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Archives for December 2013

The Voices of the Saints: Speaking Reliquaries

Although they have often been considered as mere representational labels identifying the relic contained, body-part reliquaries, or what I would prefer to call shaped reliquaries, participate in a fluid exchange of signs

Cheating and Cheaters in German Romance and Epic, 1180 – 1225

An Alsatian poet named Heinrich, writing around 1180, composed a beast epic, based on French sources, about a trickster fox named Reinhart. Some sixty years later, a poet known to us only as Der Stricker composed a work of similar length and structure, about a trickster priest named Amis, and his diligent efforts to cheat various anonymous individuals out of their money.

John of Freiburg and the Usury Prohibition in the Late Middle Ages: A Study in the Popularization of Medieval Canon Law

In this dissertation I provide an edition of the treatise on usury (De usuris, bk. 2, tit. 7) contained in the Dominican friar John of Freiburg’s (d. 1314) Summa confessorum (ca. 1298) – a comprehensive encyclopedia of pastoral care that John wrote for the benefit of his fellow friar preachers and all others charged with the cure of souls.

The Quadriga – War Booty in Venice’s Piazza San Marco

In 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, Western European armies sacked Constantinople, bringing about the fall of the Byzantine Empire. As a result of the conquest, the Republic of Venice acquired a number of war spoils, many of which were incorporated into the design of the Piazza San Marco.

Medieval Writing Surfaces: An Interview With Dr. Mary Watt

Dr. Mary Watt of the University of Florida talks about what people in the Middle Ages wrote on: parchment and vellum

The Origins of the Wars of Independence in Scotland, 1290-1296

Very late on the 19th March 1286, in the teeth of a howling gale on a dark and stormy night, Scotland’s history was changed forever with the death of King Alexander III.

Losing the null subject : a contrastive study of (Brazilian) Portuguese and (Medieval) French

This paper deals with the development and the use of subject pronouns in Portuguese and discusses the question of whether or not Brazilian Portuguese is a language which is losing its null subject property or which has already lost it

Church and burial mounds among medieval archaeological finds in Poland

The remains of a 13th-century church and burial mounds dating back to the ninth-century are among the archaeological finds announced this month by Polish researchers.

Top Ten Medieval Articles of 2013

Richard III and the Vikings are prominent in our list of the top 10 articles we posted in 2013

Emperor Frederick II, ‘Sultan of Lucera’, ‘Friend of the Muslims’, Promoter of Cultural Transfer: Controversies and Suggestions

Already in his own time, he aroused responses ranging from profound adoration to vehement rejection.

The Early German Settlement of North Eastern Moravia: and What the Pied Piper of Hamelin Had to Do with It

Long ago, primordial forests, dark and impenetrable, surrounded the mountainous frontier, which today separates northeastern Bohemia from large parts of northern Moravia in the Czech Republic. This area was situated north of the sparsely populated flatlands of the March (Morava) River. The stillness of the forests remained largely undisturbed by man.

Heathen: Linguistic Origins and Early Context

It is my hope that this endeavor will allow the reader to have a serious understanding of the origins, early history, and more importantly the context of the word heathen, and what this might have meant for the people implied by it.

Saintly Rivals – a brief comparison of the cults of Thomas Becket and Edward the Confessor

The trajectories of these two cults make for an interesting comparison because their origins are close to each other in space and time, but also because of the many differences between them.

On the windy edge of nothing: Vikings in the North Atlantic World

With a focus upon the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland, Kevin Edwards will present a select narrative of past and recent writings, archaeological enquiry and scientific research concerning the Norse settlement of the North Atlantic.

Conference: Death in Scotland, from the medieval to the modern: beliefs, attitudes and practices

The conference is organised in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and takes place 31 Jan. 2014 – 2nd Feb 2014. Our aim is to take a look at Scottish history from a different angle by concentrating on beliefs, attitudes and practices of death.

Theodora, Aetius of Amida, and Procopius: Some Possible Connections

Behind the purported facts of Theodora’s career as a common prostitute and later as empress are the hidden details of what we might call feminine pharmacology: what were the drugs used by prostitutes and call-girls in sixth-century Byzan- tium? Were there ordinary pharmaceuticals employed by such professionals to stay in business?

The Riurikid Relationship with the Orthodox Christian Church in Kievan Rus

Prior to the late tenth century, the princes of the Riurikid dynasty were rulers over the loose collection of pagan Slavic tribes and minor city states that were Kievan Rus. However, in a relatively short period, the dynasty had linked itself and its legitimacy to rule to the Orthodox Christian Church centered in Constantinople.

Sword and Spirit: Bushido in Practice from the Late Sengoku Era through the Edo Period

Bushido’s derivative word, bushi, was the original term for the upper warrior classes. The spiritual aspects of it arose from two main sources: Buddhism and Shintoism. Buddhism provided the necessary components for bravery in the face of death.

Ivan the Terrible: Centralization in Sixteenth Century Muscovy

From 1565-1572, the Oprichnina was a land within Muscovy of Ivanís choosing where he alone held sole power. The Zemschina was the remaining portion of Muscovy that was governed by the state administration.

Chaucer’s reading list: Sir Thopas, Auchinleck, and Middle English romances in translation

One frustration of engaging in any branch of European medieval studies as an academic pursuit is that few claim expertise about the ancient or Roman worlds, but seemingly everyone on an internet discussion forum believes him or herself knowledgeable about the medieval period, usually based on patently false beliefs.

The Dual Crises of the Late-Medieval Florentine Cloth Industry, c.1320 – c.1420

The consequences of that first economic crisis, in the ensuing transformation of the Florentine cloth industry, contained the very seeds that spawned the second and far more major crisis, which led to the inexorable downfall of this once majestic industry, by the early fifteenth century.

Would the Real William Wallace Please Stand Up

The object of this paper is to give a brief outline of the life of William Wallace, and to make references in passing to the film, Braveheart, loosely based on the life of William Wallace, starring the Australian actor Mel Gibson.

Great Houses Make Not Men Holy: Mendicant Architecture in Medieval Oxford

In 1538 King Henry the 8th ordered the dissolution be England’s religious houses. For much of the previous three centuries most prominent of these buildings in Oxford had belonged to the Dominican Order, or Blackfriars, and to the Grey Friars – the Franciscan Order.

Theoderic the Great vs. Boethius: Tensions in Italy in the Late 5th and Early 6th Centuries

In 524AD the Roman senator Boethius was executed for committing treason against Theoderic the Great, the ruling gothic king in Italy. Boethius was never given a trial, and the charge of treason may have been an exaggeration of what actually happened.

Boniface VIII and Philip IV: Conflict Between Church and State

During the middle ages there were conflicts between church and state. From 1294-1303 Boniface VIII and Philip the IV, king of France had such an issue.

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