Session Title

Bending the Knee: Proskynesis, Genuflection, and Bowing Rituals in the Medieval World II

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Ali Asgar H. Alibhai

Organizer Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Presider Name

Erika Loic

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Toronto-Mississauga

Paper Title 1

Averting a Royal Scandal: A Narrative of "Kissing the Ground" and the Importance of Courtly Protocol in the Early Fatimid Court of Ifrīqiya

Presenter 1 Name

Ali Asgar H. Alibhai

Paper Title 2

Prostrating to God through the Imam: The Ismaili Muslim Exegesis of Sujud

Presenter 2 Name

Khalil Andani

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Augustana College

Paper Title 3

How to Venerate the True Cross: Instructions from a Byzantine Lectionary (Vaticanus graecus 1156)

Presenter 3 Name

Barbara Crostini

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Uppsala Univ.

Start Date

8-5-2020 3:30 PM

Session Location

Schneider 1275

Description

Various pre-modern cultural traditions managed interactions between members of different social strata by prescribing performative displays of supplication and humility. Perceptible and formalized movements of the body, often performed publicly in courtly and religious settings, provided a symbolic visual vocabulary for interaction. They consisted of different extensions and contractions of joints and muscles, and often took the form of proskynesis, kowtow, genuflection, and bowing, as well as other gestures. These widely persistent social rituals represented the nature of the polarized relationship between master and slave, ruler and ruled, or superior and inferior in medieval cultures. They also served as forms of social currency; those acknowledging their superior’s authority and power were rewarded with social recognition. Paradoxically, bowing rituals could also result in one’s own exaltation through an elevation to a higher societal or spiritual ranking. Depictions and acts of genuflection or proskynesis were not limited to imperial contexts. Lowering the body as a means of elevating the soul was fundamental to monastic practice in Christian, Islamic, and many other cultures.

Ali Asgar Alibhai and Erika Loic

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 8th, 3:30 PM

Bending the Knee: Proskynesis, Genuflection, and Bowing Rituals in the Medieval World II

Schneider 1275

Various pre-modern cultural traditions managed interactions between members of different social strata by prescribing performative displays of supplication and humility. Perceptible and formalized movements of the body, often performed publicly in courtly and religious settings, provided a symbolic visual vocabulary for interaction. They consisted of different extensions and contractions of joints and muscles, and often took the form of proskynesis, kowtow, genuflection, and bowing, as well as other gestures. These widely persistent social rituals represented the nature of the polarized relationship between master and slave, ruler and ruled, or superior and inferior in medieval cultures. They also served as forms of social currency; those acknowledging their superior’s authority and power were rewarded with social recognition. Paradoxically, bowing rituals could also result in one’s own exaltation through an elevation to a higher societal or spiritual ranking. Depictions and acts of genuflection or proskynesis were not limited to imperial contexts. Lowering the body as a means of elevating the soul was fundamental to monastic practice in Christian, Islamic, and many other cultures.

Ali Asgar Alibhai and Erika Loic