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bylinebree
08-25-2008, 12:15 PM
Hi, I need some info from those of you who are Catholic, or know about cathedrals, please.

Setting: Medieval Europe (France)
Setup: Female character is entering a cathedral by way of a secret tunnel - to spy on an Inquisition tribunal. She's going to sneak into one of the back rooms & use a peep-hole there, for an hour or so. She's considering taking some of the garments there to use as a disguise.

Questions:
1. Does the priest change out of everyday robes completely when doing a Mass, or just don special vestments over his daily garb? (vestments the right term?)
2. Would these be stored in a special room behind the, er, altar area? (which is called what?) What is this chamber like, used for?
3. Would it be a place a person could hide for an hour or so?
4. Would monks be attending, helping, etc, in a cathedral - ie, one at Chartres?

Thanks for forebearing with a non-Catholic!

Deb Kinnard
08-25-2008, 04:33 PM
1. Does the priest change out of everyday robes completely when doing a Mass, or just don special vestments over his daily garb? (vestments the right term?) Catholics may correct me at will, but due to plenty of reading, I think vestments is the right term, and yes, they do put the special garments over their everyday wer.
2. Would these be stored in a special room behind the, er, altar area? (which is called what?) What is this chamber like, used for? It's called the vestry and it may be off to one side, not behind the altar. In most European cathedrals I've been in (UK only), the area behind the altar is used for other purposes, like chapels, etc. To my knowledge, the vestry is used only for garment storage & for changing.
3. Would it be a place a person could hide for an hour or so? Why not?
4. Would monks be attending, helping, etc, in a cathedral - ie, one at Chartres? They might be, particularly if their community is attached to the cathedral. If you're talking Chartres specifically, I don't know.

Roger J Carlson
08-25-2008, 04:34 PM
I think this might fit better in Research.

Priene
08-25-2008, 04:48 PM
Monks certainly would be around at Chartres. It was not an abbey, so they wouldn't live there, but Chartres was a major place of pilgrimage. Pilgrims at some period slept inside the Cathedral itself. There might also be trading taking place, if you can imagine such a thing.

Higgins
08-25-2008, 04:51 PM
Monks certainly would be around at Chartres. It was not an abbey, so they wouldn't live there, but Chartres was a major place of pilgrimage. Pilgrims at some period slept inside the Cathedral itself. There might also be trading taking place, if you can imagine such a thing.

Priests and Monks would not be likely to be doing any inquisitorial actions.
I suggest a Dominican Friar.

Priene
08-25-2008, 04:57 PM
To clarify: I wasn't talking about monks taking part in an inquisition. Just that they would have had a constant presence as visitors.

Sarpedon
08-25-2008, 05:08 PM
Most medieval cathedrals have cross-shaped plans. The altar is at the crossing. Generally, ordinary people would attend the mass in the largest part of the cross, while the short arms of the cross were reserved for monks, nuns, and so forth. I think the monks had the right side and the nuns the left.

In many cathedrals, (I don't remember if there was one at chartres) there is a connected sacristy, which is where the changing of the robes would take place. (I don't know whether this happened a lot) In the days before locks became common, there probably would be a guard.

If I were at chartres, and I wanted to hide...I'd probably do it in the town surrounding the cathedral. Though the cathedral now has a nice square in front of it, in medieval times it wouldnt have. The cathedral would have been the biggest open space in town. If I couldn't hide there, I would probably disguise myself as a filthy pilgrim, and find an out of the way spot on the triforium (which is the balcony-like area overlooking the main aisle.

Higgins
08-25-2008, 05:25 PM
Most medieval cathedrals have cross-shaped plans. The altar is at the crossing.

No, the altar is on the east end. And there may be lots of side chapels with altars.

See for example

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transept

citymouse
08-25-2008, 05:40 PM
No torture in the church/cathedral proper. That's Hollywood.

Vestments for Mass and other rites would be changed into clerical robes.

The Holy Office of the Inquisition was not something parish priests would get into. A canon or even archdeacon at a cathedral is another matter.

C

pdr
08-25-2008, 09:01 PM
a superb book on my shelf at home, originally a children's one, but in great detail. Of course I cannot give you anything useful - someone here will know it - except that it was called ‘Cathedral’ or ‘Mediaeval Cathedral’ and was one of a series, ‘Castle’ I remember too. Shows all the interiors and structure and would give you a feeling of the inside of a Cathedral.

Priene
08-25-2008, 09:32 PM
And if you're after information about Chartres cathedral, Philip Ball's Universe of Stone (http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Stone-Biography-Chartres-Cathedral/dp/0061154296/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219685452&sr=8-1) is good place to start.

IceCreamEmpress
08-25-2008, 09:58 PM
An Inquisition tribunal would ordinarily not have been held in the cathedral proper. It was infinitely more likely to have been held in the room(s) of the bishop's residence where the ecclesiastical court ordinarily met, or in the largest room available in the local Dominican cloister.

Do you have any information that suggests that Inquisition tribunals were held in the cathedral at Chartres? Because that would have been very, very unusual, and I would expect that if that were the case there would be some quite extraordinary explanation for that.

