Commodities and the Transformation of the North American Landscape

How did extraction, production, and exchange shape the physical and cultural landscape of North America? Originally published by Newberry Digital Collections for the Classroom, 08.29.2017, Newberry Library, republished with permission for educational, non-commercial purposes. Introduction The contemporary North American landscape of cities, suburbs, and malls; highways, rails, and controlled rivers; fields, and fences; and factories,[…]

A Global Middle Ages through the Pages of Decorated Books

Introduction Manuscripts and printed books—like today’s museums, archives, and libraries—provide glimpses into how people have perceived the Earth, its many cultures, and everyone’s place in it. Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World through Illuminated Manuscripts, a new book from Getty Publications, invites you to explore this theme, presenting a range of book types from[…]

Medieval Medicine: Astrological ‘Bat Books’ for Timing Patient Treatment

A handful of manuscripts remain which give researchers valuable insights into medieval science. Introduction Medieval doctors had to acquire a range of skills including an ability to read Latin texts, a working knowledge of the bodily “humours” and an understanding of the rudiments of blood circulation. Their diagnostic techniques were largely limited to examining a[…]

An Examination of Early Medieval Medicine

Come early medieval medicine has become real medicine, not scribal ignorance. Abstract The medical writings of early medieval western Europe c. 700 – c. 1000 have often been derided for their disorganised appearance, poor Latin, nebulous conceptual framework, admixtures of magic and folklore, and general lack of those positive features that historians attribute to ancient[…]

Mortuary Cults in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Ancient cultures left behind extraordinary memorials which were used for mortuary cults during the epoques in which they were created. Introduction A mortuary cult (also called funerary cult and death cult) is a ceremonial and religious form of a cult fostered over a certain duration of time, often lasting for generations or even dynasties. It[…]

An Overview of Prehistoric Ancestor Cults

Some of the burials in the Palaeolithic period raise the possibility of very early forms of ancestor cults. Introduction Ancestor cults stem from the belief that human beings are made up of two parts: the body and the spirit. Dead ancestors are considered divine and rituals are organised to respect their memory and invoke the[…]