Arnold von Harff:
Medieval Pilgrim, Plagiarist, Linguist, Liar, Artist, etc.
In 1496 Arnold von Harff undertook a strenuous, 2-year journey to the three main pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages--Rome, Jerusalem, and Santiago de Compostela. But he also falsified his account with material from more than a half dozen other travelers, so that separating fact from fiction becomes an intriguing detective story.
The lecture is illustrated with several dozen pictures stemming from the pilgrim's original color drawings.
The Age of the Vikings
Between 790 AD and 1050 AD Vikings sailed from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, terrorizing the inhabitants of Russia, central and southern Europe (esp. the British Isles), Greenland, and even North America. Besides the standard "pillaging, looting, and burning," the Vikings often settled large tracts of land, where they engaged in farming and trade--often so successfully that they gave their name to Normandy in France and possibly even to Russia. Examination of the causes for the rise and demise of the Viking Age.
Richly illustrated with maps and pictures of artifacts from the Viking Age.
Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice
Illustrated with numerous pictures from Iceland, this presentation provides an overview of the geography, history, economy, and the society of this special island nation.
With a population of only 330,000, you will be surprised at the mark in the world that this small country just below the Arctic Circle has made.
Beowulf: The Film, the Old English Epic, and its Fairy Tale Roots
A mildly scholarly look at the famous Old English epic, a mildly sarcastic comparison to the 2007 Hollywood film version, and a mildly serious description of the age-old fairy tale (honest!) that gave rise to much of the Old English epic.
Except for a small number of people in Iceland, no one believes in the gods of Viking-age Scandinavia, but the myths surrounding them are as entertaining as those that have come down to us from Greek and Roman mythology. This lecture will describe how the people of medieval Scandinavia viewed the universe, how they thought world was created, and how it was destined to end. There will be stories about Odin, Thor, Freyja, Loki and other deities that illustrate their functions in the pantheon of Norse gods.
Where possible, fanciful pictures will be used to illustrate an otherwise factual, informative presentation.
How to Speak Southern
A mildly scholarly introduction to what makes Southern English different from other American dialects. Included will be a brief overview of the main dialect areas of the United States and a short historical explanation of how the primary dialect differences arose.