Archives for February 2014

The fire that comes from the eye

One of the earliest ideas about vision is that it depends on light that streams out of the eye and detects surrounding objects. This view was attacked in its own time and finally disproved more than 2000 years later.

Vikings – Review of Season 2 Episode 1: Brother’s War

While the first part of this episode shows that Ragnar is a leader of men, the second half reveals how terrible he is with women!

Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scotland

Back to Scotland with the story of the wife of King James I. Her husband was murdered before her eyes

Five Things to Love About A Knight’s Tale

Was it really just a sports movie set in the past? Yes. Was it edited until the plot seems a little less-than-coherent? Yes. But are there things we can love about it? Absolutely.

A Burnable Book – novel starring Chaucer and Gower gets strong reviews

A Burnable Book is the title of Bruce Holsinger’s new historical thriller, set in the 14th century, with Geoffrey Chaucer as one of the main characters

How to defraud your lord on the medieval manor

Here are six ways to commit fraud explained by Robert Carpenter in the 13th century.

Vikings set to conquer TV in Season 2

Fans of the TV show Vikings don’t have to wait much longer to see what happened to Ragnar, Rollo and Lagertha as the second season begins airing on February 27th.

Medieval murder uncovered in Scotland

Archaeologists working in southeastern Scotland have made a grisly discovery – the remains of a young man from the 12th or 13th century, who was murdered with multiple stab wounds in his back.

What does a 500-year-old song found on a butt in hell sound like?

If one looks closely at the famous painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, created by Hieronymous Bosch around the year 1500, you can find many strange images. This includes a scene in hell where someone has musical notes on their butt. Now, a student has deciphered what this music sounded like.

What’s New in Medieval Books

No theme for this week’s roundup of books – just ones that I’m reading through right now.

Medieval Manuscripts for Sale

A guide to buying medieval manuscripts and where you can find medieval manuscripts for sale.

A Quest for the Black Knight: Casting People of Color in Arthurian Film and Television

However, though there are more people of color in Arthurian film and television productions, progress toward inclusivity has not been quick or simple to achieve.

Abelard and Heloise’s Love Story from the Perspective of their Son Astrolabe: Luise Rinser’s Novel Abelard’s Love

Abelard and Heloise’s Love Story from the Perspective of their Son Astrolabe: Luise Rinser’s Novel Abelard’s Love By Albrecht Classen Rocky Mountain Review, Vol.57:1 (2003) Introduction: The debate about the authenticity of Abelard and Heloise’s correspondence has raged for many decades, if not centuries. Traditionally, many critics have claimed that Heloise, as a woman, could not […]

Whose secret Intent?

Hülegü Khan’s arrival on the south bank of the Amu Darya, or the Oxus, in the 1250s was the second time that a large Mongol-led military force had landed south of the great river poised to advance on the Iranian plateau.

Tenure to Contract: Lordship and Clientage in Thirteenth-Century England

English historians have increasingly stressed the underlying continuity between feudalism and ‘bastard feudalism.’ Indentured retaining is no longer seen as a corrupted and disruptive form of feudalism, but instead as its ‘logical successor.’

Jews Have the Best Sex: The Hollywood Adventures of a Peculiar Medieval Jewish Text on Sexuality

According to quite a few books and films produced in the last few decades in Europe and North America, sex is widely celebrated in Jewish sources

Analyzing History: Bertran de Born – Innocent Poet or Inciter of Revolt

While words are powerful tools that can invoke emotions ranging from jubilation to revulsion, could they be the cause of a rebellion against Henry II of England by his children and wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine? Could the words of a mere troubadour drive the revolt of a family against their king?

On the shape of the Insular tonsure

This paper carefully reviews the early medieval evidence and proposes that the tonsure was triangular in shape, resembling a Greek delta.

In quest for the lost gamers: An investigation of board gaming in Scania, during the Iron and Middle Ages

The games we play today are of course not entirely the same as those played a thousand years ago,

‘The Best Paper Assignment Ever!’ Teaching Medieval Drama Through Writing

I still want students to move from the page to the stage, and to think of the cultural contexts of performance in the past and in our present, especially since so much of medieval drama’s richness is only apparent in the fullness of its cultural and historical contexts.

The “Discrete Occupational Identity” of Chaucer’s Knyght

Popular critical opinion favors reading the pilgrim Knyght of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales as the representative of the idealized chivalric knight; however, the pilgrim Knyght bears the hallmark of the early professional soldier that began to evolve as early as the eleventh century.

Drug Overdose, Disability and Male Friendship in Fifteenth-Century Mamluk Cairo

Shihab al-Din al-Hijazi (1388-1471) was an unexceptional legal student in Mamluk Cairo, who, at the age of 24, overdosed on marking nut, a potent plant drug valued for its memory-enhancing properties

Writing the Antithesis of María of Aragón: Alvaro de Luna’s Rendering of Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris

Of the many works that form the canon of the debate on women in the fifteenth century, particularly in the Iberian Peninsula, there is a text that often omitted. This lesser known text was written by one of the most notorious figures in Spanish history: don Alvaro de Luna.

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