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Loci Sepulcralis

Pantheons and other places of memory and burial in the Middle Ages

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Published on Tuesday, February 21, 2017


This International conference will be devoted to Medieval Pantheons. The main aim is to promote a broad and innovative debate on the concept of “pantheon” throughout the Middle Ages, as well as their underlying intentions. It is also intended to address the specificity of themes that are intertwined with the construction, ornamentation and everyday uses of these spaces by the communities that host them.


International conference, 21-23 september, 2017 | portugal · batalha | santa maria da vitória monastery


Throughout the Middle Ages, the choice of a particular burial place, as the option for a monumental tomb, speak volumes about the fundamental questions that the men who felt compelled to define the fate of their remains and their wealth before they died must have asked themselves. Such choice was never made by chance, on the contrary, they took extreme care to define how their mortal remains were to be kept for eternity and what needed to be done in order to guarantee their eternal rest.

Kings and queens were obviously paramount in this process, as royal pantheons grew to become more and more relevant in the construction of royal legitimacy. Yet Kings were not the only ones worrying about lineage and personal memory. Noblemen and ecclesiastics, just as much as rich tradesmen, and their wives and daughters, were all involved in such tendencies.

The study of all sorts and styles of pantheons have fascinated scholars of all disciplines in the last thirty years or so, to a point that one might wonder what there is still to be said. But as is often the case, the more one topic is studied, the greater the questions which arise thereof. New interdisciplinary readings and approaches of this subject have promoted new questionings and problems and it is perhaps time to try and re-think the whole evidence and point out new ways of looking at such important witnesses of the concepts of life, death and their value for the medieval men.

Taking up the topic of Royal Pantheons as the leading theme, we therefore propose to host a 3-day Conference, in the Santa Maria da Vitória Monastery (commonly known as Monastery of Batalha), one of the most important medieval royal pantheons of Portugal and the obvious venue for a multidisciplinary meeting like this, which aims at gathering well established scholars as well as young and upcoming academics in an environment where the debate and discussion on death and burial will have an ideal environment in which to develop.

The Conference will be subdivided in four sections:

1st Section – Origins and development of royal pantheons as places of  social and political memory in the Middle Ages (5th-15th century)

This section intends to gather papers on Royal pantheons, in a multidisciplinary form. It aims at looking at such pantheons from a conjunctural and widely contextualizing perspective, as the materialization of specific clear intentions of perpetuating lineage memories, but also as elements for the propagation and reproduction of social status, of political legitimation and of display of power.

This is also a section which aims at hosting comparisons between pantheons built in the High Middle Ages or the Late Middle Ages, as well as at addressing the differences between different geo-political settings for such monuments or even at questioning the very concept of pantheon and the tendency to concentrate or disperse royal sites of burial in certain institutions or towns.

2nd Section – Medieval Pantheons. Case Studies

This section aims at hosting papers which deal with specific cases of pantheons of all sorts and natures, royal, noble, ecclesiastic or lay. It is devised so that specific cases may be addressed - from the perspective of Art History, Social History, History of Ideas, Emotions and Literature, Liturgical Studies - as mirrors of wider trends which may reflect the circulation of more global models, movements and “fashions” in what regards the choice of a burial site and all that is involved in such choice.

3rd Section – Texts and Representations of social memory in  pantheons and other burial monuments

Specifically devoted to the “material” elements blatantly patent in funerary monuments but normally not considered as “artistic”, like heraldry and epigraphy, this section will also welcome papers on medieval historiography, literature and symbolism and their treatment of pantheons and funerary monuments and buildings.

4th Section – Medieval Pantheons: places of tradition or places for artistic innovation?

This section aims at hosting papers on formal and iconographic analysis of the pantheons of any type, just as well as on tombs and funerary slabs. The idea is to be able to assess whether the structures, architectural, sculptural and other elements patent in the buildings, burial monuments and slabs are elements used for experimental artistic innovation or rather a form of perpetuating much more traditional ideas and patterns.

Instruction for submission of paper proposals  

(scholars of all disciplines are welcome to apply with proposals for sessions or individual papers):

Official languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian

Deadline for Submission of proposals: 15 April 2017

1.  Proposals for sessions of 3 speakers:

Each session will have three papers of 20 minutes. The organizer should submit the session proposal with all the relevant elements: name and affiliation of the organizer, title of the session, names and affiliation of speakers and moderator, title of the individual papers and abstracts.

2.  Proposals for individual papers:

Individual proposals should be offered considering papers of up to 20 minutes, with all the relevant elements: speaker's name and affiliation, title and abstract of the paper.

All applications must be sent with a title and abstract of no more than 250 words  as well as a short CV of applicants to: locisepulcralis@fcsh.unl.pt Successful applicants will be notified by 31 May 2017.

A volume of peer-reviewed selected proceedings will be published in 2018.

Organizing committee

  • Institute for Medieval Studies of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of NOVA University of Lisbon (IEM-FCSH/NOVA)
    • Carla Varela Fernandes, Catarina Fernandes Barreira, João Luís Inglês Fontes, Maria João Branco e Mário Farelo
  • Batalha Monastery / Direção-Geral do Património Cultural
    • Joaquim Ruivo e Pedro Redol
  • Municipality of Batalha
    • Cíntia Silva

Scientific committee

  • Amélia Aguiar Andrade (IEM-FCSH/NOVA)
  • Gerardo Boto Varela (Univ. de Girona)
  • Alícia Miguélez Cavero (IEM-FCSH/NOVA)
  • Manuel Castiñeiras González (UAB)
  • Miguel Metelo de Seixas (IEM, CHAM-FCSH/NOVA, UAc)
  • Emma Liaño (Universitat Rovira I Virgil)
  • Mário Jorge Barroca (Univ. do Porto)
  • Rocío Sanchez Ameijeiras (Univ. de Santiago de Compostela)
  • Maria Helena da Cruz Coelho (CHSC-UC)
  • Manuel Luís Real (CITCEM-FLUP)
  • Isidro Bango Torviso (UAM)
  • Vincent Debiais (Centre d’Études Superieures de civilización médievale-Univ. Poitiers)
  • Maria de Lurdes Rosa (IEM-FCSH/NOVA)
  • Larent Hablot (Centre d’Études Superieures de civilización médievale-Univ. Poitiers) Hermínia Vilar (CIDEHUS-UÉ)

Conference registration fees (per person)

Registration fee includes
(as shown for each segment)






Gala dinner

Accommodation: 3 (three) nights for the conference


3 (three) lunches at the conference




  • Mosteiro da Batalha
    Batalha, Portugal (2460-601)


  • Saturday, April 15, 2017


  • pantheon, funerary ritual


  • Carla Fernandes
    courriel : locisepulcralis [at] fcsh [dot] unl [dot] pt

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Carla Fernandes
    courriel : locisepulcralis [at] fcsh [dot] unl [dot] pt


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Loci Sepulcralis », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, https://doi.org/10.58079/x2d

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