Election and Service of the Doge in Medieval Venice

The title “doge” was the title of the senior-most elected official of Venice and Genoa. Introduction The Doge of Venice[1], sometimes translated as Duke (compare the Italian Duca), was the chief magistrate and leader of the Republic of Venice between 726 and 1797. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state’s aristocracy. The[…]

Strategy and Manipulation in Medieval Elections

Exploring voting rules and electoral procedures used in the Middle Ages in both ecclesiastical and secular contexts. Abstract When developing electoral protocols, desiderata include a system which is transparent,non-manipulable, honest, and not open to strategizing. However, these desiderata are in tension with each other: Often, transparent electoral procedures are the least strategy resistant, and many[…]

St. Anthony’s Fire: Ergotism and Its Treatment in the Medieval World

It is less well-known than the Black Death plague but was constantly present throughout the Middle Ages. Introduction St. Anthony’s Fire (SAF) is an illness brought on by the ingestion of fungus-contaminated rye grain causing ergot poisoning (ergotism). The disease’s common name derives from the medieval Benedictine monks dedicated to that saint who offered treatment to[…]

Medieval Cures for Lung Disease, Gout, and Vertigo

Old English continued to be used a century after William’s victory at the Battle of Hastings. Even after the Normans conquered England, Old English (the oldest form of the vernacular) continued to be spoken throughout the country. It continued to be used in books produced in  monasteries there for at least a century after William[…]

The Exile of Anaxagoras in Ancient Greece for Blaspheming the Moon

2,500 years ago, Anaxagoras correctly determined that the rocky moon reflects light from the sun, explaining lunar phases and eclipses. Close to the north pole of the moon lies the crater Anaxagoras, named for a Greek philosopher who lived in the fifth century B.C. The eponym is fitting, as Anaxagoras the man was one of[…]