are the [inaudible]? It's the one you have a picture of in your textbooks. Both of these are from the same church as from textbooks, they're comparing the same things. The one on the left is Romanesque architecture, the one on the right is gothic architecture. The one on the left started building in the 11th century then into the 12th but over here the 12th and 13th. This is Abelard's period, this is Aquinas's period. This is the shift we see in what they call the [inaudible] which is what they say instead of saying the middle, middle ages because that would be weird. So Saint [inaudible] in [inaudible] is a Romanesque church. The arches are rounded. It's not that it's not fancy, this is fancy. It's not that it's not big, it's big but it's dark and partly because of the rounded arches and partly because the rounded arches made it so that they couldn't build very tall. It's got very thick walls and the atmosphere inside even though it's big, is kind of oppressive and closed. If you're praying in a church like this the tendency is to kind of move your body downward, inward. Gothic architecture with its pointed arches, taller spires and the ability to balance the weight of the roof better onto the walls and the arch helps do that means that there's a lot more light. I like this picture, the modern picture because we see the windows and the light coming in. Gothic churches are lighter, taller and they tend to send the feeling upward rather than downward. So that's the shift that's occurring here. It's not that they get fancier, although they do get fancier, it's not just that they get bigger, although they do get bigger, but the foundation of that shift is an architectural advancement, an engineering advancement if you like. That arch and [inaudible] does a good job of showing you the different arches but the basic idea is where the weight of the walls and the roof met. In a roman arch the weight tends to come down on the top which is why you can't build them too tall. Whereas in a gothic arch there's a point the weight is better distributed on the side then you can build up taller. So that is an engineering shift. But there's also, I think you can see that that engineering shift turns this into this, there has to be something else happening with how people want their churches to be right? What people think going to church means is also shifting, it's not just an engineering architectural shift, it's a shift in how people think about their relationship with God. How could we articulate what that shift is going from here to here? What has changed that?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah, I -

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>I hadn't thought of it that way. That works. From individuals, you're there with God. It's just you and God, right?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>To community, this is the medieval thing, community, this is what that Saint Croix document was about, trying to get the blind guy back into the community. So you've got a shift from histoic [phonetic spelling] or roman habits of connecting individual souls with God which I would say is clearly representative of the roman empire [inaudible] to being part of the community of open, worshiping with everybody and God is up here, all around here, the light's coming in the windows. It's a whole different way of thinking about worship and thinking about religion. Yeah?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Very dark.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah.

>>And then you have light.

>>Yeah, the light, it seems celebrated as if its enlightenment, yes exactly. Yeah I would agree with that too. So there is a shift here that your book did well telling you what that shift was but not really explaining why or was its impact might be or maybe how this means there's a cultural shift. Not just an art shift. Art shift represents something that's happening in the culture. I think your artistic professors would tell you that too. In fact, one of best history professors I ever had was a [inaudible], he was an art history professor because they get this connection between what the art represents and what's actually going on. That's [inaudible]. Questions on this before we do the [inaudible]?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah and in certain [inaudible] it's been said, you've got the cathedral bells of both in a different way. If you look at the [inaudible] I'm sorry, I'm [inaudible]. If you look at the money, the money for these tends to come from the church itself. Whereas the money for a cathedral they're too expensive for the church to build. The whole community has to fund it, it has, so that means that only the very wealthiest towns can do this. You've got to have a city with a structure and an organization and everybody getting together to even do this. And so the idea that we are so proud, we are building a structure that reaches God is part of this.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Oh who can build the biggest, who can build the most beautiful, who can build the best. I feel really sorry for the town of Bouve [phonetic spelling] because they built one and it sunk. They built it, this big cathedral and it was on marshy ground and the whole thing sunk. And they built another one on top figuring okay, well now we've got a stable base right? And it sunk. And the one that's currently there, in the town of Bouve is the third one that they built on that site. But it's a competition and --

>>It fell apart didn't it?

>>Yeah it did. It was crumbling.

>>Wasn't it the tallest one of the [inaudible]?

>>It had the tallest tower, yeah, and it's crumbling and the poor town. But the idea was the [inaudible] and competition for each other. This was tied into the trade, the international trade, the wealth of the merchants, the merchants ran the town, the town built the cathedral and the idea is, you know, we are so important, we're reaching God here. And yeah that is part of it, there's no question.

