Bjorn to be wild: Viking symposium returns to Leicester
A depiction of Loki from an 18th century Icelandic manuscript; not, however, illustrating an instance in which he cross-dresses. Source: Wikipedia
Tomorrow, the University once again plays host to the Midlands Viking Symposium (that is, the symposium attended by Viking experts - not by Vikings) where some of the more obscure, but no less fascinating, aspects of Viking Society will be laid bare.
It takes place in the Ogden Lewis Seminar Suite and will explore recent research findings from a range of disciplines including archaeology, history, numismatics and linguistics. The symposium is split into three sections:
- In Viking England, Wendy Scott, the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Liaison Officer for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, explains how cataloguing these discoveries of artefacts by hobbyists and members of the public can impact upon the research of experts; John Baker of the University of Nottingham gives a tour of Anglo-Saxon landscapes of violence and governance in an era well known for its bloody nature; and Dr Rory Naismith of Clare's College, University of Cambridge, will discuss what coinage reveals about Viking culture in England.
- Settling Down begins with a talk by Teva Vidal, also from Nottingham, who will give a guide to Viking real-estate; and the University of Birmingham’s Chris Callow will look at the Viking colonisation of Iceland and Helgi the Lean, supposed to be its first settler.
- Finally, Leicester academics will finish off the day with Gods and Saints: the School of English’s Dr Philip Shaw promises an examination of the linguistic evidence for magical flying and cross-dressing male deities in Viking mythology; while Dr Helen Foxhall-Forbes of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History marks one thousand years since the grisly murder of Archbishop St Ælfheah with a discussion of the original sources which describe how he met his grim end.
Alongside the programme of papers there will also be a display on the astonishing excavation of the one thousand year old boat burial on display for all to appreciate.