Investiture: Medieval Nobility Cashing in on Church Appointments

It began as a power struggle between Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV in 1076. Introduction The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was a conflict between church and state in medieval Europe over the ability to appoint local church officials through investiture.[1] By undercutting imperial power, the controversy led to nearly 50 years of civil war in Germany. According to historian Norman[…]

Carucage: Land Taxes in Medieval England

Introduced by Richard I in 1194, the taxable value of an estate was initially assessed from the Domesday Survey, but other methods were later employed. Introduction Carucage[a] was a medieval English land tax introduced by King Richard I in 1194, based on the size—variously calculated—of the estate owned by the taxpayer. It was a replacement[…]

The Psychotherapy of Marcus Aurelius

Did one of Rome’s wisest and most revered emperors benefit from an ancient precursor of cognitive psychotherapy? The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius mentions undertaking Stoic “therapy” (therapeia) at the start of The Meditations, his famous journal of personal reflections on philosophy.  He writes, “From Rusticus, I gained the idea that I was in need of correction and[…]

The Mamertine Prison: Ancient Rome’s Tullianum

The prison was constructed around 640–616 BCE, by Ancus Marcius. Introduction The Mamertine Prison (Italian: Carcere Mamertino), in antiquity the Tullianum, was a prison (carcer) located in the Comitium in ancient Rome. It was situated on the northeastern slope of the Capitoline Hill, facing the Curia and the imperial fora of Nerva, Vespasian, and Augustus. Located between it and the Tabularium (record house)[…]

Draco’s Law Code in Ancient Athens

The laws aided and legitimized the political power of the aristocracy and allowed them to consolidate their control of the land and poor. By Antonios Loizides Introduction Draco was an aristocrat who in 7th century BCE Athens was handed the task of composing a new body of laws. We have no particular clues concerning his[…]