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Why this is the week to be in Iceland (and learn about sagas)

The scholarly world interested in all things Norse, Viking and saga-related is coming to Iceland this week for the 17th International Saga Conference. Here is a quick guide to what is happening.

How to make an omelet, medieval-style

A 14th-century recipe for making an omelet.

A Medieval Jewish Philosophical Prayer

Blessed by the First of the First and the Eternal of the Eternal / The Pre-eternal, Who will not disappear in the face of flowing time and ever-changing instants

Penn brings Philadelphia’s rare medieval manuscripts to the world

Leveraging the University’s expertise with technology and rare centuries-old manuscripts, Penn Libraries is digitizing and cataloging medieval and early modern texts from 15 Philadelphia-area institutions. The three-year project is known as BiblioPhilly.

Medieval Daily Life on Birchbark

Hundreds of medieval writings on birchbark have been discovered in Russia. They reveal great insights into daily life in the Middle Ages.

The Green Children of Woolpit: Going past the skin-deep explanations of a medieval legend

The children have consistently been rejected as a freakish contortion of medieval superstition and generous imagination.

Like Master, Like Horse: Five Famous Horses in Medieval Legends

In many medieval legends and literary works, great knights and great horses are often found in pairs; the master’s worthiness manifests in the extraordinariness of his horse.

Don’t become a scholar! Advice from the 12th century

For those of us who have studied the arts and humanities, have we not been warned that all our efforts would never lead to a job?

Augustine’s first editor: Eugippius of Castellum Lucullanum

I would label him one of Augustine’s first editors, publishers, and publicists, because, just like a modern editor, Eugippius did three things to make his author a success.

Medieval Geopolitics: The Invention of the Idea of Sovereignty

In this column, I trace on the evolution of the idea of “sovereignty,” which I believe to be the conceptual linchpin of this historical process.

New Medieval Books: From Crusaders to Devils

Our latest collection of new books about the Middle Ages…

Axlar-Björn: The Only Serial Killer of Iceland

Axlar-Björn, or Björn of the farm Öxl, was executed in 1596 for having murdered at least 18 people.

Medieval Manuscripts: The Many Artists of the Isabella Breviary

The Isabella Breviary (British Library, Add. MS. 18851) is a remarkable book. Within its pages lie some of the finest illuminations ever painted during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

The Failure of Magna Carta

The Introduction to the Medieval Warfare magazine issue on ‘A War for England – the First Barons’ War’

Sko-Ella: The Woman Worse than the Devil

What is it that you truly desire? How far are you prepared to go to get it? Would you, say, treasure it even more than your immortal soul?

The smudges, splotches, and stains of medieval manuscripts

Medieval manuscripts are often spectacles to behold, their intricate illustrations dazzling with jewel-toned pigments and gold leaf. But it’s the dark splotch, the fingerprint smudge, the stitched-together tear in the parchment that are the most exciting discoveries for University of Pennsylvania researcher Erin Connelly.

“As pounded gaping metal”: Translating Saint Aldhelm’s Aenigmata

Perhaps the greatest pleasure of translating the Aenigmata came from the fact that doing the work well required a scavenger hunt through Anglo-Saxon life—from history to medicine to food and many other arcane topics.

A Tale of Fate and Chance: The Oldest Surviving Manuscripts of Augustine’s Works

Imagine putting pen to paper today and copying down a text in longhand. What are the chances it will still be around by the year 3500 AD? What would that require?

New Yorkers in Viking Age Iceland

In Iceland, there are four settlement sites that answer to the name of Jórvík – and all of them probably are Viking Age foundations named after the Old Norse name of York: Jórvík. So basically, there are four ‘New Yorks’ in Iceland.

Medieval Geopolitics: The Moral Purpose of the State

What were the fundamental social goods toward which it was ordered and from which it derived it legitimacy? In short, what was the moral purpose of the later medieval state?

Örebro Castle: History, Secrets, and Romance

For anyone who visits Örebro, it is hard to miss its castle – an ancient-looking fortress made of weathered grey stones that stands on an islet in the middle of the city centre.

Your Birthstone According to the Middle Ages

Birthstones and their superpowers according to the Middle Ages

Scottish History and Archaeology Quiz

Ten questions about the history of Scotland – ancient, medieval and modern. How well can you do?

What Century Is Your Soul From?

Are you an “old soul” or always feel like you belong somewhere else? Chances are, you do – though not exactly in another place – but another TIME.

How to Become Invisible

Here are two completely different medieval methods you can use to render yourself invisible, so you can choose whichever one works best for you.

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