One of the key aims of NetMAR is to involve in its workings a wide variety of voices and to foster dialogue.

Through a series of monthly blogposts, NetMAR members and affiliates will share their insights, original research, ideas and opinions concerning medieval arts and rituals with the community in a way that is accessible and, crucially, inviting of everyone’s thoughts and responses. We welcome everyone’s feedback – so please do not hesitate to get in touch to let us know what you think.

Among the subjects that will be broached in our monthly posts are the following:

  • What do we mean by heritage and how can we protect it?
  • How do medieval arts and rituals survive in contemporary theatre?
  • Manuscripts produced in medieval Cyprus for church rituals.
  • Storytelling in monastic contexts
  • Rituals of medieval breastfeeding
  • A Cistercian nunnery in medieval Nicosia
  • The architecture and murals of the church of the Transfiguration at Sotera

As well as established researchers sharing their expert insights, the NetMAR blog will offer a platform for Early-Stage Researchers to showcase their work. NetMAR is working with a number of PhD students who are doing extraordinary work on various aspects relating to medieval arts and rituals. In specially commissioned posts, Early Stage Researchers attached to NetMAR will offer their own unique takes on such matters as:

  • The Venetian period in Cyprus and the relationships between lords and citizens
  • The history of medieval agriculture in Cyprus and the long history of landscape
  • Burial ceremonial and sculpture during the time of the Lusignans in Cyprus
  • Byzantine texts and monument epigraphs.

At the same time, it is our hope that the blog will host posts by members of the wide network of stakeholders associated with the project. NetMAR is establishing links with local industry and various tourist organisations, including, for example, the Nicosia Tourist Board (NTB). In this blog, NetMAR members will describe the different ways in which specialist research conducted within NetMAR can reach the wider community.

Posts will appear here and will be advertised on all of our social media.

The ‘Tegernsee Debate’ and the Theological Reform Movement of the 15th Century

By Prof. Dr. Christian Schäfer, University of Bamberg. In the mid-15th century, the writings of Nicholas of Cusa elicited a controversy on the purpose and efficacy of intellectual powers for the knowledge of God, the so-called ‘Tegernsee debate’. But he and his followers not only participated in this dispute about the intellect and its role in the mystical ascent, they also drew conclusions from it to strengthen their reform movement.


Stultiphonic Soundscapes and the Ship of Fools

By Alyssa Steiner from the University of Bamberg. ‘Lyplep, Cris Cras, Rrrrrrrr!’ The fools on board of Sebastian Brant’s didactic Ship of Fools (1494) are a loud and rowdy crew. In contrast, the medieval church is a highly codified and ritualised soundscape. Embrace the noise and discover what happens when the two clash in Fool’s literature.


Research Communication and Communication Networks in Medieval Studies

By Viviane Diederich M.A., University of Bamberg. Research communication plays an increasingly important role in contemporary societies. Young researchers are expected to start from an early stage to present their research to different types of audiences. It is, therefore, very important to test their communication skills and build their confidence through different channels such as those offered by NetMAR. This blog post explores various levels of research communication and substantiates its findings with examples from the field of Medieval Studies.


Creating, Performing, and Transgressing Borders and Boundaries

NetMAR at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds, 2022. NetMAR is excited to share with its blog readers a preview of its two sessions and six papers that will be delivered by some of the project’s PhD candidates and young researchers at IMC on 05 and 07 July 2022. Visit our blog space to learn more about NetMAR’s participation in IMC.


Welcome Nibelungs! The Burgundians’ Arrival in Etzel’s Kingdom in the Codex Hundeshagen

By Dr. Nadine Hufnagel, University of Bamberg
Most of the illustrations in the only fully illustrated manuscript of the Nibelungenlied (Codex Hundeshagen) do not show action scenes. Instead, they depict primarily situations of courtly ritual, especially scenes of reception and farewell. Nadine Hufnagel of the University of Bamberg explores how text and image work together to foreshadow the further development of the story, when the Burgundians arrive at Etzel’s court.


Regrowing Maimed Spires as an Act of Rebuilding Collectivity

By Michalis Olympios, University of Cyprus.
When did French sensitivity to the significance of medieval architectural patrimony emerge? How does Gothic architecture becomes a timeless symbol of national unity? The historian of Western medieval art Michalis Olympios of the Centre for Medieval Arts & Rituals at the University of Cyprus discusses how the restoration of maimed spires functions as an act of rebuilding collectivity. 


