medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
On Monday, February 13, 2006, at 3:26 pm, Jim Bugslag wrote:
> I have always assumed, on no real basis, that the reason that
mendicant churches were located on the outer periphery of cities, or even
outside their walls, had a great deal to do with their 'competition' with
parochial and other ecclesiastical
jurisdictions. Can anyone either confirm or unconfirm this?
another factor --congruent to this-- might be that the "mendicant" orders'
brief was to service the poor; and the poorest sections of many cities were
those close to the walls (whether inside or out).
this was true in Gallo-Roman times (which is the reason why so many cathedrals
in the 12th-13th c. had to blast through the G-R walls in order to expand the
size of their buildings) when it was the Early Church which was largely a
Lower Class phenomenon.
as the Worm Turned and the Church became Triumphant, the area around the
cathedral became High Toned and Gentrified and, as the city expanded during
the course of the High M.A., the lower classes gravitated towards the (new)
walls and (for those even lower) outside them.
living near the walls had various disadvantages, not the least of which was
the fact that during a Siege houses near them might be deliberately pulled
down by the defenders to deny the besiegers an advantage (i know of one
instance of this happening in the 16th c., in a siege of the _castrum_ of
Auneau, near Chartres, a parish church next to the wall was desstroyed by the
thinking of Chartres (just by accident), the Gallo-Roman city consisted of a
citadel up on the scarp overlooking the valley of the Eure (where the
cathedral is now and to the south and west, down the gently sloping terrain
leading into the southern Beauce).
there was a poor section of this part of the city (the site of the cathedral)
and even poorer sections beyond the citadel, down the hill and all along the
river. (the city baths were near the site of the abbey of St. Peter's; the
ampitheater was built into the hillside in front of the present church of St.
André, near the river.)
by the 9th c., the "city" --having shrunk considerably in population-- was
pretty much confined to the area which now comprises the cathedral close
(North, South and West of the cathedral, there being a fairly precipitous
drop-off to the East).
the later 11th c. and the 12th were Boom Times, with the population growing to
such an extent that new city walls were called for in the 1170s or '80s (i
think it was) which enclosed the "suburbs" of _Bellovidere_ ("Beauvais", in
modren parlance) to the North of the cathedral, and to the West as far as the
little church of Ste. Foi and the Place des Epars.
and a bit more than a century later a final set of walls extended along the
river (which was actually split up into two pieces for defensive purposes),
the most formidable part of which survived into our own day as the famous
signature of the city, the "Porte Guillaume" --or, almost survived, save for
some major redecorating done by the Germans as they retreated from the city in
as late as 30 years ago the "Basse Ville" was still the working class part of
town, with seedy hotels and cafés, the kind of place which a respectable
mother in the "Haute Ville" or the Faubourgs would warn her daughter not to
all this has changed, of course, as the town has become thoroughly Boutiqued
(en haute) and Gentrified (en bas).
From: John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>
> The Neapolitan experience would not confirm this -- for Naples. This
may well be a situation where a generalization such as "mendicant
churches were located on the outer periphery of cities" works much
better for some cities than for others.
well, leave it to Dillon and the Eyetalians to put a nasty Kink in the nice,
smooth lines us Syntheticists manage, with so much diffiuclty and skill, to
draw through the randomly scattered dots on the graph.
did the Neopolitans at least get it right to the extent that the mendicants
were sited in the poorer sections of town, whether that/those quarter(s)
was/were "on the outer periphery" or not, John?
or did the Friars commute to work from more Tony UpTown digs?
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