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Croch Saithir:

Envisioning Christ on the Cross in the Early Medieval West
29th — 30th March 2010, University College Cork

As far as the medieval world was concerned, Ireland represented the very ends of the earth. The peripheral lands were perceived to be irregular in their practice and unorthodox in their faith. Despite this, there were certain constants of universal significance across the Christian world. One such constant was Christ's crucifixion, which represented a defining moment central to every branch of Christian theology. Yet even this was interpreted in ways divergent enough to cause controversy and the image of Christ on the cross was represented by variant groups accordingly.

The Passion is the moment when Christ's divinity and his humanity are fully realised, and the synthesis of salvation and sacrifice is achieved. Christ in glory resonatesthrough text and image across the early medieval West; less well documented is the hardship of the cross, the croch saithir. This conference invites new responses to depictions of Christ's Passion in a variety of texts and images during the early medieval period from both centre and periphery, including Rome, the Carolingian Empire, the Iberian Peninsula and the Insular world.


  • Liturgical responses to the rituals of Holy Week
  • Texts and their accompanying manuscript images
  • Audience, response and participation
  • Blending of traditions
  • Devotional piety
  • Public and private spheres
  • Performance