November 9, 2020

CML videoseminar. Unn Falkeid, "Birgitta of Sweden and the Widowed Rome"


1:30-3:00 pm UK / 2:30-4:00 pm DK

Centre for Medieval Literature

Unn Falkeid (University of Oslo) will be giving a CML videoseminar on "Birgitta of Sweden and the Widowed Rome". The seminar will be online via Zoom. 

If you wish to participate please contact academic manager Maiken Bundgaard Villumsen ( for more information. 


In 1350, the year of the great Jubilee, Birgitta of Sweden entered Rome. Except for her frequent trips around Italy, her journey to Cyprus and even to Jerusalem, Rome became her residence for the last twenty-three years of her life, and from here she started a campaign to return the papacy from Avignon. The paper explores how Birgitta came to model her activities on the figure of the widow who was speaking for the sake of Rome. In a letter obliquely addressed to Pope Clement VI, she present herself as a widow, which she was in real life. The letter, however, soon turns into a harsh critique of the current state of the Ecclesia Romana. As such, the toposof the widow has profound political connotations. It reflects the personification of the widowed Rome already adopted by Dante and Petrarch, and later used by Cola di Rienzo in his powerful ideological propaganda during the revolution in Rome in 1347.

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