Among the early medieval names inscribed on the walls at the shrine of S. Michele at Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano are a small number from Anglo-Saxon visitors, all but one written in runic script. This article employs those names as a lens through which to explore issues of devotion and identity in the context of pilgrimage and travel, by focusing on the particular physical, religious and performative contexts which led to their production. Firstly, it examines the spiritual and religious significance of the graffiti by considering the multiple meanings that inscribing or reading such inscriptions might have held for contemporaries. Secondly, it explores the opportunity that the graffiti offer for investigating aspects of identity and belonging, arising as they do from situations in which long-distance visitors found themselves far away from home and where facets of commonality and alterity could be brought into sharp focus. By examining these themes in relation to the surviving names, it is possible to bring to light the range of meanings that the act(s) of writing inscriptions at Monte Gargano might have held for contemporaries within medieval western Europe, and what might have been understood by visitors reading the inscriptions that others had left behind.

Writing on the Wall: Anglo-Saxons at Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano (Puglia) and the Spiritual and Social Significance of Graffiti

Forbes, Helen Foxhall
2019-01-01

Abstract

Among the early medieval names inscribed on the walls at the shrine of S. Michele at Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano are a small number from Anglo-Saxon visitors, all but one written in runic script. This article employs those names as a lens through which to explore issues of devotion and identity in the context of pilgrimage and travel, by focusing on the particular physical, religious and performative contexts which led to their production. Firstly, it examines the spiritual and religious significance of the graffiti by considering the multiple meanings that inscribing or reading such inscriptions might have held for contemporaries. Secondly, it explores the opportunity that the graffiti offer for investigating aspects of identity and belonging, arising as they do from situations in which long-distance visitors found themselves far away from home and where facets of commonality and alterity could be brought into sharp focus. By examining these themes in relation to the surviving names, it is possible to bring to light the range of meanings that the act(s) of writing inscriptions at Monte Gargano might have held for contemporaries within medieval western Europe, and what might have been understood by visitors reading the inscriptions that others had left behind.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5011829
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