Abbot Suger and Saint-Denis: A symposium by Paula Lieber Gerson

By Paula Lieber Gerson

According to papers offered at a symposium held in 1981 on the Cloisters
(in conjunction with an exhibition entitled The Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis
in the time of Abbot Suger (1122-1151) and at Columbia University,
sponsored by means of the overseas middle for Medieval artwork and the Medieval and Renaissance
Interdisciplinary reports Committee of Columbia college.

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A Christian called Ventura de Siqueira. He can read and write, as he was brought up in Santiago Island. ”46 The movement of individuals back and forth, both between the physical spaces of Sierra Leone, S. Domingos, and the Cape Verdean island of Santiago, and, more significantly, between the cultural spaces of African, lançado, and Cape Verdean “Portuguese” society suggests a crucially important characteristic of mainland Luso-African society: it was not firmly bounded, nor was it exclusionist with regard to those of African origin.

The resultant incorporation of individuals from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds was characteristic both of local communities and of states. Among the African populations of the Gambia-Casamance region, even today, oral traditions reflect a long and complex history of migrations and of identity transformations. In this matrix of local identity, identities have historically been fluid and individuals have often held multiple identities. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Senegambia, the permeable nature of “Portuguese” identity reflected the fact that many of the lançados and their descendents had married local African women.

One may ask why they, more than other local populations, attracted the attention of foreigners whose primary interest lay in trade. One obvious answer is that Floup architecture so impressed the visitors that those who saw it were moved to write about it. Another possible explanation is that not all Floup groups deserved their reputation for avoiding commercial contact with Europeans. 2 Bertrand-Bocandé (1849) says of the Floups who lived north of Cacheu and S. 3 The earliest published description of architecture in the Rio Geba– Casamance area is found in Valentim Fernandes’s account from about 16th- and 17th-Century Architecture in Gambia-Geba 35 1506.

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