By the late medieval period, merchants formed an integral part of urban society; among their activities, they facilitated trade between city centers, participated in the governing of cities, and were patrons of churches and monasteries. At the same time, the wealth that they amassed and their sometimes morally dubious activities, such as money lending, often left merchants fearful of what the afterlife would bring, causing them to appeal directly to specific saints for intercession. This session seeks to explore the religious lives of these elite members of urban society, specifically considering the individual saints to whom merchants appealed for their earthly protection and heavenly salvation as well as the manner in which they made these appeals.
As an interdisciplinary discussion of the relationship between merchants and their saintly protectors, this session will invite papers examining evidence of specific relationships between merchants and saints that might include consideration of merchantís wills, artistic patronage, manuscript collections, and pilgrimage, as well as the religious practices of merchantsí confraternities and guilds. The session will welcome papers from all disciplines including, but not limited to, history, art history, literature, religious studies, and music.
Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words and a participant information form to Emily Kelley (email@example.com) no later than September 15, 2011. The participant information forms are available online at: http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF
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