Fire, Siege, and the Jews: Real and Imagined Threats to Water Supply in the Late Medieval City

12.02.2019, Seminar, DHI London

Sabine von Heusinger (Cologne)

Focusing on water at times of war, fire, and plague, this talk will look at a premodern society struggling with life-threating dangers but trying to find remedies. Three case studies from the ‘Regnum Teutonicum’ explore war (the siege of Neuss), precautions taken against fire (Strasbourg), and accusations of well-poisoning made against Jews in the late middle ages. They demonstrate that the life-sustaining power of water was crucial for a community. Every threat to water supply — real or imagined — had serious consequences.

Sabine von Heusinger is Professor of Late Medieval History at the University of Cologne. Her current research on water as a precondition for human life allows her to investigate many aspects of social, cultural, and intellectual history in the late middle ages.

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Seminars are held at 5.30 p.m. in the Seminar Room of the German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, LONDON WC1A 2NJ. No registration is necessary. Tea is available from 5.00 p.m. in the Common Room, and wine is served after the seminars. Guided tours of the Library are available before each seminar at 4.30 p.m.

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