by Danièle Cybulskie If there’s one thing medieval people loved, it was writing educational treatises. Sometimes, these were a little on the fantastic side – like bestiaries or travel literature – but other times, they were extremely useful how-to manuals. I particularly love the how-to manuals because they can teach us so much about medieval […]
By Danièle Cybulskie If you’ve ever had your doubts that King Arthur was a real, living, breathing human being at some point, you’re not alone. Despite the many, many histories that “prove” that Arthur was definitely this or that – tenacious Briton, Roman military man, leader of hunky Sarmatians – the evidence is pretty thin. […]
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 […]
By Danièle Cybulskie Assassin’s Creed: Trial by Fire, a compilation of the first five comic books in the new Assassin’s Creed series, comes from the same writers that brought us the immensely popular Kill Shakespeare, a comic series that playfully wreaked havoc with Shakespeare’s canon, while drawing in a whole new audience to his plays. Written […]
By Danièle Cybulskie This week, I read the story of Christine the Astonishing for the first time (in Medieval Writings on Female Spirituality, translated by Elizabeth Spearing), and it struck me that while it’s meant to be the story of a holy woman’s life, it also gives us an intimate look at what was likely […]
By Danièle Cybulskie This week, I came across one of those great medieval stories that is just too good not to share: “The Fantastical Shoemaker of Constantinople”. This twisted tale comes from Walter Map’s twelfth-century miscellany De Nugis Curialium or Courtiers’ Trifles, and all quotes you’ll find below come from Richard Sowerby‘s reader-friendly translation in the great collection […]
By Danièle Cybulskie Time and again, I’ve heard medieval knights referred to as “killing machines”, bred for a lifetime of battle and destruction. Difficult as it may be, it’s critical to for us to remember that every one of the men mired in mud and blood on the battlefield was not a machine, but a […]
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The British Library has honoured his contribution to English literature and the stage in a celebratory exhibition that runs until September 6th. British Library curators, Julian Harrison and Zoë Wilcox, have crafted an impressive exhibit that covers Shakespeare’s importance in ten acts.
Like a lot of historians, I’m hugely interested in reading primary sources – the words of medieval people themselves – but it can often be difficult to find them. Lucky for us, Dr. Joan Ferrante and her team have made a website that features letters to and from medieval women, all translated into English, all for free.
A civilized and intelligent man should choose, in the city as well as the country, the place most advantageous for the time of the year, pleasant, delightful, charming where he may build, where he may devote his efforts to farming, where he may relax with his artistic interests, where he may, in sum, commune with the gods themselves, an easy accomplishment for a man of the greatest integrity and learning.