The Virgin, the Saints, and the Reconquest: Marian Cult Images in Medieval Toledo and Iberia Restricted; Files Only

Corrigan, Nicole (Spring 2020)

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Taking the medieval statues of the Virgin Mary from Toledo Cathedral as a case study, this dissertation considers the rise of thirteenth-century Marian image cults in relation to earlier relic cults and Iberia. This dissertation investigates the relationship between the cult of the Virgin and local saints’ cults through a study of thirteenth-century manuscripts of the life of Saint Ildefonso, which stress his close relationship to the Virgin, to show how image cults could draw on the power of local saintly cults in order to amplify their base of devotion, and saintly cults responded by depending on the power of Mary in order to maintain relevance. Orchestrators of Marian image cults further drew on the practices of relic cults by ornamenting their statues with precious metals and stones, approximating the appearance of reliquaries in order to compete for pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. The Iberian cult of the Virgin was also predicated upon an intimate—albeit not always harmonious—relationship with the visual and religious culture of al-Andalus. This dissertation first explores how statues of the Virgin Mary were integral to the conversion of conquered mosques into cathedrals, showing how Marian statues participated in the military and ideological project that became known as the Reconquista. It then considers the use of Andalusí luxury textiles in cultic and devotional practices, showing that these textiles were the perfect medium for communicating the divinity and royalty of the Virgin Mary. This study overall examines the long-neglected relationship between the cult of the saints, the cult of the Virgin Mary, and al-Andalus in medieval Iberia.

Table of Contents


List of Tables

List of Illustrations

Common Abbreviations


Chapter One. Saint Ildefonso and the Rise of Marian Images Cults

Chapter Two. Mary in the Mosque: Images and the Conversion of Iberian Mosques

Chapter Three. Statue as Reliquary: Silver Statues of the Virgin and Medieval Pilgrimage

Chapter Four. Virgins in Silk: Marian Cult Images, the Liturgy, and Andalusí Textiles


Appendix One. Catalogue of Illustrated De virginitate Manuscripts

Appendix Two. Catalogue of Silver-Plated Marian Statues of Iberia

Appendix Three. Translation of a Thirteenth-Century Inventory from Toledo Cathedral




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