“Pirate Fiction in the Middle Ages, 500 – 1500″

– The Image of the Sea-Warrior in Medieval Texts from the Factual to the Fantastic –

21-22 September 2017, University of Southern Denmark, Odense

Preliminary List of Speakers and Titles

  • Emily Sohmer Tai, CUNY: “Microhi/stories: Discovering Pirates in Fact and Fiction”
  • Sebastian Sobecki, University of Groningen: “Personable Pirates: Evidence from Fifteenth-Century English Texts”
  • Thierry Lassabatère, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne: “The Route and the Sea: Imaginary of the Expedition of Castile (1365-1369) in the Chanson de Bertrand du Guesclin”
  • Gregor Rohmann, Georg-August Universität Göttingen: “The Making of Klaus Störtebeker. History, Legend, and Entertainment Industry”
  • Mike Carr, University of Edinburgh: “Heroic Pirates in the Fourteenth-Century Aegean”
  • Serban V. Marin, University of Bucharest: “Independent Pirate or Genoese Nobleman? The Case of Leo Vetrano according to the Venetian Viewpoint”
  • Clemens Gantner, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften: “The Saracen Raids of Rome 846/849 and their contemporary popular reception”
  • Stephen Bennett, Queen Mary University of London: “Alan Trenchemer – Richard the Lionheart’s Pirate Captain”
  • Stefan Donecker, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften: “Swashbuckling in the Medieval North Atlantic: The Zeno Narrative as Pirate Fiction”
  • Victòria A. Burguera i Puigserver, University of Balearic Islands – UIB: “Changing Perspectives on Pirates and Piracy through Municipal Correspondence in the Late Medieval Crown of Aragon”
  • Roser Salicrú i Lluch, Milà i Fontanals Institution – IMF, Barcelona: “The Holy Moor or the Dog of Almeria. Legend Construction and Documentary Evidence of a Muslim Pirate in the Mid-Fifteenth Century Western Mediterranean”
  • Heather Blurton, University of California, Santa Barbara: “Pirate Hermeneutics: Sir Bevis in the Mediterranean”
  • Sheryl McDonald Werronen, Arnamagnæan Institute, University of Copenhagen: “Images of Piracy in Late Medieval Icelandic Romance”
  • Francesco Marzella, Università Degli Studi Dell’Aquila: “The Bishop, the Saint and the Shoemaker: Pirates in Anglo-Latin Historiography, Hagiography and Fiction”
  • Jurica Sabljić & Mirko Sardelić, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb: “Omiš (Almissa): Pirate imagery in 12th– and 13th-century Adriatic”
  • Kathryn Ward, Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio: “Shieldmaidens of the Sea: Female Pirates of the Viking Age in Medieval Literature”
  • Jessica Tearney-Pearce, St John’s College, University of Cambridge: “Relics at sea: translationes transmarinae as piracy”

Call for Papers is now closed

Invited Speakers and Titles

  • Emily Sohmer Tai, CUNY: “Microhi/stories: Discovering Pirates in Fact and Fiction”
  • Sebastian Sobecki, University of Groningen: “Personable Pirates: Evidence from Fifteenth-Century English Texts”
  • Thierry Lassabatère, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne: “The Route and the Sea: Imaginary of the Expedition of Castile (1365-1369) in the Chanson de Bertrand du Guesclin”
  • Gregor Rohmann, Georg-August Universität Göttingen: “The Making of Klaus Störtebeker. History, Legend, and Entertainment Industry”

Call for Papers

In the recent years the study of plunder at sea in the Middle Ages, more popularly known as piracy, has received increased interest in medieval studies. Most research up to now on medieval piracy has so far approached the subject from a politico-legal point of view. This has yielded important insights into the legal status of piracy and its practice in the Middle Ages. However, investigations into the perception of pirates and piracy in medieval Europe, and possible changes in this perception over time, are mostly lacking. This is an unfortunate state of affairs. Although pirates and piracy in legal terms denote criminals and crime, these terms in much literature and popular fiction designate rebellious heroes against tyranny and injustice. While law and state power are most certainly vital to the study of piracy and plunder at sea by neglecting the image, perception and contemporary discussion of this maritime culture only half the story is told.

This conference seeks to address this lacuna by bringing historians and scholars of literature and art together to explore ‘pirate narratives’ not only in historiography and law but also in medieval romances and novels, hagiography, chronicles, diplomatic correspondences and iconography. We therefore invite scholars to contribute to the discussion of medieval sea warriors, pirates and piracy by the study of the various narratives of illustrious and/or infamous persons such as Ragnar Lothbrok, the Jomsvikings, Eustace the Monk, William Smale and John Hawley, Don Pero Niňo, Gadifer de la Salle, Klaus Störtebeker, and Benedetto Zaccaria. This list is by no means exhaustive and we welcome papers on any men and women (factual or fictive) of war and plunder at sea in the medieval Atlantic, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean in the ‘long’ Middle Ages.

Deadline for paper proposals should be send to Thomas Heebøll-Holm thee@sdu.dk no later than 31 January 2017. There will be no registration fee.

The organizers: Thomas Heebøll-Holm, Assistant Professor, University of Southern Denmark and the Centre for Medieval Literature (CML), Odense & York. The conference has generously been funded by the Carlsberg Foundation.