The Cult of Saints and Legitimization of Elite Power in East Central and Northern Europe up to 1300

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Edited by by Grzegorz Pac, Steffen Hope, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson

The Cult of Saints and Legitimization of Elite Power in East Central and Northern Europe up to
1300, ed. by Grzegorz Pac, Steffen Hope, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, Comparative Perspectives on
Medieval History, 2 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2024).

link: available soon

This volume examines how the elite cultures in Northern and East Central Europe employed
the cult of saints in order to legitimize their standing in society in the first centuries following
their conversion. By means of this thematic focus, authors explore the interface of religion,
power and the reception and development of new impulses from abroad, and together these
chapters provide a comparative overview that contributes to a more nuanced understanding
of Northern and East Central Europe, as well as the connections between these regions and
currents and events in Latin Christendom as a whole. The volume includes studies of cults
that emerged in these two peripheral regions, as well as cults that were imported from an
older tradition, and by pairing these two sides of the cult of saints, the authors shed light not
only on the unique features of each region, but also on features that were shared across all
of Latin Christendom in the period. In this way, the volume contributes not only to a more
complex understanding of the history of Northern and East-Central Europe, but also of Latin
Christian Europe as a whole.

 

Table of contents 

Introduction

1. Saints and Elites on the Periphery: An Introduction
Steffen Hope, Grzegorz Pac, and Jón Viðar Sigurðsson 15

Part I: Non-native Saints

Non-native Saints: Introduction
Steffen Hope, Grzegorz Pac, and Jón Viðar Sigurðsson

The Authority of the Virgin. The Use of the Marian Cult in the Legitimization of Power in the Kingdom of Hungary before 1300
Karen Stark

Aegis of Aegidius — The Cult of St Giles in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Poland
Miłosz Sosnowski

The Apostles and Ecclesiastical Elites in Medieval Iceland. A Gregorian Hermeneutic Turn in the Medieval North
Haraldur Hreinsson

From St Florian to St Stanislaus. The Legitimization of Ducal and Episcopal Power in Kraków in the Late Twelfth and Early Thirteenth Century
Karolina Morawska

From St Olaf to the Relic of the Crown of Thorns. The Legitimization of Royal Power in Thirteenth-Century Norway
Jerzy Pysiak

Sanctity in Service. Saints in the Legitimation of the Presence of the Dominicans in Hungary
Eszter Konrád

Part II: Native Saints

Native Saints: Introduction
Steffen Hope, Grzegorz Pac, and Jón Viðar Sigurðsson 211

The Prague Nunnery and its Patroness, St Ludmila. Legitimization and Mutual Support
Grzegorz Pac

Many Lives of One Man. Strategies for Building Legitimacy through the Story of St Wenceslas in Early and High Medieval Hagiography (940s–1260s)
David Kalhous

The Cult of Saints in Elite Identity Construction in the Peripheries. The Cases of St Cnut of Denmark and St Wenceslas of Bohemia
Kacper Bylinka

The Canonization Accounts of St Stephen of Hungary, St Thorlak of Skálholt, and St Cnut of Odense. A Comparative Reading
Haki Antonsson

Legitimizing Episcopal Power in Twelfth-Century Denmark through the Cult of Saints
Steffen Hope

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship. Saints and the Legitimization of Elite Ecclesiastical Institutions in Sweden and Denmark before 1300
Sara Ellis Nilsson

The Liturgical Performance of Saints’ Offices in Medieval Sweden. Multimodal and Performative Event in a Legitimizing Context
Karin Lagergren

St Hedwig of Silesia. The First Dynastic Saint of the Piasts and the Legitimization of Power at a Time of Change in the Thirteenth Century
Anna Agnieszka Dryblak

The Legitimization of Papal Power through the Cults of Royal Women in Thirteenth-Century East Central Europe
Kirsty Day

Conclusions

The Cult of Saints and the Legitimization of Ecclesiastical and Secular Elites on the Periphery: Conclusions
Steffen Hope, Grzegorz Pac, and Jón Viðar Sigurðsson