Site Search

Section Navigation

    Dancing with Death at Cal U - NewsDancing with Death at Cal U - News

    Dancing With Death

    Dancing with Death

    "Dancing with Death: Warfare, Wounds & Disease in the Middle Ages" is a three-day medieval event dedicated to an exploration of  medieval warfare, to the trauma and disease attendant on it, and to the medical care provided by medieval people to victims of these disasters.

    We begin with a day centered on warfare, with a discussion of medieval military history and how our understanding of the subject has evolved. This is followed by a debate on the lethal efficiency of the longbow, and accompanied by a display of longbows and demonstrations of historically accurate fencing. Throughout the day, Friesian horses, the closest living descendants of medieval warhorses, will be on display at the entrance to campus.

    Our second day opens with a talk on how to combine an interest in drama with fencing, and then moves to our keynote address, which examines the reality of medieval medical care, as opposed to the stereotypes about it which we usually entertain. We also have a report on what may be learned about trauma and disease by investigating human remains in Asia. Demonstrations of historical fencing and of Friesian horses continue.

    On our third and final day, we investigate ways of learning about medieval disease and trauma in the Middle Ages with a lecture on paleopathology (the archaeological study of disease). We pause to consider the literary representations of violence and trauma, and end our series of talks with an analysis of a mass grave from the 15th century Wars of the Roses in England. Also available is a workshop on Beowulf, to prepare participants for the final treat: a performance, in Anglo-Saxon, of Beowulf as it might have been heard in a medieval hall. The fencing and equine demonstrations continue throughout Friday as well.

    Receptions from 4-5 p.m. each day offer a chance to meet the speakers face to face, and speakers' books may be purchased in the lobby of Steele after each talk. Speakers will be signing books inside Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre between 3 and 4 p.m. Friday.

    Schedule of Events

    Wednesday, October 20

    Morning Events

    9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
    Friesian horse display
    Mark & Michelle Corll, Corll Horsemanship Training
    Entrance to campus

    10:00-11:00 a.m.
    Historical fencing demo
    John Lennox & Steve Huff, experts in historical combat techniques
    Turf field beside Natali Student Center

    11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
    "What is Medieval Military History and Why Does It Matter?"
    Prof. John France (University of Wales-Swansea, emeritus)
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    Afternoon Events

    12:00 noon-4:00 p.m.
    Friesian horse display
    Mark & Michelle Corll, Corll Horsemanship Training
    Entrance to campus

    1:00-2:00 p.m.
    Historical fencing demo
    John Lennox & Steve Huff, experts in historical combat techniques
    Turf field beside Natali Student Center

    1:00-2:00 p.m.
    Longbow display
    J. L. Lash
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    2:00-3:30 p.m.
    "How Effective Was the Longbow, and What Damage Did It Do?"
    A debate between Prof. Kelly DeVries (Loyola University-Maryland) & Prof. Cliff Rogers (US Military Academy-West Point)
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    3:30-5:00 p.m.
    Continued longbow display
    J. L. Lash
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    4:00-5:00 p.m.
    Reception (open to public)
    Johnson Hall Multipurpose Room

    Thursday, October 21

    Morning Events

    9:00-10:00 a.m.
    "Fencing, Theatre, Film and Careers"
    Dr. John Lennox, Fight Director and Instructor for Art of Combat
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
    Friesian horse display
    Mark & Michelle Corll, Corll Horsemanship Training
    Entrance to campus

    10:00-11:00 a.m.
    Historical fencing demo
    Members of the Cal U Fencing Club
    Turf field beside Natali Student Center

    11:00-12:00 noon
    Keynote Address:  "Medieval Medical Care: Stereotypes and Reality"
    Dr. Piers Mitchell (Cambridge University & Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons)
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    Afternoon Events

    12:00 noon-4:00 p.m.
    Friesian horse display
    Mark & Michelle Corll, Corll Horsemanship Training
    Entrance to campus

    1:00-2:00 p.m.
    Historical fencing demo
    John Lennox & Steve Huff, experts in historical combat techniques
    Turf field beside Natali Student Center

    2:00-3:00 p.m.
    "Trauma Patterns within the Mongol Empire"
    Dr. Christine Lee (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing)
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    4:00-5:00 p.m.
    Reception (open to public)
    Johnson Hall Multipurpose Room

    Friday, October 22

    Morning Events

    9:00-10:00 a.m.
    Historical fencing demo
    John Lennox & Steve Huff, experts in historical combat techniques
    Turf field beside Natali Student Center

    9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
    Friesian horse display
    Mark & Michelle Corll, Corll Horsemanship Training
    Entrance to campus

    10:00-11:00 a.m.
    "Paleopathology: the Archaeology of Health in the Past"
    Dr. Piers Mitchell (Cambridge University)
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
    "The Succor of Horror: Finding Pleasure in Pain in the Middle Ages"
    Prof. Anthony Adams (Brown University)
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
    Historical fencing demo
    John Lennox & Steve Huff, experts in historical combat techniques
    Turf field beside Natali Student Center

    Afternoon Events

    12:00 noon-4:00 p.m.
    Friesian horse display
    Mark & Michelle Corll, Corll Horsemanship Training
    Entrance to campus

    12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.
    Workshop in Beowulf
    Mr. Benjamin Bagby (founder of early music group Sequentia)
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    2:00-3:00 p.m.
    "Blood Red Roses: Paleopathology and the Battle of Towton"
    Dr. Anthea Boylston (University of Bradford, UK)
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    3:00-4:00 p.m.
    Book signing by speakers
    On-stage, Steele Great Hall

    4:00-5:00 p.m.
    Reception (open to public)
    Johnson Hall Multipurpose Room

    7:30-9:30 p.m.
    Closing Performance: Beowulf
    A performance in Anglo-Saxon by
    Mr. Benjamin Bagby
    Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

    Beowulf by Bagby

    Get Adobe Flash player

    Links

    Speaker Biographies

    What is Beowulf?

    Benjamin Bagby

    Get Adobe Reader

    Adobe Reader is required to view and print PDF files. Click on the image below for free download.

    Get Adobe Reader. Clicking on this image will take you to another web site where you can download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free. The site will open in a new window.