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

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.

Foundation Myths in Medieval and Renaissance Italy

The 3 papers featured here looked at the development of the civic identities of Florence, Genoa and Rome through art, architecture and foundation legends.

Margery Kempe and the People on the Periphery

There are few medieval texts I find so entertaining as The Book of Margery Kempe, the fifteenth-century story of a seemingly ordinary woman of Bishops Lynn, England, whose life was transformed by visions of Jesus. T

KZOO 2015: Session #42 – Magna Carta in Context

This coming week I’ll be featuring summaries on some of my favourites sessions and papers from #KZOO2015. I kicked off my first session on Thursday with the Magna Carta.

David Nirenberg on ‘Religion and Violence’

Do the respective claims of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic holy texts contribute to the violence between the various communities that read them? Or do they provide a basis for solidarity between the three Abrahamic religions?

Katherine of Alexandria: Decline of an Empire

According to hagiographers, (C)Katherine was a princess, the daughter of Roman governor named Constus. She was well educated, beautiful and highly intelligent. She converted to Christianity at the age of 13 or 14 and caught the eye of the Roman Emperor, Maxentius (278-318 AD).

Environmental Crusading: The Teutonic Knight’s Impact After the Baltic Crusades

Environmental archaeologist and Professor of Archeology at Reading, Dr. Aleks Pluskowski, examined Malbork and several other sites across Eastern and Northern Europe in his recent paper, The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Holy War, Colonisation, and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic. Pluskowski is keenly interested in the impact the Teutonic Knights and Christian colonisation had on the region. His ambitious 4 year project on the ecological changes in this area recently came to a close at the end of 2014.

The Anglo-Saxon War-Culture and The Lord of the Rings: Legacy and Reappraisal

The literature of war in English claims its origin from the Homeric epics, and the medieval accounts of chivalry and the crusades.

Trolls in the Middle Ages

Where did trolls come from? What did medieval and early modern people think of trolls? How did the concept of the modern day troll evolve?

‘De civitatis utriusque, terrenae scilicet et caelestis’: Foundation Narratives and the Epic Portrayal of the First Crusade

My summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical research on the accounts of Antioch and Jerusalem during the First Crusade.

‘Forget Your People and Your Father’s House’: Teresa de Cartagena and the Converso Identity

Religion is a very important factor to take into consideration in discussions about the identity of the conversos [converts] or New Christians, an emerging group in 15th-century Castile.

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

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.”

Latin Grammar in the Cathedral School: Fulbert of Chartres, Bonipert of Pécs, and the Way of a Lost Priscian Manuscript

The starting point of the classical tradition in medieval Hungary is marked by a letter written by Bishop Fulbert of Chartres in Northern France to Bishop Bonipert of Pécs in Southern Hungary.

‘Hag of the Castle:’ Women, Family, and Community in Later Medieval Ireland

In a letter written as part of his work for the Irish Department of the Ordnance Survey in 1840, Thomas O’Conor recorded his reaction to a “Sheela- na-gig” sculpture—the image of a naked woman shown exposing her genitalia (fig. 1)—that he saw on the old church at Kiltinane, Co. Tipperary.

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

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.

Nourishment for the Soul – Nourishment for the Body: Animal Remains in Early Medieval Pomeranian Cemeteries

Late medieval sources clearly refer to souls, which in traditional folk beliefs were periodically returning to feed and warm themselves by the fires made by the living. This kind of conception can be merged with Slavic eschatology. There is multiple evidence to confirm that belief some form of spirit or soul was spreading amongst the people, who in the early medieval period, bordered directly with Pomerania.

Corbie in the Carolingian Renaissance

This study opens with a historical account of Corbie from its foundation until the reign of Charles the Simple, which clarifies the political importance of the abbey and its relations with rulers and bishops.

What Remains: Women, Relics and Remembrance in the Aftermath of the Fourth Crusade

After the fall of Constantinople to the Latin Crusaders in 1204 hundreds of relics were carried into the West as diplomatic gifts, memorabilia and tokens of victory. Yet many relics were alsosent privately between male crusaders and their spouses and female kin.

Places to See: Notre Dame – Part I

Part I of my initial visit to stunning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

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