Esther Liberman Cuenca, PhD candidate in History, recently published an article in Urban History (Cambridge University Press) titled “Town clerks and the authorship of custumals in medieval England”. Below is her abstract and a link to the article.
This article examines the expertise and duties of clerks in medieval English towns, particularly their roles in creating custumals, or collections of written customs. Customs could regulate trade, of ce-holding, prostitution and even public nuisance. Many clerks were anonymous, and their contributions to custumals understudied. The careers of relatively well-known clerks, however, do provide insights into how some clerks shaped custumals into civic repositories of customary law. By analysing their oaths and known administrative practices, which involved adapting material from older custumals, this article argues that town clerks played critical roles in transmitting customary law to future generations of administrators.
Town clerks and the authorship of custumals in medieval England
Fordham University is excited to welcome Dr. Marc Herman as the first joint Rabin-Shvidler Post-doctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at Fordham and Columbia. Dr. Herman received his PhD in 2016 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote his dissertation on rabbinic jurisprudence in the medieval Islamic world. His presence will add new dimensions to the teaching of the medieval period in Jewish history, to comparative legal studies, and the intersection of Jewish life and Islamic jurisprudence. At Fordham he teaches the courses “Ancient and Medieval Jewish History” and “Islam and Judaism: Law and Religion.”
The fellowship and awards are made possible by the Stanley A. and Barbara
B. Rabin Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund at Columbia University and the Eugene Shvidler Gift Fund at Fordham University. Continue reading
From left to right: Dr. Matt McGowan, Martin Nelson, and Bryan Whitchurch.
The History Department’s own blog contributor and MA student, Martin Nelson, spent the beginning of his summer helping the Fordham Classics Department guide a study tour that explored ancient Roman sites in Naples, Ostia, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and, of course, Rome. As part of the blog’s Postcard series, he had this to say about the experience… Continue reading
Graduate students Rebecca Bartels, Toby Hrynick, and Thomas Schellhammer and Professor Rosemary Wakeman spent 3 days in June in the French town of Domfront in Lower Normandy. The stay was organized by Mayor Bernard Soul of Domfront and Eric Fauconnier of the Pays du Bocage Region. Domfront is a picturesque medieval town that played an important role in the wars against the English and the French Wars of Religion. Domfront’s well-known chateau was used by Henry, the youngest son of William the Conqueror to rally the local lords. He eventually became Duke of Normandy and Henry I of England. Domfront’s “Medieval Fair,” held each August, is among the most well-known in France and attracts thousands. Continue reading
In the Fordham History Department the month of August is often a quiet time, but the department came back to life with excitement as two doctoral students defended their dissertations after years of research, writing, and revision. The History blog congratulates Elizabeth Kuhl and Jonathan Woods, who both successfully defended in the past few weeks. Continue reading
The History Department received this great postcard from PhD student Rachel Podd, who spent part of the summer at archaeology field school. Here’s what she had to say:
Note: For ethical and legal reasons, I cannot post photographs of the human remains excavated during this summer. Accordingly, the photographs within this blog post are from the Giecz website.
Skull with a coin between its teeth.
Over the course of three weeks in July, due in part to generous grants from Fordham, I was able to take part in an archaeological dig and field school run by Ohio State University in Giecz (pronounced “Getch”), Poland. Though modern Giecz is quite small, with a population of around 150 people and an hour walk to the nearest train station, it was once a center of profound political importance to the Piast dynasty, the first historical dynasty of Poland. In 966, Prince Mieszko I was baptized as a Christian, possibly at Ostrów Lednicki, and accordingly, the Piast stronghold at Giecz, which was likely constructed during the eighth century was expanded to include a chapel, though construction was never completed. Continue reading
Students in Fordham’s MA and PhD programs produce original research of the highest quality, and are encouraged to publish this work when and where it is appropriate during their time in the program. The academic year 2016-2017 saw the appearance of articles by a number of our students in different peer-reviewed volumes and journals. We asked our students who published their work to tell us a little bit about the articles and the writing process and we’ll feature these students and their publications in a short blog series.
This week we report on an article published this past year by History PhD student Jeffrey Doolittle. We recently heard about Jeff Doolittle’s adventures in the archives at the abbey of Montecassino in Italy, where he has been researching medical manuscripts on the earlier middle ages. His article, however, tackles a very different question in a much later period. Entitled “Charlemagne in Girona: Liturgy, Legend and the Memory of Siege” it addresses a liturgy composed for the emperor Charlemagne that was written in a fourteenth-century manuscript. The article was published in The Charlemagne Legend in Medieval Latin Texts, ed. William J. Purkis and Matthew Gabriele, pp. 115-47. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2016.
Jeff wrote to us to describe the process of writing and revising the article:
This article has certainly changed a lot since it began as a seminar paper in Dr. Nicholas Paul’s graduate course on the crusades some six long years ago! In its published form, part of an edited volume by William Purkis and Matthew Gabriele on the Latin legends of Charlemagne, my article provides a brief overview of the cult of St. Charlemagne in Girona, Spain, which was celebrated in the cathedral of the city from the middle of the fourteenth century up until its suppression in the late fifteenth century. Central to Girona’s unique liturgical office was a narrative of Charlemagne’s role as a liberator of the city from the Muslims in the context of a dramatic siege, ultimately aided by the miraculous intercession of Mary. To make matters more interesting, there were no indications from other sources that Charlemagne himself had ever stepped foot in Girona nor had directed any attack against the city; the tradition seems to have been a later medieval development. I focus on the narrative of siege in the article, and argue that the fourteenth-century liturgy’s emphasis on Charlemagne’s imaginary siege of Girona and his triumph should be read against the much more recent and traumatic siege, also at the hands of a French crusading king from the north during the Crusade against Aragon (1284-5), where Girona was also the victim. This project has taken a long journey as it has transformed with Dr. Paul’s help from an inchoate seminar paper to a more focused conference paper given at the International Medieval Conference at a session organized by Drs. Purkis and Gabriele, and finally to a published contribution in their volume. Above all, I am grateful for the guidance and constructive comments at each juncture from many people, all of which helped effect this transformation.