Medieval Judgment Art and Architecture at the Church of Saint Trophime

Saint Trophime, Arles, 12th – 15th century (photo: Elliot Brown, CC BY 2.0) By Christine M. Bolli / 08.08.2015 PhD Candidate in Art History University of California, Santa Barbara The Provençal city of Arles in the south of France, is home to the medieval church, Saint Trophime. First impressions When I first saw the church, somewhat inconspicuously wedged[…]

The Church and Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, a Symbol of Medieval Pilgrimage and Ritual

Church of Sainte‐Foy, Conques, France, c. 1050–1130 (photo: jean françois bonachera, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) By Dr. Elisa Foster / 08.08.2015 Lecturer John V. Roach Honors College Texas Christian University On the road Imagine you pack up your belongings in a sack, tie on your cloak, and start off on a months-long journey through treacherous mountains, unpredictable[…]

The Art and Architecture of New Kingdom Egypt, c.1570-1069 BCE

Pillars of the Great Hypostyle Hall from the Precinct of Amun-Re / Photo by Kurohito, Wikimedia Commons The New Kingdom is known as the golden age of ancient Egyptian history. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.29.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Architecture Overview The golden age of the New Kingdom created huge prosperity for Egypt and allowed for[…]

The Art and Architecture of Middle Kingdom Egypt, c.2055-1650 BCE

The Temple of Isis at Philae, with pylonsand an enclosed court on the left and the inner building at right / Photo by Marc Ryckaert, Wikimedia Commons The Middle Kingdom (c. 2000-1650 BCE) was marked by the reunification of Egypt following a period of weak pharaonic power and civil war called the First Intermediate. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh /[…]

The Ebbo Gospels, Fit for a King (Charlemagne)

Saint Matthew, folio 15 recto of the Coronation Gospels (Gospel Book of Charlemagne), from Aachen, Germany, c. 800-810, ink and tempera on vellum (Schatzkammer, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) By Dr. Jennifer Awes-Freeman / 09.15.2016 Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History and Religious Studies University of St. Thomas According to legend, the Vienna Coronation Gospels (c. 795) were discovered in Charlemagne’s tomb within the Palatine[…]

Gentile da Fabriano’s ‘Adoration of the Magi’ Altarpiece – More Than a Glance

Gentile da Fabriano, Adoration of the Magi, 1423, tempera on panel, 283 x 300 cm (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence) By Dr. Joanna Milk Mac Farland / 08.09.2015 Art Historian Gentile da Fabriano, Adoration of the Magi, 1423, tempera on panel, 283 x 300 cm (Uffizi Gallery, Florence) When looking at Gentile da Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi, imagine[…]

Towns and Houses in Middle and New Kingdom Egypt

A small number of sites, especially from the Middle and New Kingdoms, provide us with extraordinary amounts of evidence for the settlement archaeology of ancient Egypt. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Middle Kingdom Introduction A small number of sites, especially from the Middle and New Kingdoms, provide us with extraordinary[…]

The Escape of the Harriet Lane through the Union Blockade of Galveston

The Harriet Lane engaging in a battery at Pig’s Point By Sara Hale My Grandfather’s account of the escape of the Harriet Lane through the Union blockade of Galveston. The letter is addressed to “Friend Phillips” the then editor of the North AdamsTranscript, North Adams, Massachusetts. On board U. S. Steam Sloop “Lackawanna” Off Galveston,[…]

Emperor Hadrian: On Borders, Culture, and Representation

By the British Museum / 02.28.2017 Bronze head from a statue of the Emperor Hadrian, 2nd century C.E., bronze, 43 cm high, Roman Britain © Trustees of the British Museum Fixing the Empire’s borders When Hadrian inherited the Roman Empire, his predecessor, Trajan’s military campaigns had over-stretched it. Rebellions against Roman rule raged in several provinces and[…]

The Etruscan Aule Metele (Arringatore): Magistrates and Sociopolitical Status

Aule Metele (Arringatore), from Cortona, Italy, early 1st century B.C.E., bronze, 67 inches high (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Florence), (image (shadow eliminated): corneliagraco, CC BY 2.0) By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 12.09.2015 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University The image, status, and stature of the magistrate in the course of performing the duties of his[…]

The Church of Saint-Pierre in Moissac: Art and Architecture along Medieval Pilgrimage Routes

South-side portal (detail), Church of Ste. Pierre, 1115-1130, Moissac, France (photo: Simon, Creative Commons) By Dr. Shannon Pritchard / 08.08.2015 Assistant Professor of Art History Assistant Chair, Art and Design Department University of Southern Indiana The church of Ste. Pierre (St. Peter) in Moissac, France, dating from 1115-30, has one of the most impressive and elaborate[…]

