Transforming a desert, claiming the domain : the early medieval landscape of Conques

Title: Transforming a desert, claiming the domain : the early medieval landscape of Conques
Variant title:
  • Proměňovat pustinu, hájit klášterní doménu : raně středověká krajina Conques
Source document: Convivium. 2022, vol. 9, iss. 1, pp. [148]-167
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
Summary language
License: Not specified license
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The abbey of Conques and its dominant church dedicated to St Foy are today one of the most prominent examples of the harmonic relationship between medieval sacred architecture and nature. This article considers the medieval landscape of Conques from an environmental-historical perspective by analyzing early medieval writings about the abbey. It focuses on early descriptions, which often contain literary, hagiographical topoi depicting ideal, symbolic, or imagined landscapes – sometimes, however, also partially reflecting reality. These descriptions serve, with caution, to investigate the local environment, its transformation, and its effect on the early history of the monastery. In addition, the article delves into the eleventhcentury Liber miraculorum sanctae Fidis to investigate strategies that the monastic community used to control St Foy's estates not only close to the abbey but also in the wider region. Analysis reveals the environment conditions, their impact on the history, and ways in which the monastic community sacralized the landscape through real processions and miracle stories to control it.