Changing Textual and Pictorial Representations of a Saint

Tales about the seafarer-saint Brendan (ca. 483 until 575 a.D.) spread like a wildfire in the Middle Ages, constantly fascinating readers and listeners until the early modern period. This fascination seems to be unbroken even nowadays. Of the sea voyages of Brendan which describe his search for the Fortunate Isles (terra repromissionis sanctorum) there exist lots of vernacular translations and adaptations in many Western European regions, especially reworkings of the Latin Navigatio sancti Brendani abbatis. From the perspective of literary and cultural history we are dealing with quite diverse transfer and adaptation processes as well as with a comparatively astounding intermediality concerning the pre-modern era.

The dissemination of the text(s) from Ireland over most parts of Europe and the repeatedly language change from Latin to Vernacular was paralleled by numerous phenomena that deserve more attention. Those include a changing audience and due to historical processes different cultural and social contexts. Spatial, linguistic, social, and media aspects are involved alike and often at the same time. Stories about Brendan have been read (aloud) since the High Middle Ages not only in monasteries but also at (royal) courts, later on even in burgher houses or by craftsmen and seafarers.

The first conference ever on Brendan to be held in Germany approaches Brendan material from an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary point of view. Moreover, the time has come to apply more recent theories and methods in order to gain new insights, in particular by focusing on the research paradigm of (re)contextualisation and intermediality of pre-modern culture that has become so fundamental in medieval studies and the research of the early modern period.

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

from 14:15

Arrival / Conference Office Europa-Universität-Flensburg, Room HEL 164/165


Welcoming address and introduction:

Grand opening from the Vice President for study and teaching of the Europa-Universität Flensburg, Prof. Dr. Margot Brink

Welcoming address and introduction by the conference organizers

Section I: Aspects of motif history and narratology (Moderation: Sebastian Holtzhauer)


Dorothy Ann Bray (Montreal): When Brendan met Brigit. A Contest of Sea Monsters and Holiness


Coffee break


Christoph Fasbender (Chemnitz): Der Zaumdieb

18.00–19.00 Uhr Simone Loleit (Duisburg-Essen): Gebote, Verbote, Warnungen. Brandans Kommunikation mit den Mönchen in Johannes Hartliebs Navigatio-Übersetzung


Evening event:

Film presentation "Flensburger Welt-Geschichten" by Quinka Stoehr and Fredo Wulf together with the directors, followed by a discussion, reception and buffet (Flensburg Maritime Museum)

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Section II: Mediality and contexts of tradition

(Moderation: Jörn Bockmann)


Rossana Guglielmetti (Milano): Reading the Navigatio Brendani in the Middle Ages. Texts and Contexts


Sebastian Holtzhauer (Osnabrück): Der hl. Brandan in Norddeutschland. Zu den mittelniederdeutschen gedruckten Zeugnissen in Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit


Coffee break


Andreas Hammer (Köln): Die Bildprogramme der Brandan-Legende in ihrem spätmittelalterlichen Überlieferungskontext


Lunch break (on-site buffet)

Section III: Contexts of cultural history

(Moderation: Elke Koch)


Alessandro Scafi (London): Leaving the Sail Spread and Shipping the Rudder. Saint Brendan’s Island on European Maps


Clara Strijbosch (Utrecht): Brandans Reisen – ohne Ende


Katja Weidner (Freiburg i. Br.): Klösterliche Jenseitsimaginationen. Brendans Sitz im Leben


Concluding discussion and farewell to the participants

We kindly ask for registration until 31st of July 2019 at or

We provide a limited contingent of rooms with single bed for conference guests at the "Hotel Alte Post" in Flensburg for the night from Thursday (5th of September) to Friday (6th of September). The hotel offers us special conditions for our guests. For further information on the hotel:

If you are interested in booking one of these rooms, please contact: Jörn Bockmann ( And again, we kindly ask for registration until 1st of June 2019. Please note, that we as organizers are just communicating the offer.

We are charging a conference fee that covers catering and all other costs:

  • 5.9.2019: 40,00 Euro
  • 6.9.2019: 25,00 Euro

Upon arrival at the conference office the fee is to be payed in cash.

Here you can download our conference poster and the regarding flyer, if you like.

The header picture above was taken from Cpg 60, fol. 179v available online at UB Heidelberg.

For directions you may have a look at this page [12863]. Choose the tab "Helsinki Building", please.

Flensburg and the surrounding area are worth visiting. For information on tourist destinations in Flensburg and the surrounding area please visit the Flensburg Tourist Information website.

Conference venue

Europa-Universität Flensburg

Helsinki Building (R. 164/R. 165)

Auf dem Campus 1

24943 Flensburg


Last Update

May 2019