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Peasants' Revolts Memories: Damnatio Memoriae Or Hidden Memories?

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Chapter Summary

Patrick J. Geary has brilliantly demonstrated how, during the eleventh century, monks became professionals of memory and began to build-sometimes using forgery-a memory of the Carolingian past that could be useful to their monasteries, especially when they had to defend their rights on disputed lands. The importance of remembering in medieval society relates, to Christendom, as Christianity is a religion based on the memory of Christ's sacrifice. The attitude of chroniclers like Jean de Venette or Jean Froissart towards Peasant's Revolts is similar to the injunction issued by Yahweh to the Jews about Amaleq in saying to them that they should erase the memory of Amaleq but not to forget it. The damnatio memoriae in medieval rebellions was linked to the first phase of repression/abolition that followed every rebellion but was, in a subtle way, much more effective in forcing peasants to forget the significance of their own actions.

Keywords: Amaleq; damnatio memoriae; medieval rebellions; peasant's revolts memories



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