Archives for February 2016

Iron Age boathouses in Arctic Norway viewed as multifunctional expressions of maritime cultural heritage

Boathouses have been in use in Norway for at least 2000 years and c. 850 structures pre-dating the 16th century have been recorded.

Medieval violence and Criminology: using the Middle Ages to understand contemporary ‘motiveless’ crime

The aim of this essay is to explore how an investigation of violence in the Middle Ages can inform our understanding of ‘motiveless’ violence today. Has society moved away from the bi-dimensional relationship between deviance and entertainment?

A Viking Mess – Northmen: A Viking Saga Movie Review

This week’s medieval movie is Northmen: A Viking Saga.

Interview with Nancy Goldstone, author of The Rival Queens

It wasn’t until I was older, and writing European history, that I stumbled across a mention in the chronicle of Matthew Paris, a 13th century Benedictine monk, of the four daughters of the count of Provence who all became queens—queen of France, queen of England, queen of Germany (queen of the Romans), and queen of Sicily. Even from the little I was able to glean from the chronicle I could see that these women, who I had never heard of, exercised real power. Instantly curious, I went to find a book about them.

Challenge to the Throne: the Byzantine Princess Anna Komnene and Conspiracies, 1118-1119

Today, I will focus on the latter aspect, and look at two conspiracies plans in terms of her character as a princess hungry for power.

Eadgyth, Queen Consort of Germany and Duchess of Saxony

Eadgyth had an impressive pedigree. She was the grand-daughter of Alfred the Great, daughter of Edward the Elder and half-sister of Aethelstan, all of whom were powerful kings of Wessex in England. It was only by fate she ended up as the wife of Otto I, Duke of Saxony and King of Germany.

Discovering a Lost Medieval Town in Poland

The 15th century city of Nieszawa, known by two names Nowa Nieszawa (New Nieszawa) or Dybów was a prosperous urban centre on the border of the Polish Kingdom and the Teutonic Order.

Lost Battlefields of Wales, by Martin Hackett

In this book, Martin Hackett takes us on a journey through the military history of Wales, looking at the armies involved and the weapons they used.

The Medieval Magazine: Umberto Eco (Volume 2 Issue 4)

We take a look at the life and legacy of Umberto Eco, who passed away last week.

Dirhams for slaves: Investigating the Slavic slave trade in the tenth century

The idea that a massive trade in Slavic slaves underpinned the economic growth of Europe in the 9th and 10th centuries is not new. It is, however, most often only implicit; and at any rate, it is very rarely discussed.

The Medieval Sense of Smell, Stench and Sanitation

We will see that in the medieval era, there was concern for the foul and the fragrant because smell had the ability to make people both literally sick and sick to their stomachs.

The Medieval Magazine: Mediterranean Gold (Issue 4)

This issue from last year tells you about medieval England’s immigrants, a gold coin hoard discovered in the Mediterranean, Mardi Gras, How YouTube changed the Middle Ages, Byzantine grapes and medieval riddles.

A Quick Guide to Medieval Monastic Orders

During the Middle Ages, thousands of monastic communities were founded throughout Europe. Throughout this period, different types of monasteries were formed, which had different emphasizes and goals.

Umberto Eco and the Meaning of the Middle Ages

The narrative frame around Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, which intricately removes the story itself from its ultimate reader by insinuating long journeys, lost manuscripts, and various narrative intermediaries between text and recipient, also establishes a chain of connection between the late medieval murder mystery itself and its modern retelling, thus bringing the Middle Ages into present-day reality and vice-versa

Umberto Eco, medievalist and novelist, passes away

Umberto Eco, who gained international fame for his novel The Name of the Rose, passed away on Friday. He was 84.

5 Surprising Rules for Medieval Monks

The Rule of Saint Benedict was one of the quintessential texts of the Middle Ages. It explicitly lays out how to effectively run and be a part of the ideal monastic community – at least in Benedict’s view.

Uterine cancer in the writings of Byzantine physicians

Byzantine physicians recognized uterine cancer as a distinct disease and tried to suggest a therapeutic approach. The work of Oribasius, Aetius of Amida, Paul of Aegina, Cleopatra Metrodora and Theophanes Nonnus reflects the Hippocratic-Galenic scientific ideas as well as their own concept on this malignancy. According to their writings uterine cancer was considered an incurable disease and its treatment was based mainly on palliative herbal drugs.

Jocelin of Brakelond and the power of Abbot Samson

This article reconsiders a well-known narrative source from the beginning of the thirteenth century, Jocelin of Brakelond’s Chronicle.

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Benchmarking medieval economic development: England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, circa 1290

Estimates are assembled for England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and for Britain and Ireland as a whole, of the numbers of religious houses, regular clergy, parishes, towns of more than 2,000 inhabitants, and townspeople, and the value of dutiable exports and volume of currency at the watershed date of circa 1290

The Norwegian Attack on Iona in 1209-10: The Last Viking Raid?

A closer look at what happened in and around Iona in the early 1200s, makes the interpretation that this was just another such ‘classic viking raid’ rather unlikely.

Bulls, bere and black oatmeal: Iona’s economy in the later Middle Ages

This paper will take a brief look at some of the landholdings of both the abbey and the nunnery, and at how they were used – and perhaps misused – over this period.

Number Symbolism in Old Norse Literature

It is generally agreed that some numbers such as three and nine which appear frequently in the two Eddas hold special significances in Norse mythology. Furthermore, numbers appearing in sagas not only denote factual quantity, but also stand for specific symbolic meanings.

Of Myths, Fairy Tales, and TV series

As Season 4 of Vikings is readying to raid our TV screens, we will try and show how their writer Michael Hirst and his team of historical advisers do not limit their endeavour to Norse Mythology, royal genealogies and other sagas. Indeed they stray far away, deep into the recesses of time. As we say a long, long time ago …

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