Renmore History Society

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Below is a list of the previous lectures which have been presented by the society. We are adding summaries of each talk as we go along, click on the title of the talk to be taken to the summary page. We hope to have all summaries completed before too long, so please bear with us. We are happy to deliver any of the talks below to other history societies, community groups, clubs, schools or associations. Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details. All talks are by Brian MacGabhann unless otherwise indicated.

The Nuremberg War-Crimes Tribunal

The War Crimes tribunal that followed the ending of World War Two is now so engrained in our collective history that we sometimes forget how radical and ground-breaking the idea was. The victorious European powers set out not just to punish the evil of Nazism, but also to reassert liberal democratic values, so bruised from six years of bloody warfare. This talk will look at the background to the most famous series of trials in modern history, consider what they tried to achieve, and ask if the values and principles laid down at Nuremberg are still relevant today.

There are some 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, about 20% of the global population. Islam is now the world’s second largest religion, and in terms of the demographics of adherents, the world’s most youthful religion. Today however, it is widely misunderstood, frequently misrepresented and often misreported. This talk sets out to chart the history of Islam, from the birth of Muhammad in 570, through the foundation of the Caliphate, the vicissitudes of the crusades, Mongol invasion and European colonization, through to the situation today. In the process it will consider the core values and beliefs of Islam, and chart its evolution and development down through the centuries.

A History of the First Crusade

It was not today or yesterday that western powers embarked on ill-advised military adventures in the middle east. This talk considers the background to, progress and aftermath of the campaign that in many ways marked the beginning of the long and tangled conflict between east and west, the First Crusade. Then, as now, the motives of the participants and justifications for conflict were often misrepresented and remain widely misunderstood.

The First Entrepreneurs

In many ways the spirit and mind-set that motivated and guided early pirates is not too dissimilar from that which influences those operating in the ruthless world of business today. Whether with cutlass or fountain pen, men were driven by the imperatives of profit and plunder. This talk looks at the golden era of piracy; the high seas, the Spanish Main, pieces of eight, and will suggest that the real story of pirates may have been even more bizarre and dramatic than the Hollywood version we are familiar with.

A History of the Holy Inquisition.

From its earliest days combating heresy to later years prosecuting witchcraft, the Holy Inquisition has been one of the most controversial institutions of the church, and one which still arouses debate and disagreement today. This talk charts the origins and development of the Inquisition through its various phases; persecution of the Cathars, suppression of witchcraft, the Spanish Inquisition and its evolution into the organization that still exists today, (the last head of which was Cardinal Ratzinger, the present Pope). It considers some high profile events in its history, including the trial of Joan of Arc and of the Templars.