Speaking in Tongues: Language, Communication and Power in the Middle Ages

  • Simon Parsons (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Communication in the Middle Ages could take place within a wide spectrum of languages, dialects, and tongues. This conference, planned for the 14th of June 2013, will explore how the use and manipulation of language can contribute to our understanding of ‘real-world’ medieval cultural interaction, and investigate how complex ideas and societal mores were communicated and translated between languages.

How did people overcome the governmental and administrative challenges in multilingual environments, such as diplomatic missions to the Mongols, knightly organizations, courts, and trading entrepôts? How were concepts and theories transmitted through cultures, across borders, or within the peripheries of Christendom, even within large institutions such as the Church or multi-ethnic polities, such as the Holy Roman or Byzantine empires? What kind of problems presented themselves in the realms of East-West relations, synods, and church councils, where complex doctrine and beliefs were discussed, debated and translated?

This interdisciplinary conference, bringing together the linguistic, cultural, and historical, will be held at the IHR in central London. It will comprise of four broad thematic strands, interspersed with refreshments, a catered lunch, and a keynote lecture, delivered by Dr Alan V. Murray (University of Leeds)
Period14 Jun 2013
Event typeOther