UCL Early Medieval Atlas


Accordia lecture, 15 Jan, Foxhall Forbes

15 January 2019, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Graffiti at Monte Sant’Angelo sul Gargano (Puglia): meaning, identity and belonging in the early Middle Ages

Event Information

Open to



Prof Ruth Whitehouse


Room G22/26
Senate House
Malet Street

At some point between the seventh century and the ninth, six Anglo-Saxon names were inscribed at Monte Sant’Angelo sul Gargano, a shrine dedicated to S. Michael in northern Puglia. This lecture uses these names as a lens through which to explore issues of meaning, identity and belonging by considering the specific physical, religious and performative contexts of Anglo-Saxon inscriptions in early medieval southern Italy. The Anglo-Saxon names are only a few among the two hundred or so which were inscribed on the walls of the shrine in this period, mostly from visitors of much less distant origin. These inscriptions offer an opportunity to investigate perceptions of identity and belonging in the context of pilgrimage, which is usually associated with devotion but which also connected different groups of people together in ways which brought aspects of commonality and alterity into sharp focus. By combining historical and theological approaches to examine these names, it is possible to unpick the range of complex spiritual and social meanings which the act(s) of writing inscriptions on the walls of the shrine at Monte Gargano might have held for those who wrote and read them.

About the Speaker

Helen Foxhall Forbes

at University of Durham