Describing the Middle Ages

March 9, 2011 at 10:40 PM 2 comments

Today I went to this excellent event at uni called Describing the Middle Ages. The guest speakers were three authors who write about the medieval period: Kevin Crossley-Holland, Michael Jecks and Ian Mortimer. They were all interesting and very nice people.

First was a question and answer session involving all of them, then a coffee break with a chance to chat with them, followed by workshops. The only problem was that I wanted to go to all the workshops but had to choose only one! Fortunately my friends went to the other two, so we were able to compare notes in the pub afterwards as we ate our huge carvery dinners.

The group I picked, with Michael Jecks, was the smallest – only five of us, which was a bonus. His workshop was freeform discussion so we were able to ask him about whatever interested us, from general writing tips to specific medieval issues.

I am too tired to give all the details, but I plan to write up my notes plus whatever I remember and I hope to get a good blog post out of that, so there’s something to look forward to!

Not wanting to miss the opportunity to do so, I asked them if they had a time machine what medieval time would they visit, what would they most want to see and would they stay there. None of them would stay there because of the health issues, but their other answers were more varied. Again, you’ll have to wait to see what they were…

What question would you have asked them?


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. therealsharon  |  March 9, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    Do you think being of royalty back then was as glamorous as it’s made out to be?

    • 2. knotrune  |  March 10, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      Yes and no. Yes because they were so much richer and more powerful than anyone, their courts could be spectacular even by today’s standards. No in that they were still vulnerable to sickness and even the best doctors money could buy were likely to do more harm than good. ‘Oh, you’ve been bleeding a lot? Well, lets bleed you some more!’ I reckon that a basic modern home with central heating, hot running water, electricity etc would be more comfortable than a royal palace. The king had to be strong and make difficult decisions, balancing the power of his nobles. If he was weak it could lead to civil war and rebellion, more than one medieval king was murdered. Queens were no use if they didn’t produce an heir, and childbirth was just as dangerous for them as for average women. Princesses knew they would be married off to whoever the king told them, sometimes shockingly young. But certainly glamorous compared to life for most people back then.


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