Only a small fraction of the writings created in the Middle Ages have survived to the present day. Throughout the medieval period manuscripts would be destroyed or recycled, and in more recent centuries this process only worsened as fires, theft and neglect led to more losses. Many great works from the Middle Ages have been lost, with little hope that any copies survive. Here are five lost works that we would love to see again.
When many people think about the Middle Ages they see it as a time when people were tortured by a wide collection of diabolical instruments. Whether it is the Pear of Anguish or the Iron Maiden, these torture devices are portrayed as medieval. The reality, however, is that many of these devices never existed in the Middle Ages.
It’s a common misconception that medieval minds regarded every little gadget with superstition and fear. Like us, medieval people loved wearable tech, and adapted useful gear – like sundials – to take with them on the go. In the thirteenth-century, Europeans were keen to get on board with the latest high-tech gadget to come out of Italy: eyeglasses.
It wasn’t until I was older, and writing European history, that I stumbled across a mention in the chronicle of Matthew Paris, a 13th century Benedictine monk, of the four daughters of the count of Provence who all became queens—queen of France, queen of England, queen of Germany (queen of the Romans), and queen of Sicily. Even from the little I was able to glean from the chronicle I could see that these women, who I had never heard of, exercised real power. Instantly curious, I went to find a book about them.