Tuesday, 9 February 2016

LAMPS Spring Schedule 2016

LAMPS Spring Schedule 2016


Monday, January 11th:  Welcome to LAMPS Pub Night


6:15 PM at Doctors Pub


 Join LAMPS as we start off 2016 and the new semester with a pint at Doctors pub! Our first event of the year, this pub night provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know LAMPS as an organization as well as get first hand accounts of the exciting events that we put on each semester for our members. Whether you are studying the Middle Ages or just love castles, LAMPS is a wonderful way to get to know Scotland and its magnificent history! This is also a perfect time for returning members to get better acquainted with our 2016 schedule of events and catch up with each other!

Monday, January 18th: Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

 “The Stryx, the Changeling, and the Midnight Witch: Opposition in Transformed Women of Medieval Folklore”
Bianca Maggs, MSc Medieval Literatures and Cultures, University of Edinburgh
The transformed body is an intrinsic feature of mythological and folkloric texts, yet it is the source of tremendous literary tension. This tension is particularly felt in the works of medieval writers, who adopted the metamorphosis framework with caution. They advised that, although a great source of creative inspiration, the transformed body remains one to be largely avoided and feared, yet these same writers manipulate such bodies for their own purposes, producing cautionary works which condemn belief in bodily transformation whilst simultaneously promoting it. From early medieval folklore to the works of Liberalis and Apuleius, a common thread appears; the part-feminine, part-avian bodies of the midnight women. With her origins in Classical mythology, this woman transcends generation and genre, embodying the clash of nature and the supernatural, and subsequently becoming a focal point for many discussions of female misdemeanour.  This paper will explore the transition of this body in motion, addressing the antithesis of her very being; suspended from categorisation, and of the way her body is both shunned and elevated by Christian texts. From temptress to wife; child-killer to mother, the feathered woman takes flight to evade the constrictions of traditional female archetypes.

Monday, January 25th: Seminar
6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05 
“The Woman and The Wolf: Allegories of Adam and Eve in Medieval Werewolf Literature"
Kirsten Lopez, MSc Medieval Literatures and Cultures, University of Edinburgh
There is no doubt as to the central role Christianity played in the Western Middle Ages. And while the use of biblical allegories and metaphor in medieval literature is by no means a new concept, it has only been addressed briefly in the context of romance literature and the connection between the archetypes of Adam and Eve and werewolf stories has often been approached but not directly explored.  This structure is seen very clearly in the tales of Arthur and Gorlagon, Bisclavret, and Le Roman de Renart. The werewolf archetype, or in the case of Renart of anthropomorphized wolves, provides the perfect medium with which to demonstrate the spiritual effect of sin on Adam and Eve in a clear and tangible way. Different though the three stories may seem, there exists a tenable link with the standard characters of werewolf literature acting as allegorical representations of Adam, Eve, and God. In all three stories there is an evil woman, usually the main protagonist’s wife, who is responsible for her husband’s downfall. In each, only a noble king can solve the husband’s situation, meting out justice. As will be shown, the evil wife represents that most guilty woman of all, Eve, while the husband stands in for Adam and the goodly king takes on a Christ-like role. Each of the three texts provides a variation on the allegory that nevertheless contains the key figures of the biblical story.


Saturday, January 30th:  Glasgow Museums


Meet at 9:30 AM at Waverley

£12.10 return to Glasgow Queen Street / £6.60 Roundabout ticket for travel within Glasgow / Free entry to all sites

 Come along with LAMPS as we take on Glasgow’s numerous museums! First stop will be the amazing Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which boasts 22 galleries with over 8000 objects. Highlights include the Museum’s extensive Scottish history and archaeology material, including the oldest remains ever found in Scotland, of an early medieval satchel, and its impressive collections of arms and armour. We will then head over to the beautiful Pollock Country Park, which is home to the Burrell Collection. This collection, gifted to Glasgow by Sir William Burrell in 1944, is one of the greatest collections ever created by one person, and focusses on late medieval and early Renaissance Europe. These museums are a must-see and can be visited time and again, so join us for a day of fun and discovery!


