Rutherford Aris Memorial Lecture: Roland Betancourt

"Between Wonder and Omen: Conjoined Twins from Constantinople to Norman Sicily"
"The Arrival of the Mandylion." Manuscript illumination of conjoined twins at court. Biblioteca Nacional de España
"The Arrival of the Mandylion" (Biblioteca Nacional de España, Matritensis gr. vitr. 26-2, fol. 131r.)
Event Date & Time
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Event Location
Elmer L. Andersen Library 120

222 21st Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Abstract: In the year 944, two wonders arrived in the city of Constantinople from foreign lands: First, a textile that had Christ's face miraculously imprinted on it, known as the Mandylion. Second, male conjoined twins from Armenia. In this talk, I will focus on the depiction of these twins in a historical chronicle known as the Madrid Skylitzes. My aim is to show how the multifaceted meanings of the conjoined twins operated in the context of imperial rule, political intrigue, and religious authority across the text’s Constantinopolitan origin and the manuscript’s eventual illustration in Norman Sicily.

Bio: Roland Betancourt is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Irvine. Betancourt is the author of three monographs, Byzantine Intersectionality: Sexuality, Gender, and Race in the Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 2020), Performing the Gospels in Byzantium: Sight, Sound, and Space in the Divine Liturgy (Cambridge University Press, 2021), and Sight, Touch, and Imagination in Byzantium (Cambridge University Press, 2018), as well as several edited volumes.

This event will begin with a reception at 6:00 pm just outside Andersen 120. 

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