Archives for January 2013

Medieval enchantment techniques: St Christopher and the Siren

The traditional image of St Christopher, which was particularly frequent in the Middle Ages, portrays him crossing the waters of a river while he is carrying the child Jesus on his shoulder.

The Cross of the Scriptures: Power Meets Religion in Medieval Ireland

A lecture examining the medieval cross and the monastery of Clonmacnoise in Ireland

What is A Chronicle? On the Joy of Reading History

Recent scholarship has hotly debated the definitions of chronicles as a genre, and focussed on the task tracing them back to their authentic, pristine text. However, another way of approaching this is to think of the chronicle as a physical object, a history book, with each new transcription being a new crystalization of the work.

The Church Atrium as a Ritual Space: The Cathedral of Tyre and St Peter’s in Rome

This paper will attempt to outline a perspective on ritual and space regard­ ing the Early Christian atrium by confronting two cases of early church atria: one known from a literary source, the other from its archaeological reconstruction.

Magna Carta: is it relevant today?

As the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta fast approaches in 2015, Professor Nigel Saul takes a look at its relevance to us today.

The Frankish Annals of Lindisfarne and Kent

Scholars interested in the processes by which the history of Early Anglo Saxon England came to be recorded have long known of the existence of the annals that are referred to here as ‘The Frankish Annals of Linidisfarne and Kent’.

Mi‘ilya: Evidence of an Early Crusader Settlement

Fifty-six diagnostic sherds, dating to the Crusader period, were found in a pit. Most of them represent local Crusader types, with a few belonging to imported types. The chronological range of the Crusader-period pottery dates from the mid-twelfth to the early thirteenth centuries CE.

Edward the Confessor, King of England

He was upstanding and pious, making him a cut above some of the ruthless and treacherous men around him.

Striking a Match on Byzantium’s “Dark Age”

The seventh and eighth centuries have been called the “Dark Age” of Byzantium because of the paucity of historical sources that illuminate them. This lack is commonly ascribed more to scant production than to failed transmission.

Religious prohibitions against usury

Why do religions prohibit usury? From a non-historical perspective, interest rate policy might seem an unlikely candidate for inclusion as a central tenet of religious doctrine.

The Danish attacks on London and Southwark in ‘1016’

This incident has been fatally embroidered by many local historians, taking their cue from various sources, so that the popular accounts have distorted what was already a confusing set of events.

What the Paston Letters Tell about Land Owning in the 15th Century England

How do the terms on land and manors which appear in the Paston Letters reflect his observation? I pick up several terms relating to the land owning system in the England of Middle Ages and examine their distribution in the letters; i.e. the terms ‘villein, serf, demesne, bond, rent, and tenant.’

The Luffield Priory Grange at Monkbarn

The lease of 1351 places Monksbarn in the manor of Pyre (West Perry or Paulerspury) so it might be expected that the site of the grange should lie within the parish of the same name. Despite mention of the wood within which the land lay, abutting landholding arrangements and the naming of a road along which the land must lie, there are few topographical details which can lead to a precise location for the grange.

Marriage between King Harald Fairhair and Snæfriðr, and their Offspring: Mythological Foundation of the Norwegian Medieval Dynasty?

Historians in Nordic countries since the turn of the twentieth century have become increasingly aware of the problem using these primary sources from earlier times, especially the sagas from the late twelfth- and thirteenth centuries, about three hundred years after Harald assumedly lived. It was Halvdan Koht(1873-1965)who introduced this point of view into Norwegian historiography, although some researchers, including Yngvar Nielsen, had cast doubt on the accuracy of the account before him.

Narrative and political strategies at the deposition of Richard II

This paper is an attempt to examine the role of what might loosely be termed formal and informal political ideas in the coup d’e´tat which brought Henry IV to power in 1399.

The Assassination of Godfrey the Hunchback

One of the earliest reports comes from Lambert of Hersfeld. Around 1078, he wrote a rather extensive account of the assassination, with several details: the assault took place in the city of Antwerp, in the night, when the duke had retired ‘because of a natural need’.

En/gendering representations of childbirth in fifteenth-century Franco-Flemish devotional manuscripts

Late-medieval representationsof the births of holy and heroic children invariably show a domestic interior with the new mother lying in bed attended
by female assistants.These images thus appearto show a `genderedspace’ in which women cared for each other and from which men were marginalized.

City and Countryside in Medieval England

An impressive array of data, ranging over the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, has been collected by two full-time researchers, James Galloway and Margaret Murphy. Of primary importance for the project are demesne farming accounts and inquisitions post mortem (detailing manorial land and other assets, especially again those of the demesne), both of which sources survive in very large numbers for the period under review. Also, the project incorpor- ates large amounts of data from urban records, particularly those dealing with merchants who were prominent in organizing London’s food supply.

Body Mass and Body Mass Index estimation in medieval Switzerland

The aim of the present study is to test the available BM estimation formulae based on the femoral head breadth (Auerbach and Ruff 2004, Grine et al. 1995, McHenry 1992, Ruff et al. 1991) on skeletal populations from medieval Switzerland and to reconstruct the BM and the BMI within a specific temporal and geographical setting.

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