The Rewriting of History in Amin Maalouf’s The Crusades Through Arab Eyes

crusades through arab eyes

I argue that while Maalouf brilliantly deconstructs the Western image of the Crusades as a heroic time by documenting the barbarity of the Crusaders without falling into the pitfall of simply inverting the terms of the dichotomy, the agenda driving his rewriting of this historical period leads him to partially repeat what his book is supposed to undo

The Knights of the Front: Medieval History’s Influence on Great War Propaganda

Joan of Arc WWI

The article makes the argument that the realities of the First World War shattered the chivalrous and romantic ideals of war so completely that the concepts and images were no longer appropriate for use as propaganda.

The Priest and the Fox: Tricksters in Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale

Chanticleer and the Fox in a mediaeval manuscript miniature

Although the figure of Reynard is prevalent in trickster lore, the primary trickster at play in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale may be not the fox but the teller of the tale, the Nun’s Priest himself who travels the road to Canterbury.

Veronica Franco and the ‘Cortigiane Oneste’: Attaining Power through Prostitution in Sixteenth-Century Venice

Veronica Franco, painted by Domenico Tintoretto (1560–1635)

Franco was a published author, a poet, and counted the King of France among her lovers.

Alcohol and its Consumption in Medieval Cairo: The Story of a Habit

Beer - photo by abbyladybug /Flickr

Through the ages of Cairene history the alcoholic beverages, entangled in political and religious developments, depended more on prevailing doctrinal currents than on people’s habitual or taste inclinations. Therefore, the story of these beverages’ consumption is – not surprisingly – a turbulent one.

‘God helped thee; The eagle got food afresh’: Norse Crusaders and the Pleasure of Killing

King Sigurd and his men ride into Miklagard by Gerhard Munthe.

The men of the north are often depicted in the Norse sagas as taking great pleasure in killing, even doing it for no good reason

Image and Meaning in the Floral Borders of the Hours of Catherine of Cleves

Hours of Catherine of Cleves 1

The Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, produced in the Netherlands in the early 15th century, is one of the most beautiful and complex manuscripts of the late Middle Ages.

Investigating a Murder: The Case of the Justinianic Plague in Scythia Minor

medieval skull - photo by Todd Huffman / Flickr

The study beforehand applies a logical scheme of analysis over a possible presence of the Justinianic plague in the province of Scythia Minor.

Fourteenth-Century Weaponry, Armour and Warfare in Chaucer and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Gawain and the Green Knight

This essay attempts to re-appraise selected passages of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from a wider military historical and archaeological perspective.

Twelve Thousand Cooks and a Muhtasib: Some Remarks on Food Business in Medieval Cairo

Cairo - photo by Marwa Morgan  / Flickr

The meals offered by street cooks were probably lacking in subtleness and elegancy if compared to the specialties served by the “caliphs’ kitchen” or by the Arabic-Islamic haute cuisine whose recipes were written down in the cookbooks for the elites

Miyazaki’s Medieval World: Japanese Medievalism and the Rise of Anime

Princess-Mononoke

Hayao Miyazaki’s films always present vibrant worlds full of lush, colorful landscapes, characters, and fantastic, even mythic adventures.

Portable Christianity: Relics in the Medieval West (c.700–1200)

14th century purse reliquary

Relics thus typify the characteristic dynamic of medieval Christianity—a repeated refreshing and renewing of an ancient tradition that was endlessly culturally creative.

Visual material evidence of Viking presence in the Balkans

The First lion standing at the left side of the Door land the Arsenal of Venice is ancient Greek sculpture, originally at the Piraeus in Athens, brought to Venice by Francesco Morosini, who conquered the Peloponnesus. Photo by Didier Descouens / Wikipedia

The Swedish Vikings, who are known as ‘Varangians’ mostly in Byzantine sources, were present in the Balkans. They first carried out their military and trading campaigns from Scandinavia to the territories of European Russia, Ukraine and reached the Balkans.

Fear – Elements of Slavic ‘Psychological Warfare’ in the context of selected Late Roman Sources

strategikon

The study covered 6th century historical sources depicting the fighting methods of the Slavs. A more in-depth analysis focused on the issue of fear in relation to group conformism, described in detail in Strategikon

Against the Currents of His Day: Brittany, Louis the Pious, and Elite Insurrection

Louis the Pious, contemporary depiction from 826 as a miles Christi (soldier of Christ), with a poem of Rabanus Maurus overlaid.

During Louis the Pious’s 36-year reign, he spent much of his time convening assemblies, securing his borders, and trying to govern his empire, rather than conquering and expanding aggressively as his father and grandfather, Charlemagne and Pepin, had done.

Hostages in Old English Literature

Byrhtnoth - photo by Andrew Barclay / Flickr

Hostages in Old English Literature examines the various roles that hostages have played in Anglo-Saxon texts, specifically focusing on the characterization of Æscferth in The Battle of Maldon.

Can We Talk About Religion, Please? Medievalism’s Eschewal of Religion, and Why it Matters

Photo by Geraint Rowland / Flickr

With this essai I would like to advocate for a reconsideration of religion as an essential topic for medievalism studies.

Early Norse Navigation Tools

viking ship sail

These two pieces of navigation equipment were at the time as cutting edge as the iphone, the ipad, and the GPS is today. They allowed the sailors to navigate large stretches of open water without sight of land and successfully reach their destination as safely as possible.

Lughnasa and Lammas: Summer Holidays Lost and Found Again

John Linnell - The Harvest Cradle 1859

For centuries two holidays were celebrated by neighboring peoples on the same day. The people were the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons, and their holidays were Lughnasa and Lammas respectively.

‘Wine-contamination’ of the Adriatic: Examples of punishing wine smugglers from medieval Dubrovnik

Wine in the 16th century

Strict import-export regulations of the medieval Dubrovnik (Ragusean) authorities included also a rather rigid control of the wine trade.

Fish commoditization and the historical origins of catching fish for profit

A Brixham trawler by William Adolphus Knell,

Herring trade expanded in the late 1300s with the introduction in Holland of an improved curing process that allowed the salting of fresh herring in barrels at sea.

Management of penile tumours during the Byzantine period

Paul of Aegina, as pictured in a 16th-century woodcut.

In the Byzantine period, surgery appeared to have been highly developed, as one may conclude from the surgical material included mainly in the works of Oribasius of Pergamus and Paul of Aegina.

Performing the Seven Deadly Sins: How One Late-Medieval English Preacher did it

British Library Yates Thompson 21   f. 165   Seven Deadly Sins

Some preachers, it is true, shunned certain of the rhetorical embellishments characteristically recommended in the artes predicandi.

Medieval Jews on Christianity

medieval Jewish manuscript - British Library Additional 14761   f. 35   The Simple Son

Whatever medieval Jews said, or thought, about Christianity, one may be sure that very little of it was good.

Menstruation: curse or blessing?

Zodiac sign of Virgo in a 15th century manuscript - Photo by e-Codices / Flickr

Menstruation in our lifetime has been commonly called ‘The Curse’. Our sisters in the 16th century, however, welcomed this cleansing as a fertility sign from God, through the moon that determined the tides of all that flowed on the earth.

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