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Archives for February 2012

The Cost of Capital and Medieval Agricultural Technique

A major purpose of this paper is to consider the consequences of high medieval interest rates on wages and production techniques. It is argued that the high capital costs of medieval times had an important role in shaping medieval agricultural institutions and production techniques, and must also have sharply reduced wages in medieval Europe.

A Response to Anglo-Saxon Heroism and Fourteenth Century Chivalry: Ideals for the Warrior in the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien

While the chivalric ideal has continued to appear in British literature, Anglo-Saxon heroism with its bond between lord and thane has largely dropped away. The writings of J.R.R. Tolkien provide the striking exception to this.

Charlemagne in medieval East Central Europe (ca. 800 to ca. 1200)

During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the legend of Charlemagne gained widespread popularity, as the figure of the emperor became a model for rulers and crusaders.

’I am well done – please go on eating’ – Food, Digestion, and Humour in Late Medieval Danish Wall Paintings

Jesus never laughed or smiled. Holy people behave like Him: they tend to be solemn, austere, and their body language is restricted. They ought in any case to behave like Jesus. But in late medieval Danish wall paintings some holy people rebel, and St Laurence even jokes.

Medieval garbage in Leiden University Library

Dr. Erik Kwakkel discovered a remarkable manuscript in the rich medieval book collection of Leiden University Libraries.

The Alcuin number of a graph

A man had to transport to the far side of a river a wolf, a goat, and a bundle of cabbages. The only boat he could find was one which would carry only two of them. For that reason he sought a plan which would enable them all to get to the far side unhurt. Let him, who is able, say how it could be possible to transport them safely?

Law and War in Late Medieval Italy: The Jus Commune on War and Its Application in Florence, c. 1150-1450

This study examines the development of the theory of war in the jus commune, or common law, of the late Middle Ages, and considers how such legal theory was put into practice by the government of Florence in the same period. In particular, the study examines the law on war in the fourteenth century in detail, and places Florentine wartime diplomacy in the context of its legal disputes and negotiations, in the period 1388-1402.

The Art of Slicing Fish and Fowl in Medieval Japan

In Western eyes, the delicately cut piece of food is often regarded as central to traditional Japanese cooking. The skilful use of the knife is indeed one of the most prominent features of the Japanese kitchen, and mastery of various cutting-techniques is a matter of course to the Japanese chef as well as to the ambitious homemaker.

The Politics of Health Reform from a Medieval Perspective

Professor William Ayliffe provides an overview of some of London’s most important medieval hospitals, including St Bartholomew’s, St Thomas’ and St Mary’s Bethlem, and compares our own healthcare systems with those of the Tudors, in terms of cleanliness, dignity to patients and even hospital architecture.

Stones of Medieval Italy

To celebrate the publication of Italian Medieval Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters by Lisbeth Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Jack Soultanian, international specialists will present talks on medieval sculpture.

Süleyman the Magnificent and the Representation of Power in the Context of Ottoman-Hapsburg-Papal Rivalry

This article explores issues of cross-cultural communication raised by the Ottoman court’s intense patronage of European artistic talent during the early part of Suleyman the Magnificent’s reign (1520-1566).

English heraldic terminology: analysis and comparison with Czech

The first part of the essay is an analysis of lexical heraldic items. The analysis is made according to different classes of the heraldic terms, starting with the ordinaries, then describing other charges.

Alternate fortunes? The role of domestic ducks and geese from Roman to Medieval times in Britain

In this paper the relative frequency of duck and goose bones found in archaeological sites of Roman and medieval times in Britain will be discussed.

Chaucer’s Inferno: Dantean Burlesques in The Canterbury Tales

Like Dante, Chaucer composed in the vernacular rather than in Latin, organized his work by means of the frame story of a guided pilgrimage, and included himself as a character in the journey that he describes. Yet Chaucer gives each of these elements a carnivalesque turn, so that the serious matter of Dante’s Commedia becomes, in The Canterbury Tales, the stuff of comedy.

Arabic sources show extreme weather hit medieval Baghdad

The research, published in Weather, analyses the writings of scholars, historians and diarists in Iraq during the Islamic Golden Age between 816-1009 AD for evidence of extreme weather in Iraq, including snowfalls and hailstorms in Baghdad.

The Ghent Altarpiece in 100 Billion Pixels

It is now possible to zoom into the intricate, breathtaking details of one of the most important works of art from the medieval world, thanks to a newly completed website focused on the Ghent Altarpiece.

Smashing the Bridge between Roman and Medieval Artillery: The Onager

This paper will attempt to uncover some information about the technological level of artillery used during the decline of the Roman empire and the beginning of the middle ages (300 AD – 600 AD). Although several types of artillery were used during this time, only the onager seems to have been unique to the period.

The ‘Unusual Character’ of Holbein’s Ambassador

In this paper, however, I wish to offer a different approach to the problem of meaning in the painting. I shall argue that the Ambassadors is a painting that involves a secret, but that revelation of this secret cannot be effected by an inquiry founded on the contrast between literal and figurative meaning.

Chacun son Guesclin : La réception des quatre versions de l’oeuvre de Cuvelier entre 1380 et 1480

The goal of the present thesis is to study the reception of the Chanson de Bertrand du Guesclin by Cuvelier from the time of its creation around 1385 up to the publication in print of one of its prose versions around 1480.

The Rebirth of a Communications Network: Europe at the Time of the Carolingians

This paper attempts to explain the accelerated economic growth of medieval Europe by incorporating communications technologies in the analysis. During the reign of Charlemagne, written and spoken Latin was effectively standardized which reduced the cost of information storage relative to transmission.

The Economic Consequences of the Black Death

Great epidemics mark the agricultural world of the past; from Neolithic times onwards. The formation of much denser societies with respect to those of hunters and gatherers, and daily contact with domestic animals are at the origins of serious epidemic infections which have accompanied humans for 10,000 years.

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