The Black Prince at War: the anatomy of a Chevauchée

From Bibliothèque Nationale MS Fr. 2663

These were highly complex, organized, and focused operations rather than unfocused raids with no other purpose but pillage and ravishment.

A haunch for Hrothgar

medieval feast

Naomi Sykes takes a taste of venison amid the Feast Halls of Anglo-Saxon England

The Varangian Legend: Testimony from the Old Norse sources

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In the eleventh century there existed, within the great army of the Byzantine empire, a regiment composed mainly of soldiers from Scandinavia and the Nordic countries. This regiment was known as the Varangian Guard

Medieval Mysteries: Miscellanies and Mix Tapes

Compact_audio_cassette_3

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 […]

Baptism in Anglo-Saxon England

Drawing with coloured wash of the baptism of Balan in a tub by Pope Milon with 4 archbishops present, illustrating section 351 of the Chanson d'Aspremont.  - from British Library MS  Lansdowne 782   f. 18v

This thesis examines the lexical field of baptism in Old English. The lexical development of the field and the semantic development of the individual lexemes were evaluated: the verbs fulwian, cristnian, depan, dyppan, and the vocabulary for baptismal water in Old English. At every stage of the project, the linguistic data was correlated to theological, liturgical and cultural backgrounds.

The sin of crime: The Mutual Influence of the Early Irish and Anglo-Saxon Penitentials and Secular Laws

Medieval Penitential - British Library MS Additional 30853   f. 309

One of the most fascinating questions concerning Medieval Irish and Anglo-Saxon society is not one about what was done when all went well, but rather, what was sought to be done when matters were not as they ought to be.

Diorasis denied: Opposition to clairvoyance in Byzantium from late Antiquity to the eleventh century

Byzantine crescent - photo by  fusion-of-horizons / Flickr

This article treats the phenomenon of clairvoyance, the ability to know the thoughts of others that set holy men apart from ordinary human beings who had to make inferences from a person’s outward appearance.

Plague, Papacy and Power: The Effect of the Black Plague on the Avignon Papacy

View of the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France. 17th century

The plague came at a critical moment for the Church, and the papacy at Avignon did not adequately rise to the challenge.

‘Ill-Liver of Her Body:’ A Legal Examination of Prostitution in Late Medieval Greater London

Drawing by Antony van den Wyngaerde View of London - The Tower of London - 16th century

I will be examining how women—specifically prostitutes—were placed under male authority and marginalized in London and Southwark, despite the divergent legal practices seen in these two adjacent areas of Greater London.

The Battle of Hastings: A Geographic Perspective

Bayeux tapestry scene

The Battle of Hastings is one of the most widely studied battles in medieval history. Yet despite the importance that research shows geography to play in the outcome of such conflicts, few studies have examined in detail the landscape of the battle or the role the landscape played in its eventual outcome.

Climatic and environmental aspects of the Mongol withdrawal from Hungary in 1242 CE

A wet and cold period followed upon a few warm and dry years. The interplay of various environmental factors may have led the Mongolians to the decision to withdraw from Hungary. Red line: Summer temperatures derived from tree-rings in the Alps and Carpathians. Green and brown shades indicate soil moisture in 1242 CE. (Graphic: Ulf Büntgen/WSL)

The Mongol invasion of Eastern Europe, and especially its sudden withdrawal from Hungary in 1242 CE, has generated much speculation and an array of controversial theories. None of them, however, considered multifaceted environmental drivers and the coupled analysis of historical reports and natural archives.

Anne of Bohemia, Queen of England

coronation-of-anne-and-richard from SA

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 […]

Raiders from the North: Irish Enslavement during the Viking Age

Photo by Rob Hurson / Flickr

Both the interactions with the Irish as well as the enslavement of the Irish influenced Norse culture.

Before the Florin: The origins of Florence’s economic boom

Photo by Alejandro / Flickr

The minting of the gold florin in 1252 is commonly considered to herald the beginning of Florence’s economic boom.

Medieval Poultry, or A Recipe and a Battle Scene

The Danish siege of Old Älvsborg Fortress in 1502, in a war between King Hans' Danish army and Sten Sture the Elder's Swedish army. Drawing from c. 1502 by the German soldier of fortune (Landsknecht) Paul Dolnstein, who himself participated in the Danish army. Photo: Swedish National Heritage Board / Flickr

What follows is not precisely scholarly, but it is one of those delightful byproducts of scholarly work that feed our curiosity.

A Man Must Not Embelish Himself like a Woman: The Body and Gender in Renaissance Cosmetics

Gherardo di Giovanni del Fora (Florentine, 1444/45-1497), Chaste Women in a Landscape, Probably 1480s,

In pre-modern Italy, cosmetics’ ideal backdrop was a pale complexion, apparently untouched by the sun’s rays to give the impression that one had the luxury of avoiding going about outside on any daily labors.

Saint Eadburh, Daughter of King Edward the Elder

The Athelstan Psalter (London, British Library, MS Cotton Galba A XVIII, f. 21r)

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 […]

Worshipping the Dead: Viking Age Cemeteries as Cult Sites?

Viking Age grave field south of Borg (the Viking Stronghold) at Birka archaeological site on Björkö island in Lake Mälaren. Viking Age Birka and Hovgården from the from the 8th to 10th century is today a UNESCO World Heritage. Photo by Harald Faith-Ell, taken in 1926

The examined saga accounts demonstrate that when the dead are venerated by the living and when sacrifices are made to them, these acts of worship usually occur at the graveside and not elsewhere in the landscape or within buildings.

Jeanne de Valois, Queen of France and Duchess of Berri

St. Jeanne de Valois

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 […]

Private Force and the Making of States, c. 1100–1500

18th century map of Europe - map of Europe first issued by Daniel de La Feuille in 1702.

This chapter shows how the distinction between the public and the private emerges with respect to the use of force in conjunction with the long rise of the state in Europe.

A Clergyman out of Control: Portrait of a Bishop Around the Year 1000

Medieval bishop depicted in Eichstätt Cathedral - photo by Mattana / Wikimedia Commons

The following example describes Bishop Megingaud of Eichstaett (991–1014/1015) who was anything but holy.

Swan you say? Medieval Feasting!

Medieval feast

A guest post on medieval food and feasting in the Middle Ages by author Regan Walker.

Identity and Posthuman Medievalism in Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy (sonsofanarchyonline.com)

The medievalism of the FX television series Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014) is not inherently obvious. Set in Northern California, the series follows a fictional outlaw motorcycle club (MC) modeled on real gangs including the Hells Angels. Critics, fans, and creators alike discuss the series as an extended adaptation of Hamlet, and the broad narrative of the series is indeed a family tragedy.

Anne of Brittany, Queen of France

Anne of Brittany - Anna di Bretagna, Latin 9474 - Jean Bourdichon - Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne - f. 3r - Anne de Bretagne entre trois saintes (détail). (Wikipedia).

This week brings us two articles from Susan Abernethy on Anne of Brittany. This first article details Anne’s life.

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