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The Illuminated World Chronicle: Tales from the Late Medieval City

Sunday, November 22, 2020
1 – 2:30 p.m.

Please join us for a conversation celebrating the publication of Nina Rowe’s new book, The Illuminated World Chronicle: Tales from the Late Medieval City (Yale University Press, 2020). This multidisciplinary study examines a curious genre of illustrated books that gained popularity among the newly emergent middle class of late medieval cities. These illuminated World Chronicles, produced in the Bavarian and Austrian regions from around 1330 to 1430, were the popular histories of their day, telling tales from the Bible, ancient mythology, and the lives of emperors in animated, vernacular verse enhanced by dynamic images.

The World Chronicle stories recast stories of the past to meet the interests of late medieval urban dwellers and include surprising narratives—the devil sneaks aboard Noah’s Ark and cons a couple into having a forbidden tryst, Achilles engages in combat like a medieval knight, and Charlemagne becomes romantically enraptured with his deceased wife. Among the lively anecdotes is a suite of episodes about Moses that explore the patriarch’s Judaism and marriage to an African princess.

Rowe will explore the images and texts that recount these spirited tales in a conversation with Ephraim Shoham-Steiner, an expert on urban life in Europe in the late Middle Ages.

About the Speakers
Rowe is a professor of art history at Fordham. Previous publications include The Jew, the Cathedral and the Medieval City: Synagoga and Ecclesia in the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge, 2011) and Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age: Recovery and Reconstruction (Mary & Leigh Block Gallery, 2001, co-authored with Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, and Rowan Watson). Rowe’s research has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2016-2017), the American Council of Learned Societies (2016-2017), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2007-2008). She is currently president of the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA).

Shoham-Steiner is a professor of medieval Jewish history in the department of Jewish history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is the author of On the Margins of a Minority: Leprosy, Madness, and Disability among the Jews of Medieval Europe (Wayne State University Press, 2014) and Jews and Crime in Medieval Europe (Wayne State University Press, 2020).


This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.