Dr. Paulo Pachá
June 2022 - March 2023
Research Project: Urban Change and the Construction of Episcopal Power in Visigothic Iberia
During the Visigothic period, the classical city was developed and transformed. While the transformation of urban space during the sixth and seventh centuries resulted from many diverse processes, the centrality of Christianization and episcopal agency is undeniable. Moreover, episcopal power and authority had a double edge: on the one hand, its basis was in the cities – the transformation of urban space being one of its main elements; on the other hand, this local power was the basis of a supralocal power that, by its turn, also strengthened local authority. This project has two central and related objectives: 1) to investigate how the development of episcopal power in the cities was related to bishops’ activities as builders; 2) to analyze how episcopal power in changing local conditions was related to the development and transformation of episcopal power in supralocal spheres, i.e., Kingdom-wide. We propose an analysis centered on the local sphere – the cities and their transformation – to shed a different light on these questions. Therefore, our focus lies in bishops as central urban agents and, consequently, their relationship with urban communities and the transformation of urban space. Our three case studies – Toledo, Mérida, and Braga – were metropolitan sees. Still, each of these cities had specific characteristics and represented a different type of relationship at the local and supralocal levels. Therefore, as case studies, they can provide us with enough comparative elements to investigate their urban transformation and the development of episcopal power. Episcopal building programs are one of the best ways to evaluate the development of episcopal authority and power in the urban space. While bishops built in their cities, they also built and affirmed their power – in their cities and beyond. In this way, bishops used the urban space to demonstrate the interplay between communities, their leadership, and the holy. Thus, we hypothesize that even when bishops were immersed in the central power as leading figures, the basis of their power was always local – their cities and communities.
Dr. Paulo Pachá is Assistant Professor of Medieval History at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He is a historian specialized in the history of Early Medieval Europe. He received his PhD in History in 2015 from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, with a thesis on the structure and dynamics of the Visigothic state in the seventh century. Paulo is a member of research groups in Brazil as the “Centro Ciro Cardoso de Pesquisa do Pré-Capitalismo (CCCP-PréK)" and "PEM - Programa de Estudos Medievais". He is also a member of “TOLETUM – Red para la investigación sobre la Península Ibérica en la Antigüedad”. Paulo has published several articles, book chapters and book reviews on the history of the Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo and presented his work at conferences in South America, the USA and Europe. After receiving his doctorate, he was Visiting Researcher at the Institut für Mittelalterforschung in Vienna (with a fellowship from the Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften) and postdoctoral research fellow at the Hamburg Universität (with a fellowship from the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung). During his doctorate, Paulo was awarded two research fellowships in Madrid, at the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CCHS-CSIC) and the Casa de Velázquez. Before becoming Assistant Professor at UFRJ, he was a Lecturer in Medieval History at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas and Assistant Professor of Medieval History at Universidade Federal Fluminense.
Paulo Pachá / Sabine, Panzram, eds., (2020a), The Visigothic Kingdom. The Negotiation of Power in Post-Roman lberia, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020.
Paulo Pachá (2020b), "Conclusions and Future Perspectives", in: Sabine Panzram / Paulo Pachá, eds., The Visigothic Kingdom. The Negotiation of Power in Post-Roman lberia, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 393-400.
Paulo Pachá (2020c), "Beyond Central and Local Powers", in: Sabine Panzram / Paulo Pachá, eds., The Visigothic Kingdom. The Negotiation of Power in Post-Roman lberia, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 101-116.
Paulo Pachá (2019), "To name and control: space and power in the integration process of the Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo", Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez, 49.2, 109-131.
Paulo Pachá (2017), "Law, Networks of Power and Integration: Recceswinth and the Liber Iudiciorum", in: Dolores Castro / Michael J. Kelly, eds., Visigothic Symposia I: Law and Theology, online, 169-193, 2017.
Paulo Pachá (2014), "Gift and Conflict: Forms of Social Domination in the Iberian Early Middle Ages", Networks and Neighbours 2, 288-324.