To Mainz and Augsburg: FLAG Workshop II meets in Germany

Mainz: The Old Cathedral (foreground) and St Martin’s Cathedral

Late medieval urban government was under discussion through the main project themes of ‘order’, ‘budget’ and ‘unity’.

On 6 and 7 October FLAG hosted its second international workshop, a gathering in person at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. The main purpose of the workshop was for the project team to share working drafts of publications, and to hear insights and input from a panel of commentators and round-table participants. Following the event a group of FLAG team members visited Augsburg – long overdue as we had originally hoped a team meeting there would have been a first gathering back in 2020!

Workshop underway in Mainz

The papers presented in advance for discussion addressed FLAG’s examination of urbanitas as a focus for comparison between Augsburg and Aberdeen, and explored the digital methods we are using. The discussions around the papers highlighted the importance of bringing Scottish and German historiography into new dialogue, which is also one of the goals of FLAG.

On the morning of the 6th we were treated to a guided tour by excavation director Dr. Guido Faccani of Mainz’s ‘Old Cathedral’ (today’s Lutheran Johanniskirche). This is the only cathedral building originating in the early middle ages in Germany, and it is the predecessor building of the Romanesque cathedral of St Martin.

Dr. Faccani leads the tour

On 6 October the programme included the following sessions:

Welcome and introduction – Professor Jörg Rogge and Dr. Jackson Armstrong

Dr. Regina Schäfer: On administrative structures and terminology in Augsburg (1368 to 1466). Commentators: Dr. Mathias Kluge, Augsburg; Dr. Dominique Adrian, Nancy.

Dr. William Hepburn: Compt, rekning and payment: The Economic Ideal of Urban Government in Late Medieval Aberdeen. Commentators: Dr. Eliza Hartrich, University of East Anglia; Professor Graeme Small, Durham.

Dr. Wim Peters & Dr. William Hepburn: Evaluation of digitised sources – digital hermeneutics. Commentators: Professor Jessica Nowak, Leipzig/Mainz; Dr. Benjamin Hitz, Basel.

Above: Images of Augsburg Cathedral (L), effigy of Abbot Heinrich Friess (d.1482), in the Basilica of SS. Ulrich and Afra (C), and the Perlachturm (R)

On 7 October the programme included the following sessions:

Professor Jörg Rogge & Dr. Jackson Armstrong: Urbanitas – Augsburg and Aberdeen in Comparison. Commentators: Prof. Gabriel Zeilinger, Erlangen-Nürnberg; Dr. Alan MacDonald, Dundee.

Roundtable: Professor Michael Brown, St. Andrews; Professor Edda Frankot, Universität Nord; Professor Jelle Haemers, Leuven; Professor Steffen Krieb, Akademie der Wissenschaften in Mainz.

On 8 and 9 October members of the FLAG team visited Augsburg, and included a visit to the Maximilian Museum which holds the fifteenth-century archive chest, and early modern wooden models of the medieval town house.

Jörg Rogge, Regina Schäfer, and William Hepburn with the archive chest of 1470 from the Augsburg town house, in the Maximilian Museum.

Above: detailed images of the model of the medieval town house of Augsburg, in the Maximilian Museum.

Festivals, Museums, Galleries – Events This Month

September sees a number of events linked to the Burgh Records Project & the Strange Sickness game.

On Saturday 17th September, 15:45-16:15, at the Sir Duncan Rice Library, William & Jackson will contribute to the Uni-Versal History & Heritage Festival with a short talk on Strange Sickness. More details may be found here www.abdn.ac.uk/events/17704/

On Wednesday 21st September, 12:30-13:15, at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, William & Jackson will present a Lunchtime talk on the making of Strange Sickness. More details may be found here: www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/AAGM talk

And on Friday 30th September, 19:00-22:00, at the Aberdeen Art Gallery, as part of Gallery Late: Medieval Mayhem, William & Jackson will have a showcase of Strange Sickness and be on hand to chat about the game and answer questions! More details at this link: www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/AAGM medieval

Rumour has it they may have medieval-themed costumes in the works for some of these sessions…

Come along and learn about exploring history through games!

The Grays of Aberdeen and composer Robert Carver’s family relations

Musician and researcher D. James Ross has published a short paper about his investigations into the nebulous but fascinating Gray family in Aberdeen in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.

A member of the family was Robert Kervour (Carver), Scotland’s most outstanding Renaissance composer. He is also the man who, as heir to the chaplain Andrew Gray who died in 1504, was to be given possession of Gray’s still for aquavite and rosewater (see the blog post and news item from 2019).

The new paper, entitled “Shifting Shades of Gray: A Musical Dynasty in Mediaeval Aberdeen”, appears on the Early Music Review website. It makes use of the Aberdeen Registers Online.

D. James Ross is the author of a number of works including Musick Fyne: Robert Carver and the Art of Music in Renaissance Scotland (1993).

FLAG Workshop-Bericht auf der Plattform H-Soz-Kult veröffentlicht / FLAG Workshop report out on H-Soz-Kult platform

Neue Perspektiven für die städtische Verwaltung in Städten des 15. Jahrhunderts / New perspectives on civic administration in 15th-century towns

A report of our international workshop held on 5 and 6 November 2021 has been published on H-Soz-Kult (a moderated history-information platform based in Berlin). This report was prepared by Regina Schäfer and William Hepburn. The citation and link follows below:

Tagungsbericht: New perspectives on civic administration in 15th-century towns, 05.11.2021 – 06.11.2021 Aberdeen und digital, in: H-Soz-Kult, 8.01.2022, <www.hsozkult.de/conferencereport/id/tagungsberichte-9242>.

