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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Wilhelm Levison Memorial Lecture

Wilhelm Levison, born in Düsseldorf in 1876 of a Jewish family, was one of the greatest historians of the early middle ages. Lecturer at Bonn in 1903 and professor in 1909, the Nuremberg laws of 1935 forced him as a Jew to resign his chair, and in November 1938 he was debarred from the use of libraries. In early 1939, Durham University, which had in 1931 awarded him an honorary doctorate, offered him a fellowship. In April 1939 he and his wife Elsa moved to Durham where he continued his research until his death in 1947 and prepared for publication his most important work, England and the Continent in the Eighth Century. He and his wife are buried in the Bow Cemetery.

This lecture series was inaugurated in 2008 in order to celebrate the scholarly vision and achievements of Professor Levison. Each year a speaker is invited to build upon the foundations of cross-Channel cooperation and understanding in medieval history which Professor Levison did so much to establish.

11th Wilhelm Levison Memorial Lecture: England and the Continent in the eighth century: but which parts of the Continent?

4th June 2019, 17:30 to 20:00, Priors Hall, Durham Cathedral, Professor John Blair, Oxford University

About the Speaker:

John Blair is Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at the University of Oxford and Fellow in History at The Queen’s College. His interests centre on the settlements, buildings, material culture and society of early medieval Europe. His books include The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (2005) and Building Anglo-Saxon England (2018).

England in the age of Mercian supremacy is often viewed in the mirror of the neighbouring Carolingian world. While those contacts and influences are certainly very important, the spotlight shone on them reflects the very partial and biassed survival of written sources. Archaeology can tell a different story: one that emphasises Anglian England’s connectedness with the North Sea, Scandinavian and Baltic worlds. This lecture tries to redress the balance through new perspectives from physical evidence.

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Past Lectures