[ Pause ] All right, the last area where I thought they kind of cheated us out of stuff, there was a little bit in the last chapter, a little bit in this chapter but this is whole cultural thing. And because it relates to the Aristocrats, because it relates to the Royals people and the noble families, I understand your textbook has sort of a democratic effect to it and doesn't like to spend a lot of time talking about what the rich are doing. But in this case they were creating a really interesting shift that will eventually trickle down to a lot of social habits and manners and things like that. And that's chivalry and courtly manners, you have a document this week on courtly love from the book of courtly love talking about what the ideal man should be like. What should he be able to do? Do you remember from reading the list? Shall we take it [inaudible] here?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Loyal, loyalty was really important. We've seen loyalty before, that's certainly not at all new. But if we take a look at page 64, all the things, the whole list about love and what a man does when he's in love. What is that, have we read anything about love before this unit?

>>No.

>>No.

>>This is like the invention of love. We have seen it a little bit in like juvenile, we know it's there [inaudible] I guess that's love, right?

>>Yeah.

>>But we're not seeing it articulated as [inaudible] it means to be in love [inaudible]. And the rules there, a lot of these rules are for men, right? It, what a true lover does.

[ Inaudible ] whole culture here.

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah women invented the polka.

>>Oh.

>>In a lot of ways what happens is that women attain a status among the elite where they become the patrons of the arts. And so the troubadours who are writing the songs and guys who are writing the books of manners have to cater to the culture that they've created because they're paying the bills at this point. So you have people, you've Eleanor of Aquitaine up there. I just like, I used her [inaudible] because I loved that she [inaudible] reading a book. This is what they put, they put likenesses of people on their tombs over their bodies. So this is her and Henry the II, Henry II was the one who created English common law. And she's reading, they say she's reading a bible but I'm not sure it says [inaudible] on it. She was the number one patron of the arts and I blame her court at Aquitaine for inventing the whole chivalric thing, the whole idea. She was funding artists and storytellers to create songs and stories about Lords and ladies and nightly behavior and courtly love and it became so trendy that if anybody had a court anywhere in the Europe, they had to do the same thing. It was a great time to be a musician. Because the musicians were traveling from court to court, eating really good food and getting paid for singing these songs of love and telling stories of Arthur and Guinevere and Lancelot and having good, everybody was so beautiful [inaudible]. It's part of a larger culture that also includes what these knights have to do in the real world. If you lived in the 11th century and you're a knight, what do you probably really want to go do? Eleventh century, 12th century?

>>Game honor.

>>Game honor and how do you --

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah and who you going to go slay in the 11th and 12th century if you get the chance?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah not internally, nobody in Europe. You want to go on crusade. Yeah, you want to go on a crusade. That's the way you're going to gain face and honor and have a chance to use your skills. Well by the time you get to the 13th century the crusades have been mostly discredited, they turned into a disaster. It's, all the land over there has been grabbed anyway, you can't become a Lord over there anymore. So the violence becomes a problem at home because you essentially have an armed elite who are trained in fighting who have nowhere to go fight. And they start fighting each other. And everybody gets upset about that including the church. And that's how tournaments came about giving an opportunity to kill each other in a way that's safe for everybody else.

[ Inaudible ] of the knight who have chosen the churchly way. He's decided to go to church and go to mass instead of attending a tournament. So there's obviously a choice to made between the two whether if you're going to be the life of a warrior or you're going to have a real Christian life. Chivalry's an attempt to bring those two together and show that just as fighting for Christianity you can fight for honor and you can fight for your lady. It's almost like replacing one motivation with another. So now you can retain your honor at the tournament by being a good fighter and fighting in the name of your lady. And the nice thing about it was, your lady didn't have to actually be your lady. She could be the Queen, she could be a Princess, she could be somebody you admired and that was totally okay. Because the idea was that the women in this were just motivators, they were untouchable, they were up on a pedestal to be admired and be lovely and inspire men to brave heat. They weren't to have the sort of initiative Eleanor had, they were supposed to be lovely. Now that's actually a really big shift. Because if you look at the way women were though of in the early middle ages, they were thought of as more like Eve from the bible, the church had portrayed a vision of women for a really long time as the temptress, as a representative of the dark side, the woman who persuaded Adam to take a bite of the apple and the question of what was happening in the Garden of Eden. So they had been seen by the church for several centuries by this point as being basic embodiment of earthly things, not spiritual things and therefore dragging men away from a higher purpose. And yet here, the women are --

