Pilgrimage in Medieval Europe


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During the Middle Ages pilgrimage was a major activity.  Each year huge crowds of people, from the peasantry to royalty, followed the pilgrimage routes throughout Europe.  Encouraged by the Church, some traveled great distances to the Holy Land, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela, while others visited local sites seeking saints’ shrines and the relics of the holy dead.  Their motives varied from sacred quests for miraculous cures to opportunities for adventure and a change of scenery.  This seminar will explore the concept and experience of pilgrimage, travel in the Middle Ages, saints’ shrines and miracles, and the practice of stealing relics.  It will discuss the impact of pilgrimage on the economics, culture, art and architecture of the period, and look at a number of fascinating pilgrimage centers—egs. Conques, Canterbury and Chartres.  Its special focus will be on the extremely popular route (of the Middle Ages and still today) to Santiago de Compostela and its lovely Romanesque pilgrimage churches.

Required Reading: Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages: A Reader by Brett Edward Whalen. University of Toronto Press, 2011. ISBN: 144260199X

Optional Reading: The Pilgrim’s Guide to Santiago de Compostela by William Melczer. Italica Press, 2008. ISBN: 0934977259

Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg ’65 (Ph.D., UW-Madison) is professor emerita of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she taught in the Department of Liberal Arts and Applied Studies, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Medieval Studies Program.  Her areas of specialization include medieval social and religious history, medieval women’s history, women saints, female monasticism, gender and sacred space, and medieval embroidery.  She is the author of numerous studies on medieval women, including her major work, Forgetful of Their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society, ca. 500-1100 (University of Chicago Press, 1998/2000).  She is presently working on a book on gender, sacred space and materiality in the Middle Ages.  Schulenburg is the recipient of a number of research fellowships and was recognized with Lawrence’s Lucia Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001 and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Van Hise Teaching Award in 2013.  Over the years she organized and led 39 University of Wisconsin medieval study tours to Europe.

Sunday, July 15, 2018 to Friday, July 20, 2018
$895 double; $1,175 single; $450 commuter

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