Monday, February 1st:  Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Lecture


6 PM in the Auditorium of the National Museum of Scotland (Lothian Street doors entrance)

Free (Online booking reservation required

 As we continue our relationship with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, we hope you will join us in attending this wonderful lecture and discussion.

 “6,000 Years of Architecture, Innovation and Design”

 A journey through Scottish architecture from the earliest buildings to today’s tower blocks.  Our three speakers have each been given a period of Scotland’s past and presented the challenge to choose their three examples of architectural innovation and design that changed the face of Scotland.  Come and hear their choices and contribute your own!

Chair: Prof. Karen Forbes (Edinburgh College of Art)

Prehistory (earliest people to 600 AD): Dr Tanja Romankiewicz (Edinburgh University)

Medieval (600 AD to Union of the Crowns): Prof. Richard Oram (Stirling University)

Modern (Union of the Crowns to today): John Lowrey (ECA)


Sunday, February 7th:  “Meet the Executioner”


Meet at 12 PM at Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

 Join LAMPS as we step back in time at Edinburgh Castle. Come learn about the preferred methods of execution in the Middle Ages in Scotland and what the job entailed from the executioner himself. We will spend the afternoon exploring the castle before being regaled with gory tales of crime and punishment.  A bloody good time is guaranteed for all, just make sure you don’t lose your head!


Monday, February 8th:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

Parysatis : The Agency of the King's Mother in the Achaemenid Court.
Samantha Walker, University of Edinburgh alumna
The mother of the Achaemenid King, Artaxerxes II (c.405-359 BCE) is recorded as a woman with a formidable and seemingly wicked personality. She gained particular notoriety amongst ancient authors for poisoning her son's beloved wife, Queen Stateira. Parysatis' reputation as a murderess has since been moulded into shape by centuries of Orientalist views built on the misogynistic premise that royal women within the court societies of the ancient Near East had an excess of power which led to debauchery and the eventual demise of Empire.  It is not my intention, however, to clear Parysatis' name of all the charges held against her, but rather to present the events of her life in a more realistic fashion. I aim to argue that the agency exerted by Parysatis within the Achaemenid court was entirely relevant to her position as the mother of the King and that her reported violent acts were often political measures taken to ensure that the strict hierarchy of the Persian court and harem was not unbalanced. In combination with her own strong personality, the natural influence of her position secured for her a great amount of economic wealth and a wide political reach. A combination of native Persian evidence and some cross-cultural anecdotes will be explored along with that of Greek authors examined with the necessary critical eye. The writings of the Greek doctor, Ctesias of Cnidus, are of particular interest as he attests in his Persica that he was employed in the Achaemenid court and physician to Parysatis herself over a period of almost two decades. Using the example of Parysatis therefore, I hope to show royal women as a real, important force within the Achaemenid court and how the position of the King's mother in particular was one of great esteem within the harem and the court hierarchy overall. 

Friday, February 12th:  Mastering Conference Posters


4-6 PM in 50 George Square G.05


Come learn the ins and outs of poster presentation with us!  Geared at Honors Undergraduate students and MSc presenters (although PhD students are also very welcome to attend), this hands-on learning experience and demonstration will not only cover what a poster session is, but also how to make a vibrant poster of your own. This is a great way to learn an important skill for public outreach, and it is also a perfect opportunity to meet and collaborate with fellow students!


Wednesday, February 17th:  ‘For our fredome & for our land’: Battle of Bannockburn & Stirling Castle


Innovative Learning Week Trip


Meet at 8:45 AM at Crichton St.

