Movie Review: Pope Joan – Medieval Legend Comes to Life Onscreen

Film: Johanna Wokalek as Pope Joan

Released in 2009, also under its German title, ,Die Päpstin,, ,Pope Joan’ recounts the medieval legend of Johanna von Ingleheim, a woman who disguised herself as a man, lived as a monk, and eventually went on to become pope in the ninth century.

The Empire that was always Decaying: The Carolingians (800-888)

Carolingian Empire in 843

According to most textbooks, the first Western empire to succeed its late Roman predecessor suddenly burst upon the scene, on Christmas Day 800 in Rome, when Pope Leo III turned Charles, King of the Franks and Lombards, and patricius (protector) of the Romans, into an imperator augustus

Last Words from a Medieval Mother to her Son

Christine de Pisan instructs her son, Jean de Castel - from British Library Harley 4431 f.261v

Yesterday, I stumbled across a passage from the Liber Manualis, written by a ninth-century Frankish woman named Dhuoda to her fifteen-year-old son.

Questions and Answers with Alcuin

Charlemagne and Alcuin

What are teeth? – The millstones of our biting.

Against the Currents of His Day: Brittany, Louis the Pious, and Elite Insurrection

Louis the Pious, contemporary depiction from 826 as a miles Christi (soldier of Christ), with a poem of Rabanus Maurus overlaid.

During Louis the Pious’s 36-year reign, he spent much of his time convening assemblies, securing his borders, and trying to govern his empire, rather than conquering and expanding aggressively as his father and grandfather, Charlemagne and Pepin, had done.

The Frankish War-Machine of Charles Martel

Charles Martel in the Battle of Tours - 19th century painting by Charles de Steuben

The Franks had a war-machine that was a highly effective and mobile under the leadership of Charles Martel. It fought from the North Sea in the north to the Mediterranean Sea in the south and from Aquitaine in the west to Bavaria in the east.

Historian discovers evidence of malaria from the Early Middle Ages


In his paper, ‘Malaria and Malaria-Like Disease in the Frankish Empire, c.450-950, Timothy Newfield examines over fifty references to illnesses which appear in Merovingian and Carolingian sources

European Weather Extremes in the Lifetime of Charlemagne (c.742–814 CE)

Construction of the Fossa Carolina as depicted in the Chronicles of the Bishops of Würzburg by Lorenz Fries.

An army of people, digging for a whole season, yet their efforts end in muddy ruin. Was it a project that was doomed from the start?

Charlemagne’s Denarius, Constantine’s Edicule, and the Vera Crux

Charlemagne as emperor on this coin - Photo PHGCOM

In 806 a much-discussed silver denarius bearing the likeness of Charlemagne was issued. This is called the “temple-type” coin due to the (as yet unidentified) architectural structure illustrated on the reverse side, and which is explicitly labeled as representing the epitome of “Christian Religion.”

CONFERENCES: The Stellinga, the Saxon Elite, and Carolingian Politics

Battle of Fontenoy - The battle as depicted in the fourteenth-century Grandes Chroniques de France. Grandes Chroniques de France, France, Paris, Cote : Français 73 , Fol. 150

This is my summary of a paper presented at the Institute of Historical Research on the causes of the Stellinga uprising in the Carolingian period.

716: A Crucial Year For Charles Martel

Stained glass window depicting Charles Martel at Strasbourg Cathedral. - Photo by Rh67/Wikipedia

The early years of Charles Martel’s life are all but obscured from the historian’s view.

An aspect of Alcuin: ‘Tuus Albinus’ – peevish egotist? or parrhesiast?


In over 270 letters from about a decade and a half, alcuin of york (†804) informed, advised, consoled and admonished contemporaries, reacted to current events, and maintained a circle of friends and partners in reciprocal prayer that extended from Jerusalem to Ireland and from rome to salzburg. Alcuin left york in the 780s to become a friend and chief advisor to Charlemagne.

Palaces, Itineraries and Political Order in the Post-Carolingian Kingdoms

Diverging Paths? The Shape of Power and Institutions in Medieval Christendom and Islam

What did the same-but-different post-Carolingian kingdoms owe to their predecessors, and how should we characterise that debt if not in simple terms of continuity or change?

Scholars, Teachers and Students in Early Medieval Europe: Towards a Total Network

J Clare Woods

This talk, part of a larger project, is concerned with intellectuals (scholars, teachers and their students) active in the late eighth through ninth centuries, a period usually referred to as the Carolingian Renaissance.

Competition and tradition: Carolingian political rituals, 751-800

Carolingian Lindau Gospels late 9th century

In 751, the Carolingians supplanted the traditional ruling dynasty of Francia. This article surveys Carolingian political rituals between 751 and 800, and argues that ritual was one means through which this new royal family sought to construct and legitimate its authority against its dynastic competitors.

Charlemagne still kicking 1200 years later or Morangles Early Medieval Holidays


T.S. Morangles takes a trip to see all things Carolingian and Merovingian!

Asteriscos et obelos suis locis restitui – the revision of the Psalter during the Carolingian Renaissance

Evina Steinova

Today, I would like to discuss one type of early medieval psalter and the one feature that discerns this type – and that is the presence of critical signs.

Goths, Lombards, Romans, and Greeks: Creating Identity in Early Medieval Italy

Carved sarcophagus depicting a battle between Romans and Barbarians, Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome,

This essay explores how two different non-Roman historians represented the past to their peoples: the Gothic historian Jordanes’ sixth-century work, the Getica, and the eighth-century Lombard historian Paul the Deacons’ History of the Lombards.

The Carolingian Army and the Struggle against the Vikings


There have been many previous studies of the Carolingian army, but none examining the ninth-century armies which faced the Viking invasions.

Blended and Extended Families in Carolingian Charters

medieval Carolingian charter - Charter of Clothilde

This is a summary of a paper on Carolingian charters and the relationship between step and blended families.

How Destructive were the Vikings?


Danielle Trynoski reports on the paper “How Much Material Damage Did the Northmen Do in Northern Europe?” given by Lesley Anne Morden

Making a difference in tenth-century politics: King Athelstan’s sisters and Frankish queenship

Eadgifu of England/Wessex

In the early years of the tenth century several Anglo-Saxon royal women, all daughters of King Edward the Elder of Wessex (899-924) and sisters (or half-sisters) of his son King Athelstan (924-39), were despatched across the Channel as brides for Frankish and Saxon rulers and aristocrats. This article addresses the fate of some of these women through an analysis of their political identities.

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