Faces of ‘Ordinary Poor’ People from Medieval Cambridge

New facial reconstruction of a man buried in a medieval hospital graveyard discovered underneath a Cambridge college sheds light on how ordinary poor people lived in 13th century England.  03.20.2017 The audience of an event at this year’s Cambridge Science Festival found themselves face-to-face with a fellow Cambridge resident – one who had spent the last 700 years[…]

Divining the Witch of York: Propaganda and Prophecy – ‘Mother Shipton’ in Medieval England

Frontispiece, most likely by Robert Cruikshank, to The Life and Prophecies of Mother Shipton (1823) / Internet Archive Said to be spawn of the devil himself and possessed with great powers of prophetic insight, Mother Shipton was Yorkshire’s answer to Nostradamus. Ed Simon looks into how, regardless of whether this prophetess witch actually existed or not, the[…]

The Spanish Inquisition: Forced Belief and Worship Methodology

The inside of a jail of the Spanish Inquisition, with a priest supervising his scribe while men and women are suspended from pulleys, tortured on the rack or burnt with torches. / Wellcome Library, Wikimedia Commons Catholics and Protestants did their fair share of torturing and murdering their opposites in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.[…]

Corporate Guild Order Control of the Florentine Republic in the 13th and 14th Century

Palazzo di Medici-Riccardi / Creative Commons The state was merely a product of these guilds with institutions designed to function only in the way these guilds desired. By Milad D. Mohammadi / 08.26.2018 New York University The Renaissance, being a time of great cultural and political change, was a time of significant economic development, particularly in[…]

How Gothic Architecture Became Associated with the Supernatural

Brodie castle, north Scotland. Albert de Bruijn, CC BY-SA How medieval spires and snarling gargoyles went out of fashion and then made a spectacular return under – you guessed it – the Victorians. By Dr. Peter Lindfield / 10.30.2016 Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow Manchester Metropolitan University If you want foreboding old buildings that dark lords and werewolves are bound to frequent, look no[…]

“God, Power, and Money”: Did Cosimo de’Medici Deceive Renaissance Florence?

Portrait by Jacopo Pontormo; the laurel branch (il Broncone) was a symbol used also by his heirs / Uffizi Gallery, Wikimedia Commons Cosimo needed to present himself as a benevolent figure because it was the only way to expiate his guilt. By Salvatore Coppola[1] / 12.12.2013 Unversidad de Costa Rica In determining whether or not Cosimo de’Medici[…]

LGBT in Medieval Islam

During the medieval period the Muslim community was rather tolerating and accepting in this regard. By Muzaffar Bhatti / 02.23.2017 Graduate Student in History Royal Holloway, University of London Contrary to popular belief, Islam has not always had a strained relationship with the LGBT community. In fact, during the medieval period the Muslim community was[…]

Discrimination and Economic Motives for Medieval to Modern Jewish Migration

Sephardic Diaspora map / Skillman Library, Lafayette College Were (and are) Jewish migrations predominantly the result of persecution and discrimination or were economic motives their main cause? By Dr. Tobias Brinkmann / 12.03.2010 Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History Pennsylvania State University Introduction Were (and are) Jewish migrations[…]

The Treaty of Jaffa: Frederick II and the Sixth Crusade

A 14th century CE manuscript illustration depicting Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (r. 1220-1250 CE), and the Sultan of Egypt and Syria al-Kamil (r. 1218-1238 CE) who negotiated the handing over of Jerusalem to Christian rule during the Sixth Crusade (1227-1229 CE). (Vatican Libraries, Rome) / Wikimedia Commons The Sixth Crusade managed to achieve by peaceful means what four bloody previous Crusades had failed to do. By Mark Cartwright[…]

Frederick, Richard, and Philip: The Triad of the Third Crusade

A painting depicting the surrender of the Latin ruler Guy de Lusignan to Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria (r. 1174-1193 CE), after the Battle of Hattin in 1187 CE. The loss and subsequent capture of Jerusalem by Saladin would spark off the Third Crusade (1189-1192 CE) / Photo by Said Tahsine, Wikimedia Commons The Second Crusade ended in complete failure – the Third was[…]

The Impact of Silk on Ottonian and Salien Manuscripts

Princeton University Library, Creative Commons Two distinctive art forms came together for a brief period in Germany during the tenth and eleventh centuries, the period of Ottonian and Salian rule. By Dr. Stephen M. Wagner Professor of Art History Savannah College of Art and Design In keeping with the theme of the symposium’s title, “Silk[…]

Vincent of Beauvais and Political Education in the Middle Ages

Vincent of Beauvais (1190 – 1264?) was a French scholar, encyclopedist and Dominican Friar. / Public Domain Analyzing  political education in the late Middle Ages, centring on the Latin work Tractatus de morali principis institutione, written in 1263 by the Dominican Vincent of Beauvais to provide guidance for princes on political affairs.    By Dr. Francisco[…]