Higgins
08-25-2008, 10:57 PM
An Inquisition tribunal would ordinarily not have been held in the cathedral proper. It was infinitely more likely to have been held in the room(s) of the bishop's residence where the ecclesiastical court ordinarily met, or in the largest room available in the local Dominican cloister.

Do you have any information that suggests that Inquisition tribunals were held in the cathedral at Chartres? Because that would have been very, very unusual, and I would expect that if that were the case there would be some quite extraordinary explanation for that.

I doubt that you would have any inquisitorial procedings in a cathedral, though apparently an episcopal vicar could burn people if he got all his ducks in a row:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ROnDOB-HHVIC&pg=PA115&lpg=PA115&dq=audiencia+inquisition&source=web&ots=wNUZVumrc8&sig=SXdt7eCOtau3WF84RdDkrLB_9R4&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=7&ct=result#PPA3,M1

Mike Martyn
08-26-2008, 02:05 AM
Hi, I need some info from those of you who are Catholic, or know about cathedrals, please.

Setting: Medieval Europe (France)
Setup: Female character is entering a cathedral by way of a secret tunnel - to spy on an Inquisition tribunal. She's going to sneak into one of the back rooms & use a peep-hole there, for an hour or so. She's considering taking some of the garments there to use as a disguise.

Questions:
1. Does the priest change out of everyday robes completely when doing a Mass, or just don special vestments over his daily garb? (vestments the right term?)
2. Would these be stored in a special room behind the, er, altar area? (which is called what?) What is this chamber like, used for?
3. Would it be a place a person could hide for an hour or so?
4. Would monks be attending, helping, etc, in a cathedral - ie, one at Chartres?

Thanks for forebearing with a non-Catholic!

As a kid, I was a choir boy at a Cathedral that was built around gothic lines, ie: flying butrresses, gargoyes on the roof line, enormous open space and lots of stained glass. This was in 1960 not 1360 but I doubt things changed much in intervening 600 years.

Note that a cathedral is a church in which the bisop of the diocesse presides so it tends to be a big deal.

To the left of the altar were a couple of doors, one led to a side chapel and one smaller door lead to the sancristy (sp) where they got the wine and bread ready for mass. That's where the priest's robes were kept, including the arch bisop's stuff. It was always kept locked mostly so that the altar boys (14 and 15 year olds) wouldn't get into the communion wine when no one was looking.

The choir boys had their own room to the right of the altar. All our robes were kept on hangers in this sort of open closet. It was never locked. The choir boys were from age 8 to about 13 which is about the top age since our voices broke about that point.

I doubt that your female protag could sneak into the sancristy. However maybe she can disquise herself as a 13 year old choir boy. Hey Shakespeare was big on that sort of thing!

By way of back ground, athough we were choir boys, we were still boys and most of us were thorough going little shits. We swore extravagantly though we never blasphemed. We were always getting into fist fights but never in the church, always out side in the church yard behind some of the larger monuments which conviently screened our activities from view. I don't know whether we could have out sung the Vienna Boys Choir but I bet we could have beaten the crap out of them.

The head choir boy would be the oldest boy with the best voice like "Jack" in Lord of the Flies. If your female protag pops in as a new choir boy, she better have a good story for "Jack", otherwise she'll get dragged out into the side church yard when the priests aren't looking (trust me they never looked) and administered a good thumping.

waylander
08-26-2008, 02:17 AM
I concur that the actual inquisition would not take place in the cathedral - the Bishop's palace adjacent to the cathedral, much more likely.

johnnysannie
08-26-2008, 03:10 AM
Hi, I need some info from those of you who are Catholic, or know about cathedrals, please.

[
1. Does the priest change out of everyday robes completely when doing a Mass, or just don special vestments over his daily garb? (vestments the right term?) Yes. And keep in mind that different color vestaments are used at different seasons and events.
2. Would these be stored in a special room behind the, er, altar area? (which is called what?) What is this chamber like, used for? It is called the sacristy and yes, most likely the vestments would be stored there.
3. Would it be a place a person could hide for an hour or so? I suppose; the sacristy is seldom used except prior to and just after Mass
4. Would monks be attending, helping, etc, in a cathedral - ie, one at Chartres? Yes

Thanks for forebearing with a non-Catholic!

You probably have all the answers but just in case.....answers in blue above.

MadScientistMatt
08-26-2008, 04:41 AM
Just a side note if you're looking for more information about the Inquisition: You might want to search for Bernard Gui and his writings. He was the inquisitor at Toulouse from 1307 to 1323, and wrote a famous how-to manual for inquisitors. If you've ever read Umberto Eco's book The Name of the Rose, he is a character in that book and one scene is actually a re-enactment of Gui's inquisition handbook.

bylinebree
08-26-2008, 08:21 PM
I think this might fit better in Research.

Thank you for not moving this, Roger. I was torn between posting it here or the Research one. This is really helpful and I might be asking some Catholic q's also along the way.

bylinebree
08-26-2008, 08:43 PM
Ooooh....you DID move this. Well, Good Morning anyway:Sun:
My comments & thanks below this related question - but here's a huge (and religious) question for you Catholics - I'm not intending you to be disrespectful in any way towards Catholicism nor do I mean to be, either (I'm a Christian writing fiction with that world-view):
If you were a good Catholic girl of the 13th century, and the Church arrested your dear father for joining an "unlawful sect" how would you feel about your beloved (and I mean that) Church? Your religion?
We all know that the Inq. was horrible, of course. But thanks for a little role-playing, and some theological perspective (and personal thoughts) here.



