Past Event

Liturgy of Empire: The Reception of the Mozarabic Rite in Early Modern Europe

May 22, 2019
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
4, rue de Chevreuse, 75006 Paris

In the early sixteenth century, the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros, endowed a chapel in his cathedral for the celebration of the Mozarabic rite, a Latin liturgy that had nearly died out by the time he arrived in Toledo in 1495. In the same period, Cisneros ordered the Castilian conquest of the north African city of Oran, which was the subject of a wall painting he commissioned for the decoration of the Mozarabic Chapel in Toledo Cathedral. The founding of the Mozarabic Chapel and the conquest of Oran were frequently juxtaposed in historical accounts, creating a subtle but consistently evoked connection between the ancient liturgy and the idea of empire. The Mozarabic rite became known throughout Europe thanks to the editions that Cisneros had commissioned of the Mozarabic Missal (1500) and Breviary (1502). Copies of these editions were highly prized, rare, and valuable; functioning both as status symbols and as objects of study, they were acquired by diplomats and clergy, noblemen, kings and emperors, and even by Protestant theologians. The print reception of the Mozarabic rite through the circulation of these books was fundamental to the historical constructions of Spanish religious identity that emerged both inside and outside the Iberian peninsula during the early modern period.

Susan Boynton

Susan Boynton joined the Columbia faculty in 2000. Her research interests include liturgy and music in medieval Western monasticism, particularly the abbey of Cluny; manuscript studies; music in the Iberian peninsula; music and childhood; and intersections between music and the visual arts. Boynton is a recipient of Columbia's Distinguished Faculty Award and has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Academy in Rome, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Currently she is Project Leader of a digital humanities and musical iconography exchange with the Sorbonne, FAB-Musiconis. She has published seven books. The first, Shaping a Monastic Identity: Liturgy and History at the Imperial Abbey of Farfa, 1000-1125 (2006), won the Lewis Lockwood Award of the American Musicological Society. Her second monograph, Silent Music: Medieval Song and the Construction of History in Eighteenth-Century Spain (2011), won the Society's Robert M. Stevenson Award. Prof. Boynton coedited (with Diane J. Reilly) The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages (2011). Also coedited with Diane J. Reilly,  Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music, and Sound (2015) won the Society's Ruth A. Solie Award.

This lecture is part of the "Wednesdays at the Institute" lecture series organized by the Institute for Ideas and Imagination.