Ships sailing in the air, or flying in the Middle Ages

On 21 October 2016, Dr Wiktor Szymborski from the JU Institute of History delivered the first lecture of the new academic year entitled "Ships sailing in the air, or flying in the Middle Ages" in the JU Auditorium Maximum building. The lecture discussed some examples testifying to first attempts of flying in the Middle Ages. It was thought in early modernity that there were several ways to rise in the air: one referred to spirits and angels, another one to birds, still another one to wings attached to the body in a special fashion while the fourth one to flying machines. Examples from the third and fourth categories show how innovative some ideas of medieval man were. The lecture skipped all magic spells supposed to facilitate flying or levitation but discussed examples and fate of medieval Icaruses and attempts to build flying machines or use griffins to propel aircraft carriers.

Lecture attendees, right: Bożena Nowak, Polish sign-language interpreter
Lecture attendees, right: Bożena Nowak, Polish sign-language interpreter

Lecture attendees
Lecture attendees

Miniatures and adaptations of illustrations discussed during the lecture