I suggest a Dominican Friar.

Right, I've researched the Inquisitorial process quite a bit. The presiding authority over the Tribunal is a Dominican friar (bishop probably in this case), made up of priests (some as questioners) and local authorities (as witnesses to the proceedings and to carry out the sentences of "persuasion" or execution since the Church didn't get their hands dirty like that)

The location is going to be a composite fictional city, with elements of both Chartres and a little of Lyons, a bishopric to the south. I couldn't find exactly what was needed in onlyone place, so I've decided to make one up! (Grisham does it, so I'll give it a whirl too)

To Mike Martyn: The nobleman they're trying is a baron, so it IS a big deal.
Love your first-hand info about altar boys, HA. No, the lady spying isn't going to try to look like a choir boy :tongue She'd never get away with that.

Thanks to IceCreamEmpress for suggesting the tribunal not take place in the cathedral proper, but in the bishop's chambers or palace - didn't know about that sort of thing! (Visiting these places would be so nice but not possible this year for me, sigh)

Deb Kinnard
08-27-2008, 05:36 AM
Apologies for the misinformation I posted. I've only been to the UK and it's true -- the place where they change is currently called the vestry, but it wasn't during the middle ages.

And didn't inquiries about anything of a disciplinary nature often take place in the Chapter House?

windyrdg
08-27-2008, 07:25 AM
Back in the dark ages when I was an altar boy, there were two rooms one to the left of the altar and one to the right. The right one was the sacristy where the elements and other "equipment" - chalices, cruets, etc were kept and where the priest vested for Mass. The room to the left of the altar was the altar boy's vesting room and, as someone pointed out, the cassocks and surplices ( the white, short-sleeved grament worn over the floor length cassock) were stored on hangers. In our church, which was fairly large and laid out in Gothic style with two transcepts, each with a side altar, a narrow hallway connected the two rooms making it possible to walk from one side of the building to the other without crossing the altar.

There was also a cool basement corridor that one entered in the back behind the steps to choir loft. It tunneled under the church and emerged near the altar boy's room. I always felt a little uneasy walking it...like it was the catacombs or something and I might encounter a corpse. (I had an active imagination.) It would have been easy for someone to enter the church from the rear, slip down the stairs and emerge behind the altar. Most old buildings have these kind of passageways. I've encountered them in old downtown office buildings as well.

Good Luck

Higgins
08-27-2008, 04:48 PM
To Mike Martyn: The nobleman they're trying is a baron, so it IS a big deal.

I don't think a baron would surrender to the Inquisition without a pretty big fight. It might take a crusade to get him.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Albigenses

http://xenophongroup.com/montjoie/albigens.htm

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/gui-cathars.html

Higgins
08-27-2008, 05:11 PM
If you were a good Catholic girl of the 13th century, and the Church arrested your dear father for joining an "unlawful sect" how would you feel about your beloved (and I mean that) Church? Your religion?
We all know that the Inq. was horrible, of course. But thanks for a little role-playing, and some theological perspective (and personal thoughts) here.


The modern models of religion probably don't apply well to the 13th century. For one thing, though the Church was "holy, catholic and apostolic"...it was not anything like a modern ideologically-based "faith"...the Church was an ideal form, personified as a woman and set up in opposition to other ideal forms (such as Synegogia, who was portrayed as blindfolded). In local terms, there were plenty of cultic goings on that functioned as much as a part of local industry...very different from our modern image where the "goodness" of a person relates to their ideological purity. For example, your character might have an uncle who was a priest and had a role in the cathedral (such as a canon), but who also had a more or less official wife and some children. His goodness and holiness would flow from his participation in the rites of the cathedral, not from his ideological correctness.
But suppose her father...some sort of noble apparently...has what are in fact modern ideological ideas of goodness (assuming he is going to join the Cathars). One of his points would be that purity and goodness come from the ideological correctness of not having anything to do with the evils of the world such as wives and children (including -- I guess -- his daughter) and eating and drinking.
Perhaps his daughter would make the correct medieval choice and tell her "Corrupt" priestly uncle that her father was going to join that nutty purity sect and wreck all their lives. Moreover, assuming the Inquisition is hard at work...said daughter has a lot of evidence (such as the last two decades of slaughter..assuming we are in about 1230) that the time is not right for a modern ideological interpretion of religious goodness.

IceCreamEmpress
08-27-2008, 07:12 PM
But suppose her father...some sort of noble apparently...has what are in fact modern ideological ideas of goodness (assuming he is going to join the Cathars).

The Cathars' ideology doesn't map well to any modern ideology I know of. It was a movement that was very much of its time.

bylinebree, have you read the book The Perfect Heresy by Stephen O' Shea? Because he talks a lot about the conflicts that resulted when someone in, or some part of, a family joined the Cathars and other family members did not.

