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A Swarm of ‘Locusts’

Pro/Persecution and Toleration of Catholic Priests in Utrecht, 1620–1672

Genji Yasuhira


In the Protestant Dutch Republic, Catholic priests were represented as one of the deadliest “enemies” in view of both their confessional doctrines and political inclination. Under pressure from the Reformed Church, numerous anti-Catholic edicts were issued for the prosecution of priests streaming like a swarm of “locusts” to the Utrecht city, the stronghold for Reformed and Catholic Churches alike in the Northern Netherlands. In theory, the policy of the political authorities barred priests from their pastoral duties to Catholics living in the city. In practice, however, the Utrecht magistracy publicly recognised, and non-publicly connived at, the presence of priests. Political practices of pro/persecution and toleration served to manage and regulate the precarious environment of confessional coexistence. In defying persecution and seeking toleration, Catholic priests tactically and discursively mobilised their civic status based on their and/or their families’ close relationship with, and contribution to, the civic community of Utrecht.

Therese Martin


By focusing on San Isidoro de León in the central Middle Ages, this study investigates the multiple meanings behind the presence of objects from other cultures in a royal-monastic treasury, suggesting a reconsideration of the paths by which such pieces arrived. The development of the Isidoran collection is reexamined through a close analysis of a charter recording the 1063 donation together with early thirteenth-century writings by Lucas of Tuy. Documentary evidence is further weighed against visual analysis and technical studies of several key pieces from the medieval collection. In particular, the Beatitudes Casket (now at the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid) is singled out to demonstrate how art historical, epigraphic, and historical research come together with carbon-14 testing, revealing that this object was assembled in a very different moment from those traditionally assumed.

Ana Cabrera Lafuente


This paper presents the first in-depth analysis of the textiles held by the Museo de la Real Colegiata de San Isidoro de León, providing a careful investigation of textile features and raw materials, in addition to carbon-14 dating and archival research. These new data have allowed us to redate the fabrics, placing them within their tenth- through early thirteenth-century Mediterranean and European contexts. The result is a more complex image than was previously assumed, and it offers a significant starting point for further research into the roles played by textiles in medieval Iberia.