A ‘Byzantine’ Map in Context: ‘Since You can See the Earth as a Whole, you Should Believe you are in the Sky’

By Dr Chiara D’Agostini, Centre for Medieval Literature, University of Southern Denmark.
NetMAR examines medieval arts together with rituals with the intention of addressing their intersections. Does this approach also apply to the investigation of scientific subjects? Would NetMAR’s holistic approach fit to the subject of geography? By taking as a case study the reception of Ptolemy’s Geography in 13th-century Byzantium, this blog post will try to answer this question.


Exploring Identity’s Third Space; or What Happens When a Medieval Hero Wears a Disguise in European Bridal-Quest Epics

By Janina Dillig, University of Bamberg
Storytelling often resorts to narrative patterns. This is especially true for narratives with an oral tradition, which we encounter frequently in medieval literature. Usually, the use of narrative patterns in medieval literature is understood as a byproduct of the process of memorization, but narrative patterns may also be understood as elements of ritualization in the art of storytelling.


Representing Kingship (and Queenship): On the Role of the Visual for the Understanding of Medieval Rituals

Βy Dr Rosa M. Rodríguez Porto, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela.
What lies behind coronation rituals? Why are they important? What do they hide and what do they reveal? Dr Rosa M. Rodríguez Porto of Universidade de Santiago de Compostela goes behind the scenes to investigate the role of the visual in understanding medieval (and modern) coronation rituals.


Medievalism in Linguistic Teaching

By Prof. Gabriele Knappe & Prof. Patrizia Noel Aziz Hanna, University of Bamberg
What is ‘linguistic medievalism’ and what can it teach us? In our brand new post, Prof. Gabriele Knappe and Prof. Patrizia Noel Aziz Hanna of the University of Bamberg jointly present a teaching experiment they carried out on ‘Linguistic Medievalism’. Read on to find out what they did and what they found!


A palimpsest that faith built: The Church of the Transfiguration in Sotera (Cyprus) and its Murals

By Maria Parani, University of Cyprus
Dr Maria Parani tells the story of one of the many medieval churches that populate the Cypriot countryside: that of the Church of the Transfiguration at the village of Sotera in southeast Cyprus. Tracing its history of successive building phases and painting campaigns opens up a window into the lives of the people whose needs – social and spiritual – it served.


Rituals at the Grail Table

By Daniele Gallindo Gonçalves
Whether it’s the time we get up in the morning or when we eat or go to sleep, our daily routines are a form of ritual. However, can we really call such (individual) habits rituals? What is actually a ritual? As defined by Gerd Althoff, a ritual is “a formally-standardized symbolic sequence of actions that has a specific effectiveness”, since it has the capacity to (re)produce “a social, political, spiritual, etc. change of state” (Althoff; Stollberg-Rilinger 2008: 144).


Manuscript production in medieval Cyprus for church rituals

By Dr Marina Toumpouri.
Medieval written records are complex things; it is not easy (or often possible) to pin down their provenance, history of ownership, and transmission. In this month’s post, Dr Marina Toumpouri of the University of Cyprus considers the case of surviving Greek manuscripts and the work historians and philologists must do to access their distant but exciting world.

Image created by Alexander Pelz

The past is a foreign country: Medievalism and Time Travel Narratives

By Sarah Böhlau.
From the moment the time travel narrative entered human imagination at the end of the 19th century, opening doors to both past and future, the medieval period has held a special point of interest for many storytellers. Examining the foreign period through the lens of temporal tourism provides a unique way to relate to the past – and rituals are important support structures in this journey.


Medieval Rituals, the Arts, and the Notion of Medievalism

By Nils Holger Petersen.
In principle, aesthetic evaluation is not essential for judging the successfulness of rituals. The aesthetic value of song, however, was instrumental for the function of medieval liturgical rituals. Elements of these, gradually received into the modern arts, question the distinction between the medieval and medievalism.


The Seven Deaths of Maria Callas, by Marina Abramović

by Christos Hadjiyiannis.
In her latest work, Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović stars as Maria Callas. The work opened at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich on 3 September 2020. In his review of the opera, Dr Christos Hadjiyiannis, Scientific Project Manager of NetMAR, suggests that the opera borrows much from late antique and early medieval texts that thematise the suffering of Christian women.


What kind of heritage do ancient and medieval texts constitute?

by Lars Boje Mortensen.
The NetMAR project is seeking to better understand and promote local heritage by bridging the disciplines of art history, literature, musicology, history and more – all under the lense of ritual. NetMAR takes place just as we are seeing a significant surge, and new trends, in the global discourse of heritage.