Higgins
08-27-2008, 07:44 PM
But suppose her father...some sort of noble apparently...has what are in fact modern ideological ideas of goodness (assuming he is going to join the Cathars).

The Cathars' ideology doesn't map well to any modern ideology I know of. It was a movement that was very much of its time.

bylinebree, have you read the book The Perfect Heresy by Stephen O' Shea? Because he talks a lot about the conflicts that resulted when someone in, or some part of, a family joined the Cathars and other family members did not.

I was thinking the Cathars are more like a modern ideology in the sense that it was an all-or-nothing leap into accepting a lot of evaluations of goodness and purity and a view of how the world worked. In those ways the Cathars were more like a modern "faith"...than the diverse and often purely local and contingent workings of the medieval church.
In a sense, modern people have no need for an Inquisition since the internalized inquisitors of ideology keep them within some ideologically defined bounds without much need for external punishment. Each modern person is his own inquisitor in terms of ideological correctness.

ideagirl
08-28-2008, 02:52 AM
Setup: Female character is entering a cathedral by way of a secret tunnel - to spy on an Inquisition tribunal. She's going to sneak into one of the back rooms & use a peep-hole there

You should probably do some research on the inquisition and on the architecture of cathedrals. It sounds weird to me that a tribunal would take place inside a church, though I suppose it's not impossible. But, it does sound weird, so look into that. I think inquisition tribunals had their own courtrooms and their own buildings--they were operated by the church, but that doesn't mean their work took place in churches.

Two main points on architecture:

(1) I'm not sure what this "back room" could be or where it could be--I'm racking my brains but I've never seen such a thing in a medieval cathedral, and I lived in France for years and studied the Middle Ages there (which obviously included going into and/or looking at pictures and floor plans of a lot of cathedrals). You're basically talking about the sacristy (sometimes called the vestry)--there's no other room this could be--but French cathedrals are usually what you might call open-plan; you can wander around the entire interior of the church. The sacristy is usually part of another structure, although it's true that said other structure is often attached to the cathedral, or at least located right next to the cathedral.

(2) Even if there were a sacristy within the cathedral itself, many (most?) medieval French cathedrals have crypts underneath them--underground rooms, of sorts; often these rooms have quite low ceilings (8 feet...) but still neat architecture (pillars all over the place), and great acoustics; sometimes small concerts are held there (these days, not in the middle ages). But anyway, since there is this underground space, a tunnel that came from somewhere else would likely open into the crypt. I'm not saying it's impossible for there to be a cathedral with a tunnel that opens through some kind of trapdoor into the sacristy, but keep the crypt issue in mind. Of course, the crypt isn't always as big as the church itself, so there could be places where a tunnel into a room would work. But anyway, keep these issues in mind.

Here's a Wikipedia page that starts with a floorplan of Amiens cathedral. Notice--the whole building is the church; there's no sacristy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_diagram
On the other hand, here's Salisbury Cathedral in England--the floorplan shows a vestry (a.k.a. sacristy): http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/visitor.plan.php

Another page on some French cathedrals--again, I'm not seeing where the sacristy would be in them; they have a different "footprint" than English cathedrals of the same period:
http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~hart205/Cathedrals/Plan/plan.html

bylinebree
08-28-2008, 07:26 PM
The cathedral (a composite of two) will still have a role inthe story, but not as much as I thought!


I don't think a baron would surrender to the Inquisition without a pretty big fight. It might take a crusade to get him.


He's not a Cathar - he's a Waldensian (disciple of the teachings of Peter Valdo/Waldo who believed in poverty, lay-preachers, and having Scripture in the common tongue), so he's been busy giving away his wealth and sneaking off as much as possible to learn of their ways. When he's arrested, its with a group of Waldensian brothers, and he refuses to leave them to save himself -- even for the sake of his daughters. He has physically provided for the girls (money) but spiritually decides to follow what he believes is a "true path" of faith in God. And suck up the dire consequences, ugh.

I'm still researching (intermittently) what powers his barony entails, and who his authority is in that position. Medieval French titles, peerage, etc.


(1) I'm not sure what this "back room" could be or where it could be--I'm racking my brains but I've never seen such a thing in a medieval cathedral, and I lived in France for years and studied the Middle Ages Yes, thanks! Other comments sent me running to revise this (later in after this first draft) - so the Tribunal will now take place NEAR the cathedral at the bishop's place.

Since my time period for the story is about 1250, it was the early stages of Inquisition practice and things weren't quite so "set". Dominicans traveled to hold the tribunals in various places, and could basically be their own authority as an "arm of the Roman Church."

A curious & spine-tingling fact: I found out that my own French ancestors' "heretical" beliefs probably originated with the Waldensians, while doing research for this book. I'd even used an ancestral name w/out realizing we could have actually been a part of this history.

Kinda cool, huh??

Higgins
08-28-2008, 07:59 PM
He's not a Cathar - he's a Waldensian (disciple of the teachings of Peter Valdo/Waldo who believed in poverty, lay-preachers, and having Scripture in the common tongue), so he's been busy giving away his wealth and sneaking off as much as possible to learn of their ways. When he's arrested, its with a group of Waldensian brothers, and he refuses to leave them to save himself -- even for the sake of his daughters. He has physically provided for the girls (money) but spiritually decides to follow what he believes is a "true path" of faith in God. And suck up the dire consequences, ugh.



