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Tower Seminar- How Ritual Changes Space: from Pantheon to Sancta Maria ad Martyres

January 31, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Presenter: Professor Susan Rankin

Chair: Dr Eleanor Giraud

Built under the rule of Hadrian circa 120, the Pantheon is one of the most iconic buildings of imperial Rome. In the last years of the empire the Pantheon sat neglected and in disrepair. By the end of the sixth century, however, Rome had been transformed through a new social order, established through Christianization. In this newly-revived Rome, the imposing Pantheon needed to be integrated into the urban space. In 609, under Pope Boniface, this pagan ediface was consecrated as a Christian building.

A set of chant propers probably composed for this occasion survives in the form of liturgy for the consecration of churches: those chants allow us to imagine the occasion of the Christian consecration on 13 May 609. With this mass, the place was completely altered: instead of sitting outside the immediate needs of the Roman church and people as a memorial to an historical Rome, the Pantheon was transposed to a central position.

Professor Susan Rankin is Professor of Medieval Music at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. She has just finished a monograph on musical notation in the ninth century, and has also written on medieval manuscripts and musical notations, with St Gallen and Winchester as central points of interest, and on music as an element of ritual. She was elected Fellow of the Academia Europaea in 2007, Fellow of the British Academy in 2009, Corresponding Member of the American Musicological Society in 2015 and Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America in 2016.


January 31, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Theatre 2, Irish World Academy
Ireland + Google Map