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Julian of Norwich: The Quiet Voice of Contemplation

However you encounter Julian, whether for the first time or the hundredth, no doubt you will hear the quiet voice of a lifetime of contemplation.

Book Review: Three Sisters, Three Queens

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory pulls together the lives of Margaret Tudor, her younger sister Mary, and Katherine of Aragon.

Northmen: The Viking Saga 793-1241 AD

In his new book Northmen: The Viking Saga, 793 – 1241 AD, John Haywood gives an overview of the age of the people we now call Vikings.

Medieval Advice for Students Away From Home

By Danièle Cybulskie Over the last few weeks, countless parents have kissed their sons and daughters and sent them off to study away from home, loading them up with advice and admonitions to take good care of themselves. Hundreds of years ago, medieval parents were loading up their own children with love and advice, too. […]

Fighting to Win: The Art of Sword Combat in The Early Modern Period

By Danièle Cybulskie Usually, writing about the Early Modern Age isn’t my deal, but it was definitely an interesting time. This was the period in which men went around in puffy pants with rapiers at their hips, ready to duel anyone who ridiculed the puffiness of their pants. And if you’re going to wander around […]

The Emergence of “Regnal” Sovereignty at the Turn of the Fourteenth Century

By Andrew Latham Introduction As the 13th century ended, two basic models of sovereignty – understood as the supreme authority to command, legislate and judge – were in circulation in Latin Christendom.  On the one hand, there was the dualist model.  On this view, the societas christiana was divided into two domains or orders – […]

Did Henry VIII Suffer from Head Trauma?

By Danièle Cybulskie It’s a question that pretty much anyone looking at the arc of his life ends up asking: what happened to Henry VIII? From a hugely-admired prince, to a widely-feared king, the transformation in Henry’s behaviour and outlook would seem like the stuff of fiction, but for the fact that history bears out […]

Book Review: A Palace for Our Kings

When I first picked it up, I prepared myself for what I imagined might be a dry read – after all, wasn’t it just going to be a list of comings and goings? But Wright has put together an enjoyable, extremely readable history of a palace that held an important place in medieval history.

How to Make Medieval Artists’ Tools

by Danièle Cybulskie If there’s one thing medieval people loved, it was writing educational treatises. Sometimes, these were a little on the fantastic side – like bestiaries or travel literature – but other times, they were extremely useful how-to manuals. I particularly love the how-to manuals because they can teach us so much about medieval […]

The Medieval Magazine (Volume 2 Issue 22)

This issue looks at where King Harold fell, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, London in 7 drinks, and much more!

Isabelle of Angoulême: Jezebel of the Middle Ages?

Matthew Paris (d.1259) said in one of his chronicles of the history of England that, ‘she ought to be called a wicked Jezebel, rather than Isabel.’

Did Medieval People Believe in King Arthur?

By Danièle Cybulskie If you’ve ever had your doubts that King Arthur was a real, living, breathing human being at some point, you’re not alone. Despite the many, many histories that “prove” that Arthur was definitely this or that – tenacious Briton, Roman military man, leader of hunky Sarmatians – the evidence is pretty thin. […]

The Medieval Magazine (Volume 2 Issue 21)

This issue looks at Point Rosee, The Battle of the Bastards, remedies for infertility, and much more! Inside this issue: About the Festival of Archaeology There’s a Lot of Dirt: How Archaeology Works How the Battle of the Bastards Squares with Medieval History Vikings Unearthed: A response to the Point Rosee Documentary Lady Arabella Stuart Medieval Tournament […]

Can you move in armour? An Experiment in Mythbusting

In this video we have recreated the deeds of the famous knight Jean le Maingre, known as Boucicaut, which were put in writing in the early 15th century.

Medieval Mysteries: Miscellanies and Mix Tapes

By Danièle Cybulskie In thinking this week about the medieval mysteries we’ll never solve, it struck me that one of the most fun questions that I – and everyone else who loves medieval books – ponder is why the particular stories in them are put together the way they are. Most medieval manuscripts that aren’t […]

Book Review: Assassin’s Creed: Trial by Fire

By Danièle Cybulskie Assassin’s Creed: Trial by Fire, a compilation of the first five comic books in the new Assassin’s Creed series, comes from the same writers that brought us the immensely popular Kill Shakespeare, a comic series that playfully wreaked havoc with Shakespeare’s canon, while drawing in a whole new audience to his plays. Written […]

Christine the Astonishing

By Danièle Cybulskie This week, I read the story of Christine the Astonishing for the first time (in Medieval Writings on Female Spirituality, translated by Elizabeth Spearing), and it struck me that while it’s meant to be the story of a holy woman’s life, it also gives us an intimate look at what was likely […]

Anne of Bohemia, Queen of England

By Susan Abernethy King Richard II’s first wife Anne has the distinction of being the only English queen from Bohemia. The marriage was a by-product of the schism within the Papacy in the fourteenth century. When the young Anne came to England, one of the chroniclers described her as a “scrap of humanity”. Anne was […]

The Fantastical Shoemaker and the Head of Death

By Danièle Cybulskie This week, I came across one of those great medieval stories that is just too good not to share: “The Fantastical Shoemaker of Constantinople”. This twisted tale comes from Walter Map’s twelfth-century miscellany De Nugis Curialium or Courtiers’ Trifles, and all quotes you’ll find below come from Richard Sowerby‘s reader-friendly translation in the great collection […]

Saint Eadburh, Daughter of King Edward the Elder

By Susan Abernethy Eadburh, daughter of King Edward the Elder and grand-daughter of King Alfred the Great, was dedicated to the Nunnaminster at Winchester when she was a young child. The only contemporary historical evidence regarding her is a Winchester charter dated from 939 in which she was the beneficiary of land at Droxford in […]

Jeanne de Valois, Queen of France and Duchess of Berri

By Susan Abernethy Jeanne de Valois was the daughter, sister, and wife of kings. She was born with disabilities and suffered through a miserable marriage. In the end she became devoted to and died in a religious life, eventually becoming a saint. Jeanne was known as Jeanne de France, Jeanne de Valois and Joan de […]

The Poetry of Trauma: On the Crécy Dead

By Danièle Cybulskie Time and again, I’ve heard medieval knights referred to as “killing machines”, bred for a lifetime of battle and destruction. Difficult as it may be, it’s critical to for us to remember that every one of the men mired in mud and blood on the battlefield was not a machine, but a […]

Epistolae: Letters of Medieval Women

Like a lot of historians, I’m hugely interested in reading primary sources – the words of medieval people themselves – but it can often be difficult to find them. Lucky for us, Dr. Joan Ferrante and her team have made a website that features letters to and from medieval women, all translated into English, all for free.

The Ideal Medieval Hospital: St. John of Jerusalem

Let’s take five minutes to look at what may be the most famous hospital of the Middle Ages: The Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem

Grief and Spiritual Crisis in the Middle Ages

Existential crises and questions of faith in times of hardship are not modern phenomena. Medieval people routinely questioned their faith, most poignantly when it came to death.

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