That might work better, though you might consider making him a rich merchant rather than a baron. The Waldensians (based on what I just read in Wikipedia) had a lot more legalistic give-and-take with the ecclesiastical authorities than the Cathars did. Some Waldensians apparently pioneered anti-Cathar preaching for the Dominicans.

ideagirl
08-28-2008, 09:12 PM
He's not a Cathar - he's a Waldensian

That doesn't change the fact that a nobleman wouldn't submit without a fight, and that it might take a crusade to get him. The circumstances of his arrest are not especially relevant to that. Remember, if he's killed, what happens to his family--leaving money/property to his daughters is meaningless; if he's dead, who's going to carry out that intention of his (who's actually going to give them the money/property, or let them keep it if they already have it)? If he's dead, someone takes over his lands, and what happens to his daughters is basically up to that person. You need to think about that--if he is killed, you need to make sure he has an heir--most likely a male heir who is of age (though women then did have more rights in southern France than in most places). And preferably an heir who's not a heretic; otherwise the heir will have the same problems your baron does, and may not be able to exercise power.

Speaking of southern France--you've mentioned Chartres and Lyon (note proper French spelling of Lyon). This is the 1250s--northern France started its pope-inspired crusades against the south in around 1207, or was it 1208 (the siege of Carcassonne, anyway). So we're talking 4 decades later... I just don't think your setting is far south enough to still have major (i.e. baronial) heretics four-plus decades after the start of the (for lack of a better word) anti-heretic wars in France. Again, I could be totally wrong here, but this is an area you should do more research on. And once you do figure out what part of the country he needs to be baron of, watch out for names--French names have some distinct regional features, and most first names in the middle ages were quite different than first names now, especially outside the Paris/northern areas of France.

Here's a pretty decent page (which maybe you've already found) on the medieval French aristocracy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_nobility
And here's something in French, which I looked up because "baron" seemed to me like a weird title for a French aristocrat:
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baronnie
Sure enough, there were no aristocrats called "baron" until the 14th century; before that, the word "barons" (plural) was used to describe aristocrats whose powers and lands were held by the grace of kings or major dukes or counts (by which I mean, dukes and counts who had very large and/or important territories). However, an individual member of that group (the barons) was not called a baron; the people who were later referred to as barons were, back in the 1250s, just called "seigneur" (male) or "dame" (female)--in other words, Lord and Lady.

However, just because they held their lands from kings, dukes or counts, that doesn't mean that hierarchically they were right under kings, dukes or counts; that French page also cites a medieval source listing the relative "dignities" of each position as follows: duke, count, viscount, baron, chatelain (I don't know how to say that in English--it does at least mean the person owns a castle); then vavasseur (another title whose English equivalent I don't know), then citadin/e (basically a city-dwelling gentleman/woman). So basically, a baron (or in your story, Seigneur)'s boss is whoever he holds his lands under (count, duke or king), but a viscount is hierarchically superior to a baron.


A curious & spine-tingling fact: I found out that my own French ancestors' "heretical" beliefs probably originated with the Waldensians, while doing research for this book. I'd even used an ancestral name w/out realizing we could have actually been a part of this history. Kinda cool, huh??

That's incredibly cool.

Skyraven
08-29-2008, 04:40 AM
Hi, I need some info from those of you who are Catholic, or know about cathedrals, please.

Setting: Medieval Europe (France)
Setup: Female character is entering a cathedral by way of a secret tunnel - to spy on an Inquisition tribunal. She's going to sneak into one of the back rooms & use a peep-hole there, for an hour or so. She's considering taking some of the garments there to use as a disguise.

Questions:
1. Does the priest change out of everyday robes completely when doing a Mass, or just don special vestments over his daily garb? (vestments the right term?) Vestments go on over the everyday clothing.
2. Would these be stored in a special room behind the, er, altar area? (which is called what?) What is this chamber like, used for? The chamber is called the sacristy.
3. Would it be a place a person could hide for an hour or so? depends on how big it is.
4. Would monks be attending, helping, etc, in a cathedral - ie, one at Chartres? Depends if they are attached to a church - ie that they are connected in some way to the church.

Thanks for forebearing with a non-Catholic! Anytime you need help let me know. :) Heiddi

Sarpedon
08-29-2008, 04:55 PM
Originally Posted by bylinebree
Setup: Female character is entering a cathedral by way of a secret tunnel - to spy on an Inquisition tribunal. She's going to sneak into one of the back rooms & use a peep-hole there

You know, in my French Medieval architecture class I took, we were studying some (or, Is should say, lots) of cathedrals, and one of them (I don't recall which, sadly) had a place where a friend of mine joked that a person could stand and observe the proceedings without being seen, and could pretend to be the voice of God. (It was funnier at the time, wacky architecture students that we were) However, it wasn't the back room. It was a small room in the tower from which the chandelier was suspended. (yes, some cathedrals have chandeliers) This one was directly above the crossing.

