Symposium by the Sea 2015

The Medieval and Early Modern Garden: Enclosure and Transformation

Thursday, June 4th – Friday, June 5th 2015

This interdisciplinary symposium aims to examine the many functions and meanings of the cultivated walled garden during the medieval and early-modern periods. Everywhere apparent in literature as a place of containment, love and fertility, the walled garden is also prevalent in historical and medical sources and was clearly responded to and enjoyed as a space that was simultaneously physical, spiritual, symbolic, curative and restorative. Moreover, in the Middle Ages the walled garden was often depicted as enclosing the Virgin Mary, forging a long-lasting association with female spirituality, women’s curative medicine and healing – both of the body and of the soul.

Bringing together a range of experts on the medieval and early modern garden from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives (including history, gender studies, literature, medicine and archaeology) this symposium will explore, both academically and for wider public understanding, the uses and meanings of the walled garden in the Middle Ages and early modern period, many of which have disappeared from our cultural consciousness, but some of which still remain in various forms to the present day.

For more details and registration forms, please see: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/riah/researchgroups/memo/symposium-by-the-sea-2015/.

Scenes from the 8th Annual Symposium by the Sea

At the 8th Annual Symposium by the Sea: The Face of Battle in Medieval History & Literature, MEMO members and guests enjoyed 20 talks on topics connected with medieval warfare. Particular highlights were the two plenary lectures on  key medieval battles with a major anniversary this year: the Battle of Bouvines (27 July 1214), and the Battle of Bannockburn (24 June 1314). Professor Matthew Strickland (Glasgow University) spoke on ‘Bouvines, 1214: chroniclers, historians, and the writing of battle’; his lecture was supported by the Society for the Study of French History. Dr Michael Brown (University of St. Andrews) gave a public lecture titled ‘ “Putting his hopes in the Lord”: Bannockburn and the judgement of battle in medieval warfare’, offered in conjunction with the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association and with additional support from The Learned Society of Wales.

The theme of the 8th Annual Symposium was chosen not only with the anniversaries of Bouvines and Bannockburn in mind, but also to honour Swansea’s distinguished Professor Emeritus John France. At the close of the main conference, Professor France was presented with the proof text of Crusading and Warfare in the Middle Ages: Realities and Representations. Essays in Honour of John France (Ashgate, 2014). This Festschrift, which will appear later in 2014, contains several contributions by participants in the 8th Annual Symposium, and has been edited by two historians with Swansea connections: Simon John (Oxford), who completed his doctoral studies at Swansea in 2012, and Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent), who was a lecturer here in 2008-2009.

Symposium by the Sea 2014

Some of the speakers and participants in the 8th Annual Symposium by the Sea: The Face of Battle in Medieval History & Literature (19-20 June 2014)

Top: Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent), Michael Fulton (Cardiff), Simon John (Oxford)

Upper middle: Kenny Parsons (Leeds), Rabei Khamisy (Cardiff)

Lower middle: Andrew Ayton (Hull), Matthew Bennett (Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst), Matthew Strickland (Glasgow), Michael Livingston (The Citadel Military College, South Carolina), Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis (Leeds), Alexander Hodgkins (Leeds), Alan Murray (Leeds)

Bottom: Michael Brown (St. Andrews), Irina Metzler (Swansea), John France (Swansea), Kelly DeVries (Loyola University, Maryland), Trevor Smith (Leeds), Helen Nicholson (Cardiff), Daniel Power (Swansea)

8th Annual Symposium by the Sea: The Face of Battle in Medieval History and Literature

Thursday 19 – Friday 20 June 2014

Provisional programme

In recent years there has been a revolution in the study of medieval warfare. Traditional paradigms that emphasised pitched battles and the charge of heavily armed mounted knights have given way to a focus upon sieges and raids, as well as a more nuanced understanding of medieval generalship and of the place of war within medieval society. Yet much remains to be discovered about the place of battles in medieval warfare, and about their representation in contemporary historical and literary texts.

The Face of Battle in Medieval History and Literature will be a two-day conference held by Swansea University’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO) on Thursday 19 June and Friday 20 June 2014 to discuss the significance of the medieval battle. The year 2014 includes significant anniversaries of two epoch-making medieval encounters: the 800th anniversary of the French royal victory over Imperial, Flemish and English forces at Bouvines (27 July 1214), and the 700th anniversary of the Scottish victory over the English at Bannockburn (24 June 1314). Plenary papers will be given by Matthew Strickland (Glasgow) concerning Bouvines and Michael Brown (St Andrews) concerning Bannockburn: other speakers include Andrew Ayton (Hull), Matthew Bennett (Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst), Alan Murray (Leeds) and Kelly DeVries (Loyola University, Maryland). The symposium will be held in honour of Professor John France, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at Swansea University, to celebrate his many contributions to the history of warfare. It will begin with a free Postgraduate Symposium on the morning of Thursday 19 June.

Booking forms for the symposium will be available soon.

This conference is organised with the generous support of the Society for the Study of French History, the Swansea branch of the Historical Association, and the Learned Society of Wales.

The 7th Annual Symposium by the Sea, 14th June 2013

‘Alcohol in Medieval and Early Modern Culture’

14th June 2013, Swansea University

Swansea University’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO) invites expressions of interest and paper proposals for its 7th Annual Symposium by the Sea, on the theme of Alcohol in Medieval and Early Modern Culture. Papers may address any medieval and/or early modern material related to this theme, from a literary, historical, or linguistic perspective. Topics to be considered might include:

  • Alcohol and food
  • Alcohol’s relationship to violence and criminality
  • Alcohol as ingredient, preservative, or medicine
  • Commercial and/or domestic production of alcohol
  • Containers for storing, serving, and consuming alcohol
  • Distribution and consumption of alcohol
  • Forms of drinking culture and sociability
  • the genderedness of alcohol production and consumption
  • Laws concerning alcohol production and consumption
  • Medical and philosophical theories about alcohol and its effects
  • Recipes for the production of alcoholic drinks
  • Religious communities and alcohol
  • Sobriety and/or drunkenness
  • Taverns, inns, and other sites of alcohol consumption
  • Trade and taxation of alcoholic goods

For further information, to express an interest in attending, or to submit a paper proposal, please contact Dr Adam Mosley (a.j.mosley@swansea.ac.uk).

Proposals should be no more than 500 words in length, and submitted before 31 March 2013.