Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
Sanctuaries cities have been very much in the news recently. Debates about them arise from very contemporary issues with immigration, race, and economic inequality. But, sanctuary cities have also been around for millennia. In medieval Ireland, monastic “cities of refuge” were among the largest and most economically complex settlements of their day. Yet, they were also sacred places that offered sanctuary from undue vengeance and refuge to strangers. This talk explores why medieval Irish sanctuary cities developed this complex set of roles. What parts did sanctuary cities play in the social, economic, and religious challenges of their day? Reflecting on concepts of sanctuary in the Middle Ages may help untangle today’s conversations.