John Eldevik
John Eldevik

Associate Professor of History John Eldevik delivered a paper, "Blood Meridian: Pagan Atrocity and the Christian Body on the Saxon-Slavic Frontier," at the 91st Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America in Boston on Feb. 26. It was part of a panel on German-Slavic relations in the Middle Ages and examined a set of violent tropes, particularly corporal dismemberment, that came to be associated with pagan Slav uprisings against Christians along the Elbe-Oder frontier in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Similar images of the violent dissolution of Christian bodies were also characteristic of the atrocities against Christian prisoners reported in contemporary accounts of the Second Crusade (1146-48), as well as the infamous Jewish blood libel, in which Jews were said to murder and cannibalize a Christian child for the Passover seder. The paper concluded with some thoughts about the ways descriptions of frontier violence in Germany had evolved into a larger framework in which to imagine religious conflict and Holy War in the 12th century.

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