Celtic Mythology in the Arthurian Legend

Gundestrup cauldron

The aim of this thesis is to find out whether there are some aspects, themes or symbols of the pagan Celtic mythology that appear in the Arthurian legend and if so, what role they play there and to what extent they influence the legend.

Sacrificial Magic and the Twofold Division of the Irish Ritual Year

Samhain Candle - photo by Alison Leigh Lilly / Flickr

The historical development of St. Martin’s Day in Ireland, and its relationship with the more ancient festival of Samhain is examined, revealing circumstances that saw much of the ritual nature of Samhain being adopted within a Christian context in the medieval period.

Medieval Monsters and the Anxiety towards the Alien

Cynocephali. The Travels of Sir John
Mandeville. 15th century.
British Library, London. MS Harley 3954, fol 40v

Similar to many monsters or aliens in our current science fiction culture, some medieval monsters could be dangerous and life threatening.

The Mythical Ghoul in Arabic Culture

"Amine Discovered with the Goule", from the story of Sidi Nouman, of the One Thousand and One Nights.

Though the ghoul has origins as old as the Mesopotamian civilization, Arabs were largely responsible for popularizing it. Because Islam incorporated this being in its doctrine, the ghoul remained a source of fear and mystery in the Arab culture.

The End of the Ancient Other World: Death and Afterlife between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

The earliest portrait of Saint Augustine in a 6th century fresco, Lateran, Rome.

Peter Brown gives lectures on ‘Gloriosus Obitus: Death and Afterlife 400-700 AD’ and ‘The Decline of the Empire of God: From Amnesty to Purgatory’

Necromancy from Antiquity to Medieval and Modern Times

The Witch of Endor, by the Master of Otto van Moerdrecht, 15th century

In the Old Norse saga there is peculiar technique of divination called utiseta that is practised on burial mounds.

Knights, Rulers, Pilgrims and Writers: Female Characters in Medieval Children’s Books

British Library, Harley MS 4431, f. 290r

Female characters in modern children’s literature have been shown to be represented in a stereotypical manner, but gender in historical fiction for children has received little scholarly attention.

Monsters and the Exotic in Early Medieval England

Marvels of the East, opening, fol. 039v-040r, early twelfth century, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

The dominant literate culture of early medieval England – male, European, and Christian – often represented itself through comparison to exotic beings and monsters, in traditions developed from native mythologies, and Classical and Biblical sources.

‘Hann lá eigi kyrr’: Revenants and a Haunted Past in the Sagas of Icelanders

haunted iceland - Gunnuhver' - Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland Photo by Kris Williams / Flikr

From Antiquity to the present day, the idea of the dead returning to interact with the living has greatly influenced human imagination, and this has been reflected in literature — the product of that imagination.

Grief, Gender and Mourning in Medieval North Atlantic Literature

Book of Leinster, now in the library of Trinity College, Dublin

This dissertation explores the relationship between grief, cultural constructs of gender, and mourning behaviour in the literatures of medieval Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, and Iceland

Penal enslavement in the early middle ages

Passage from Gregory of Tours’s Historia Francorum - image from Provenance Online Project  / Flickr

In the specific form it took during the medieval period, penal enslavement therefore amounts to a strikingly new phenomenon. How did such a system come about, and what functions did it serve?

Manifestations of psychiatric illness in texts from the medieval and Viking era

King Harald Fairhair depicted in the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók,

The medicine of medieval Europe was influenced above all by the Hippocratic and Galenic legacies, conveyed through the medical School of Salerno, albeit also to an extent embedded in demonological and supernatural beliefs and folklore customs.

Tactics, Strategy, and Battlefield Formation during the Hundred Years War: The Role of the Longbow in the ‘Infantry Revolution’

Archers - British Library Royal 16 G VIII   f. 189

The English longbow had a tremendous impact on strategy and tactics during the Hundred Years War.

The King’s Welshmen: Welsh Involvement in the Expeditionary Army of 1415

Illustration of a Welsh archer from the late 13th century

This paper examines the evidence behind the claims that it was Welsh archers that won the battle of Agincourt for Henry V. As might be expected, it is a little less clear-cut than that.

A little touch of Branagh: Henry V


Kenneth Branagh’s film of Henry V, released in 1989, was greeted with wide critical acclaim of a kind which repays close attention.

From Agincourt (1415) to Fornovo (1495): aspects of the writing of warfare in French and Burgundian 15th century historiographical literature

Carte moderne de France par Pietro del Massaio et Hugues Commineau, vers 1470-1480. Cosmographie de Ptolémée, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, latin 4802, fol. 125v-126.

The object of this thesis is to inquire into some major aspects of the historiographical writing of war in France and Burgundy, from Henry V’s invasion of France in 1415 to the first wars of Italy.

Czechs and Poles in the Middle Ages: Rivalry, Cooperation and Alliances

Map of Europe, drawing of c. 1570

The article contains a description of the development of Czech-Polish relations in the Middle Ages.

Understanding Torksey, Lincolnshire: A geoarchaeological and landscape approach to a Viking overwintering camp

Created by Robin Boulby / Wikimedia Commons

Viking overwintering camps of late 9th century England have been excluded from most recent dialogues regarding Viking Age England. Although overwintering camps are directly mentioned in historical records such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, these sites have remained archaeologically elusive.

Anna Komnene and her Sources for Military Affairs in the Alexiad

Miniature of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081-1118)

Without discounting the contribution of oral traditions of storytelling to the Alexiad, the study favours the growing consensus that Anna was more reliant on written material, especially campaign dispatches and military memoirs.

Down to the Last Stitch: Sumptuary Law and Conspicuous Consumption in Renaissance Italy

Detail from “The Adimari Cassone,” Giovanni di Ser Giovanni Guidi, called Lo Scheggia,( c. 1443–50)

Fashion and luxury were very important in Italian Renaissance society. One’s appearance indicated more than whether one was simply attractive, it also indicated one’s social standing.

The Power of Poo: Waste and the Medieval Environment

17th century map of London

This study will compare the ways in which three vastly different European cities and their civic institutions, London England – the Chartered Capital of a Kingdom, Siena Italy – an Oligarchic Republic, and Gdansk Poland – the reluctant territory of a Theocratic state

Medieval Lisbon: Carmo Convent

View of the majestic Gothic tomb of King Ferdinand I (1345-1383), along with several other Gothic sarcophagi inside the Carmo Monastery museum. Photo by Medievalists.net

Part III of my series on Medieval Lisbon. This visit took me to Carmo Monastery and museum.

Dreams and lovers: the sympathetic guide frame in Middle English courtly love poems

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 1896

When is a dream not a dream? The Middle English convention of the ‘dream vision’ has been read by modern scholars as a genre that primarily reveals the medieval understanding of dreaming and dream theory, so that events and stories presented within a dream frame are necessarily read through that specific hermeneutic.

Stable isotopes as indicators of change in the food procurement and food preference of Viking Age and Early Christian populations on Gotland (Sweden)

The traditional dish soused herring as it is served in Sweden - photo by Patrick Strang  / Wikipedia

In short, the end of the Viking Age may have involved a suite of environmental, economic, and sociocultural changes, yet despite these changes practices of food preference and food procurement were maintained within the coastal site of Ridanas. Our research contributes to archaeological th

Sewing the Scene: The Uses of Embroidery in Medieval Film

Merida and the Tapestry in Brave

This paper explores how embroidery has been used in films to establish, and often destroy, feminine space and autonomy. However, the most recent addition to the medieval film canon represents a distinct change in this trend.

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