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Civic Ceremony and Religion in Medieval Bruges c.1300–1520


  • Date Published: January 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107692039

£ 29.99

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About the Authors
  • Public religious practice lay at the heart of civic society in late medieval Europe. In this illuminating study, Andrew Brown draws on the rich and previously little-researched archives of Bruges, one of medieval Europe's wealthiest and most important towns, to explore the role of religion and ceremony in urban society. The author situates the religious practices of citizens - their investment in the liturgy, commemorative services, guilds and charity - within the contexts of Bruges' highly diversified society and of the changes and crises the town experienced. Focusing on the religious processions and festivities sponsored by the municipal government, the author challenges much current thinking on, for example, the nature of 'civic religion'. Re-evaluating the ceremonial links between Bruges and its rulers, he questions whether rulers could dominate the urban landscape by religious or ceremonial means, and offers new insight into the interplay between ritual and power of relevance throughout medieval Europe.

    • Offers new approaches to the place of religion in medieval urban society, of value to scholars and students of medieval religion and social history
    • Based on unprinted, archival material from Bruges, bringing the town's records to a wider, English-speaking audience
    • Contributes to and offers fresh insight into debates on civic religion, the theatre-state and burgher morality
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Based on an impressive knowledge of the archives of the civic and religious institutions of Bruges, [Andrew Brown] sets out to describe the development of virtually every single ritual phenomenon he encountered in late medieval Bruges. Whenever possible he underpins his argumentation with quantitative data … an invaluable tool for the study of (religious) rituals and events within the late medieval town.' Job Weststrate, Reviews in History (

    '… a bracingly smart excavation of Bruges's ceremonial pulse, a study grounded in extensive, patient work in ecclesiastical and civic sources. Brown's study is impressive for its empiricism … and for its theoretical familiarity with ritual as a scholarly field … one of the finest considerations of medieval Bruges … will be considered the standard work for decades to come.' Peter Arnade, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107692039
    • length: 384 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 2 maps 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Holy Blood Procession
    2. General processions
    3. Feast days and liturgical commemoration
    4. Guilds: feast, festivity and public worship
    5. Guilds and civic government
    6. Civic charity
    7. Civic ceremony, religion and the counts of Flanders
    Conclusion and epilogue: civic morality c.1500.

  • Author

    Andrew Brown, Massey University, Auckland
    Andrew Brown is Lecturer in the School of History, Classics and Philosophy at the University of Massey. His previous publications include Church and Society in England, 1000–1500 (2003) and Court and Civic Society in the Burgundian Low Countries c.1420–1530 (co-edited with Graeme Small, 2007).

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