Medieval graffiti inscriptions

Book chapter


Champion, Matthew Simeon. (2018). Medieval graffiti inscriptions. In The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain pp. 626-640 Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198744719.013.66
AuthorsChampion, Matthew Simeon
Abstract

Although the study of medieval church graffiti inscriptions has a long pedigree, recent large-scale surveys have brought to light tens of thousands of previously unknown examples. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the new discoveries is the fact that the vast majority of these early graffiti, where intelligible, have been shown to have distinctly spiritual, devotional, or votive meaning. Whilst the most obvious of these take the form of prayers or invocations, sometimes written in the conventional Latin forms of the Orthodox Church, many others appear to have been created in non-traditional forms. Vast numbers of these early inscriptions appear to reflect aspects of lay piety and belief, having an apotropaic function, and represent a personal interaction between parishioner and the medieval church. Taken together they indicate that medieval graffiti were regarded as both accepted and acceptable forms of devotion.

Keywordsgraffiti; medieval church; apotropaic; devotion; votive; belief; inscriptions; lay piety; ritual protection
Page range626-640
Year01 Jan 2018
Book titleThe Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
SeriesOxford Handbooks
ISBN9780198744719
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198744719.013.66
Web address (URL)https://academic.oup.com/edited-volume/34669/chapter/295396996
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print05 Feb 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Feb 2024
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© Oxford University Press 2018

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