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Professor Kirk Ambrose (Classics) is the 122nd recipient of the Distinguished Research Lectureship—among the highest honors bestowed by the faculty upon a faculty member at CU Boulder. 

About the lecture

Authenticating relics was a foundational activity during the Middle Ages in Europe, for it was widely understood that these earthly remains of saints offered a vehicle for the divine to work miracles, from healing the sick to punishing—and even killing—enemies of the Church. Because possessing a venerable saint’s bodily remains could bolster the prestige and financial fortunes of institutions, the temptation to invent fake claims could be great. Indeed, the years between 1000 and 1150 have been dubbed the “golden age of medieval forgery.”

To explore how institutions bolstered their claims to possess authentic relics in this period rife with fakes, Professor Ambrose's lecture will focus on the case of the monastery of Sainte-Foy, Conques, in France. He will examine how this community used the visual arts to advance their claims, as well as to condemn those who engaged in counterfeiting practices.

A reception will follow the lecture from 5–6 p.m.

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