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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

IMEMS/Blackfriars 4th Public Lecture: Horses for Courses: Food and Faith in Early Medieval Times

19th October 2013, 11:00

Novelist and food historian John Henry Clay from Durham University. This talk will explore food taboos in the early Middle Ages and ask what happened when food met faith?

The 2013 ‘horse meat scandal’ outraged British consumers, and revealed how sensitive our society can be about what animals we should and should not eat. Yet it wasn’t the first time that the eating of horse flesh had caused a scandal. In 732, Pope Gregory II heard that the people of Germany, only recently converted to Christianity, were in the habit of eating horses. Utterly horrified, he condemned the custom as ‘filthy and abominable’. Why were early medieval Germans eating horses, and why did Christians condemn it so fiercely?

The event will start at 11am with tea and coffee and with the talk itself at 11:30am. A suitably medieval 3 course lunch will follow. The cost is £25pp which includes tea/coffee on arrival and lunch. Tickets can be bought through Blackfriars own website.

The usual 60% early bird concession rate of just £10pp will be available to students, lecturers and friends of both Durham and Newcastle Universities until 2 weeks before the event.