Urban panegyric is a vast literary genre, broadly referring to texts that praise and describe cities. Such texts proliferated during the Middle Ages but were hitherto considered mainly in the context of Rome, and general urbanization processes in medieval western Europe. A closer examination of twelfth century manuscripts containing texts related to the first and second Crusade reflects the intricate ways in which urban panegyric was applied to new regions as part of the expanding frontiers of Latin Christendom. These adaptations allow us to trace the encounters between shifting textual traditions concerning the urban environments of the medieval Mediterranean, and the role of these textual traditions in the shaping of both local and cross-Mediterranean identities.
Image: Liber Floridus, Wolfenbüttel, Cod. Gud. Lat I, fols. 69v-70r.