European Identities

Identity must take into account relevant issues such as topography, religious change, material culture, art, architecture, and infrastructure to understand the formation of European cultural heritage. Traditionally, identification of people has taken root in the forms of art that they create. Representation of identity in the European discourse crosses over several major art movements and regional art genres to inform the process of establishing European nationhood. During and following the Roman Empire, individual regions created a unique artistic identity. This developed out of artistic heritage and iconographic modes from Rome and the early Church. In the Migration Period, more varied cultural forms emerged, ranging from the distinctive Visigothic, Merovingian, Longobardic, Slavic and Avar, to Insular, Norse, Carolingian and pre-Romanesque designs. From the East, Byzantine cultural style was gradually transmitted to Italy and Islamic endeavours in Spain created innovative possibilities in emerging new canons of art and architecture. It is on those early-medieval expressions that many modern identities are based. (L. Mulvin, ´Identity and Shifting Attitudes in Medieval Europe, M. Bormpoudaki and others (Eds.), in Cross Roads. Travelling through the Middle Ages AD 300-1000, Amsterdam, 2017).