Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Report on Pennsic 38 ... and looking ahead to Pennsic 39 already

Overall, I believe that my survey class on medieval Lithuania went well ... even though I forgot to bring the tri-fold display board on which I was going to post photos, maps, etc. D'OH!!! Good thing I brought my stack of books along, even though I had to spend most of my time at War worrying whether they would get wet if it rained. I was able to pass around some of the books to illustrate my points.

Once again, the tent was full of students, and some of them asked really good questions. One person told me afterward that she learned more about her ancestry than she had ever known before. I'm always glad to help in that regard!

Next year I'm thinking of doing Pennsic University a little differently. In fact, I have thought of two separate classes to teach:

  • The 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald happens next year, just before Pennsic. Wouldn't an hour-long presentation about this battle and its historical context be just fabulous? Perhaps the subtitle of the class could be "Smackdown of the Teutonic Knights" or "Last Battle of the Crusades." Hee hee!
  • A survey of Lithuanian women's clothing through the ages. (Sorry, guys, I am less knowledgeable about what the menfolk wore, especially since I don't have to dress a guy for the SCA.)
As always, I welcome comments from my readers! I'm particularly interested in hearing whether a non-fighter like myself would be a credible lecturer on a subject like Grunwald.

Also, at the annual Slavic Interest Group (SIG) meeting at Pennsic, I tasted some incredible krupnikas from a New England brewer. That was seriously smooth and had great legs! Sorry, the brewer doesn't seem to have a Web site, but I have his business card, so he may be getting an order from me.


  1. I think being a fighter might lend some insights to medieval military history, but that it wouldn't be a requirement to understand it.

    But having a good grasp of milspeak would go a long way to adding credibility. I didn't know which part of the army the vanguard was until a few years ago. :) Being able to make sense of those red and blue lines on the battle maps, and then being able to explain them and why this particular bulge here is so important, would be a good skill.

    ...if you're planning a blow-by-blow of the events of the day. If you're planning to put it into a larger context - a twenty-minute discussion of the battle inside of a 55-minute class on the geopolitics of the area - then you can get away with a broader view.

  2. Thanks, Teleri! I am probably leaning toward the latter, as I want to explain what led up to this battle.

    At the end of the talk I might also spend a couple of minutes mentioning the battle's implications down to the 20th century. In World War I the Germans smacked down the Russians in a nearby battle that the Germans saw as payback for their 1410 defeat. And in the 1980s the best sports teams in the Lithuanian SSR named themselves after the battle ("Zalgiris" in Lithuanian) as a dig at their Soviet overlords.

    I hope I can pick up the military strategy stuff from books on the subject.