Archives for May 2013

Distorting Madonna in Medieval Art

After Rome was destroyed, people were wary of attachment to physical beauty. As Christianity gained traction, Romans instead began to focus on the metaphysical beauty of virtue, and art began to follow suit. James Earle discusses how Medieval paintings of Madonna were affected by this shift.

Stanford University and Walters Art Museum team up for medieval manuscript digitization project

A new agreement will ensure the long-term preservation of the Walters Art Museum’s digitized collection of medieval manuscripts and provide new apps for studying them.

Five medieval websites to explore

Five more websites we have come across that are worth a look at…

Did medieval sailors reach Australia?

Archaeologists hope to unravel the mystery of how coins dating back to the 10th century were found off the shores of Australia.

Feeding the Dogs: The Queer Prioress and Her Pets

Everybody knows what we should think about the Prioress’ love for animals. She steals from the poor by feeding her ‘smale houndes’ roast meat and good bread. And she’s breaking the rules just by keeping pets.

Matthew Paris in Norway

It appears that Matthew only ever left England once, when, in 1248-9, he visited Norway to assist in settling a dispute at the Benedictine abbey of Nidarholm near Trondheim. It is on this episode that the following will focus.

The Mongol Intelligence Apparatus: The Triumphs of Genghis Khan’s Spy Network

Genghis Khan was a great military strategist, but his unparalleled ability to run intelligence operations was the key to his victories.

The Privileging of Visio over Vox in the Mystical Experiences of Hildegard of Bingen and Joan of Arc


The Still Lives of Medieval Objects

Discussions of the relationship between time and medieval artworks often hinge on examinations of use and reception: how has the meaning of this object changed over time?

Reconstruction of a Judicial Duel c. 1400

Watch this demonstration of a judicial duel at the turn of the 15th century, presented at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in 2013

The Battle of Arsuf, 7 September 1191

Benjamin Z. Kedar asks what was Richard I’s plan at Arsuf, one of the key battles of the Third Crusade?

The Garments of Guy in the Bayeux Tapestry

In her paper, Gale R. Owen-Crocker looks at how the late 11th century frieze portrays Guy, Count of Ponthieu.

‘The king in the car park’: new light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485

Immortalised by Shakespeare and others as an infamous villain, but with a strong cohort of modern-day supporters, he has remained a highly controversial figure of both history and drama since his death.

The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien released today

The poem, using Old English alliterative meter and written in modern English recounts how Arthur was a British military leader fighting the Saxon invasion, and includes characters such as Guinevere, Lancelot and Mordred.

Word of Mouth: Charlemagne’s Capitulare de Villis

Xavier Riaud examines The Capitulare de Villis, one of Charlemagne’s documents which has a surprising dental content.

Byzantine mosaic discovered in Israel

The 1500 year-old mosaic was discovered during archaeological excavations ahead of the construction of a new highway.

Is the Past a Foreign Country?

People tend to overemphasize similarities and ignore differences when comparing the present with the past, says Suzannah Lipscomb.

The Ecology and Economics of Medieval Deer Parks

There is a wealth of literature on a diversity of aspects of medieval parks, from their invertebrate ecologies, to rare lichens and bryophytes, to their herds of deer, their fishponds, and to the politics of fashion and taste and the provision of sport and entertainment for an affluent elite.

Searching for the Vikings on the Isle of Man

The Vikings were not just the wanton marauders of popular portrayal, says a Longwood University medieval scholar who recently conducted archaeological research on the Isle of Man.

Reading the unreadable: New X-ray technology can now read rolled-up scrolls

Scientific breakthrough will allow historians to virtually read medieval scrolls to fragile to open.

Converso Identities in Late Medieval Spain: Intermediacy and Indeterminacy

In late medieval Spain, Christian leaders and missionaries developed conversion campaigns to bring Jews into Christianity. Some converts appear to have fully assimilated with their new religion. Those who did not effectively assimilate are known as conversos, members of a group whose beliefs and actions grew increasingly suspect. Historians disagree about conversos. Did conversos want to become Christian despite continued Jewish practices, or were they ‘secret Jews’ who knowingly engaged in the practice of their former religion?

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