MSS Lunch Lecture Andrew Brown, 'Passing the Time in Late Medieval Flanders'

08-10-2019 from 12:00 to 13:00
Ghent, Campus Boekentoren, Blandijn building, 3rd floor, Meeting Room 'Camelot'
Stefan Meysman
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Andrew Brown (Massey University, NZ) for the October lunch lecture of the Pirenne Institute

On 8 October 2019, 12.00-13.00, we have the pleasure of hosting prof. Andrew Brown (Massey University, New Zealand). Professor Brown will speak on ‘Passing the Time in Late Medieval Flanders’.

The lunch lecture will take place in Ghent, in the Blandijn building, 3rd floor, Camelot Room.


This lecture begins with a tale of men ‘passing the time’ by playing dice in a Flemish tavern. The tale is one of many that appear in the numerous pardon letters issued by Burgundian and Habsburg rulers between 1386 and 1520. These pardons, given to supplicants who had committed serious crimes, are well-known and notoriously problematic, particularly because supplicants give such a one-sided and favourable account of their activities. On the face of it, therefore, it seems surprising that so many chose to recall their involvement in dicing: no game in late medieval Europe was so vilified. This apparent puzzle prompts a wider consideration of attitudes to dicing, game playing and recreation in general, and how the various discourses surrounding them also related to the power of the princely state. 


Andrew Brown is Associate Professor in the School of Humanities at Massey University, New Zealand, where he has been since 2010. He was previously a lecturer at Edinburgh University, and a research fellow at Keble College, Oxford. His main interests have been in late medieval religion and ritual in England and Flanders; and more recently in ideas of play and recreation. His books include Civic Ceremony and Religion in Medieval Bruges c.1300-1520 (CUP, 2011) and co-edited with Jan Dumolyn, Medieval Bruges c.850-1550 (CUP, 2018).