However, beyond that, I agree that medieval cathedrals don't have a lot of places to hide. Perhaps she could hide under or behind one of the side chapel altars or reliqueries? or maybe in a confessional booth (If the medieval church had them. I don't know) I don't think cathedrals have 'back rooms' or secret passages. Why would they?

bylinebree
08-30-2008, 12:21 PM
Ideagirl: Your post is too long to include here, but I have a few comments.

*I'm not going to create a crusade to get him, that would be stretching things too much, even for me!
*The name I'm using is based on an ancestor from Normandy, so we should be pretty safe there.
* His older daughter is a widow who's entitled to a third of her husband's estate by the French laws of that time, but she signs off on it & goes back home to her father. They have an uncle in England who helps out, no male heir, etc...it's complicated.
*Yes, I did recently find that about French "baronies" & will adjust his title in the revisions; I just needed him to have an English one that meant something to me, for now, that meant "nobility & landed." Thanks, and I may use 'Signeur' in the end.

*I'm trying...in my fumbling way...to do a TON of research that goes beyond Wiki -- not to diss the site totally, but it's only a jumping-off place. The tricky part is that I'm writing the story at the same time. (Some do all their research before starting, but I can't; I'd be dead before it ever got written!)
*I don't have time to defend all my research on the Waldensians, but they & other heretics were still very much persecuted during the 13th century, though they dwindled & moved into Italy for ex. It was just a "warm up" for things to come.

Sarpedon: As to the setting - Yes, I'm taking creative license by combining two cathedrals, two cities, to make a new place for this novel. Lyon had tunnels (traboules) used for the silk trade in the 15-1600's & later, which I'm making use of. Chartres had its own interesting features.

It is, after all, historical fiction. (Look at what Dan Brown did!)
Wow...so much more to find out. Esp. the French stuff, er, history~

Deb Kinnard
08-31-2008, 09:27 PM
You might do an end run around the "baron" question by simply having the father referred to as "Sieur de____" whatever. In the 13th and 14th centuries, one of the most powerful families in northern France never had a title attached to their name. "Ne duc, ne comte, ne roi aussi/Je suis le sieur de Coucy" (loose translation)-- "Not dukes, nor counts, nor kings are we -- we are the lords of Coucy." Prideful, eh?

Kings of England and France thought they were worth the effort, and so sought Coucy mates for their offspring.

Just a thought.

IceCreamEmpress
08-31-2008, 10:25 PM
It is, after all, historical fiction. (Look at what Dan Brown did!)

Don't do that.

I mean, write a gripping page-turner and sell a bazillion copies if you can, and more power to you!

But don't fill your book with inaccuracies and anachronisms. You can do better than that.

Ravenlocks
09-01-2008, 04:11 AM
If you were a good Catholic girl of the 13th century, and the Church arrested your dear father for joining an "unlawful sect" how would you feel about your beloved (and I mean that) Church? Your religion?
We all know that the Inq. was horrible, of course. But thanks for a little role-playing, and some theological perspective (and personal thoughts) here.

I don't think Europeans of that time period were so quick to reject an entire religion out of hand just because its leadership did something that hurt them on a personal level. She might very well believe her father was wrong and the church was right, no matter how much emotional pain that caused her, and she might continue to support the church. Even if she believed the church was wrong, my feeling is she might reject the church leaders as individuals but continue to believe in the rightness and goodness of the church itself as an entity. She might want to correct the church's path but probably wouldn't leave it. Unless, of course, her father convinced her to follow him into the sect, in which case all bets are off.

ideagirl
09-03-2008, 05:45 AM
*I'm not going to create a crusade to get him, that would be stretching things too much, even for me!
*The name I'm using is based on an ancestor from Normandy, so we should be pretty safe there.

Not making up an entire fictional crusade--that sounds like a good plan! :-)
As for the name, though, Normandy is way the hell north. It's in the extreme northwest of France, worlds away from even the places you mentioned (Chartres and Lyon), let alone the south. I'm just mentioning the geographical problem again because, unless I overlooked something, I don't think you responded to that yet. I'm not trying to complicate your life, I'm just trying to help point out certain research items for your to-do list.

Higgins
09-03-2008, 05:34 PM
It is, after all, historical fiction. (Look at what Dan Brown did!)
Wow...so much more to find out. Esp. the French stuff, er, history~


Don't do that.

I mean, write a gripping page-turner and sell a bazillion copies if you can, and more power to you!

But don't fill your book with inaccuracies and anachronisms. You can do better than that.

I second the thought that Dan Brown is not a good model for using historical props and using the Catholic Church as a stock chunk of standard evil. After all...if you Dan-Brown your history...what is onereally accusing people in the past as being? One is saying (if one does the Dan Browning) that people in one's invented past are guilty of being in an invented past, and evil for not partaking of the inherent goodness of one's present world. So...in the Brownian world, the mystery is hidden in perfectly ordinary iconography as actually worked out by a perfectly ordinary Christian civilization...but all that gets erased. In effect the Brownian approach to historical props amounts to inviting the reader to join the writer in erasing the real meanings that things have, thus creating a real conspiracy (justified by an imaginary conspiracy to conceal a past) to erase the past, so that the act of reading actually has all the pleasures of erasure and forgetting rather than the pleasures of remembering and constructing. The Brownian action of history via erasing history isn't particularly noticable since it is very much like the way our current culture deals with cultural/historical elements in general -- placing them under headings that amount to schemes of erasure, veiling and forgetting: Classical Art, the Medieval Church (recognized only enough to have its evil extracted for other uses), Indians (and other generalized savages) and so on...

