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If you have seen the mosaics of Antioch, you know of their intricate beauty: the majesty of the Striding Lion, the brilliance of Oceanus. Elaborate borders and detailed figures are fashioned from collected fragments of rock and glass. Like mosaics formed of pebbles and glass, medieval memory networks were constructed with readily available materials—cultural commonplaces, tropes, examples, scriptures, and authorities. For the western European Middle Ages, memory networks informed the production of texts, communities, and personal identities. While each text, person, and community was distinct, the materials used to construct them were picked up from the past. Combined together, these inherited fragments of memory were reconfigured to the purposes of particular people, places, and cultures, even as the pieces themselves remained individually discernable. Thus, each new creation was concretely built with shards of the past, selected and reorganized yet still recognizable to all who shared the common cultural traditions of Western medieval Christianity.
KeywordsCommunal Identity Memory Network Female Author Medieval Literature Pagan Site
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