Relics of place: Stone fragments of the holy sepulchre in eleventh-century France

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This article considers stone pieces from the Holy Sepulchre brought to France in the eleventh century. Recent years have seen a growing awareness of architectural replications of the Holy Sepulchre built throughout the Latin West. Less attention has been devoted to its unmediated translation, namely, transporting its matter. Many French pilgrims who set out for Jerusalem before Urban preached crusade to the East in 1095 returned with stone fragments of the Holy Tomb to commemorate their visit and to consecrate architectural copies. Like the bodily remains of saints, these stone fragments acted as parts signifying the whole: they represented their place of origin and lent authenticity to local monuments. They could also act in unusual ways, attracting cults and prompting narratives, visual representations and staging in the church that announced their significance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-421
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Medieval History
Issue number4
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2018


  • Count of anjou
  • Eleventh century
  • France
  • Fulk nerra
  • Holy sepulchre
  • Pilgrimage
  • Relics
  • Stones


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