So don't take Brownian history as a model.

Priene
09-03-2008, 06:11 PM
As for the name, though, Normandy is way the hell north. It's in the extreme northwest of France, worlds away from even the places you mentioned (Chartres and Lyon), let alone the south.

Rouen, capital of Normandy, is 40 miles from Beauvais and 70 miles from Chartres.

ideagirl
09-03-2008, 08:21 PM
Rouen, capital of Normandy, is 40 miles from Beauvais and 70 miles from Chartres.

Not sure what the Beauvais reference is about (but, FYI, Rouen is 368 miles from Lyon, a gigantic distance in that day and age). As for Chartres, Rouen is 83 miles by highway from Chartres. I have no idea how long the road (if there was a road) was in the 13th century, but it would almost have to be longer for obvious reasons (no dynamite to blast hills out of the way when building the road, no tunnels, etc., and not to mention, any road would probably have stopped in every notable town along the way rather than being direct). Even if it were only 83 miles, a trip of that length could take a week, and the overwhelming majority of people never took such a trip.

But my main point isn't that--it's just that Normandy is a separate and very distinct region from Centre (the Chartres region), with its own family names and even first names. To this day you can often tell where in France a person (or her ancestors) is from just by her name. That was all the more true back in the much-less-mobile Middle Ages.

Deb Kinnard
09-03-2008, 08:48 PM
Just finished reading a nonfic book called THE NORMANS in which the (very French) writer describes some of the background of the Norse colonists of this area. Many of the personal names are Frenchified Scandinavian names, making them quite different from personal names in the area owing suzerainty to the King of France. You might google some of them to give your piece a Norman flavor as opposed to French.

As far as travel times, I had to find out this data for my recently completed book. Ten miles a day was considered making good time. So your (short!) 70 mile journey between Rouen and Chartres would take about a week, barring brigands, the demands of horseflesh, broken wagon-wheels, rivers in spate, roads that were hock-deep in mud, and diverse other travel-joys of that age.

Man, and here I bellyache about the TSA and airport security. I've got nothing much to complain about.

Priene
09-04-2008, 12:17 AM
Not sure what the Beauvais reference is about

Beauvais has one of the most important mediaeval cathedrals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauvais_Cathedral) in France. It is one of twenty or more important cathedrals built in the Ile de France and surrounding area at that time. I mentioned Beauvais specifically to show that Rouen was not worlds away from the Cathedral-building area around Paris. Similar cathedrals include Amiens, Notre Dame in Paris, Laon, Rheims and smaller ones such as Senlis. I'm sure surnames vary in those areas, but the cathedrals were constructed at similar times and as part of the same architectural movement.

Much of travel in those days would have been done by river. The Eure river downstream from Chartres joins the Seine, and the Seine flows from Paris down to Rouen. Given that within (a very long) living memory farmers from my area used to walk livestock by foot from Norwich to London, 105 miles, that the Europe we're talking about was the one that spawned the trade routes of the Hanseatic league, and that Chartres was built on the pilgrim trade, I'm having difficulty thinking of Rouen and Chartres being so terribly far apart.

bylinebree
09-04-2008, 07:09 PM
You are all bringing up very good points and I appreciate that!

The time it takes her to travel figures into the plot; she goes mostly by horseback or carriage, and is helped by a powerful friend or two along the way [one being a leader in the Church itself (a friend of her grandfather's time) and the other being the hero, a knight hired by Blanche of Castille]

My heroine is raised near the Oise River and marries a noble of Rouen. He dies, she goes back to her father while deciding what to do in the future. Her father is flitting about with Waldensians, who not only concentrated in northern France and Germany, but spread further south. But I'm staying out the whole Provence-persecution thing in this story, since it's been done.

He's south of Paris during one of these "missions", so I figured he'd be taken to the closest bishopric for trial - not back to Normandy(the Oise region) Thus, either Lyons, Chalon, or Chartres.

(So far, I can't find official docs about trials at Chartres)

But is this right, do you think? I haven't found out yet if people were tried in their own region/province or could be taken to another site if convenient for the Inquisitors.

Don't worry about the Brownian history - I was just using him as a shallow example & likely not the best to use (I wasn't a fan at all of what he made up about Christ & the Church) My point is, that in trying to wangle a city with the characteristics I want for the plot, I've considered creating a fictional city that blends TWO major ones.

So what do you think? Oh yes...the Catholic question. I'll reply to that later OK?

IceCreamEmpress
09-04-2008, 08:40 PM
The time it takes her to travel figures into the plot; she goes mostly by horseback or carriage

Carriages were very rare and very uncomfortable in those days--a 13th-century carriage is basically a farm wagon with a haphazard roof. A week between Rouen and Chartres would be exceptional time; ten days would probably be more likely.