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yes different, they are motivation for doing something honorable instead. And what we think is happening here, if we think of shift again, here's another shift. It's happening because images and stories of women [inaudible] and particularly stories about the Virgin Mary are coming in on the same trade routes with the heresies and the trade with and the money and the ideas from the East. Particularly [inaudible] and the icon of that showed the Virgin Mary holding the baby, these things start to come into culture increasingly. People started trading them, buying them, selling them and adopting the attitude that they represent which some people have called Mariolatry, turning Mary, the Virgin Mary, Jesus' mother into an object of adoration and even into an idol. Which is how they saw the Byzantine Church doing. I [inaudible] coming into the West. They think that, historians think there's a connection between these ladies that are being fought for in tournaments and the new respect given to the Virgin Mary in a religious sense. I'm not sure that's true but there's an awful lot of evidence that shows these are happening at the same time. The correlation is not always causation right? We're not exactly sure how much they're connected. Could be the attitude toward women was already changing and therefore, Mary appeared to be more idolized. I'm not sure but somehow the two are connected. The question that some of the historians love to play with here, is was that a good change or not? What do you think? Does the change as seeing women as Eve to seeing women as Mary a good change for women?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>But, yeah is it a good change for women?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah why not?

>>[ Inaudible ]

>>Yeah, you're objecting changing from objectifying women in one way. So that's fine in [inaudible] way. So it comes under some criticism of saying on one hand, its certainly better not to be seen as evil and [inaudible], I mean I don't [inaudible] then that. On the other hand, you know, the old joke about putting women up on a pedestal far enough so you could see up their dress also comes into play here. I mean it's just the idea that you put them up there and idolize them as objects of, you know, fill in the blank. Object of purity or object of desire, it's still an object. There's no agency on the part of the female in [inaudible] either at [inaudible] or as marriage. So, you know, there is a shift here. Is it better life for women in general? No. This is a shift that's taking place intellectually at the upper levels of society among wealthier people. It's leaking down to a worship of the Virgin Mary at the ordinary level. How much that might have been proved, how much people saw the woman next door, we don't have enough evidence to be able to really say. So what we do have is an awful lot of literature showing these lovely ladies and these glorious knights and what happens when things go wrong like with Guinevere and Lancelot and love being a motivation for the first time. Love that has not connected the dots but is just human love.

[ Inaudible ] are pretty new in their day. And we do have, you know, the Saint George, the idea of the knight who was slaying, I like Saint George because he kind of connects to [inaudible] right? You've got this hero who is slaying a monster who represents evil. That story comes back again as if it was ever really gone in the guise of a knight now fighting for, I don't know if you can see the lady, she's standing under a tree, as he slays the dragon for her. If you take her out of the picture we've got Beowulf and Glenda all over again. But now she's there and now that's new. So these are the things I wanted to create a context for because I really thought the book wasn't doing that and I don't know if that helps you understand the fact any better but I really felt the book was just sort of going along and limping what's happened [inaudible]. Questions on the chivalric idea or anything I've been going on about for too long. Yes.

>>When it's in the book and it [inaudible] for the interaction between knights?

>>Um-hum.

>>Not true then?

>>No, that is true. It starts because of the likeness of the knight to knight is designed to decrease the violence, right? If you set up a code of courtesy where you say, I'm a really strong guy, I would respect you for being a really strong guy to get these really strong guys together and let's go settle it at the tournament, you know. Take it outside instead of fighting internal. What's happening is you've got these Lords with their knights and everybody's armed and they're sitting on their manner and there's nothing to do and it's like well let's go attack the guy next door and see if we can get his manner. You know, and that was creating a lot of violence. So it is not untrue to say that chivalry began with the code of let's be polite and respect each other better. And take it outside.

>>Okay.

>>So that's part of [inaudible]. Good, other questions on the --