Top Ten Medieval Articles of 2013

This last year saw post over 900 articles, many of which were also published this year. This year we are also seeing many more scholars sending us their articles to post directly on the site and these are among the most popular posts . Here are the ten most popular articles posted in 2013 – click on the titles to read them:


The Historical Inspiration for the Red Wedding of ‘Game of Thrones’ – by Ross Crawford

Every writer needs some inspiration and Martin is spoiled for choice in the blood-soaked annals of West European history. Many have observed how closely the War of the Five Kings in Game of Thrones resembles the War of the Roses in fifteenth-century England. Likewise, the cloak-and-dagger politics of King’s Landing could easily be mistaken for almost any medieval European court. To find the inspiration for the Red Wedding, undoubtedly one of the most shocking events of the series to date, Martin looked to medieval Scotland and the infamous ‘Black Dinner’ of 1440.


VikingsWhat caused the Viking Age? – by James H. Barrett

This paper addresses the cause of the Viking episode in the approved Viking manner – head-on, reviewing and dismissing technical, environmental, demographic, economic, political and ideological prime movers. The author develops the theory that a bulge of young males in Scandinavia set out to get treasure to underpin their chances of marriage and a separate domicile.

Murder, mayhem and a very small penis: motives for revenge in the 1375 murder of William Cantilupe, great-great nephew of St. Thomas of Hereford – by Frederik Pedersen

On a Friday evening in the spring of 1375, William Cantilupe, a knight of the relatively young age of thirty and the great-great-nephew of St Thomas of Hereford, was murdered by members of his household. His murder, which took place in his wife’s family manor in Scotton in Lincolnshire, marked the final stage of the fall of the house of Cantilupe as a major baronial family in medieval England.

Boning Richard III – by Ari Friedlander

I want to use this space to think about what Richard’s bones tell us about evidence, affect, and history, both in our own scholarly practice and the culture in which this practice circulates. First, however, it might be prudent to ask: what, exactly, did we find in the recent discovery of a skeleton with a curved spine under the Leicester City Council parking lot?

Women in the Viking age : death, life after death and burial customs – by Cristina Spatacean

The focus of the present paper is on the Viking beliefs connected with death, life after death and burial customs in relation to women. It is neither a philological analysis of the written sources that we have at our disposal nor an archaeological analysis of the contemporary evidence. The paper is rather a mentality study of what people believed would happen to women after death.

Eleanor of Aquitaine 4Eleanor, Queen of France and England and Duchess of Aquitaine – by Susan Abernethy

Born in 1122, in an unknown city in Southern France, Eleanor was the oldest child of William X, Duke of Aquitaine. Her father gave her a complete education teaching her Latin, music, literature, riding, hunting and hawking. Her brother and mother died when she was a young girl so Eleanor became the rightful heir of her father’s dukedom, one of the largest and richest in France at the time. Because she was beautiful, wealthy and held large estates, she was a highly sought after marriage prize. The winner of this prize was the French prince, Louis whom she married in 1137. It was decided that Eleanor would retain the rights to her inheritance free and clear of Louis and when her future son became King of the Franks, he would also inherit the Duchy of Aquitaine.

The Princess and the Gene Pool: The Plantagenet rebel who held the secret to Richard III’s DNA – by Sarah Gristwood

Richard III is perhaps the most controversial figure in British history and historians will long be discussing what new light the finds cast on his story. But the long-forgotten Anne was herself a creature of scandal – a woman who openly took a lover; divorced her husband; and kept his family lands anyway. A Plantagenet princess who acted with all the freedom of a Manhattanite on the make today.


See also the Top Ten Medieval Articles of 2012

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