Archives for December 2011

Popes, Bishops, Deacons, and Priests: Church Leadership in the Middle Ages

The purpose of this paper is to survey the growth of the church offices, in particular the papacy, from their biblical foundations, through to the end of the Middle Ages.

Ingeld and Christ: A Medieval Problem

Students of Beowulf are familiar with the notion that the poem can be read as an attempt to answer Alcuin’s question, ‘Quid enim Hinieldus cum Christo?’ (What has Ingeld to do with Christ?).

Biological Exchange and Biological Invasion in World History

For millions of years, most species stayed home. Geographic barriers, such as oceans and mountain chains, inhibited migrations and divided the earth into distinct biogeographical provinces. Only birds, bats, and flying insects bucked the trend consistently.

Historical Consciousness and Institutional Concern in European Medieval Historiography (11th and 12th centuries)

In this short, essayistic survey, I wish first to outline characteristic features of the ‘typical’ historical consciousness in occidental historiography of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and afterwards

From Hell to the Road to Heaven: Effects of the invention of Purgatory to the Mentalities of Middle Ages

The doctrine of the Church was clear. Those who lived their life according to the rules made by God and the Church ended up to the Heaven for the eternity and those who sinned were put to the Hell for eternity.

Book Review: Pope Joan, by Lawrence Durrell

Once I got past all the unnecessary narrative, this book read like a script from a ‘Carry On’ movie: a titillating tale of lusty desires and ambition set against a religious backdrop, and heavily cloaked in the guarded innuendo of the time.

Njáls saga as a novel: four aspects of rewriting

Inspired by Njáls saga and Laxdæla saga, the novel Fire in the Ice by American novelist Dorothy James Roberts is one of numerous modern rewritings of classical and medieval literature.

Remembering the First Crusade: Latin Narrative Histories 1099-c.1300

The success of the First Crusade by the Christian armies caught the interest and arrested the imagination of contemporaries, stimulating the production of a large number of historical narratives. Four eyewitness accounts, as well as letters written by the crusaders to the West, were taken up by later authors, re-worked and re-fashioned into new narratives; a process which continued throughout the twelfth century and beyond.

Waiting For Prester John: the legend, the Fifth Crusade, and medieval Christian holy war

The legend of Prester John and his magnificent kingdom has captivated scholarly and lay audiences from the twelfth-century through the twenty-first.

Top 10 Medieval Articles of 2011

In the last twelve months we have posted hundeds of articles and theses on many different topics about the Middle Ages. Here is the list of ten most popular articles we posted since January 1, 2011: they include ones that deal with medieval sexuality, daily life and movies about the medieval period.

Healing Leaves

Medieval French literature provides the modern researcher with references to the healing arts in many passages that are incorporated into prose or poetic works.

The Fate of the Warrior’s Soul: Crusading, Chivalry, and the Formation of English Knighthood

When and how did knights stop thinking they were going to hell?

History or fiction? Truth-claims and defensive narrators in Icelandic romance-sagas

Straining the bounds of credibility was an activity in which many mediaeval Icelandic saga-authors indulged.

Living history: learning through re-enactment

We are interested in the ways in which adult learn through engaging in leisure pursuits that have educational outcomes. Specifically in this paper we are interested in learning history; and second, we are interested in learning about history through doing.

How a Medieval Troubadour Became a Mathematical Figure

Lyric poetry of the Middle Ages may seem far removed from subgroups of the symmetric group or primitive roots of finite fields. However, one piece of medieval poetry has led to work in these mathematical disciplines, namely a sestina written in the Romance language of Old Occitan by a troubadour named Arnaut Daniel

Top 10 Medieval News Stories of 2011

The year 2011 will be remembered by Medievalists as the year we literally saw the face of the Middle Ages.

Embodied Voices: Women’s Food Asceticism and the Negotiation of Identity

In the cloistered halls of medieval nunneries, something strange was happening to women’s bodies. In late 14th-century Europe, reports abounded of religious women who could sustain themselves for years on nothing but the Eucharist – no other food passed their lips.

Středověký klášter (Medieval Monastery)

A Czech video about medieval monasteries

Foolish Medicine: Reflections on the practices of modern clown-doctors and medieval fools

Fools have been found in almost every human society and have been known by many names including parasite, clod, sot, buffoon, stultor, jester and today simply as clown.

The role of the feline in the medieval society of the North Atlantic region

Were the cats utilised specifically for pest control or is there conclusive proof of a creature having been wholly cared for?

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