Archives for July 2013

Vikings raided monasteries to feed demand for eunuchs in the east, historian finds

In Byzantium and the Abbasid Caliphate there was great demand for eunuchs – a new study suggests this demand was being met by the Vikings raiding monasteries in northwestern Europe.

Deer park created by Llywelyn the Great discovered by archaeologists

Archaeologists in Wales have discovered the remains of a thirteenth-century deer park, likely built during the reign of Llywelyn the Great (1195–1240).

Mystery coffin-within-a-coffin found at Richard III site

The site were Richard III was discovered is turning up more fascinating archaeological remains. The latest find is a a mysterious coffin-within-a-coffin.

Indigenous and imported Viking Age weapons in Norway – a problem with European implications

The numerous Viking Age swords and spearheads found in Norway are a mixture of indigenous and imported items, but sound criteria for distinguishing between the two origins are lacking.

Book Review: A Thing Done, by Tinney Sue Heath

I’ve read a lot of historical novels over the last few years but I have to say that hands down, this one is at the top of my list.

Ten Beautiful Medieval Maps

Our list of the best medieval maps – ten maps created between the sixth and sixteenth centuries, which offer unique views into how medieval people saw their world.

The Miracles of Saints Cosmas and Damian: Characteristics of Dream Healing

Cosmas and Damian were trained physicians, already famous during their lives, but their great career as healers started after they suffered martyrdom in 287 or 297.

A Comparison of Interrogation in Two Inquisitorial Courts of the Fourteenth Century

The spread of the Cathar heresy in Western Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was perceived as a real challenge to orthodoxy. The Catholic Church soon employed all means possible in a reaction against this dualistic religion, which was especially widespread in the south of France and in central and northern Italy.

The Christianisation of Bohemia and Moravia

The territory of what is now Czech Republic consists of essentially two lands, Bohemia and Moravia.

The Failed Experience: Why Did Manuel Komnenos Lose the Battle at Myriokephalon?

On the 17th of September, 1176, a huge Byzantine army entered a defile some 40 km east of modern Konya. The Byzantine chronicles call it Myriokephalon

The Sorcery Trial of Alice Kyteler

In 1324, Richard Ledrede, bishop of Ossory, declared that his diocese was a hotbed of devil worshippers. The central figure in this affair was Alice Kyteler, a wealthy Kilkenny woman who stood accused of witchcraft by her stepchildren.

Were there heretics in medieval Ireland?

In her article, ‘Heresy in Ireland in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries’, Bernadette Williams uncovers some cases where people were accused and convicted of heresy, including insulting the Virgin Mary and denying the Jesus was the son of God.

The attempted trial of Boniface VIII for heresy

How do you accuse a sitting Pope of being a heretic?

Richard III Foundation hosts conference to celebrate its 20th anniversary of fighting for its hero king

A major conference to be held later this year at Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, just a few miles from the battlefield on which King Richard III met his violent end, will mark the 20th anniversary of an organization that was formed in the monarch’s memory.

Upcoming Conference: Ruling Bishops and Ruling Eunuchs, c. 400-1800

Three day conference to be held this August at the University of Zürich in Switzerland

How Machiavellian was Machiavelli?

Professor Quentin Skinner gave a public lecture at the University of York, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the composition of Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince.

The Middle Ages in the Modern World: Terry Jones and Patrick Geary

Filmed at the British Academy in London on July 1, 2013

Wrestling for the Ram: Competition and Feedback in Sir Thopas and The Canterbury Tales

The purpose of this essay will be to explore the significance of competition and feedback in The Canterbury Tales, by applying historical evidence of literary competition in the fourteenth century to a discussion of the frame narrative, especially the prologue and epilogue to Chaucer’s Tale of Sir Thopas.

Mapping Scottish Identity in the Roman de Fergus

In the Roman de Fergus, a thirteenth-century verse romance in Old French, Guillaume le Clerc considers the consequences of Arthur’s assimilationist expansionism with a more focused attention to cultural difference and personal identity, again centered on the experience of a knight from Galloway, the eponymous

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