Medieval Week comes to Edinburgh

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 High levels of illiteracy during medieval times meant the ‘dark’ ages were actually a period of surprising cultural richness, with the majority of people relying on vibrant art, drama and music to learn. In a special week of events organised by the British Academy and Royal Society of Edinburgh, new light will be cast on the cultural life this fascinating period in history.

Eight events across Medieval Week (all free to the public) will uncover the truth behind preconceived notions of the Dark or Middle Ages (c.500 – 1400 AD). In a series of talks, lectures and ‘in conversation’ events, experts will come to Edinburgh to explore different aspects of medieval life, highlighting the similarities and differences from our own time.

Was Robert the Bruce really the hero he is so often portrayed as? Was the Declaration of Arbroath mere propaganda? Why did medieval poets turn old age into a person? And why were relics so very important to medieval people? These are just some of the fascinating topics up for discussion over four nights from 15-18 November 2010.

Tim Brassell from the British Academy said, “This unique collaboration between the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh will try to illuminate our understanding of the so-called ‘dark’ ages. Whether you know a little or a lot about this period, top UK experts will lead us back into the past to reveal fascinating insights into the dynamic culture and thinking of the time.”

Dr William Duncan, Chief Executive, the Royal Society of Edinburgh s”As Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters, the RSE is delighted to be working in partnership with the British Academy – our sister UK academy for humanities and social sciences, in presenting this fascinating series of free events about different aspects of medieval life and thought.”

Lectures being given include:

“Monuments in Motion” by Rosemary Cramp and Barbara Crawford

“Portable Christianity: Relics in the Medieval Wast (c. 700-1200)” by by Professor Julia Smith

He that all our Comford Was?: Robert the Bruce in Scottish Sources Before Barbour’s Bruce” by Dauvit Broun and Alexander Broadie

“More than ‘Skimble-Skamble’ stuff: The Medieval Welsh Poetry associated with Owan Glyndyr” by Gruffydd Aled Williams

“The Middle Ages – A Distant Mirror: Medieval life and death and through the centuries” by Graham Caie and Chris Jones

“Personifications of Old Age in Medieval Poetry” by Ad Putter

“The Past as Propaganda: The Declaration of Arbroath” by Alexander Broadie

“The Past as Propaganda: The Mongol ‘World Histroy’” by  Robert Hillenbrand

Each day features a pair of linked events starting at 6.00pm and ending with a reception at 8.00pm. All events are free but tickets are required and will take place at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ

Please see the British Academy website for more details

Source: British Academy

Sharan Newman