‘The Last Pagans’ at the University of York

This evening I spoke online at the University of York’s Centre for Medieval Studies, as part of the Ideology, Society and Medieval Religion (ISMR) seminar series. My theme was ‘The Last Pagans? Paganism in the Medieval Baltic’. As well as exploring who the Baltic pagans were, why a major pagan polity (Lithuania) survived into the late Middle Ages and what Baltic pagans may have believed, the talk also addressed the unequal treatment of Baltic religion in the historiography of the Baltic Crusades, in contrast to the treatment now afforded to Islam in scholarship on the Levantine Crusades. I argued that the designation of religions as ‘pagan’ still leads some scholars to deem them unworthy of study, resulting in the neglect of one of Europe’s most important religions – which held together the vast and extraordinary polity of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania until 1387.

I am grateful to Dr Tim Wingard for inviting me to contribute to these seminars, and for facilitating the interesting discussion that followed the talk.

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