November Meeting: Why Medieval Peasants Are Important

Our next meeting will be on the 8th November, presented by Professor Chris Dyer Leverhulme Research Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Regional and Local History at the Centre for English Local History. Professor Dyer is currently working on the Leverhulme funded project ‘Peasant farming 1200-1540’ which is intended to make a new assessment of the types of farming practised by peasants, and to evaluate their role in the economy. Professor Dyer will be speaking on ‘Why Medieval Peasants are Important’. This is a joint meeting with Northamptonshire Archaeological Society and will be at The Humfrey Rooms, Castilian Terrace, Northampton NN1 1LD.

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Sieges of the First Crusade by Susan Edgington

Our last meeting, at MCS and given by Dr Susan Edgington, was well received by both students and members of the Association, generating enthusiastic discussion. The detailed and informative talk took us on a journey through the sieges of Nicaea, Antioch and Jerusalem, explaining the principles of siege warfare and the tactics employed to take each of the cities: by assault, deception and negotiation. It was important to look threatening to try and make people surrender to take the city unharmed though this could not always be achieved! She explained the drawbacks of battering rams and efficacy of mining (should you remain undetected!) and the Mechanics of throwing machines. As Dr Edgington noted these seige engines were ‘more to do with intimidation than expectation of success’.  She described the horrors of the crusades: Greek fire, using the heads of dead Turks as stones, epidemics, starvation and women giving birth to still born babies at the road side. Those present were treated to an authoritative and colourful description of the sieges of the first crusades and the the key figures involved  For those who want to know more on the subject, Dr Edgington’s Historical Association pamphlet on the first crusades will soon be coming out on Kindle edition and her translation of The Chanson D’Antioche will be available in paperback. Her new book ‘Gendering the Crusades’ is available from the 19th October.

 

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Aside

Our next meeting will be held this coming Wednesday (the 1oth October) at Magdalen College School, Brackley, beginning at 3.30 p.m., when our speaker will be Dr Susan Edgington on the sieges of the First Crusade. Dr Edgington is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of History at Queen Mary College, University of London, where she has taught Latin and medieval history since 2001. Her magnum opus, an edition and translation of the Crusade history of Albert of Aachen came out in 2007, and she is also the co-author of Walter the Chancellor’s Antiochene Wars and Gendering the Crusades, as well as many articles and essays on aspects of the Crusades and the history of medicine. We hope to see you there!

October Meeting: Sieges of the First Crusade

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