Mike Aquilina

Free Medieval Immersion!

Saturday September 11th 2010, 6:56 pm

It’s a little beyond the purview of a patristics blog, but it’s well worth your attention. The esteemed Paul Crawford is organizing a conference titled “Dancing with Death: Warfare, Wounds and Disease in the Middle Ages.” It’s more than an academic conference. It’s going to be great fun — as a conference titled “Dancing with Death” should be — an immersion in medieval culture and warfare, filled with great spectacles. Warhorses! Beowulf! It’s open to the general public. And it’s all FREE. Mark your calendars now: October 20-22, 2010, at California University of Pennsylvania. (Yes, please note that it’s in Pennsylvania!)

Highlights of this series of events include two talks by Cambridge University professor, paleopathologist, and practicing surgeon Piers Mitchell; an overview of medieval military history by the foremost historian of crusade military history, John France (University of Wales-Swansea); a debate over the effectiveness of the medieval longbow by medieval military historians Kelly DeVries (Loyola University-Maryland) and Clifford R. Rogers (US Military Academy, West Point); a talk on trauma to casualties after the battle of Towton (1461) in England, by Anthea Boylston (University of Leeds); a talk on palaeopathology in Asia by Christine Lee (Beijing University), who has just been named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer; and a discussion of violence and trauma in literature by Anthony Adams (Brown University).

In addition, there will be displays of Friesian horses (the closest living representative of the medieval warhorse); demonstrations of historically accurate fencing and combat by John Lennox and Steve Huff, internationally renowned experts in the field whose work has been seen in film and on stage; a book signing; and receptions in which the public can meet and talk to the speakers.

The final event is a performance of the first part of “Beowulf” by internationally-acclaimed early music specialist Benjamin Bagby. Mr. Bagby, who was a co-founder of the early music group Sequentia, will also offer a workshop in “Beowulf.”

All events are free, open to the public, and intended for general audiences.