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‘Somatic Styles’ examines how classical modes of gender played significant roles in carving out competitive arenas between clerical and lay elites, c.600–900 CE. The paper explores the hermeneutical obstacles standing between the contemporary theorist of gender and the complex nature of the early medieval texts under scrutiny. The analysis reconstructs classicising techniques of gender deployed by early medieval churchmen, and it does so in a way that both challenges the stranglehold of the ‘one-sex’ model on pre-modern understandings of gender and heals the ‘rupture’ between the ‘Ancient’ and the ‘Dark Age’. Finally, the essay maps early medieval somatic and gendered styles onto an architectural space where lay and consecrated bodies met – a ninth-century monastic basilica.