Beholding and crying: pilgrims and emotional vistas in the late medieval Holy Land

In this paper I will present an emotional geography of the medieval Holy Land, based on sites which engendered tearful responses to viewing. Unlike holy mountains, which were sacralised by events that had taken place on the mountain, medieval emotional vistas combined viewing with feeling. The epitome of such sights is Nabi Samwil (Monjoie, Mount Joy) near Jerusalem, but my research has revealed a number of other similar sights/sites and rituals. These were communicated between Europe and pilgrimage locales through pilgrimages and travel writing. Such emotional locations help us better to understand the conjunction of place, feeling, and power. My paper will show, mainly using Latin pilgrims’ accounts from the 12th to the 16th centuries, how emotional responses were modelled within the landscape and represented a form of geographical knowledge and a specific mode of emotive visual culture.

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