Zachary Chitwood. "The Testament of the Nun Maria (Kale): Commemorative Dining, memoria and Servitude in Byzantium at the Time of the First Crusade." Endowment Studies (2023): pp. 1–30. [Open Access]
The testament of Kale (in religion Maria), written in the year 1098 and transmitted by copy in the archive of Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos, constitutes one of the most remarkable documents of the Moyen Âge grec. While its contents have hitherto been analyzed through the lens of economic and rural history, her will contains exhaustive commemorative prescriptions which shed light on how Byzantine founders sought to preserve their memory. The present contribution examines this testament, along with related documents, as a remarkable expression of Maria’s concern for the salvation of her soul, and that of her spouse, which she sought to realize through memorial services, charitable distributions and commemorative feasting. The testament makes clear that Maria pursued various commemorative strategies to perpetuate her own memory and that of her deceased husband: to this end, she incentivized several groups of people with bequests to pray for her after her death. A complete translation of the testament into English is offered along with an annotated commentary in an appendix.