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Medieval History: Fact vs. Fiction
Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.
Late 13th century French manuscript illustration depicting the three classes of the times—cleric, knight, and workman (British Library)
People love the Middle Ages. But do they really know them?
The period still lives all around us today, reflected in re-enactment groups and Renaissance faires, global-phenomenon television shows such as Game of Thrones and Vikings, and best-selling games like Chivalry or The Witcher.
But popular culture presents a skewed version of the medieval past, with even “accurate” depictions often based on outdated preconceptions of this thousand years of history.
Medievalist Paul B. Sturtevant, author of The Middle Ages in Popular Imagination and editor-in-chief of The Public Medievalist, disentangles facts from fictions, drawing on the most recent scholarship that reveals a medieval world that holds surprises for amateurs and history buffs alike.
Learn what and who really is “medieval,” and where the borders of the world of the Middle Ages actually lay (hint: it’s more than just Europe). Hear stories of people you’d never encountered before: cosmopolitan Vikings, multicultural Sicilians, powerful well-educated women, and individuals who didn’t just break the medieval mold, but demonstrate that the mold may not be what you always thought.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)