Fontenay Abbey and the Medieval Cistercian Order

Cloister, Fontenay Abbey, 12th century By Christine M. Bolli / 08.08.2015 PhD Candidate in Art History University of California, Santa Barbara The rules Illumination with St. Benedict delivering his Rule to St. Maurus, Monastery of St. Gilles, Nimes, 1129 The Romanesque abbey of Fontenay (Abbaye de Fontenay) is located in Burgundy, France and stands today as a[…]

Jubilate Agno: An 18th-Century Poet and His Cat

From ‘Six studies of a cat’ by Thomas Gainsborough, 1763–70 The poet Christopher Smart — also known as “Kit Smart”, “Kitty Smart”, “Jack Smart” and, on occasion, “Mrs Mary Midnight” — was a well known figure in 18th-century London. Nowadays he is perhaps best known for considering his cat Jeoffry. Writer and broadcaster Frank Key[…]

The Location of Cities in Ancient Egypt

The location of towns and cities in ancient Egypt was dictated by two principal factors. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction The location of towns and cities in ancient Egypt was dictated by two principal factors; the behaviour of the Nile and the wishes of the king. Royal influence on[…]

The Origins and Meanings of Pharmacy Symbols

The London Clinic / Photo by Ben Gilbert, Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons What have snakes, unicorns and crocodiles got to do with pharmacies? Modern pharmaceutical signs have a long history going back to the Greek gods. Wellcome Trust / 11.09.2017 While alchemists used secret symbols to disguise their chemical formulations, pharmacists used the tools of[…]

500 Years of Strange Diets

A medieval kitchen / British Library, Public Domain If your latest diet resolution is already under strain, take comfort from knowing that there’s a long history of people monitoring what they munch. By Dr. Alice White / 01.10.2018 Historian and Digital Editor Wellcome Collection Sure, Doc, I’ll Give Ya Patients! The physicians friend, Charles Williams /[…]

Depictions of Ships on Ancient Greek Vases

Potters began to enrich vases in the Geometric Period with depictions of people, animals, ships, and more. Center for Hellenic Studies The Dipylon Vase Following the heroic age of the Myceneans is the silence of the Greek Dark Ages. In the proto-Geometric period (c1150–c950 BCE), the pre-Greek tribes make war, then consolidate and start forming[…]

How Do We Know Which Historical Accounts Are True?

The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy, by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1773) / National Gallery, Wikimedia Commons Oral traditions provide valuable information, and proper historiography can discern as much likely truth as possible in combination with other sources. By Dr. Stephen E. Nash / 09.21.2018 Archaeologist and Historian of Science Denver Museum of Nature & Science It[…]

Beating the Bodysnatchers in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Mortsafes at Kinnernie graveyard, Aberdeenshire / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons When an expansion in the study of anatomy at medical schools fuelled a brisk trade in grave robbing, families fought to protect their loved ones’ remains. Allison C. Meier explains how mortsafes kept the bodysnatchers at bay. By Allison C. Meier / 06.14.2018 Introduction In the Scottish hamlet[…]

How an Islamic Holiday Became Uniquely Caribbean

Hosay procession in St. James / Photo by Nicholas Laughlin, Creative Commons Hosay, a religious ritual performed by Trinidadian Muslims, combines the somber Islamic observance of Ashura, brought by immigrant Indians, and the joy of Trinidad’s famous carnival. By Ken Chitwood / 09.09.2018 PhD Candidate, Religion in the Americas, Global Islam University of Florida A throng of Trinidadians line up[…]

A History of Condoms from Animal to Rubber

Promotion for safe sex by the Connecticut Department of Health Services / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons Condoms have been with us for thousands of years, but the original condoms probably weren’t all that good for safe sex. Though tortoiseshell, animal intestine and linen have all been used to make them, it was Charles Goodyear’s discovery[…]

A History of Mindfulness

Buddhist Man Meditating / Photo by Jakub Michankow, Wikimedia Commons ‘Mindfulness’ has become a household word, standing for inner peace, wellbeing, and cutting-edge healthcare. For four years, I researched how it’s become such a compelling force in Western culture. By Dr. Matt Drage / 02.22.2018 Researcher in Mindfulness and Meditation as Biomedical Inrtervention Introduction “Well I think[…]

The Origins of Modern Dogs in Ancient Asian Wolves

You’ve come a long way, baby. moggafogga, CC BY-NC-ND The how and the when of dog domestication are fairly settled. As for the where: now DNAsays Fido traces his roots back to wolves in Central Asia that lingered around people’s camps millennia ago. By Dr. Laura Shannon / 10.20.2015 Computational Evolutionary Geneticist Adam Boyko Laboratory Cornell University Dogs’ origin story goes something like[…]

Earliest Evidence of Cat Domestication Found in China

So, you found my ancestors? Are you sure this time? epsos There has been much debate about how cats went from hunting in the wild to a much-loved pet. By Akshat Rathi / 12.16.2013 Former Science and Data Editor The Conversation There has been much debate about how cats went from hunting in the wild to a much-loved pet. That is because[…]