Plague Special: The Hauntings at Frotha, Part 3 of 3

May 30th, 2020

Part 3 of the 3-part Plague Special! We finally find out what becomes of both the living and the dead at Frotha, from the medieval Icelandic poem Eyrbyggja Saga, 54-55. Plus I have a chat about dead bodies and their processes of decomposition, ancient and medieval medicine and their understanding of plague and infection, medieval Icelandic Christmas, and a brief look at the fabulously-named "door-doom".

Plague Special: The Hauntings at Frotha, Part 2 of 3

May 15th, 2020

Part 2 of the 3-part Plague Special! Thorgunna has been laid to rest, but her last wishes were not quite fully carried out, and things start to go very badly wrong for the people of Frotha... This is Part 2 of a story adapted from Eyrbyggja Saga, covering sections 52-54. We start to see how the dead are spreading a deadly disease among the community, and the devastating results.

Plague Special: The Hauntings at Frotha, Part 1 of 3

April 30th, 2020

Part 1 of a 3-part Plague Special! A newcomer to a small settlement brings enticingly rich goods with her, but warns of trouble if anyone touches them without her permission... This story comes from the 13th century Icelandic saga Eyrbyggja Saga, 50-55, which tells the story of a series of hauntings at the settlement of Frotha set in the year 1000 CE. In Part 1, we meet the Hebridean newcomer Thorgunna, but things soon start to go wrong when her extreme privacy is not respected. As the story goes on through Parts 2 and 3 over the next few weeks, we'll see how the distinctly physical "ghosts", or revenants, of medieval Iceland were used to express fears about infection and deadly disease.

The Clever Slave’s Story

March 29th, 2020

Something a little lighter to cheer everyone up this month - in this story, a young man throws a wild party, not realising his father has come home from a foreign business trip early, and a clever slave comes up with a novel idea for keeping the father out of the house... We're all going through a rough time at the minute, one way or another, so rather than something scary or sad, I've gone for a bit of comic relief with this one! This story has been adapted from Plautus, Mostellaria, 446-531.

The Story of Melissa and Periander

February 29th, 2020

In this month's episode, the Tyrant Periander needs a favour from his dead wife, but she may not be in an obliging mood... This story has been adapted from Herodotus 5.92. It's followed by a short talk introducing Herodotus, ancient colours, and oracles of the dead. Content warning: domestic abuse.

The Story of the Friend at the Inn, from Cicero

January 25th, 2020

In this episode, two friends on a long journey argue over whether or not they should spend the night at a rather grim and unpleasant taverna... This Greco-Roman folktale was 'very well known' according to Cicero, and features some familiar tropes, including dreams, vengeance and danger on the road; the story has been adapted from Cicero, On Divination, 1.57 and Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings, 1.7.ext.10.

The Story of the Bathkeeper, from Gregory the Great

December 22nd, 2019

In this episode, a priest sent to the baths by his doctor finds more than he was expecting at a hot spring full of pagan icons. Uploaded a bit earlier than usual so it would be ready in good time for Christmas, this is a somewhat warmer and fuzzier early Christian ghost story adapted from Gregory the Great, Dialogues, 4.40 and 4.55.

The Story of Achilles and Patroclus, from Homer

November 27th, 2019

In this episode, Achilles has avenged the death of his partner Patroclus, but still he struggles to let him go and his dreams are disturbed.... This story has been adapted from Homer, Iliad, various sections from Books 23 and 24. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on Homer and my book (Dreams and Dreaming in the Roman Empire) on ancient dreams, so this is a story very close to my heart.

The Story of the Miller’s Wife, from Apuleius

October 30th, 2019

In this episode, a miller's wife decides to take revenge on her husband, but doesn't count on his daughter finding out... This story has been adapted from Apuleius, Metamorphoses, 9.29-31. Apuleius was a Roman citizen from North Africa, and is one of my very favourite ancient authors, which is why I had to kick start Creepy Classics with him!

Welcome to Creepy Classics!

October 25th, 2019

Welcome to Creepy Classics, a new monthly podcast re-telling ancient, medieval and early modern ghost stories, followed by a short talk about their origins, meaning and relationship to historic folklore.

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