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On The Personal Life Of Objects In Medieval Byzantium

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Chapter Summary

A comment made by Jean-Michel Spieser in the first part of this article, concerning how legal documents can enrich the knowledge of artefacts and their functions by revealing how their owners spoke of them and how their contemporaries esteemed them, that suggested to the author the theme of this paper as appropriate for the present volume. The author explores legal documents of the eleventh down to the fifteenth century for evidence of the personal life of objects in Byzantium. Despite the fact that specific types of artefacts, especially of a religious nature, tended to provoke similar actions and reactions in different individuals, the personal life of an object could be as individualized or as conventional as that of the person or persons with whom it was associated.

Keywords: artefacts; Jean-Michel Spieser; legal documents; medieval Byzantium



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