Art and Architecture in Early Medieval India’s Gupta Period

The Guptas were ambitious rulers and by the end of the fourth century claimed dominance over a vast swathe of northern India. By Dr. Arathi MenonHistorian of Art and Architecture Introduction During the Gupta period (c. 320 – 647 C.E., named for the Gupta dynasty) there were tremendous advances in poetry, prose, and drama as[…]

Ancient India’s Madhubani Paintings: People’s Living Cultural Heritage

It is believed that King Janak, ruler of Mithila Kingdom in the 8th or 7th century BCE, asked that these paintings be developed for a wedding. By Chandra Shamsher Bahadur Singh Introduction Mithila, a region in the state of Bihar, northern India (and also stretching into Nepal), has an important tradition of knowledge in the form of[…]

How to Write an Article on the History of the Middle Ages

“Teachers and professors use articles to evaluate and assess the progress of students.” Historical articles are very important because they help tutors to test a range of skills which include interpretation and analysis, research, planning, and writing. Before writing a historical article, the student needs to study the question, understand what the question requires, gather[…]

Monastic Medicine: Medieval Herbalism and Science

Examining modern remedies derived from medieval monastic knowledge. Most people think of herbal medicine as a distinctly ‘alternative’ option – something that you might try for a cough or cold that won’t budge, but not for life-threatening illnesses. Medical historian Dr Johannes Mayer, however, takes it all much more seriously: he believes that the herbal[…]

Ancient and Medieval Religious Belief and Medicine

The spirits and gods were believed to make their presence known through disease. Introduction When people fall ill they inevitably ask: ‘Why am I ill?’ and ‘How do I get better?’ Throughout history, the answers have been sought and provided through a mixture of natural, spiritual and moral meanings. People have rarely understood illness through[…]

Medieval Chinese Art and Architecture at the Longmen Caves of Luoyang

The Northern Wei was the most enduring and powerful of the northern Chinese dynasties before reunification. Imperial Patronage Worship and power struggles, enlightenment and suicide—the 2300 caves and niches filled with Buddhist art at Longmen in China has witnessed it all. The steep limestone cliffs extend for almost a mile and contain approximately 110,000 Buddhist stone statues,[…]

‘A Thousand Years of Art’ at China’s Mogao Caves of Dunhuang

The ‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’ are a magnificent treasure trove of Buddhist art. A Trove of Buddhist Art The ‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’ (Qianfodong), also known as Mogao, are a magnificent treasure trove of Buddhist art. They are located in the desert, about 15 miles south-east of the town of Dunhuang in north[…]

An Ancient Roman Legacy in the Age-Old Art of Propaganda

Propaganda tactics are timeless. While the game has moved on since the time of Augustus, the rules remain the same. Until the reign of Augustus, no one in Rome had come close to creating a personality cult.  A striking image, a catchy phrase, shocking material – these are the bread and butter of propaganda. It[…]

Consequences and Effects of the Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses displayed an ever-increasing tendency to use violence to achieve political aims. Introduction The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487 CE) was a dynastic conflict where the nobility and monarchs of England intermittently battled for supremacy over a period of four decades. Besides the obvious consequences of Lancastrian and Yorkist kings swapping[…]

Medieval Innovation in Energy Production: Windmills, Waterwheels, and Automatic Fountains

Mechanical machinery in the medieval centuries used innovative sources of energy to generate motion and mechanical power. Abstract The fascinating mechanical inventions aiming at the welfare of the human kind started from ancient Egyptians and continued development through different eras. In the medieval centuries, the Islamic civilization paid wonderful attention to mechanical engineering. Banu Mosa[…]

The Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy, 1309-1377

The Papacy in the Late Middle Ages had a major secular role in addition to its spiritual role. Introduction In the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1377 during which seven popes, all French, resided in Avignon: In 1378, Gregory XI moved the papal residence back[…]

The History of Christianity from Its Emergence in the First Century CE

Christianity began in first century C.E. Jerusalem as a Jewish sect, but quickly spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. Introduction The history of Christianity concerns the history of the Christian religion and the Church, from Jesus and his Twelve Apostles and Seventy Disciples to contemporary times. Christianity is the monotheistic religion which considers itself[…]

A History of Chinese Art from the Ancient World to Today

The earliest surviving examples of Chinese painting are fragments of painting on silk, stone, and lacquer items. Introduction Chinese art traditions are the oldest continuous art traditions in the world. Early so-called “stone age art” in China, consisting mostly of simple pottery and sculptures, dates back to 10,000 B.C.E.. This early period was followed by[…]

