Navigating Dürer’s Woodcuts for ‘The Ship of Fools’

Attributed to Albrecht Dürer, woodcut illustration for Chapter 85, “Not Providing for Death” At the start of his career, as a young man in his twenties, Albrecht Dürer created a series of woodcuts to illustrate Sebastian Brant’s The Ship of Fools of 1494. Dürer scholar Rangsook Yoon explores the significance of these early pieces and how in[…]

Chivalry in Medieval Portugal

Convent of São Gonçalo, North of Portugal / Photo by Edgar Jiménez, Wikimedia Commons The different stages in the spread and development of chivalric ideals as a feature that marked the identity of the main socio-political groups in medieval Portugal. By João Miguel Aguiar Graduate Student, College of Letters University of Porto Abstract his article seeks to understand[…]

Portugal in the Middle Ages

Illustration of the Battle of Aljubarrota by Jean de Wavrin, 15th century / British Library, Wikimedia Commons Established in the 1130s and ruled by the Portuguese House of Burgundy.. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 12.05.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The kingdom of Portugal was established from the county of Portugal in the 1130s, ruled by the Portuguese House of Burgundy. During[…]

The Feudal System in Medieval Europe

Night of August 4th, abolition of feudality and fiscal privileges, by Léopold Morice / Wikimedia Commons The term “feudal system” came into use to describe a hierarchy of relationships which were embraced in medieval Europe, involving fief-holders of different ranks. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 12.03.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Harold swearing oath on[…]

Modern America and Magna Carta

Exploring the role of Magna Carta in the politics and popular culture of modern America. From The Simpsons and Jay-Z to the American law courts and the ‘War on Terror’, discover the significance of Magna Carta in the USA today. By Dr. Matthew Shaw / 03.12.2015 Librarian Institute of Historical Research School of Advanced Study University of London[…]

Early America and the Magna Carta

The Magna Carta (originally known as the Charter of Liberties) of 1215, written in iron gall ink on parchment in medieval Latin, using standard abbreviations of the period, authenticated with the Great Seal of King John. / British Library, Wikimedia Commons From the early colony of Pennsylvania, to the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill[…]

Charlemagne: Imperator Augustus, King of the Franks

Charlemagne, portrait by Albrecht Dürer / Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Wikimedia Commons His was the first truly imperial power in the West since the fall of Rome. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.30.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Charlemagne (742 or 747 – January 28, 814) (also Charles the Great [1]; from Latin, Carolus Magnus or Karolus Magnus), son of King Pippin the[…]

Frankish Expansion and Transition in Early Medieval Europe

Front of a Frankish casket / Photo by John w. Schulze, Wikimedia Commons Their expansion continued until the 8th century CE, during the time of Charlemagne, when the Frankish territory occupied most of Western Europe. By Cristian Violatti / 12.23.2014 Historian Introduction Frankish Bird-Shaped Brooch, second half of 6th century CE. This brooch would have been[…]

From Game of Thrones to Steven Pinker: Just how Lawless Were the Middle Ages?

Castillo de Zafra / Photo by Borjaanimal, Wikimedia Commons Medieval men and women were caught up in a Hobbesian pre-state society where violence was unrestrained and regularly went unpunished. Just how accurate is this perception? By Dr. Sara M. Butler / 08.15.2017 Professor and King George III Chair in British History The Ohio State University NOTE: This[…]

Gender Fluidity and Sexual Identity in the Medieval and Renaissance Eras

Bible, about 1280–90, Bologna, Italy. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig I 11, fol. 248v; National Coming Out Day (NCOD) Logo created and donated by Keith Haring to the Human Rights Campaign. Human sexuality and gender identity are complex topics, and our understanding of each is continually expanding and deepening.    By Dr. Bryan C. Keene (left)[…]

The Ninth Crusade: A Final, Fruitless Push

Blanche of Castile and Louis IX of France / Creative Commons Ultimately the Crusaders were forced to withdraw. I Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.23.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The Ninth Crusade, which is sometimes grouped with the Eighth Crusade, is commonly considered to be the last major medieval Crusade to the Holy Land. It took place in[…]

The Seventh Crusade: Capture, Ransom, Another Failure

A 14th century CE illustration of Louis IX of France (r. 1226-1270 CE) departing Aigues Mortes for Egypt on the Seventh Crusade (1248-1254 CE) / Wikimedia Commons The Seventh Crusade cost Louis IX a massive 1.5 million livres tournoi, about six times his annual income as King of France. By Mark Cartwright / 09.12.2018 Historian The Seventh Crusade (1248-1254 CE) was led by the French[…]

Horse Armor and Warfare in the Medieval Islamic Middle East

Examining the available evidence for the use of horses and armor for them in medieval Islam warfare, with particular reference to the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring regions. By Dr. David Nicolle / 06.30.2017 Visiting Research Fellow University of Nottingham Abstract The widely held view that horse armour was not used in the early Islamic Middle East is[…]

The Bishop’s Profitable Sex Workers in 14th-Century London

In 14th-century London, Church leaders discovered how to make a tidy income from sex workers. By Dr. Kate Lister / 06.05.2018 Lecturer in the History of Sexuality Leeds Trinity University Wherever there have been people buying and selling sex, there have been laws trying to suppress, regulate or profit from it, and medieval London was[…]

Confession as Therapy in the Middle Ages

Fresco in the Pellegrinaioof the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, Siena, Domenico, di Bartolo / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons The line between confession and counselling has been blurred for centuries. In fact, confession in the Middle Ages was thought to improve physical and mental wellbeing and was even used as a treatment for all sorts[…]

The ‘Donne Hours’: A Codicological Puzzle

This medieval manuscript lies at the center of a group of books of hours produced by artists of different provenances. By Dr. Anne DuBois Postdoctoral Fellow FRS-FNRS (Belgian Fund for Scientific Research) The Donne Hours (Louvain-la-Neuve, Archives de l’Université, Ms A2) manuscript is well known to art historians under the name of the Louthe Hours. Produced by Simon[…]

A Brief History of Yemen from Ancient Times to the Rise of Islam

Ancient remains at Thula / Creative Commons Following conquest by the Umayyid caliphate, Islam rose fairly quickly. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.16.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief The Rise of Yemen The wall and talus at barāqish / Creative commons Yemen is the state occupying the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Because of the extensive desert[…]

Shakespeare’s Cholerics Were the Real Drama Queens

Taming of the Shrew, 1809, by Washington Allston / Philadelphia Museum of Art, Public Domain In Shakespeare’s times, personalities were categorised according to four temperaments. The choleric temperament was hot-tempered and active, as Nelly Ekström describes. By Nelly Ekström / 12.11.2016 Visitor Experience Assistant Wellcome Trust William Shakespeare’s plays provide examples of all four temperaments, but it’s[…]

Five Crusader Fortifications in the Medieval Levant

Dues Vault, Hospitaller fortress in Acre, Israel / Creative Commons Taking a tour through five well-known 13th-century fortifications and castles built by Crusaders in the Levant. By Dr. David Nicolle Visiting Research Fellow University of Nottingham Margat William of Oldenburg described Margat as follows: A huge and very strong castle, defended by a double wall and protected[…]

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[…]