Just published: New book by Edda Frankot explores urban banishment and exile

Frankot’s study examines the topic with a focus on the records of the Dutch town of Kampen in the later middle ages

Edda Frankot’s open access book, Banishment in the Late Medieval Eastern Netherlands: Exile and Redemption in Kampen, has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan!

The book examines the practice of banishment for what it reveals about morally acceptable behaviour in late medieval urban society. Punishment was used by authorities in Kampen to address sexual offences, but also for other matters, including the non-payment of fines. The book considers the legal context of the practice, and banishment as a punitive and coercive measure. It also discusses the redemption of exiles, either because their punishment was completed, or because they arranged for the payment of outstanding fines.

Edda said: “The study is something that evolved over a long period of time, while I was engaged on other projects, so much of the book I worked on in my spare time. I think it provides a multi-layered insight into late medieval urban society and legal culture, utilising not only a wide range of written sources, but also contemporary drawings from fifteenth-century Kampen.”

Congratulations Edda! LACR alumna Edda Frankot is an Associate Professor at Nord University, Norway.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-88867-1; Hb ISBN: 978-3-030-88866-4; ebook ISBN: 978-3-030-88867-1

New perspectives on 15th-century towns: FLAG Workshop I meets in Aberdeen

‘Order’, ‘budget’ and ‘unity’ were among the themes explored in the first FLAG workshop on the topic of New perspectives on civic administration in fifteenth-century towns.

In-person workshop participants meet together and online

On 5 and 6 November FLAG hosted its first international workshop, a ‘hybrid’ in-person and online gathering in Aberdeen. This brought the project team together, alongside participants invited to share perspectives from their own work.

Some early arrivals in Scotland visit Dunottar Castle

The FLAG team presented the project’s challenge to identify shared aspects of ‘urbanitas’ in towns as different as Augsburg and Aberdeen. The themes of ‘order’, ‘budget’ and ‘unity’, and the digital tools and methods deployed in FLAG, were explored in the first two papers given by the project researchers.

The invitees then presented work-in-progress papers on their own work, covering aspects of medieval urban record keeping, and the interlinked themes of ‘order’, ‘budget’ and ‘unity’. An important goal of FLAG is to bring Scottish and German historiography into closer dialogue, and this was evident in the rich discussions that followed each paper. We were also treated to a display of Aberdeen council register volume one, by Phil Astley (City Archivist). Our hybrid format was a success, with the kind assistance of PhD student Ebba Strutzenbladh as facilitator. All participants followed the current measures for covid-19 mitigation. The programme outline follows below.

A full report on the workshop will be made available at the FLAG project website.

The meeting also allowed for some excursions around the formal planned sessions, including to Dunottar Castle, and Huntly Castle.

The walls of Huntly Castle welcomed some of the group

On 5 November the programme included the following sessions:

Welcome and introduction – Jörg Rogge (Mainz) and Jackson Armstrong (Aberdeen)

Wim Peters (Mainz) and William Hepburn (Aberdeen), Digital hermeneutics: methodology and first results from the Aberdeen ARO corpus

Regina Schäfer (Mainz), Talking about Law and Order in Augsburg

Amy Blakeway (St Andrews), War and the burghs, 1528–1550

Julia Bruch (Köln), Accounting Practices in Monasteries, Towns and Courts. Methodological Reflections

Dunottar Castle ruins

Elizabeth Gemmill (Oxford), The language of things: descriptions of objects and consumables in the burgh court records of late medieval Aberdeen

Jessica Bruns (Halle), Knowledge between pages. Book usage as a new form of administrative practice in late medieval Soest

Eliza Hartrich (UEA, Norwich), For the Comene Wele? Languages of Unity and Division in English and Irish Municipal Records, c. 1450-1500

Phil Astley (Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives) – viewing of Aberdeen Council Register volume from City Archives

Some FLAG visitors outside Huntly Castle

On 6 November the programme included the following sessions:

Jens Klingner (ISGV, Dresden), Texts and transmission. City books and account books from late medieval Dresden

Andrew Simpson (Edinburgh), Brieves in the Burgh Records of Aberdeen, ca.1400-1500: Some Preliminary Thoughts

Christian Speer (Halle), Are town books reliable witnesses of the past? Critical considerations on the categories “note“, “transcript” and “fair copy” based on the Libri civitatis and Libri obligationum of Görlitz in the 14th and 15th century

The workshop was held in the Craig Suite at the Sir Duncan C. Rice Library, University of Aberdeen. The crisp November weather offered a sunny treat to participants, some of whom who also took up the kind offer of a visit to see the Kirk of St Nicholas.

One of the medieval effigies in the Kirk of St Nicholas

Following the end of the workshop the sun came out for a visit to King’s College Chapel, and St Machar’s Cathedral, while others went to see the Dons lose to the Steelmen, before carrying on to hear Public Service Broadcasting play at the Music Hall!

St Machar’s Cathedral under a rainbow