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Archives for February 2018

Diplomacy and oriental influence in the court of Cordoba (9th-10th centuries)

This dissertation aims to study the diplomatic relations that Cordoba, as the capital of al-Andalus, kept with the Byzantine, Christian Iberian and Western European courts.

Rabbits and the Specious Origins of Domestication

Rabbits are commonly thought to have been domesticated in c. AD600 by French monks. Using historical and archaeological records, and genetic methods, we demonstrate that this is a misconception.

Monastic Reform and the Geography of Christendom: Experience, Observation and Influence

Historians have suggested that tropes about the desert, solitude, etc., drawn from early texts found their way into mainstream accounts of monastic change in the period c. 1080–1150; this paper challenges this model.

Historical European Martial Art: a crossroad between academic research, martial heritage re-creation and martial sport practices

This paper will propose and discuss, ideas on how to bridge the gap between enthusiasts and scholars; since their embodied knowledge, acquired by practice, is of tremendous value for scientific inquiries and scientific experimentation.

English political refugees at the court of Sveinn Ástríðarson, king of Denmark (1042-76)

After the Norman conquest in 1066 and the failed rebellions in 1069-71, some sections of the aristocracy of Anglo-Saxon England fled as far afield as the Mediterranean, the Crimea, and the Byzantine court. Other crucial members of the Anglo-Saxon elite can be found in exile, somewhat closer to home, in Denmark.

Sumanguru Kante: The King with two Mothers

The recently translated account of The Epic of Sumanguru Kante offers some fascinating stories, including a description of how this West African ruler was born to two mothers.

7 Devious Ways to Defeat a Medieval Army

Could you defeat a medieval army without resorting to a clash of arms? A 10th century Byzantine military manual offers several tricks that could be used to devastate your enemy.

New Medieval Books: From China to Iceland

Five new books taking you throughout the medieval world.

Quiz: The Golden Age of Piracy

Criminals of the sea, desperate sailors or romantic heroes? How much do you really know about pirates?

Quiz: Strange Moments in History

Sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction and history is littered with strange tales of woe, mirth and the bizarre. Can you separate fact from fantasy in these 20 questions?

The Butterfly Lovers: A Classic Chinese Love Story

The earliest written record of the lovers is traced back to about 700AD, when the Tang Dynasty was reigned over by Empress Wu Zetian and was renamed as the (Restored) Zhou Dynasty.

Medieval Manuscripts: Seven Songs for an Absent Lover

The Pergamino Vindel leaf is famous for its 13th century collection of seven songs written in the voice of a young woman awaiting her absent lover.

A Grand Gesture: Henry VIII and the Westminster Tournament

In February, 1511, Henry VIII held a large and lavish tournament at Westminster to honour his wife, Katherine of Aragon, and his newborn son. Natalie Anderson takes a look at this romantic gesture and how it was memorialised.

The Four Portraits of Het‘um II: New Observations Regarding the Royal Portrait of the Lectionary of 1286

The subject of this paper is one of the most mysterious characters in the history of the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia – King Het’um II – and his four surviving portraits.

The Ideological Power of Some Almohad Illuminated Manuscripts

From the mid-12th century, the production of lavishly illuminated copies of certain texts acquired a special ideological meaning in the Maghrib, due to the rise of the Almohads.

Evoking Tales in a Medieval Ceiling: Sulayman’s / Solomon’s Birds in the Capella Palatina of Palermo

A great multitude of birds populate the painted ceilings sheltering the palatine chapel of Palermo, constructed for King Roger of Sicily; these birds appear to shelter and rest in the great ceiling. As ceilings were often made to represent the sky, thee pictorial associations of birds and ceilings is only logical.

The Road to China: Seaborne Exploration in Medieval Islam

This lecture explores how sea and mainland trade with China was one of the most important aspects of the flourishing of Islam in the Middle Ages.

Nalbinding for Beginners

Nalbinding is the Viking-Age term for single-needle knitting. A traditional wool craft that would be used to make woollen hats, socks, gloves and mittens.

Delapré Abbey opens its doors to reveal 900 years of history

After an extensive programme of National Lottery funded restoration, Delapré Abbey in Northamptonshire is set to open to the public from March 17th 2018.

Erosive and Mechanical Tooth Wear in Viking Age Icelanders

The importance of the Icelandic Sagas as a source of information about diet habits in medieval Iceland, and possibly other Nordic countries, is obvious.

The Challenge of Folklore to Medieval Studies

When folklore began to emerge as a valid expression of a people during the early stages of national romanticism, it did so alongside texts and artifacts from the Middle Ages; it was only as folklore began to develop its own methodology during the nineteenth century that the fields were distinguished.

Aurality as Methexis and the Rise of Castilian Literature: The Case of the Siete Partidas

In order to articulate a theory of literary cultural production based on auditory perception, participation needs to be analyzed in the context of Platonic methexis.

Reframing the Mongols in 1260: The Armenians, the Mongols and the Magi

While subjection to the Mongol yoke was far from desirable, rulers could seek to make the best of the situation, in the hope that the ambitions of the Mongols might come to match their own, or that the Mongols might be persuaded to support their cause.

Historiography of Falkirk (1298) as the Predecessor to Infantry Dominance

For more than a century, historians have identified the Battle of Falkirk (1298) as a turning point in infantry tactics, not only for the Scots but also for warfare in the Western World.

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