Session 21 (Free Papers): Liturgy and plainchant in the Iberian Peninsula I

Tuesday, 7 July 2021, 9.00-10.30, Room A224 | Chair: Lisa Marie Colton (University of Huddersfield)

Late medieval Iberian offices: A preliminary report | Santiago Ruiz-Torres (Universidad de Salamanca)

From the 12th century onwards the composition of plainchant offices received an important impetus as a result of the recovery of the Hispanic Sanctoral and the introduction of new liturgical festivities. With very few exceptions, such compositions are little known nowadays, a fact determined by their eminently local nature; indeed, for the most part they were intended to honour the patron saint of a diocese or monastery. In the long run, this localism led to a minor presence in sources which are usually dispersed and not always easily accessible. The purpose of this paper is to present the first results of an ambitious ongoing research project leading to the study and editing of the Iberian plainchant offices of the late Middle Ages. The presentation will be articulated in two parts. In the first will be shown an overall balance of these compositions and, subsequently, they will be located chronologically and topographically. The parallel examination of numerous sources makes it possible to trace their dissemination through the peninsular geography. The second part, meanwhile, will address the analysis of this repertoire from musical and textual perspectives. With this we expect to shed light on the technical and aesthetic criteria that guided the elaboration of these compositions, as well as their adaptation with the most primitive Gregorian corpus.

Leocadia as virgin and confessor in Visigothic Toledo | Rebecca Maloy (University of Colorado Boulder) & Emma Hornby (University of Bristol)

At first glance, Leocadia of Toledo seems an unlikely patron for the royal and episcopal seat of the seventh-century Visigothic kingdom. A faithful virgin who showed courage under interrogation but died before she could be tortured, she did not suffer the martyrdom that usually defines female sanctity. Although the sixth and seventh centuries saw an expansion of sainthood to confessors, those who did not die for the faith, the beneficiaries were almost exclusively bishops and male ascetics, appropriate models of sanctity for the clerical and monastic elite. Indeed, with the exception of Leocadia, the handful of female saints observed in the earliest Old Hispanic liturgical book, the Orationale of Verona, are martyrs. Even more exceptionally, Leocadia is cast as a confessor, both through her vita and, especially, through her liturgy. She is the only known virgin confessor in the early medieval liturgy.

This paper, written in collaboration with historian Kati Ihnat, demonstrates the uniqueness of Leocadia’s liturgy and places it in the wider context of Visigothic Toledo. Created in the wake of the conversion of the Visigothic kings from Arianism (587), the Old Hispanic liturgy was part of a larger cultural project to form a church, kingdom, and society unified in the Nicene faith. These goals were articulated most fully in the Fourth Council of Toledo (633), held in the church of Leocadia. Leocadia’s liturgy models a particular kind of faith and Christian practice, reflecting the council’s priorities.

Saints, calendars and chant in the processional liturgy at the cathedral of Saragossa before 1450 | David Andrés-Fernández (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

One of the earliest elements of the Christian liturgy is the cult of saints and martyrs. With time, the number of festivities devoted to them increased not only in the liturgical calendars but also in the number of processions to be held in churches. However, not many processional books or calendars from before the Fifteenth century survive to attest the rich liturgical life of the Roman churches in medieval Iberia. Fortunately, some older historical documents give evidence of celebrated saints and processions.

In this paper, I explore and compare the oldest processional book of Saragossa, from c. 1400, with medieval “cartularies” and “customaries” from 1118 onwards to get a better understanding of the processions of the saints (and their chants) celebrated at the Caesaraugustan church and the surrounding area. The findings, as part of a bigger project, show written evidence of the oldest Christian processions in the city, the calendar of saints from 1249 until c. 1400, and the most relevant chants related to the processions of saints in La Seo of Saragossa, including the transcription of unknown chants.