Medieval Pilgrimage

18 Feb, 2021 200 Religion

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the idea and experience of Christian pilgrimage in Europe from the 12th to the 15th centuries, which figured so strongly in the imagination of the age. For those able and willing to travel, there were countless destinations from Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela to the smaller local shrines associated with miracles and relics of the saints. Meanwhile, for those unable or not allowed to travel there were journeys of the mind, inspired by guidebooks that would tell the faithful how many steps they could take around their homes to replicate the walk to the main destinations in Rome and the Holy Land, passing paintings of the places on their route.

The image above is of a badge of St Thomas of Canterbury, worn by pilgrims who had journeyed to his shrine.

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  • Miri Rubin 12 episodes
    Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at Queen Mary, University of London
  • Kathryn Rudy No other episodes
    Professor of Art History at the University of St Andrews
  • Anthony Bale 2 episodes
    Professor of Medieval Studies and Dean of the School of Arts at Birkbeck, University of London

Reading list

  • Why Can the Dead Do Such Great Things?: Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation
    Robert Bartlett (Princeton University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in Later Middle Ages
    Nicole Chareyron (trans. W. Donald Wilson) (Columbia University Press, 2005)
  • Furta Sacra: Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages
    Patrick J. Geary (Princeton University Press, 1991) Google Books →
  • The Book of Margery Kempe
    Margery Kempe (trans. Anthony Bale) (Oxford University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Pilgrimage: A Very Short Introduction
    Ian Reader (Oxford University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Virtual Pilgrimages in the Convent: Imagining Jerusalem in the Late Middle Ages
    Kathryn M. Rudy (Brepols Publishers, 2011) Google Books →
  • Pilgrimage: An Image of Mediaeval Religion
    Jonathan Sumption (Rowman & Littlefield, 1975) Google Books →
  • Pilgrims and Pilgrimage in the Medieval West
    Diana Webb (Tauris, 2001) Google Books →
  • Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages: A Reader
    Brett Edward Whalen (University of Toronto Press, 2011) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In medieval Europe, the idea and experience of Christian pilgrimage was so intense that it fired the imagination of the age.