Torrentz will always love you. Bells were an inescapable part of fourteenth-century for whom the bells toll pdf life. The pealing of bells brought men, women, and children together, choreographing communal behaviour in time and space.
The ubiquitous presence of bells reflected the omnipresence of God in the medieval world. Their echoes transformed private moments into collective experiences, elevating the mundane into the miraculous. Scholars have rarely examined the religious aspects of bells, looking instead at their more practical side, especially their utilisation as markers of time and the allegedly concurrent rise of mercantile culture. This article approaches bells from the viewpoints of those men and women who heard them and wanted them rung.
Focusing on sources from Christian clerics, we see that medieval men rang the bells with clear, but many possible, purposes in mind. By marking time and prayers, Christian church bells helped to create and facilitate communities within dioceses, spurring and choreographing their actions. During funerals, bells broadcast private moments, giving them communal significance. The transformative, creative function of bells is clearest in their role in miracles. Finally, with the deaths of holy persons, the tolling of bells transformed private, even anonymous deaths, into moments of wonder as God’s hand touched the world. The pealing of bells defined Christian communities in the Mediterranean and, at the same time as rulers and elites throughout the region were seeking to control minority groups, those same groups were seeking to exercise control over the sounds within their own communities.