Why history? Bees in the medieval world

28 Oct 2021, 18:00 - 19:00

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Live subtitling
Online event

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Close up of bees and honeycomb inside wooden beehive.
The British Academy on Zoom Webinar
Free

Sharing insights from the past that help us to make sense of the present.

Bee populations in the UK have been in decline over the last 40 years, particularly as a result of habitat loss, but the medieval world was teeming with bees. Bees themselves were considered a potent symbol of chastity in medieval Christianity, while in Islam, honey was believed to have spiritual and physical healing powers. A thriving and lucrative international trade in bee products, driven by these religious and cultural beliefs, encouraged beekeeping on a vast scale among landowners and peasants alike.

In this event, Alexandra Sapoznik explores the cultural and religious significance of bees in the medieval world, considering the impact of beekeeping on the environment and economy of the period and how we might think about the importance of bees in our lives today.

Speaker: Dr Alexandra Sapoznik, Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval History, King's College London; former British Academy Small Research Grants award holder

Chair: Farhana Haider, journalist and broadcaster, presenter for the BBC World Service’s Witness History

Free, booking required

This event will have live subtitles provided by StageTEXT, delivered by MyClearText

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