Talisman and Amulets as ‘Protective Gear’ in Medieval Islam

From magic bowls to holy shirts, Muslim cultures used various devices to protect the user from harm starting in the 11th century. Introduction From the 11th century until around the 19th century, Muslim cultures witnessed the use of magic bowls, healing necklaces and other objects in hopes of warding off drought, famine, floods and even[…]

When Religion Sided with Science during Plague in the Medieval Islamic World

Looking at how people thought about science and religion in the past can inform the contemporary world’s approach. Plagues – A Fact of Life Plagues were a fact of life in ancient and medieval worlds. Personal letters from the Cairo Geniza – a treasure trove of documents from the Jews of medieval Egypt – attest[…]

Writing Revelation: The Mystic Medieval Book of Margery Kempe

‘Wondirful revelacyons’, the moving of the soul through visionary experience, are the subject of Kempe’s narrative. Introduction This essay addresses intersections of gender and genre by exploring the complex ways in which the Book of Margery Kempe draws on other devotional texts, particularly those of Hilton and Rolle, on the lives of holy women, and[…]

Gods and Religious Practices in Ancient Greece

Ancient Greek religious practice was essentially conservative in nature and was based on time-honored observances By Colette Hemingway, Independent Scholar and Seán Hemingway, Department of Greek and Roman Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art The ancient Greeks worshipped many gods, each with a distinct personality and domain. Greek myths explained the origins of the gods[…]

Ancient and Medieval Persian Literature

The first evidence of Persian literature is usually dated to c.522 BCE with the creation of the Behistun Inscription of Darius I. Introduction Persian literature differs from the common definition of “literature” in that it is not confined to lyrical compositions, to poetry or imaginative prose, because the central elements of these appear, to greater[…]

Eridu Genesis: The Sumerian, and Oldest, Flood Story in Ancient Texts

It would appear in later works such as the Atrahasis, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and – most famously – the story of Noah and his ark. Introduction The Sumerian Flood Story (also known as the Eridu Genesis, Sumerian Creation Myth, Sumerian Deluge Myth) is the oldest Mesopotamian text relating the tale of the Great Flood[…]