Doctoral student Christopher Timm was awarded the Helen J. Beard Conference Travel Award to deliver an invited paper at the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, UK (1–4 July 2013). His paper, “Constantine and Charlemagne: An Apologia for the Fourth Crusade in the Windows at Chartres Cathedral” examines how the stained glass windows of Sylvester and Charlemagne visually legitimize the sack of Constantinople in 1204. This paper was part of The Crusades and Monumental Art, two sessions organized by Elizabeth Lapina, University of Kent.
Christopher suggests that by favoring Charlemagne over Constantine, by framing relics won in Constantinople as a reward for piety, and by visualizing the translation of empire from East to West, the windows provide a visual defense for the sack of Constantinople by the Latin armies of the Fourth Crusade. This defense was of profound significance to the counts of Chartres. Louis of Blois was a high-ranking noble in the Latin Empire who donated Constantinopolitan relics to the cathedral and his son Theobald sought salvation and healing through crusading.