£12.52 for transport and activities

Join LAMPS as we visit the site of the Battle of Bannockburn and nearby Stirling Castle. The event will start at the Bannockburn Visitor Centre, which has recently been restored to commemorate the battle’s 700th anniversary. The group will be guided through the Visitor Centre, exploring its didactic material before participating in a 3D recreation of the battle known as the Battle Game. We will be divided into two parties, one representing the English and the other representing the Scots, and each group will attempt to recreate their side’s role in the battle (with the possibility of the English winning!). After the battle recreation, we will tour the battlefield itself before heading to Stirling Castle, over which the battle was fought. Stirling has a long and complex history that marks it as one of Scotland’s most important heritage sites, and makes it a perfect end to the day! We will be led through the castle by LAMPS members  who have experience in heritage, and an expert knowledge of the castle and its role in history.
See Eventbrite and Facebook for ticketing information.

Monday, February 22nd:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

“Accounts of Medieval Witchcraft: The Significance of Sexuality and Gender in Defining the Medieval Witch”
Makenna Mall, MSc History, University of Edinburgh
In 1324 Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny, Ireland as well as her son and her associates were tried for acts of heresy and sorcery, thus marking the earliest documented trial of a group of individuals deemed to be practicing “black magic.” One hundred and sixty-one years later, the trial of Helena Scheuberin would evolve the definition of heretical “black magic” to focus on sexual communion with demonic forces. This shift in the conceptualization of what constituted black magic or maleficium coincided with the solidification and entrenchment of religious doctrine regarding female fallibility and the female sexual appetite.
While research regarding witchcraft has largely been limited to the early modern period, my essay will seek to remove the veil of mystery that lays on witchcrafts medieval roots by elucidating the complex role sexuality and gender played in defining the medieval witch. Furthermore, through scrutiny of specific cases I will work to elucidate the way in which the late medieval witch differed from earlier medieval conceptions and why these variations occurred and how they were reliant upon changes in gender constructs over time.


Saturday, February 27th:  Dumbarton Castle


Meet at 9 AM at Waverley

£20.30 return/ Entry into the castle is free

Come along to beautiful Dumbarton Castle, which was the centre of the kingdom of Strathclyde from the 5th-11th centuries.  We will spend the afternoon exploring this medieval stronghold while discussing its history and purpose, including its Georgian Governor’s House.  Adding to the dynamic view of the castle is its situation atop a massive area of volcanic rock which overlooks the Firth of Clyde.  This trip to the coast is sure to inspire a love of history!

Monday, February 29th:  Seminar and Bake Sale


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

"Is There a Life Beyond Academics?"
Jeff Sanders, DigIt! Project Manager and Devon McHugh, Relationships & Partnerships Development Manager, Museums Galleries Scotland
Join LAMPS as we host Edinburgh University alumni Jeff Sanders & Devon McHugh for a discussion on life beyond academics. There will also be an opportunity for CV feedback in conjunction with this talk; details to be announced at the talk.
Follow your sweet tooth!  LAMPS will also be participating in the Guinness Bake Sale World Record Attempt at the University of Edinburgh.  This event will run from 9 AM to 5 PM around the University of Edinburgh campus.  The goal of the event is to sell a world record number of baked goods in an eight-hour period, and Great British Bake Off Star and Edinburgh alumnus Glenn Cosby will be present throughout the day!  Look out for more information on this fantastic event and for the exact location of the LAMPS bake sale on Facebook.

