April 3, 2020

Talk. Julian Yolles "Christian Unity and Religious Polemic in Walter the Chancellor’s Bella Antiochena (c. 1115-22)"

12:00-1:00 pm

Plateau Building, ground floor, 'Simon Stevin' Room 

Plateaustraat 22, Ghent

Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies

Ghent University

Julian Yolles will be giving a lecture at the Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies, Ghent University on Friday April 3, 2020. Read more about the lecture here


This paper engages with recent work on Walter the Chancellor, an early twelfth-century author who wrote a short Latin prosimetric history in Antioch, covering local events between 1115–1122. Scholars have variously debated whether Walter’s work belongs to the genre of anti-Islamic polemic or rather contains a nuanced depiction of the Artukids, representing viable testimony for their pre-Islamic cultural practices. This paper attempts to break through the scholarly impasse by proposing a two-pronged approach: by situating Walter and his history within the multifaceted literary and intellectual culture of early twelfth-century Antioch and by taking seriously the literary strategies Walter employed in his history, Julian Yolles identify hitherto unobserved polemical motifs in Walter’s Bella Antiochena and argue that the work is best understood as a Latin Christian’s complex and developing engagement with the Eastern Christian communities of Antioch.

Image: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 14378, f. 115r.

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