Out of Germany : the pilgrim badges as a tool of communication, using the example of the badges of Wilsnack

Title: Out of Germany : the pilgrim badges as a tool of communication, using the example of the badges of Wilsnack
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2023, vol. 28, iss. 2, pp. 5-18
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
Rights access
open access

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

Imagery still plays a crucial role in a world of various languages and dialects. However, during the Middle Ages, when the masses were illiterate and the outside world often unknown and incomprehensible, images and visuality created a safe and coherent support for those who witnessed it. Iconography as a mode of non-verbal communication was often used by the Church, but people communicated among themselves through images, too. One of the popular modes of visual communication in the Middle Ages were badges – small objects, usually made to be worn pinned to the front of clothing or hats, or suspended. The badges existed in both the religious and secular spheres of human life and were meant to communicate an individual's personal or business affiliations, religious beliefs or even jokes.
The following paper will focus on the religious badges using the example of the pilgrim badges of Wilsnack. It will analyse the levels on which these badges communicated not only visually, but also as indirect mediators of information, agents of private conversations with God and saints, and as tools of surprising unification of pilgrims during the times of Wilsnack controversy.
The study was published within the project MUNI/A/1208/2022 Evropské proměny a konstanty: antické civilizace a jazyky v dalším evropském vývoji (European Changes and Stability: Ancient Civilizations and Languages in Later European Transformations)
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