Druids, deer and ‘words of power’: coming to terms with evil in medieval Ireland

Cave of Crúachan - 'Ireland’s Gate to Hell' - Photo by Dave Gunn / Flickr

Our focus is on medieval Irish literature—one of the earliest written vernaculars in Europe. Within this rich tradition, the face of evil changes according to genre.

Marrying Jesus: Brides and the Bridegroom in Medieval Women’s Religious Literature

Prayer Book, Walters Manuscript W.438, fol. 229v 
- This late fifteenth-century prayer book was illuminated by followers of Willem Vrelant of Bruges.  The representation of the bride in the full-page miniatures, as well as references to her in suppliant prayers, indicates that the manuscript was commissioned primarily for the bride’s use.

Phrases such as ‘bride of Christ’ and passages which describe Christ as a ‘Bridegroom,’ a ‘Spouse,’ and a ‘Lover’ appear in a wide range of Christian texts composed in both Latin and vernacular languages.

The Devil and his Works: the Owl in Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516)


This article will suggest that its presence is much more sinister than that of a wise observer shaking his head as he sees the follies of mankind.

Dan Brown and the Case of the Wrong Dante


In Brown’s book, Professor Robert Langdon is pitted against an adversary who is a Dante fanatic. Bertrand Zobrist, a biochemist, is ‘a proponent of the Population Apocalypse Equation’, the alleged mathematical recognition that only a mass extinction event can save our planet.

BOOK REVIEW: Pilgrim Routes of the British Isles by Emma J. Wells

Pilgrim Routes of the British Isles by Emma J. Wells.

What was pilgrimage like in the Middle Ages? Do modern day routes faithfully retrace the steps of long ago pilgrims? How has pilgrimage changed over the course of hundreds of years? Tourist? Pilgrim? Or both? What is the meaning of pilgrimage today?

1390 AD: London in the Late Middle Ages

One of the earliest maps of London, by monk and cartographer, Matthew Paris, c.1252.

Last week, we spoke with Dr. Matthew Green about his new History of London course. This week, we take a peek into the first lecture of the series, a ‘teaser’ on Medieval London in 1390.

The Medieval Magazine: The Battle of Hastings (Volume 2 Issue 27)


English Heritage celebrates the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings with a full-scale re-enactment! We bring you exclusive coverage and photos from the event, plus book reviews, an opinion on trigger warnings, and the mystery of the medieval swords.

History of Poland During the Middle Ages


The roots of the first Polish dynasty – the Piasts (from the 9th century to 1370) – came from Major Poland.

Hearing medieval voices

Illumination from the Liber Scivias showing Hildegard receiving a vision and dictating to her scribe and secretary

Hearing voices without external stimuli: in the popular imagination, auditory hallucination is most often understood as a symptom of severe mental disorders.

The Diagnosis and Treatment of Wounds in the Old English Medical Collections: Anglo-Saxon Surgery?


Early medieval England was a dangerous environment with a high risk of physical harm, which could result from warfare, day-to-day lawlessness, or accidents in the home or the workplace.

The Mandrake Plant and Six Anglo-Saxon Cures


Plants were a vital source of potential cures in the Middle Ages, and the mandrake was considered to be one of the most powerful of these. However, you needed a hungry dog to help you catch one!

Medieval Mass Media and Minorities


The portrayal and (mis)use of the figure of the Jew and the Muslim in vernacular sermons and wall paintings from medieval Denmark and Sweden.

Smiths, Myths, and Viking Age Stones


In this lecture, Professor Williams will be examining depictions of smiths from Norse mythology on Viking Age stones in the British Isles, as well as on rune-stones and picture-stones from Scandinavia.

Sharing the Love of Medieval Manuscripts: An Interview with Facsimile Finder


Giovanni, co-founder of the company with his wife Giulia, has told us a bit about the industry and the importance of facsimiles as teaching tools. Furthermore, for those of you looking for information about a specific medieval manuscript or facsimile, Facsimile Finder provides a database with all the information you need. So long endless searching, hello Facsimile Finder!

The Globalised World of the Middle Ages: An archaeologist’s view


This talk outlines how archaeologists can reveal the globalised world, with examples from medieval West Africa and the Indian Ocean. What can objects tell us about how our ancestors engaged with their immediate world, and the world beyond?

A Revolutionary Reform: How William the Conqueror Conquered the Church

William the Conqueror - Harley 624   f. 145

The aspect of William’s rule that this work is primarily focused on is his effect on the church. The changes to the church in England can only be described as revolutionary.

Kingship-in-Death in the Bayeux Tapestry

The funeral procession of Edward the Confessor as depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry

The interpretation of the purpose of the Bayeux tapestry hinges on two key scenes, Harold’s oath-taking at Bayeux and the death-bed of King Edward.

The Linguistic Influence of the Norman Conquest (11th Century) on the English Language

Detail to the Old English Illustrated Hexateuch showing the construction of the Tower of Babel.

In this paper I present some historical facts that took place regarding the Norman Conquest in England, then, I discuss the different Linguistic influences on English which appears to lend support to the fact that the French Normans had a major effect on the English Language.

Book Excerpt & Promotion! The Norman Conquest: William the Conqueror’s Subjugation of England by Teresa Cole

BOOKS: The Norman ConquestWilliam the Conqueror's Subjugation of England

The Norman Conquest: William the Conqueror’s Subjugation of England look at the origins, course and outcomes of William the Conqueror’s conquest of England 1051-1087.

A History of London: 600 Years in 6 Weeks

Scold’s Bridle and Drunkard’s Cloak, ancient punishments of Newcastle (From The Monthly Chronicle of North-Country Lore and Legend, October 1885).

On the tail of his successful Unreal City Audio tours, and the release of his critically acclaimed book, London: A Travel Guide Through Time, Dr. Matthew Green has launched his latest venture, the History of London Course.

The Medieval Magazine (Volume 2 Issue 26)


The many sides of Medieval Cultural Heritage and Identity: English Embroidery on display at the V&A Museum, a case study of how one South African object affects the national narrative, an invitation for tourists to help document historic preservation, a book review of ‘A Year in the Life of Medieval England’ by T. Mount, and other exclusive content!

How to Defeat a Tyrant: The Florentines against the Duke

Florence at sunset - photo by Joe deSousa / Flickr

In a time of crisis the Republic of Florence turned to a brash noble to lead their city. He soon turned into a disgraceful tyrant. Could the Florentine citizens overthrow him before a plot to murder hundreds of people could be carried out?

Norse North Atlantic Textiles and Textile Production: A Reflection of Adaptive Strategies in Unique Island Environments


Textile production was a key industry for the Norse colonies of the North Atlantic during the late Viking and Medieval period.

Petrified Powers: Materials, Forms, and Theories of Medieval Islamic Talismans


Persis Berlekamp is working on Islamic talismans created in the 12th to 15th centuries, focusing on objects from the Seljuk, Mongol and Timurid milieux.

Viking Music? New CD of Viking age music climbs the charts

Buy the CD through

Can one recreate the music of the Viking age? A newly released CD called Ice and Longboats: Ancient Music of Scandinavia hopes to do so, and has already earned praise from reviewers and risen into the top 20 of the Official Specialist Classical Chart.

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