In the framework of the 2020 SCRIPTA PSL call for projects, the action Networks of inscriptions and epigraphic programs in the Medieval West aims to analyze the concept of “program” in its application to epigraphic practices during the Middle Ages, particularly in the funeral domain, and more generally in the context of large-scale commemorative phenomena.
This action raises from a historiographical observation. By compiling collections of individual and independent epigraphic entries, large corpuses publishing medieval inscriptions in Europe tend to prevent the connected analysis of inscriptions and their apprehension in the longue durée and at the scale of epigraphic places. Among the understudied phenomena due to the editorial fragmentation, one finds the notion of “program”. It has never been considered for epigraphic practices, while a number of sites in Europe show a continuous, planned and consistent use of inscriptions, mainly in the funeral domain. Written on different dates, with various contents and forms, these texts build a longterm funeral program informing the promoters’ commemorative intentions.
Once acknowledged this blind spot in the analysis of epigraphic practices, the action Networks of inscriptions and epigraphic programs in the Medieval West aims to identify the material and immaterial relationships between the funeral inscriptions of the same place, and to study their effects on the systems of commemoration of the dead, and on the representation of individuals and communities.
This action will take place in two steps: the organization of a workshop at the EHESS in Paris during the
Fall of 2020 and a three-day international seminar in Roda de Isábena (Spain) at the beginning of 2021. It intends to raise questions specific to the uses of writing in the Middle Ages, but also general problems of the anthropology of writing, such as the links between inscription and memory, between moment and duration, between living individuality and communities of absentee.
Given the novelty of the notion of “program” in epigraphic studies for the Middle Ages, the action Networks of inscriptions and epigraphic programs in the Medieval West is primarily exploratory. It will bring together specialists in medieval epigraphy, medievalists and scholars interested in the anthropological dimension of public writing, all periods combined, and an important communication display will provide real-time news and display open-access results.