A Nun, a Monk, and a Priest Walk into a Monastery: The Incredible Discovery of Thomas Merton’s Worldly Possessions

Thomas Merton / PBS By Dr. John Smelcer Fellow in English Binghamton University Sometimes the greatest stories fall into your lap, which is what happened to me in the spring of 2015 when I “discovered” the worldly possessions of Thomas Merton, one of the most influential figures of the Twentieth Century. Writer, intellectual, philosopher, poet,[…]

An Introduction to Thomas Annan of Glasgow: Pioneer of the Documentary Photograph

1:10 Hill and Adamson, “Newhaven Fishermen.” By Thomas Annan, 1845. Salted paper print. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1937, Accession Number: 37.98.1.78. ©Metropolitan Museum. By Dr. Lionel Gossman / 05.28.2015 M. Taylore Pyne Professor of Romance Languages Princeton University From Thomas Annan of Glasgow: Pioneer of the Documentary Photograph Victorian Scotland was[…]

North America’s Largest Act of Slave Resistance?

View of Prospect Bluff from the former location of Fort Gadsden / Photo by John Horse, Wikimedia Commons “Negro Fort” emerged at Prospect Bluff, Spanish Florida during the War of 1812 when a British Royal Marine named Edward Nicolls recruited hundreds of slaves from across the Southeast to join the British war effort. Nicolls was[…]

John Millward’s Beard Brush: A Global Tale from 1623

Drinking coffee and tea in Early Modern Europe, a depiction of Tom King’s Coffee House, by William Hogarth, 1738 / Idaho State University, Creative Commons By Dr. Jonathan Healey / 04.12.2016 Associate Professor in Social History University of Oxford The Social Historian Deep in the papers of the English East India Company, kept in the[…]

Nero in the Vatican: A Brief Biography of Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) from the Resurrection fresco, by Pinturicchio (Bernardino di Betto), c.1494 / Vatican Borgia Apartments, Rome By Samantha Morris / 08.11.2012 Archaeologist/Historian The Borgia Bull Early Church Career Rodrigo Borgia. More commonly known as Pope Alexander VI. Father of at least 8 children and a man who rather enjoyed his mistresses.[…]

Dying like a Woman: Euripides’ Polyxena as Exemplum between Philo and Clement of Alexandria

The sacrifice of Polyxena by the triumphant Greeks (Attic black-figure Tyrrhenian amphora, c.570-550 BCE) / British Museum, London By Dr. Courtney J.P. Friesen Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Classics The University of Arizona Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 56 (2016), 623-645 Introduction Emperor Marcus Aurelius observed that the rational soul must be prepared for[…]

Ancient to Medieval East Asian Calligraphy

From the biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru, by Huang Tingjian, c.1095 / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York By Guity Novin / 03.23.2014 Graphic Designer, Artist Calligraphy (in Chinese, Shufa 書法, in Japanese Shodō 書道, in Korean, Seoyae 書藝, all meaning “the way of writing”) has been a defining manifastaton of Asian art[…]

Late Minoan Painting, Frescoes, Pottery, and Other Representational Art

Original of one of the Taureador frescos, probably ceremonial, from Knossos Palace, Crete, c.1450 BCE / Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete By Dr. Jeremy B. Rutter Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies Sherman Fairchild Professor Emeritus in the Humanities Dartmouth College Late Minoan Pottery Introduction The transition from Middle Minoan (MM) to Late Minoan (LM) is[…]

Changes in Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts and Books that Required Rebinding

Leiden, University Library, BPL MS 2778, photo: Giulio Menna By Dr. Kathryn M. Rudy / 09.19.2016 Senior Lecturer in Art History and Medieval Studies University of St. Andrews From Piety in Pieces: How Medieval Readers Customized their Manuscripts Introduction Some augmentations did not require a medieval book owner to take the book apart. Owners and users simply[…]