The Languages of History in the Middle Ages

14 June The Languages of History in the Middle Ages
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Robert Bartlett asks who wrote history in medieval Europe, for whom, and the history of what?

Medieval Europe was a multilingual society where the learned language of Latin overlapped with many local vernaculars. Historians of that time had to choose which language to use, and this lecture discusses that choice, looking at the relative prestige of different languages and the assumptions that were made about the appropriate audience and occasion for each. It discusses the writing of history in Latin and the vernacular, the main patterns and changes over time, the important role of French - well outside France itself - the part played by translations and the milieux in which historical writing was located. Through this vast maze, the guiding thread is provided by the questions, who wrote history, for whom, and the history of what?

Robert Bartlett is Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Mediaeval History emeritus at the University of St Andrews. His books include The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change 950-1350, England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075-1225 and Why Can the Dead Do Such Great Things?: Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation. He has presented three television series for the BBC: Inside the Medieval Mind, The Normans and The Plantagenets.

Presented in conjunction with Narrating History Across languages in Medieval Europe conference at Kings College London, 14-15 June 

Image shows Miniature of Theseus attacking Crete, from London, British Library, Add. 15268, f.136v.


Name: The Languages of History in the Middle Ages
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £12.00
Member: £12.00
Senior 60+: £10.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
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