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Thursday, 21 May 2015 4-6 pm

Nikolas Jaspert (Heidelberg): Knights and Mercenaries across the Mediterranean. Military Diasporas and Multiple Loyalties in the Middle Ages

Chair: Daniel König (Heidelberg)

In the middle ages, military activities generated mobility in many ways. For example, they provided the opportunity for mercenaries to make a military career for themselves in unknown lands – the object of this paper. It will deal with an unusual form of such expatriates: Mercenaries who served masters of other creeds, more precisely, Christian soldiers employed by Muslim rulers in the 12th to 15th centuries. In principle, such paid fighters might very well have entered combat with co-religionists, which in turn raises the question as to how far these mercenaries’ loyalty to their masters actually went. Could there be anything more disloyal from a medieval Christian perspective then a man who risked his life for money in order to maintain the power of Muslim rulers, even if this meant killing fellow Christians? Or did contemporaries have other concepts of loyalty than modern historians might expect prima facie? The paper will not be limited to laying out these warriors’ multiple fields of action, but will also attempt to analyze their self-consciousness during their sojourn in foreign lands.

Thursday, 2 July 2015, 4 - 6 pm

Daniel Botsman (Yale): From “Sacred Cow” to "Kobe beef”. A Bovine Perspective on Japan’s Modern Revolution

Chair: Harald Fuess (Heidelberg)

“Kobe beef” is today a globally recognized synonym for the joys of culinary extravagance.  But how was it that a port town in Japan, a country in which there were centuries old taboos against killing cattle, came to have such a strong association with high quality beef?  This presentation will provide answers to this question by delving into the history of animals, agriculture, food, discrimination and cross-cultural contact in the Japanese archipelago, focusing particularly on the great social transformations of the nineteenth century.


General Information

Karl Jaspers Centre
Voßstraße 2, Building 4400
Room 212
69115 Heidelberg

The Jour Fixe is organised by the four Research Areas of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University.


Poster Summer JF I

Poster Summer JF II