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The Rise and Spectacular Fall of the Templars: An Interview with Dan Jones

Dan Jones gives us the scoop on his new Templar book, Knightfall, and what’s next up his sleeve.

Medieval Archery at The Royal Garrison

We’re trying out medieval archery at The Royal Garrison in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

The Peasant Doctor: A Medieval Turnaround Tale

One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to figure out its sense of humour. In medieval Europe, this means looking at fabliaux: short, funny tales that demonstrate common stereotypes and jokes – usually sexual, violent, and containing a clear scapegoat.

One Year Anniversary of The Five-Minute Medievalist Book

I’m so excited to announce that this Thursday, April 6th, marks the first anniversary of my little book, The Five-Minute Medievalist!

“One Freedom to All Human Beings”: Laura Cereta, Fifteenth-Century Women’s Champion

In medieval Italy, the nature and capabilities of women were being debated by both women and men, who fell on both sides of the argument. One voice among those was Laura Cereta’s.

How to Party Like It’s 1399

The holiday season is upon us once again, which means that it’s time to get medieval and party like there’s no fifteenth century!

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

When I was younger, I thought that Roosevelt’s words meant that if we only have our own fear to fear, then there is nothing at all to be afraid of. Now, it seems clear to me that this means something very different…

Julian of Norwich: The Quiet Voice of Contemplation

However you encounter Julian, whether for the first time or the hundredth, no doubt you will hear the quiet voice of a lifetime of contemplation.

Medieval Advice for Students Away From Home

By Danièle Cybulskie Over the last few weeks, countless parents have kissed their sons and daughters and sent them off to study away from home, loading them up with advice and admonitions to take good care of themselves. Hundreds of years ago, medieval parents were loading up their own children with love and advice, too. […]

Fighting to Win: The Art of Sword Combat in The Early Modern Period

By Danièle Cybulskie Usually, writing about the Early Modern Age isn’t my deal, but it was definitely an interesting time. This was the period in which men went around in puffy pants with rapiers at their hips, ready to duel anyone who ridiculed the puffiness of their pants. And if you’re going to wander around […]

How to Make Medieval Artists’ Tools

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 […]

Did Medieval People Believe in King Arthur?

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. […]

Medieval Mysteries: Miscellanies and Mix Tapes

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 […]

Book Review: Assassin’s Creed: Trial by Fire

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 […]

Christine the Astonishing

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 […]

The Fantastical Shoemaker and the Head of Death

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 […]

The Poetry of Trauma: On the Crécy Dead

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 […]

Epistolae: Letters of Medieval Women

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.

The Ideal Medieval Hospital: St. John of Jerusalem

Let’s take five minutes to look at what may be the most famous hospital of the Middle Ages: The Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem

Following the Leader: Erik Kwakkel on How and Why to Be an Online Medievalist

One of the best presentations I saw at the International Congress on Medieval Studies this year was by Erik Kwakkel from Leiden University.

Grief and Spiritual Crisis in the Middle Ages

Existential crises and questions of faith in times of hardship are not modern phenomena. Medieval people routinely questioned their faith, most poignantly when it came to death.

When Bread Grew on Trees

Medieval people ate a lot of bread. A lot. They ate pounds of bread every day, and even used it as plates – or trenchers – which sounds both practical and delicious (although trencher bread was usually stale).

Royalit: What Did Medieval Kings Read?

We know that medieval kings and queens did read. The question of the day is: what did they read?

The Ruin: The Past Dreaming of the Past

Danièle Cybulskie, the @5minMedievalist brings us a piece on Anglo-Saxon poetry.

Five Favourite Middle English Romances

Danièle Cybulskie, the 5MinMedievalist, shares her five favourite Middle English romances – what are yours?

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