The Rise of Medieval Universities

The University of Glasgow / Photo by Mike Peel, Wikimedia Commons Charlemagne realized that his empire needed a body of educated people if it was to survive. By Dr. Lyon Harry Nelson Emeritus Professor of Medieval History The University of Kansas Carolingian Educational Reforms Charlemagne instructing his son Louis the Pious / Wikimedia Commons Charlemagne[…]

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville and the ‘Moral Geography’ of the Medieval World

Mandeville’s Travels was, for more than two centuries after its appearance in c.1356, of enormous influence and popularity in many fields of European culture. This paper discusses first its unprecedented generic eclecticism and its casting into the form of a first person narrative, and then proceeds to explore concepts of space and how a journey[…]

Filioque and the Latin-Greek ‘Great Schism’ of 1054

The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople, by Eugene Delacroix, 1840 / Louvre Museum, Wikimedia Commons The Great Schism, also called the East-West Schism, divided Christendom into Western (Latin) and Eastern (Greek) branches. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.20.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The Great Schism, also called the East-West Schism, divided Christendom into[…]

Iconoclasm across Cultures from Antiquity to Modernity

Desecrated Christian icons in Turkey / Photo by Georges Jansoone JoJan, Göreme Valley Open Air Museum, Cappadocia, Wikimedia Commons Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons or monuments, usually for religious or political motives.  In common parlance, an iconoclast is a person who challenges cherished beliefs or traditional institutions as being based on error[…]

Manorialism and Household Staff in an English Medieval Castle

Edinburgh Castle / Photo by Becks, Wikimedia Commons Examining a microcosm of the medieval world in the castle. By Mark Cartwright / 06.01.2018 Historian Introduction An illustration of a medieval noble taking his bath and being attended to by servants. (Codex Manesse, 14th century CE, Zurich, Switzerland) / Wikimedia Commons An English medieval castle, if[…]

The Absence of Central Legal Enforcement in Medieval Iceland

The Gimli viking statue / Photo by Krazytea, Wikimedia Commons Medieval Iceland illustrates an actual and well-documented historical example of how a stateless legal order can work. By Thomas Whiston / 12.25.2002 Medieval Iceland illustrates an actual and well-documented historical example of how a stateless legal order can work and it provides insights as to[…]

Penitence, Confession, and Submission in Late Medieval Women’s Religious Communities

14th-century theological compendium / University of California Berkeley Special Collections Examining depictions of penance and confession in late medieval “Sisterbooks”. By Dr. Rabi Gregory / 08.06.2012 Associate Professor of Religious Studies University of Missouri Introduction This article argues that depictions of penance and confession in late medieval “Sisterbooks,” which were written by women religious for[…]

The Knights of the Front: Medieval History’s Influence on Great War Propaganda

A knight fighting a dragon, 15th-century woodcut / Rauner Special Collections Library, Wikimedia Commons The emergence of medieval imagery in the First World War propaganda. By Haley E. Claxton This article focuses on the emergence of medieval imagery in the First World War propaganda. Examining several specific uses of medieval symbolism in propaganda posters from[…]

Medieval Women: The Arnolfini Portrait and the Expectation of Constant Pregnancy

Jan Van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434, tempera and oil on oak panel, 82.2 x 60 cm (National Gallery, London), photo: Dr. Steven Zucker CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Women lived and died in a culture that expected near-constant pregnancy. By Lane Eagles / 08.26.2018 PhD Candidate in Art History University of Washington Is She Really Pregnant? Jan[…]

Medieval Women and the Notion of ‘Lost Blood’

Artwork page for ‘The Cholmondeley Ladies’, Unknown artist, Britain, c.1600-10 / Tate Britain In the Middle Ages, the power of blood-images was immediate and valuable. By Dr. Laura Kalas Williams / 01.04.2017 Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing Swansea University Images and stories of bloodshed have been ubiquitous of late. Bloodied and wounded children[…]

Yearning for Rome in the Medieval Romanesque

South transept of Tournai Cathedral, Belgium, 12th century / Wikimedia Commons The Romanesque style appeared to be a continuation of the Roman tradition of building, albeit a much simplified and less technically competent version. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Romanesque architecture is the term that describes the architecture of[…]

The Carolingian Dynasty: Resurrecting Rome in Western Europe

Carolingian gatehouse, Lorsch Abbey (Torhalle Kloster Lorsch) / Photo by Warrox, Wikimedia Commons The Carolingian Dynasty is noteworthy for the idea of a Western Roman Empire. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The Carolingian Dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians or Karlings) was a dynasty of rulers who began as[…]