Monday, March 7th:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G. 05

“Churches Through Time: An Analysis of the Patterns and Trends of Ecclesiastical Architecture from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages”
Audrey Scardina, PhD Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Ancient Lycia, on the southwest coast of modern Turkey, provides a wealth of still-standing archaeological remains from the Late Antique and Byzantine periods. In central and west Lycia alone, there are over sixty sites with existing architectural remains of Late Antique and Byzantine ecclesiastical structures; this totals in over one hundred churches.
Previous and current research on the architectural remains from this period tends to emphasise individual sites, or alternately, a comparison of specific architectural features across multiple sites without much context. This has lead to an absence of research on the overall trends of building and rebuilding across the different regions of Lycia, including a consideration of architectural features such as design and building technique.
In this paper, I will use GIS-based analysis to reveal new theories about architectural trends, from the genesis of church buildings during the Late Antique period to their final incarnations in the tenth- to eleventh-century. This research has revealed the differences in the construction trends of central and western Lycia, as well as highlighting possible building programmes throughout the period of study. With a detailed knowledge and analysis of the individual locations, it is possible to understand why certain sites stand out, why some decline, and why some continue to flourish for over five centuries. This research provides a new way of understanding the use of the churches of Lycia, and through that, a stronger knowledge of the people who used them.

Saturday, March 12th:  LAMPS Pub Quiz


6:30 PM - 8 PM in Teviot Dining Room

£2/£3 members/ non-members

Come face off against fellow medievalists and movie buffs! We will be spending the evening being quizzed on everything from the the date of Thomas Becket’s murder to what castles were used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Prizes will be given out to the team that proves they have what it takes to go the distance.   Don’t forget your game face!

Monday, March 14th:  Heritage in Scotland Roundtable and Annual General Meeting


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

LAMPS is very excited to introduce a new means of creating interdisciplinary connections within our society by hosting a roundtable event in which our members will have the opportunity to discuss hot-button topics in relation to the past in modern-day academia.  The theme for this particular roundtable is “Heritage in Scotland” which includes everything from cinematic adaptations of the Late Antique to the Middle Ages to museum outreach programs that attempt to appropriate the past in the present.  This LAMPS-mediated event promotes safe and provocative discussion of how our modern world affects the past worlds that we so diligently study, and how heritage impacts us today and in the future.
After a rousing discussion, LAMPS will have its Annual General Meeting (AGM) where a new committee will be elected by LAMPS members.  We encourage all members to come and vote in the new President, Treasurer, Secretary, Seminar Secretary, Events Secretary, and two new General Members as they will come to represent LAMPS as a society at the University of Edinburgh!

Saturday, March 19th:  Tantallon and Dirleton Castles


Meet at 10 AM at Crichton Street

£25/£28  members/non-members

Come along with LAMPS as we explore two beautiful coastal castles. A relatively short coach ride from the city center, both Tantallon and Dirleton offer breathtaking views and a chance to explore two medieval castles steeped in history. Tantallon has not only endured three major sieges, but was the seat of the Douglas Earls of Angus, one of Scotland’s most powerful baronial families. Meanwhile, Dirleton Castle served as the seat of power for three noble families before being damaged during Cromwell’s siege in 1650. Come prepared for rainy Scottish weather as we explore the battle-filled history of these two coastal treasures.

Monday, March 21st:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

 "Colour Symbolism versus Pigment Production in Insular Manuscripts"
Lauren Deeth-Kelt, MSc Art in the Global Middle Ages, University of Edinburgh
Colour symbolism is frequently encountered in early medieval scholarship as many Insular manuscripts have been deeply studied to reveal connections between the materials of pigment production and how the origins of said compounds contribute to the symbolism of the image. The consideration of pigments in Insular art has recently increased as a field due to new developments in scientific analysis. Contemporary studies on the Book of Kells have revealed more information on the exact composition of the materials used in the illuminations. Whilst previous scholarship has tended towards the symbolic nature of pigment use, the gritty reality of pigment production is frequently underplayed. Dirt, faeces and urine were commonly employed in the early medieval scriptorium in the production of a variety of colours. For example, copper is used to create hues of blue and green that have been imbued with doctrinal meaning in the iconographic programmes of Insular Gospel books, however, urine was needed to create the compounds required. Manuscripts such as the Book of Kells, since their creation, have been revered as apotropaic and divine objects channelling the word of God to the faithful. Indeed, the Book of Kells was famously referred to as so beautiful it must have been “created by angels”; its supposed divine provenance ignoring the very earthly paraphernalia required for its creation. This paper will trace the journey of raw earthly materials to divine commissions and analyse the opposing forces of pigment material and colour symbolism in the early medieval period. 