Higgins
09-04-2008, 09:44 PM
Don't worry about the Brownian history - I was just using him as a shallow example & likely not the best to use (I wasn't a fan at all of what he made up about Christ & the Church) My point is, that in trying to wangle a city with the characteristics I want for the plot, I've considered creating a fictional city that blends TWO major ones.

So what do you think? Oh yes...the Catholic question. I'll reply to that later OK?

It's probably worth noting that the western Latin medieval church and the current Roman Catholic Church are not exactly the same...for various obvious and not so obvious reasons. Here is an introductory discussion by a Protestant medievalist:


http://www.the-orb.net/non_spec/missteps/ch11.html

ideagirl
09-05-2008, 03:08 AM
Beauvais has one of the most important mediaeval cathedrals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauvais_Cathedral) in France. It is one of twenty or more important cathedrals built in the Ile de France and surrounding area at that time. I mentioned Beauvais specifically to show that Rouen was not worlds away from the Cathedral-building area around Paris. Similar cathedrals include Amiens, Notre Dame in Paris, Laon, Rheims and smaller ones such as Senlis. I'm sure surnames vary in those areas, but the cathedrals were constructed at similar times and as part of the same architectural movement.

Right, of course, and that's interesting, but it's completely beside the point to what I was saying. The point I made about distance was unrelated to architecture. It was just that Rouen is far (in medieval terms) from Chartres, and extremely far from Lyon; Normandy (Rouen region) and the regions in which Chartres and Lyon are located were very different, to the point that the dialects people spoke and the names people had were different. Using a Normand name for a person who's supposedly from a completely different part of France would sound strange--it would be like writing a novel set in medieval Scotland in which your Scottish hero was Lord Dyffid Jones (a blatantly Welsh, not Scottish at all, name).

ideagirl
09-05-2008, 03:34 AM
The time it takes her to travel figures into the plot; she goes mostly by horseback or carriage, and is helped by a powerful friend or two along the way

You might find it interesting to read about Heloise and Abelard, specifically the trip Heloise took from Paris to Brittany. There's a fair amount of information about that and it was a real voyage; it may give you some ideas for your heroine's voyage.


I figured he'd be taken to the closest bishopric for trial - not back to Normandy(the Oise region)

Rouen is in Normandy, not Oise. The departement known as Oise only came into existence after the Revolution. So I'm confused...

But perhaps more importantly (since it affects your plot more than changing the name of a region), are you sure there was a Waldensian movement in the Rouen area? The Waldensians started in Lyon, which is almost 400 miles from Rouen (the opposite side of the country: Lyon far eastern France, Rouen far western France), and they were associated with eastern and southern France (and Switzerland--just east of France--and Italy, just south of France). They were also associated to some extent with Alsace and that area, which has changed hands from France to Germany and back several times over the ages. The fact that it seems a little weird to me for there to be Waldensians in northwestern France, plus the fact that the period you're talking about is well after the really serious persecution of "heretics" began, makes me want to just make sure you've got your key facts straight.


I haven't found out yet if people were tried in their own region/province or could be taken to another site if convenient for the Inquisitors.

I think, though I'm not sure, that they were tried where they were. It can be hard to tell, because back then so few people traveled far; usually "where they were" was the same thing as "where they were from." But as an example, Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans (south of Paris), was tried in Rouen (northwest of Paris).

bylinebree
09-08-2008, 05:53 PM
ideagirl - I know about Heloise & Abelard, and will look for her travel journal now - thanks!

I meant the Oise River region, not the department. The Oise was considered "Normandy" in the 1200's according to a medieval map I have titled "Growth of the French Monarchy from Philip Augustus to the Hundred 'Years War."

Rouen isn't where her father lives - but is her husband's home/castle. Her exact origins (for now the Oise River area) aren't set in stone yet...I haven't nailed it down...but her father travels widely in business, and he met Waldensians while traveling further south near Lyon. (So they don't have to be ''out of" Rouen at all) But you're right - I need to do more research on the Waldensians. More books from Amazon to order : - )

IceCreamEmpress - She's riding with two highly respected Dominican priests (one of them is Thomas Aquinas) so it's still humble, but a bit better than a farm wagon. Char-wagon? maybe is the right word.

Priene - Now I'll have to check out the Beauvais cathedral, too. Geez...all this dang research. I just want to write the dang story!!

Too bad I can't hire one of you...

Deb Kinnard
09-09-2008, 05:09 AM
Something just struck me -- some of you more conversant with continental church architecture might weigh in on this. Didn't some medieval churches have a "lepers' squint", a chamber separated from the main area of the church, through which the sick might take part in the mass? Would your character perhaps have found one of these places?

I'm also thinking, you may want to site your trial in an abbey whose name you make up. Then you can't get called on inaccuracy when you get into the nitty gritty of the historical/geographical details.

My take.

bylinebree
09-09-2008, 05:53 PM
Yes, I was calling the "peep-hole" a "squinch" per my Medieval Wordbook by Cosman (Barnes & Noble).

Probably won't use the leper's squinch in the cathedral, but creating a fictional ABBEY with a squinch is another possibility. Thanks.

bylinebree
09-09-2008, 05:55 PM
Yiii, I meant "squint." Brain just waking up still!