In the popular imagination, the Middle Ages was an exceedingly violent era, and it had a very particular relationship to death. Multifaceted and stirring, it was an everyday part of life between the 6th and the 16th century.
Its presence in every strata of medieval society means that the research that went into this volume could only be multidisciplinary covering areas such as art history, archeology, sociology, theology and forensic science.
Divided into four chapters (the causes of death, accompanying the dying and funeral rites, the topography of death, and from death to resurrection), the book paints a picture of what death was like in the Middle Ages.
It puts the spotlight on a thousand years of death, burial, mourning and remembrance based on one constant: people’s desire to maintain their social and spiritual status after death. In the pages of this volume, readers are presented with paintings, sculptures, monuments, relics, manuscripts and memento mori, as well as weapons, instruments of torture, skeletons, funerary offerings, and so on objects for overcoming death as well as for inflicting it.
Accompanies the exhibition of the same name at the Musées Royaux dArt et dHistoire de Belgique, Brussels (2 December 2010 24 April 2011)