The Sounding Waters: Performing World Harmony at Aquisgranum

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This paper explores the issue of performative spaces in the medieval Latin Church, examining the mindsets of the time and the ways practitioners adopted the Platonic notion of world harmony. We then look at the Palatine Chapel of Aachen (Latin Aquisgranum) in the light of the Plato’s doctrine. At the heart of this analysis will be the cosmological drama at the creation of the world, described by Ambrose as a chorus of the constitutive elements. It is from this image that the proto-model of the Christian Church as ‘moving waters’ was derived, a vision shared by both the Eastern and the Western world. To this day, the Palatine chapel of Aquisgranum conveys the appearance of the Ambrosian vision of the primordial waters, with its renewed marble revetments imitating the cosmic waters. The church is designed according to propria dispositione, i. e. modularity. Augustine’s concept of modularity and his psychology of sound, space, movement, and time will be explored in the hypothetical inquiry into the dramatization of space at Aachen. Here, we find that the Chapel has two choreographies (one physical, one incorporeal) which unfold in the space like-stage set up as a synthesis of the arts shaped according to numbers. Relevant concepts to our topic will emerge in the analysis, such as concord, consonance and agreement, measure and movement – metaphors of the idea of a ‘dance’ that exceeds the character of a mere performance.
TidsskriftDas Mittelalter
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)331–357
Antal sider27
StatusUdgivet - 2018


  • Det Humanistiske Fakultet - chorography., cosmology, Chorus, Augustine, Aachen/Aquasgrani, De musica , waters

ID: 216257355