Medieval Anti-Semitism: Pogroms from the 12th to 15th Centuries

A miniature from en:Grandes Chroniques de France depicting the expulsion of Jews from France in 1182. / Diaspora Museum, Tel Aviv, Wikimedia Commons Medieval Christians largely held the Jewish people collectively responsible for killing Jesus, through the so-called blood curse of Pontius Pilate in the Gospels. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 10.28.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Early instances of pogroms against Jews[…]

The Medieval World: An Introduction to Middle English Literature

Bronze statue of Geoffrey Chaucer The world about which Chaucer wrote was a very different world from that which produced Beowulf.  Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 10.27.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief The world about which Chaucer wrote was a very different world from that which produced Beowulf. Developments in language, new structures in society, and changes[…]

Sensing the Image: Gender, Piety, and Images in Late Medieval Tuscany

Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece by Guariento di Arpo, 1344, tempera and gold leaf on panel, Norton Simon Museum / Wikimedia Commons Exploring a range of ways in which holy images were ‘sensed’ by women in renaissance Tuscany. By Dr. Catherine Lawless Director, The Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies Trinity College Dublin Abstract The Florentine[…]

The Holy Roman Empire: Formation, Rule, Decline, and Successive German Nations

A portrait of Charlemagne wearing the crown of the Holy Roman Empire (fifteenth century painting by Albrecht Dürer) / Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Wikimedia Commons Known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from the late fifteenth century onwards, this was a mainly Germanic conglomeration of lands in Central Europe during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Edited by Matthew A.[…]

Visible Violence: Head and Face Wounds in Early Medieval Europe to 1000 CE

An unhealed gash on the forehead suggests that the man died a violent death, perhaps in battle. / Photo by Mauro Rubini, Creative Commons Head and facial trauma were the most serious of injuries in early medieval society due to their very visibility. By Dr. Patricia Skinner Professor of Early and Middle Medieval Europe Swansea University[…]

Nature Tourism in Early Medieval China

Ladies of a Mandarin’s family at cards, by Thomas Allom (1843) / Wikimedia Commons The emergence of nature tourism in early medieval China can be attributed to four major factors. By Dr. Libo Yan / 06.25.2018 Associate Professor Macau University of Science and Technology Introduction The origins of tourism have been a fascinating area for[…]

Medieval Relics and Society: The ‘Miracles’ of the ‘True Cross’

Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of San Lorenzo, by Gentile Bellini (1500) / Gallerie dell’Accademia, Wikimedia Commons How people imbued supernatural action into events to position themselves in their social landscape. By Dr. Kiril Petkov Professor of History University of Wisconsin River Falls Abstract This article analyzes two miracles, which a fragment of the True Cross[…]

Louis IX and the Eighth Crusade: Ending at the Beginning

Blanche de Castille and King Louis IX / The Morgan Library and Museum, Wikimedia Commons Upon Louis IX’s death, campaign was abandoned before it had even properly begun. By Mark Cartwright / 09.12.2018 Historian Introduction A 15th century CE painting depicting the death of French king Louis IX in 1270 CE during the Eighth Crusade at Tunis. / Wikimedia Commons[…]

The Fourth Crusade and the Fall of Constantinople

Attack of the Crusaders on Constantinople, miniature in a manuscript of 9 La Conquête de Constantinople by Geoffreoy de Villehardouin, Venetian ms. / Wikimedia Commons Instead of Jerusalem as initially intended, the target ended up being Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. By Mark Cartwright / 09.03.2018 Historian Introduction A painting by Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863 CE) depicting the entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople in[…]

Travel, Trade, and Exploration in the Middle Ages

‘Liber secretorum fidelium crucis’ by Marino Sanudo with maps by Pietro Vesconte. This map of the world was made by the Genoese navigator Marino Sanudo in c. 1321. / British Library, Public Domain Medieval Europeans were fascinated by the lands that lay beyond their own continent. Josephine Livingstone looks at the real and imaginary travels of[…]

Medieval Tools of Warfare

A 1540s depiction of a judicial combat in Augsburg in 1409, between Marshal Wilhelm von Dornsberg and Theodor Haschenacker. Dornsberg’s sword broke early in the duel, but he proceeded to kill Haschenacker with his own sword. / Bayrische Staatsbibliothek Cod. icon. 393, Wikimedia Commons Warrior aristocrats dominated medieval society. By Dr. Hans Peter Broedel Graduate[…]

The Catholic Church’s Complex Role in Medieval Society

Saint-Sulpice church, the romanesque portal, 12th-c., at Marignac, Charente-Maritime, France / Photo by Jebulon, Wikimedia Commons The Catholic Church from late antiquity to the early medieval era served as a seque from Graeco-Roman belief systems and influence to a new religious, economic, and sociopolitical context. By LTC Richard M. Ebeling, PhD / 10.17.2016 BB&T Distinguished Professor of[…]