The Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson

Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson

My book review of Robin Hood tale, Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson.

‘Virile Strength In A Feminine Breast’: Women, Hostageship, Captivity, And Society In The Anglo-French World, C. 1000- C.1300

Empress Matilda

My interest in the relationship between hostage- and captive-taking practices and gender originally arose out of the idea for a much grander project about women and warfare.

The Afterlife of the Dead: Reform in Attitude Towards Medieval Burials, Corpses and Bones

Rothwell Charnel Chapel. Photo courtesy of ITV.

The International Medieval Congress is taking place at the University of Leeds, I’m on hand this week to report on the conference. This blog post reports on my first session.

In Pursuit of Aristocratic Women: A Key to Success in Norman England

medieval marriage

Discussion of marital strategies of the aristocracy in England, 1066-1154, including recruitment through marriage, marital alliances, and political advantage.

Irish Hagiographical Lives in the Twelfth Century: Church Reform before the Anglo-Norman Invasion

Saint Brendan and the whale from a 15th century manuscript

In order to further disentangle the reality and fiction of this view of culture versus barbarity and of reform versus wickedness, I shall analyse twelfth-century Irish vitae.

The Childhood of William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror

Duke Robert died when William was seven leaving him to rely on other men to rule his duchy until he came of age. These years were fraught with peril.

Monastic Space and the Use of Books in Anglo-Norman England

Canterbury - Eadwine Psalter

My summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical Research on: Monastic Space and the Use of Books in Anglo-Norman England.

Unpleasant Affairs That Please Us: Admonition and Rebuke in the Letter Collections of the Archbishops of Canterbury, 11th and 12th Centuries

Archbishop of Canterbury -Thomas Becket

From the Norman Conquest in 1066 up to the famous “murder in the cathedral”2 in 1170, six archbishops of Canterbury ruled over the English church…

Writing conquest: traditions of Anglo-Saxon invasion and resistance in the twelfth century

Norman Conquest

Writing Conquest examines the ways in which Latin, Old English, and Middle English twelfth-century historical and pseudo-historical texts remembered and reconstructed three formative moments of Anglo-Saxon invasion and resistance…

The Normans are an Unconquerable People: Orderic Vitalis’s Memory of the Anglo-Norman Regnum during the Reigns of William Rufus and Henry I, 1087-1106

Henry I of England

This essay examines Orderic’s portrayal of the three sons of William the Conqueror, as well as one member of the Anglo-Norman high aristocracy, in an effort to understand how and why his Historia Ecclesiastica recreates the nineteen-year period between the death of William the Conqueror and the ascension of Henry I as an age of violence, poor lordship, and ambiguous gender roles.

How cutting off a horse’s tail was a big insult in the Middle Ages

Bayeux Tapestry Horse

Want to humiliate your adversary? Attacking his horse and cutting off its tail was the preferred method, according to a recent article.

The Public and Private Boundaries of Motherhood: Queen Igraine in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia and Laȝamon’s Brut’

Queen Igraine

In literary criticism, awareness of transmission of tales between British and continental literature tends to encourage a view of some Arthurian narratives as more similar in tone, style, and language than they in fact are.

Gay Reformers? Why the Medieval Church Banned Priests from Marrying

Religious Men and Masculine Identity in the Middle Ages

Among the issues that the current-day Roman Catholic Church is debating are whether or not priests should marry, and how accepting they should be of homosexuals. Interestingly, about nine hundred years ago both of these issues intertwined in the Anglo-Norman world.

Did Orderic Vitalis Have a Concept of Violence?

medieval Murder

When Orderic writes that something happened violently, it was because he was expressing a judgment on whether or not this was a legitimate use of force.

Great Medieval Fiction 2013!

Dangerous Women

For those of you who enjoy some fantasy or a historical novel – this list is for you!

Designer of the Bayeux Tapestry identified

Abbot Scolland, designer of the Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry was designed by Scolland, Abbot of St.Augustine’s monastery in Canterbury, according to research by Howard Clarke of University College, Dublin.

The Medieval Walking Dead

medieval dead

On January 1, 1091, an army of the dead came to Normandy. For one priest, it would be a night that he would never forget.

A stitch in time

bayeux tapestry

Who commissioned the tapestry? Who made it, where and when? Where was the Tapestry first displayed? Was the message of the Tapestry outright Norman propaganda or a more evenhanded attempt at Anglo-Norman reconciliation?

The counts of the Perche, c. 1066-1217

perche

The history of Count Rotrou’s family and the polity which they created spans less than 200 years, but it has much to tell us about the development of power structures in the central middle ages and it illustrates two significant strands in the modem historiography of France

Castle for Sale in France: Château-sur-Epte Castle

castle for sale in France

This Anglo-Norman castle was built at the turn of the twelfth-century, and was on the front lines in the wars between England and France in the Middle Ages. Now a picturesque ruin, this would be a historian’s dream!

Impregnable friendship : locating desire in the middle English ‘Amis and Amiloun’

amisamiloun

Scholarship on Amis and Amiloun has generally been divided into two critical schools. The majority of critics have read the work as an exemplar of perfect friendship, overlooking (or ignoring) any trace of homoeroticism, citing the possibility itself as anachronistic, or explaining away its presence by offering historical or theoretical justification for intimacy among medieval men.

“A model of wisdom and exemplar of modesty without parallel in our time”: how Matilda of Flanders was represented in two twelfth-century histories

Matilda of Flanders, queen consort of England and wife of William the Conqueror, by Carle Elshoecht (1850). Luxembourg Garden, Paris. Photo by Tosca

My thesis investigates the different ways in which two twelfth-century historians, William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis, represented Matilda.

Was the White Ship disaster mass murder?

White Ship Disaster

It was perhaps the worst maritime disaster of the Middle Ages, not just because it cost 300 lives, but because one of them was the heir to the Anglo-Norman Empire. One scholar has a theory that the sinking of the White Ship on the night of November 25, 1120 was not a tragic accident, rather a case of mass murder.

Matilda of Boulogne, Queen of England

The Empress Matilda hears the plea of Matilda of Boulogne, wife of Stephen of Blois who had usurped England's throne and whom the Empress' forces had captured.

Matilda and Stephen were the model medieval couple.

Stepmothers as Villains: The Dark Side of Medieval Motherhood

Detail of a coloured drawing with Jezebel thrown from a tower on the order of Jehu ('Jheu').

Anglo-Norman writers seem to assign women to one of two extremes within the chronicles: on one side there are women who are presented as visions of perfection. With almost super-human ease, these women excel at marriage, motherhood, and religious devotion all of which are reflected in their physical beauty.

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