Dr Elizabeth Ashman Rowe is speaking at the inaugural Cambridge Festival this spring. Titled Epidemics in Medieval Iceland: the Evidence of Contemporary Annals, the talk will see Dr Rowe analysing how epidemics repeatedly struck the isolated community of Iceland in the later Middle Ages, with contemporary annals recording them in ways that range from the horrifying to the humorous.
Dr Rowe is a Fellow of Clare Hall and Head of the Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic Department at the University of Cambridge, with her area of research focusing on the history and culture of Scandinavia in the Viking Age and the Middle Ages - roughly from 750 AD to 1500 AD.
'I recently translated the medieval Icelandic annals, so it seemed natural to look to them for material for a Cambridge Festival talk. Some details had stuck in my mind, but it wasn't until I started writing that the richness of the topic unfolded itself. It was interesting to see that the Icelanders had names for only a few diseases from which they suffered, not to mention how epidemics often coincided with harsh weather and famines. Above all, it was striking how the Icelanders' concern with factual information about symptoms, victims, and virulence sounds so much like our concerns with Covid-19.'
Find further details at https://www.festival.cam.ac.uk/events/epidemics-medieval-iceland-evidence-contemporary-annals
The new, interdisciplinary Cambridge Festival (replacing the Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas) will take place from 26th March-4th April 2021. The Festival will primarily be digital in 2021, to enable wide-reaching engagement during the pandemic, and is comprised of over 350 events and activities, from panel discussions, film premieres, and self-guided walking tours, to ‘try this at home’ activities for the whole family. Topics cover the breadth of Cambridge research and will be presented across the Festival’s four themes: Society, Health, Environment and Explore. Learn more at https://www.festival.cam.ac.uk/events
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