The First Manuals of English History: Two Late Thirteenth-Century Genealogical Rolls of the Kings of England in the Royal Collection

Genealogical Chronicle of the English Kings - British Library Royal MS 14 B V

The reign of Edward I (1272-1307) witnessed the creation of numerous genealogical rolls of the kings of England from Egbert to the reigning king,

From Stone Axe to Nukes — Technology and Warfare

From Konrad Kyeser' 15th century book Bellifortis

As obvious as the impact of technical and technological means is on warfare as astonishing is that there are not very many books describing the long history of technology and warfare.

The neglected reconquest: Portugal as a European frontier (1064-1250)

15th century portolan map showing medieval Iberia

In 1064 King Fernando I of Leon-Castile (1037-1065) laid the foundations of the county of Portugal by securing the strategically vital Mondego River; by 1250 the independent kingdom of Portugal had established borders that have remained largely unchanged until the present day.

A Felonious State of Mind: Mens Rea in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century England

Three Men before a Judge - Ms. Ludwig XIV 6, fol, 135v

This dissertation explores the role of mens rea, or guilty mind, as a factor in jury assessments of guilt and innocence during the first two centuries of the English criminal trial jury, from the early thirteenth through the fourteenth century.

Restauratio and Reuse: The Afterlife of Roman Ruins

View of Theater of Marcellus with Savelli apartments on attic story - by Stefano Du Perac in 1575

As sustainability becomes ever more critical to the architectural profession, it is worth noting that the practice of recycling has a long history.

Gleanings from the 1253 Building Accounts of Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey in 1873, from London: A complete guide to the leading hotels, places of amusement

Between 1220 and 1266, Salisbury Cathedral was built at a cost of £28,000.

Excavating Past Population Structures by Surname-Based Sampling: The Genetic Legacy of the Vikings in Northwest England

medieval studies england

The method of historical surname-based ascertainment promises to allow investigation of the influence of migration and drift over the last few centuries in changing the population structure of Britain and will have general utility in other regions where surnames are patrilineal and suitable historical records survive.

Is woman just a mutilated male? Adam and Eve in the theology of Thomas Aquinas

Adam and Eve in a detail of a 12th century stained glass window in Saint-Julien cathedral - Le Mans, France. Photo by Selbymay / Wikimedia Commons

In this chapter I propose to deal directly with some of the contested passages and argue that their meaning is not always what it seems to be at first sight: their textual and theoretical context, developments in Aquinas’s thought and the historical background offer clues for alternative readings.

The Apotropaic Function of Celtic Knotwork in the Book of Kells

Book of Kells, Folio 7v, Madonna and Child

Early Irish ornament very rarely occurs without interlace, in either of its two different varieties, which are the plait and the knot. Such ornamental knotwork and interlace patterns as they appear in the full-page portraits and illustrations of the Book of Kells will be the concrete object of study of the following pages, their possible apotropaic function, their particular focus.

Danish ferocity and abandoned monasteries: the twelfth-century view

Ruins of Lindisfarne - photo by _The Real McCoy /Flickr

Apart from brief accounts of attacks on Lindisfarne and Donemutha in the 790s, there are almost no accounts of Viking attacks on Anglo-Saxon monasteries in contemporary sources. There are however many in twelfth century sources, most of them fictive or largely so. This article tries to explain why twelfth-century authors found it so important to invent stories of Viking brutality towards monks and nuns and what ideas and material they used to create their stories

What type of tremor did the medieval ‘Tremulous Hand of Worcester’ have?

Page from The old Englisch Homely on the life of St. Chad, written by 'the ‘Tremulous Hand of Worcester’

Scholars have recognized for some time that a prolific 13th century scribe had a tremor. He has become known as ‘the Tremulous Hand of Worcester’, or simply ‘the Tremulous Hand’, ‘hand’ being a metonym for ‘scribe’.

The Church as a Woman: The Gendered Rhetoric of the Feminine Divine

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

This study investigates just a small aspect of the subject, namely Hildegard’s use of gendered rhetoric in her portrayal of the personified church.

The influence of Christianity on medicine from Graeco-Roman times up to the Renaissance

12th century medicine

When Christianity became the state religion in the 4th century, the Church Fathers became increasingly authoritarian regarding the practice of medicine which was to be based on their interpretation of Galen.

Unknown Europe: The Mapping of the Northern countries by Olaus Magnus in 1539

Carta Marina

Olaus Magnus, a highly educated Swedish priest and scholar, published his geographically and ethnographically remarkable map of the Northern countries, the Carta marina, in Venice in 1539.

Snorri Sturluson: Viking Mythographer and Historian

Snorri Sturluson, drawn by Christian Krohg (1899)

I shall first tell you briefly about Snorri’s background and his education and discuss his Edda, where he appears as mythographer, among other things, and then tell you about his career as a politician and discuss his Sagas of the Norwegian Kings.

Horse Power: Social Evolution in Medieval Europe

Horse depicted in British Library MS Harley 1585 f. 69v

My research is on the development of the horse as a status symbol in Western Europe during the Middle Ages.

Flood Security in the Medieval and Early Modern North Sea Area: A Question of Entitlement?

North Sea region in a 16th century map of Europe by Abraham Ortelius

All over the North Sea Area the later Middle Ages saw repeated flood disasters and massive land losses in coastal wetlands: in England, the Low Countries, Northern Germany and Southern Scandinavia thousands of hectares of reclaimed land and hundreds of villages were lost to the sea.

The 1356 Basel earthquake: an interdisciplinary revision

Destruction of the city Basel, depicted in Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia

The 1356 Basel earthquake is well known as one of the most damaging events in intra-plate Europe within historical times. It was one of several devastating catastrophes in the 14th century.

Tornadoes in Mediaeval Britain

Tornado - Photo Credit: OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).

Mediaeval chronicles describe 21 tornadoes in Britain prior to the year 1500. Although the meanings of some of the accounts appear unclear at first sight, the features reported can nearly always be explained by reference to modern tornado cases.

The Lady’s Man: Gawain as Lover in Middle English Literature

Sir Gawain, by Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)

Gawain’s reputation as a philanderer precedes him; the best known example is the comment of Bertilak’s wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, whose disbelief that the famous and courteous Gawain could be alone with her and not crave a kiss is notorious

Disney’s Medievalized Ecologies in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty

Dwarves' cottage from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

As I explore how Disney medievalized nature, I also explore how Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, in a small but significant way, participated in mid-twentieth-century discourses on the environment.

The ‘Buying and Selling of Money for Time’: Foreign Exchange and Interest Rates in Medieval Europe

Photo by Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr

The best evidence for medieval interest rates comes from government borrowing, and especially the long-term annuities sold by the Italian city-states.

Lazarus Rising: Nikephoros Phokas and the Tenth Century Byzantine Military Renaissance

Image from an illuminated manuscript depicting a Byzantine siege of a citadel

This paper examines how the Byzantine Empire accomplished this drastic change in fortunes, shifting from a defensive position to one of conquest.

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