Varangians: Vikings in Medieval Russia

The Varyags are first mentioned by the Primary Chronicle as having exacted tribute from the Slavic and Finnic tribes in 859. Introduction The Varangians or Varyags, sometimes referred to as Variagians, were Vikings, or Norsemen who went eastwards and southwards through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine mainly in the ninth and tenth centuries.[…]

Basileía Romaíon: An Historical Overview of the Byzantine Empire

The name “Byzantine Empire” is a modern term and would have been alien to its contemporaries. Introduction The Byzantine Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. Much of this territory had first fallen to Greek rule under Alexander the Great.[…]

Factoids, Dishonesty, and Propaganda in the Middle Ages

Three types of historical writing flourished in the Middle Ages: chronicles, hagiography, and the rhetorical monograph. By Dr. Paul Antony HaywardHistorian A natural starting point for any attempt to know a past society is its histories—the texts with which its members recorded what had happened and was happening in their world. Many precious witnesses of[…]

Hoysala Architecture of Medieval India

The vigorous temple building activity of the Hoysala Empire arose from the social, cultural and political events of the period. Introduction Hoysala architecture indicates the distinctive building style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire in the region known today as Karnataka, India, between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. Hoysala influence stood at its[…]

Skulls, Temples, and Churches: The Ancient Walled City of Evora

Evora’s history dates back over five millennia. By Kim MartinsHistorian Introduction The sunbaked plain of the Alentejoregion in central Portugal is called planicie dourada (golden plain)by the Portuguese, and it is dotted with cork oak forests, vineyards, olive groves, and hilltop towns with whitewashed houses. ‘Alentejo’means “beyond the Tagus River”, and there is a raw[…]

Medieval Hygiene: General Habits and Expectations

Urban centers especially had become centers of plague and disease outbreaks. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction People in the Middle Ages have acquired something of a bad reputation when it comes to cleanliness, especially the peasantry. However, despite the general lack of running water and other modern amenities, there were common expectations of personal hygiene such[…]

History and Institutions of the Holy Roman Empire in Medieval Europe

The Empire, for much of its history, can be seen as the Christian equivalent of the Muslim caliphate. Introduction The Holy Roman Empire was a mainly Germanic conglomeration of lands in Central Europe during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It was also known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation[…]

A History of the Frankish Empire of Early Medieval Europe

The first time that Francia is named is in the Panegyrici Latini in the early third century. Introduction Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire (Latin: imperium Francorum), was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the third to the tenth century. The Frankish realm was ruled as one polity subdivided[…]

Philistia: A History of Palestine since the Stone Age

Human remains, the “Palestine Man”, found south of Lake Tiberias in the Zuttiyeh Cave, date back as early as 600,000 BCE. Introduction Palestine is one of several names for the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and various adjoining lands. Different geographic definitions of Palestine have been used over the millennia,[…]

A History of Ethics since the Ancient World

In the western intellectual tradition, philosophical reflection on ethical codes began with the Greek Sophists of the fifth century BCE. Introduction Any historical overview is necessarily selective. The current article elaborates the central teachings of some of the most important ethical philosophers of the ancient, medieval and modern periods. Roughly speaking, ancient ethical thinking begins[…]

A History of Logic since the Ancient World

The history of logic cannot be separated from general philosophy and the philosophy of logic. Introduction The history of logic documents the development of logic as it occurs in various cultures and traditions in history. While many cultures have employed intricate systems of reasoning, logic as an explicit analysis of the methods of reasoning received[…]

Monsters and Heroes of Medieval Scotland: Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

The story of the Loch Ness Monster originates in the 7th-century CE work of a monk named Adomnan. Introduction The Scottish Highlands are among the most impressive landscapes in the world with some of the most famous sites – Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns – as well as looming mountains, deep glens, and winding rivers.[…]

Alfred the Great: Vikings, Vengeance, Victory

Alfred’s impressive military and administrative skills stabilized Britain after almost a century of Viking raids and warfare. Introduction Alfred the Great (r. 871-899 CE) was the king of Wessex in Britain but came to be known as King of the Anglo-Saxons after his military victories over Viking adversaries and later successful negotiations with them. He[…]

The Political Power of Pope in the Middle Ages

Even medievalists have a hard time determining the precise moment when the Middle Ages started and ended. There’s a relative consensus that it started with Augustine and lasted after the birth of Descartes. That would put us in a rough frame between the mid-fourth and the early seventeenth century. Yes; it means that the Middle[…]