Lost Mosaics and Religious Chant: Visualizing Royal Power in the Kingdom of Jerusalem (by Ana Núñez)
In this article, I trace the liturgical context behind the now lost mosaics of the Tree of Abraham inside the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem; a religious journey to the twelfth-century Holy Land that begins in early eleventh-century Chartres. It was at Chartres where Bishop Fulbert (1006-1028) reinvigorated and promoted the local cult of the Virgin Mary through sermons and songs that not only shaped monumental visual corollaries in twelfth-century Chartres, but also influenced the wider western liturgy of Europe. Fulbert’s liturgical legacy would then arrive across the Mediterranean in the Latin East, as European clerics, such as Fulcher of Chartres, established the western church in the region after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099. It is the liturgy of the Latin East, infused with the writings of Bishop Fulbert, which informs the Tree of Abraham inside the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem. In this article, I argue that a consideration of the Nativity church’s aural context not only reveals the unique Frankish imprint within the church, but also re-situates Bethlehem as city central to the visual and ritual manifestations of royal power in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Details about Michele Bacci's paper to follow.