Monday, March 28th:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

“Religious Diversity as a Threat to Civic Unity? : Bishop Avitus and the Conversion of the Jews of Clermont in AD 576”
Lorenzo Livorsi, MA Classics, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
At Pentecost in AD 576, more than five hundred Jews living in Clermont were baptised by the local bishop, Avitus. This was, however, no collective illumination: it was the final stage of a series of civic disorders and, faced with the alternative of leaving the town forever or becoming part of Christ’s flock, the troublesome Jewish minority chose the latter. Regarding this fact, we have to rely on the not completely concordant accounts of Venantius Fortunatus and of Gregory of Tours. Fortunatus’ poetical account, in particular, cloaks the event in deep theological meaning; however, it does not conceal the serious struggles within the town. But this is not only one of the several episodes of early Christian anti-Semitism; it also testifies to a changing perception of community in early Medieval society: civic unity seems unthinkable without unity of faith in post-Roman Gaul, where kings and bishops led their towns jointly, in a not always easy dialogue, and the Catholic Church was a major element of civic cohesion. Some acts of the councils of Gaul and Spain (where forced conversions were rather frequent) can reveal much of this new conception of the community. Yet, the way in which, less than twenty years later, Gregory the Great cautioned Theodorus, bishop of Marseilles, against converting Jews forcedly suggests that views on this issue were far from uniform within the western Church.

Thursday, March 31st:  International Hug a Medievalist Day


Meet at 12 PM on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade


Feeling blue?  Stressed out about essays?  Research not cooperating?  Life got you down?  Just like hugs?  Then this is the event for you! LAMPS will be celebrating International Hug a Medievalist Day by, well, hugging it out.  Join us as we offer hugs, support, and probably random medieval fun facts!

Saturday, April 9th:  National Museum Celts Exhibition Tour


Meet outside the gift shop at the National Museum of Scotland at 12 PM

£10/£8 adult/concession for entry to the exhibition

Join us as we explore the Celts Exhibition. This special exhibition seeks to elucidate through artifacts the rich and often elusive history of the varied peoples who, throughout history, have been labeled as ‘Celts.’ Included in the exhibition are objects of religious devotion and jewellery spanning from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.


Friday, April 15th:  Speed Dating Research Q&A


7 PM - 8:30 PM in Teviot Study (next to the New Amphion Café)


Ever wondered what a PhD student would be able to add to your current research, or what you could add to theirs? Now is a chance to find out as LAMPS presents a speeding dating Q&A open to Honors Undergraduates, Masters students, and PhD candidates. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow researchers and discuss possible new areas of thought, receive general feedback on your ideas, or to share your potential thesis and get feedback from students completing a wide range of degrees.

Saturday, April 23rd:  St. Andrews Trip


Meet at 9 AM at Crichton Street

£25/£28  members/non-members

Join LAMPS as we explore the city where royal romance blossomed! Home to the oldest university in Scotland, St. Andrews also has a beautiful medieval castle dramatically situated overlooking the North Sea. This castle was home to Scotland’s leading bishop (and later archbishop) throughout the Middle Ages, and was therefore the site of many important happenings in Scottish history, including some key moments leading up to the Scottish Reformation in 1560. St. Andrews also boasts an amazing cathedral, the largest and most impressive medieval church in Scotland. We will climb to the top of St. Rule’s tower to see a breath-taking view of St. Andrews and the coastline, and explore the museum buildings and graveyard that surround the cathedral. It is sure to be a great day full of windblown medieval shenanigans!

Email: lampsedinburgh@gmail.com

Twitter: @LAMPS_Edinburgh

Facebook: Late Antique and Medieval Postgraduate Society