Past Events

Myth – Britain and the World in the Middle Ages: Image and Reality

Lecture Series – Alixe Bovey

  • 14 April 2022
  • 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • The second in a six-part public lecture course on Britain and the World in the Middle Ages: Image and Reality.
  • Paul Mellon Centre and Online

The most influential British history book written in the Middle Ages, completed in the 1130s, opens about 1200 BC with the tale of the conquest of Britain by a band of Trojan refugees. Led by Brutus, the great-grandson of Aeneas, the Trojans made their way to an uninhabited island known as Albion, but on arrival they discovered that it was overrun by ferocious giants. Renaming the island ‘Brutayne’ after Brutus, they exterminated the giants and then founded London as the new Troy. The giants appear in just a few lines of Latin prose, yet they have survived in the myth and material culture of Britain in extraordinarily varied ways, from manuscript illumination to monumental landscape art. Using images of these giants as a starting point, this lecture explores the pivotal role played by images in shaping and adapting national myths of origin.

No prior art historical knowledge is necessary.

Registration is required. Please book tickets in the link above.

Please note this event will take place in our Lecture Room, located on the First Floor. Full accessibility information is available here. The event will also be live-streamed via Zoom Webinar.

About the speaker

  • Alixe Bovey is a specialist in the art and culture of the later Middle Ages, with particular interests in illuminated manuscripts, pictorial narrative, and the relationship between myth and material culture across historical periods and geographical boundaries. She is Dean and Deputy Director of The Courtauld, where she is also professor of medieval art history.