A Quirky Case of Medieval Ecclesiastical Propaganda

Cross of the Scriptures, Cathedral, Temple Doolin and South Cross / Photo by Ingo Mehling, Wikimedia Commons The historical and archaeological importance of the original ecclesiastical site of Fuerty, Co. Roscommon. Part I Introduction Clonmacnoise commemorated… Fuerty, Roscommon (Image: Author) A few weeks ago, a short article in the Irish Times caught my eye. Entitled[…]

Mapping Durham’s Medieval Sanctuary Seekers

Egglestone Abbey, Barnard Castle in County Durham In medieval England, people in debt or who had broken the king’s law—people hoping to avoid imprisonment in deadly gaols or death at the end of a rope—sometimes sought sanctuary. By Dr. Krista Kesselring / 07.02.2018 Professor of History Dalhousie University Sanctuary-seeking today typically refers to the efforts[…]

Pope Gregory VII vs. Emperor Henry IV: the Assertion of Medieval Papal Authority

Conflicts between the medieval Christian church, led by the Pope, and nations, ruled by kings, occurred throughout the Middle Ages. By James Zoller / 04.27.2014 Conflicts between the medieval Christian church, led by the Pope, and nations, ruled by kings, occurred throughout the Middle Ages. One great clash between a pope and a king took[…]

Crisis and Recovery in the Late Medieval Era, 1300-1450

1493 woodcut of Basle, from the Nuremberg Chronicle / Wikimedia Commons Population growth had exceeded the limits of the agricultural economy by 1300 and became unsustainable. Lecture by Dr. Michael C. Hickey Professor of History Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Crisis (1300-1400) Climate Change, Soil Exhaustion, and Agricultural Decline Three Field System with Ridge and furrow-Fields[…]

The Economic Impact of the Black Death

The Black Death was the largest demographic disaster in European history. By Dr. David Routt / 07.20.2008 University of Richmond Overview The Black Death was the largest demographic disaster in European history. From its arrival in Italy in late 1347 through its clockwise movement across the continent to its petering out in the Russian hinterlands[…]

Filial Piety and Confucian Law in Ancient and Medieval China

Scene from the Song Dynasty Illustrations of the Classic of Filial Piety, depicting a son kneeling before his parents. / National Palace Museum, Wikimedia Commons Filial piety is a typical feature of Chinese civilization. By Dr. Miao Chungang China University of Political Science and Law Abstract Filial piety is a typical feature of Chinese civilization.[…]

How Medieval Towns Paved the Way for Capitalism

Economic, legal, and social institutions emerged that were essential to the development of an extensive and complex market economy. By LTC Richard M. Ebeling, PhD / 10.12.2016 BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership The Citadel Introduction While the manors, to a great extent, survived through a rather comprehensive system of self-sufficiency, the[…]

The Church in the Middle Ages: From Dedication to Dissent

Illustration of Pope Boniface VIII and his Cardinals / British Library, Public Domain Examining how the Church, a powerful force in the Middle Ages, was organized, why people went on pilgrimages, and what happened to dissenters. By Dr. Alixe Bovey Head of Research Courtald Institute of Art The Church was the single most dominant institution[…]

French Immigrants to Constantinople and Greece in the 13th Century

Settlers brought relatives from the west, formed marriage alliances for themselves and their children in the east, and reoriented their lives. By Erica Jo Giles / 09.08.2006 After capturing Constantinople in 1204, the Fourth Crusaders[1] established several states in former Byzantine territory. Starting from the captured imperial center, westerners moved into Thrace, Greece, the Aegean[…]

Psychology and Mental Illness in the Middle Ages

Walters Art Museum, Creative Commons There is a common perception assumes that demonic possession, witchcraft, and superstition defined mental illness, and religion dominated study of the mind. However, the reality is much more subtle. By Martyn Shuttleworth Historian of Science Beyond Aristotle From the perspective of modern psychology and psychiatry, it is too easy to[…]

A Brief Overview of the Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire expanded through brutal raids and invasions, but also established routes of trade and technology between East and West. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.29.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Rise of the Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire: Expansion of the Mongol empire from 1206 CE-1294 CE During Europe’s High Middle Ages the Mongol[…]

The Princes of Rus: Varangians to the Rise of Moscow

From The Rurik Dynasty Exhibition / Visit St. Petersbug The Varangians ruled the medieval state of Kievan Rus between the 9th and 11th centuries. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.29.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Rurik and the Foundation of Rus’ Introduction to Rurik Rurik (also spelled Riurik) was a Varangian chieftain who arrived in the Ladoga[…]