Dhwani Patel (King’s College London) Thornley Fellow

‘Mirabilia urbis Romae’: public ritual and the classical past in late mediaeval Rome

Dhwani Patel completed her MA in International Relations & Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews, before moving to King’s College London for an MA in Mediaeval History. There, an AHRC doctoral award enabled her to conduct research under the supervision of Dr Serena Ferente, focused on the use of public ritual in late mediaeval Rome (c. 1100-1400). More specifically, her thesis examines how symbolic and ceremonial activity influenced by the classical past not only created a basis for legitimate authority, but also functioned as a language of mediation between the distinct yet wholly interdependent groupings that constituted the city’s political, religious and social landscape. Although Dhwani’s work will naturally illuminate late mediaeval Rome via these aspects, her central aim is rather to explore what the city itself can contribute to the study of ritual. The project takes three episodes as case studies, each featuring individuals with different roles within Rome: pope Innocent II (1130-43); the king and Roman senator Charles I of Anjou (1265-66 and 1268-78); and emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg (1312-13). Interdisciplinary in nature, her research combines ecclesiastical, political, cultural, and art history, as well as availing itself of archaeological and anthropological analyses.


Colloquium report: “The Mediterranean City: Religion”, The British School at Rome (19 March 2013), at Medium Aevum