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Medium and the Middle Ages

Medium.com was founded in 2012 by Evan Williams and Biz Stone, who were also responsible for the creation of Twitter. This web-publishing platform allows users to write their own articles, and act as a kind of social journalism.

Evan Williams explains, “Medium is really designed to be a conversation as much as just a monologue, so its a place where, unlike a blog or standalone website, you can see many people’s different perspectives and the goal is that those people and ideas build off each other.”

We came across Medium.com in the last few weeks, and found that medievalists were making use of it to create a wide variety of articles. They include the Sexy Codicology blog and historical fiction author Hunter S. Jones. We want to share with you fifteen interesting articles related to the Middle Ages that you can find on Medium.com:

Medium and the Middle Ages

15 articles about the Middle Ages from Medium.com

Social Media Distraction: It’s Medieval, by Elizabeth Drescher

Maybe Nicholas Carr was right: the internet is just so much catnip in a world already filled with too many distractions. And, like any such drug (even those that seem relatively harmless, especially in relation to the benefits they seem to offer), my freewheeling engagement with the internet is slowly but surely reshaping my brain so that, eventually, I won’t be capable of a sustained reflection.

What we can learn by looking at prices and wages in Medieval England, by Vlad Zavidovych

Aggregating data from various sources about prices and wages in Late Medieval England (1264 — 1499) gives great insights about the historical period in addition to what’s already known from medieval literature, art, and archaeology.

You Have to Play This 1,600-Year-Old Viking War Game, by Robert Bekenhausen

At first glance, Hnefatafl (prounounced “nef-ah-tah-fel”) might just look like a knock-off version of chess with Norse helms and impressive beards, but the game is at least 600 years older—already well-known by 400 A.D.—and is perhaps a lot more relevant to the conflicts of the 21st century.

Video Gaming Made Me a History Major, by Mac Blauner

When my sixth grade history class finally covered the Battle of Hastings, I was beaming with excitement. I was a below average student. I daydreamed through math, and read paperbacks under my desk during English. My so-so grades were like a slow drip on my self-confidence — eroding my belief that I could ever be successful at school.

How to Read Game of Thrones, by Jason Theodor

… or how to read George R. R. Martin’s staggering, cumbersome epic without getting traumatized by the torture, rape, incest, and murder, thwarted by the medieval language, lost in his vast, invented world of strangely named cities and surrounding geography, muddled by the epic history and mythology, confused by the excessive cast of characters, or bored by the details of custom and culture.

Medieval Icelandic Sagas Are Social Networks Like Facebook and Twitter, by the Physics arXiv Blog

The Sagas of Icelanders or Íslendinga sögur are a set of stories about the struggles and conflicts among the early settlers of Iceland in the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries. They are thought to have been written in the 13th and 14th centuries by authors whose names have long since been lost. But many academics consider the texts to be gems of world literature .

New digitized manuscripts from the Vatican Library! by Giulio Menna from Sexy Codicology

Since we started the DMMmaps project, the Vatican Library has more than doubled the number of digitally available books. Plus, they have reorganized the home page: Where once you could see the endless list of manuscripts available (now 1’500+!), there is now a tidier page showing the collections and then number of digitized books you may find inside.

Medieval Canterbury and modern day Detroit have more in common than you’d think, by Michael Bintley

My office at Canterbury Christ Church University overlooks the abbey founded in 597 by Augustine, an initially reluctant Benedictine monk whose mission to England under the aegis of Pope Gregory the Great made Canterbury the cornerstone of English Christianity that it remains today. The Anglo-Saxon monk and historian Bede memorably describes the procession of Augustine and his entourage into the mostly derelict walled city of Canterbury, preceded by the cross as a symbol of Christian victory over the curses heaped upon the British by God because of their failings in faith.

Joan of Arc — Saint, Feminist or Nationalist Icon?, by Charles Tan

Having only scarce knowledge and only starting to show interest in European medieval history recently, it would have perhaps been easier for a novice like me to stick to more popular works.

Reconstituting Female Authority: Women’s Participation in the Transmission of Islamic Knowledge, by MIIM Design

In March 2013, MIIM Designs Studio attended a conference on“Reconstituting Female Authority: Women’s Participation in the Transmission and Production of Islamic Knowledge,” hosted by the University of California, Santa Barbara. Particularly noteworthy was the discussion on reclaiming history. In her plenary speech, Dr. Asma Sayeed (University of California, Los Angeles, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures) examined women’s religious education, particularly their training in and transmission of ḥadīth (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad) from early Islam to the Ottoman period.

Gawain and Beowulf, by Gerald Lucas

With the waxing popularity of Christianity in late fourteenth-century England, the culture’s expectations had evolved to encompass new, more complicated views on human interrelations and the world view in general. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight represents a new conception of the heroic ideal, women, nature, and narrative technique. A juxtaposition with Beowulf illustrates these changing ideals.

Gold Dinar: An Offa You Can’t Refuse, by Mark Baldwin-Smith

Barely a century after the life of Muhammad, a gold coin was minted in Anglo-Saxon England, bearing the inscription ‘there is no God but Allah alone’. This series tells the rich, under-told and often surprising story of Islam in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, beginning with King Offa of Mercia and this enigmatic gold coin.

The Future of Web Design is Hidden in the History of Architecture, by Mike Sail

The history of Western architecture can teach us a lot about the evolution of web design. As forms of art, both are defined by several factors…

The Artist, the Thief, the Forger, and Her Lover, by Rex Sorgatz

The “Mona Lisa” — that enigmatic unfinished portrait, brushed by a renowned Italian polymath who hailed from Vinci, enveloped in cabalistic intrigue, lacquered with more commentary than any artwork, maybe any object, from scrutiny of her smile to forensics of her eyebrows, semiotics to science, the painting that pioneered new techniques, a Renaissance alchemy of enamels and varnishes, all to create that reticent smirk, those eyes gazing at you through time…

Key Archaeological Sites Of The Isle Of Man, by Simon Costain

Castle Rushen is widely regarded as one of the most complete medieval fortresses in Europe. It was begun by the Norse kings of Man in the later 12th century, though its form was influenced by Anglo-Norman design.

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Medium and the Middle Ages

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