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Death and cathedrals in Provence (12th-14th century)





Relations between death and the medieval church have been explored by European historians since the beginning of the 20th century. They are here analysed within the 22 dioceses of « Provence » during the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. Using a large and varied documentation, essentially produced by cathedral chapters, we propose to study death as a framework for the relations between the cathedral clergy and urban medieval societies. As a prospect common to everyone, death could be used by clerics in order to build discourses promoting a tighter control of the Church over society, for instance through the liturgy of the Dead or the concept of the « Good Christian Death ». Especially through anniversaries, Death also provided them with an opportunity to establish spiritual and material relationships with an enlarged community of laymen and ecclesiastics and was therefore instrumental in involving bischops, canons and secular clerics into the political and economic life of the counties of Provence and Forcalquier. Finally, Death gives historians of the Middle Ages a unique insight into the life and organisation of the Provençale Ecclesia over three centuries of intense economic and political evolutions. This study aims to use thanatology in order to broaden our historical perspectives regarding Provençal cathedrals and clerics in the Middle-Ages.

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