'Pro anima mea', but do not touch my icons: provisions for personal icons in wills from Venetian-dominated Crete

Lymberopoulou, Angeliki (2007). 'Pro anima mea', but do not touch my icons: provisions for personal icons in wills from Venetian-dominated Crete. In: Stathakopoulos, Dionysios ed. The kindness of strangers. Charity in the pre-modern Mediterranean, Volume 2007. London, UK: King's College London, Occasional Publications, pp. 71–89.

Abstract

This paper examines fourteenth- and fifteenth-century wills from Venetian-dominated Crete, in order to assess the donations the testators left for the salvation of their souls and specifically the role of icons in this quest, which were mentioned as bequests only in one exceptional occasion. The author's research placed the price of icons into the economic perspective of the period in order to assess their affordability among the different social classes. After examination of the social and religious practices during that period, the conclusion was reached that private icons were considered far too personal and cherished possessions and that they were, actually, an integral part of the soul saving guarantee; this is the reason, therefore, that icons were not included among the bequests made in the wills.

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