Medieval Group Meeting: Slavery in the Middle Ages

Erin Dailey (Visiting Research Fellow, IMS) and Katherine Miller (IMB) will lead the next session of the Medieval Group, focussing on Slavery in the Middle Ages.

This session will be interdisciplinary and focus on the issue of slavery in medieval Europe from two different perspectives, looking at unfree concubines and the depiction of slavery in Icelandic sagas. Erin Dailey (PhD University of Leeds 2011, and currently a Visiting Research Fellow in the IMS) will discuss 'Unfree Concubinage in the Households of Medieval Europe' and Katherine Miller (PhD University of Leeds 2014, and currently working as a bibliographer for the IMB) will analyse 'Slavery in the fornaldars«ęgur'. 

Dailey's paper tracks the many different customs, laws, and attitudes that governed the sexual exploitation of slaves, examining slavery not as a means of organising labor, but as a social phenomenon with its own logic and rationale. This perspective is a welcome addition to the study of concubinage, as the subject remains insufficiently studied and understood, left on the margins of two larger developments usually treated in isolation: slavery as an institution and sexual relations outside marriage. 

Miller's paper addresses the portrayal of slavery in the Old Norse sages of Antiquity (fornaldars«ęgur). Both papers therefore address issues of slavery beyond its role as a social and economic institution. 

As usual, tea and biscuits will be served from 17:00, with the presentations beginning at 17:30. More information about past and upcoming Medieval Group events can be found here; any queries can be directed to Melanie Brunner

All are welcome.