Archives for September 2013

The role of the devil in Old English narrative literature

It is a commonplace of Old English criticism that the devil instigates sin. It is curious, therefore, that no one has asked in any systematic or comprehensive manner exactly how the devil does this.

New book examines the controversy over clerical marriage in the Middle Ages

Around the year 1100 the Papacy set about to end the practice of priests and bishops being able to marry. The church hoped to impose the same standards of celibacy that were followed by monks. A new book examines how ecclesiastical figures within the Catholic church dealt with the change.

Sound, body and space: audience experience in late medieval English drama

This thesis offers a new approach to the study of actor-audience relations in late medieval English drama and endeavours not only to emphasise the performative elements of medieval plays, but also the effects that they may have produced in performance.

The uses of secular rulers and characters in the Welsh Saint’s lives in the Vespasian Legendary

This study focuses on the functional use of famous characters from the Welsh literary and historical contexts, like King Arthur and King Maelgwn of Gwynedd, in the Welsh Saints’ Lives found in the Vespasian Legendary, the most significant Welsh legendary extant, dated to ca. 1200.

Illness and Disability in Twelfth and Thirteenth-Century Notarial Documents in Medieval Toledo

Their documents are symbolic not only of the transition from Muslim Al-Andalus to Christian Spain, but also give us insight into the real-time everyday interactions and events of transitional Toledo after the year 1085 AD between peoples of different cultures, religions, backgrounds and identities.

“In this our lightye and learned tyme”: Italian baths in the era of the Renaissance

The sixteenth century saw a transformation in medicine as it came to be dominated by the ideals and methods of the Renaissance.

Spectacles through the ages and period inaccuracies

One of the most annoying errors made in historical entertainment, at least for the optical profession, is the use of spectacles which are inappropriate for the period being depicted.

How important was the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 to the Rise of the Seljuk Turks?

The Battle of Manzikert has received relatively little study in modern Western academia, and the majority of both primary and secondary sources have not been translated

Snorri’s Trollwives

The list by Snorri or incorporated in his work, reproduced here in an appendix, comes after comparable lists of the names of legendary sea-kings, the names of—or for—giants, and is followed by a brief list of bynames for Þórr and then the names of the Æsir. These lists are an important part of the skaldic tool kit and are introduced by Snorri’s comments on word-play—homonymity—and the substitution of metonyms or homologues for more common words in poetry.

Behind the Veil: The rise of female monasticism and the double house

In this thesis I aim to restore the contemporary views of female monasticism that have been marginalized in current historiography. By evaluating the primary source material on women in monasticism, I intend to recapture the complex links between female religious communities and the wider social, cultural and political world of the Frankish kingdoms.

The Queen and her consort : succession, politics and partnership in the kingdom of Navarre, 1274-1512

This thesis draws attention to an exceptional group of sovereigns and demonstrates the important role that these women and their spouses played in the political history of Western Europe during the Late Middle Ages. It also highlights the particular challenges of female rule and offers new modes of analysis by focusing on unique areas of investigation which have not been previously examined

The Serpent in the Sword: Pattern-welding in Early Medieval Swords

In the pattern-welded sword blades made from the Migration Period through the mid-Viking Age (5th through 10th centuries), swordsmiths manipulated the piled structure of the blade to create a striking decorative effect

From Flax to Linen: Experiments with flax at Ribe Viking Centre

The archaeological record shows that linen was an important part of Viking Age clothing. Linen cloth developed gradually from being virtually nonexistent in Scandinavia at the start of the first millennium AD…

A stitch in time

Who commissioned the tapestry? Who made it, where and when? Where was the Tapestry first displayed? Was the message of the Tapestry outright Norman propaganda or a more evenhanded attempt at Anglo-Norman reconciliation?

The Battle of Agincourt: An Alternative Location?

A recent archaeological survey on the Agincourt battlefield has, however, failed to find positive artefactual evidence of the conflict on the officially designated battlefield site.

The diagnosis and context of a facial deformity from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Spofforth, North Yorkshire

Osteological analysis of the complete skeletal population identified one individual, Skeleton 177, who presented an abnormal and pathological swelling to the left facial bones. The following discussion describes these pathological lesions and presents a differential diagnosis based on visual, radiographic and histological examination.

Saint Anselm of Canterbury and Charismatic Authority

The early career of Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033-1109) provides an opportunity to explore the operation of charismatic authority in a monastic setting.


The series is a fascinating look at the difficult journey Isabella of Castile endured on her way to the throne.

The Role of Christian Spirituality in 13th Century Interpretations of the Fall of Constantinople

Since the focus of the conflict between the crusaders and Constantinople changed from obtaining transportation to Jerusalem to a religious war against the people of Constantinople, it is critical to understand the role of relics in pilgrimage and the concept of how relics were understood to be translated from one owner to another, i.e., furtum sacrum.

Understanding Pestilence in the Times of King Matthias

Even if medieval medicine was revealed to be powerless by the mass-scale epidemics of the mid-fourteenth century, the Black Death was far from ending the career of university-trained physicians or the continuation of their art.

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