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.

Magna Carta Conference Offers New Insights Into The 800-year-old Document

British Library's Magna Carta, photo credit Joseph Turp

Magna Carta just celebrated its 800th birthday this past Monday. In honour of this incredible milestone, King’s College London, and the Magna Carta Project, hosted a 3 day conference dedicated to this historic document.

Fashion Old and New: Weaving and Tailoring in the Early Medieval and Early Modern Period

Anglo Saxon pin beater made of animal bone. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 400-800 AD. Courtesy of Cotswold Archaeology.

Fashion fan? Interested in medieval and early modern textiles? Then this was your session. 2 papers from opposite ends of the spectrum: Early Medieval weaving and Early Modern Tailoring.

Beyond the Medical Text: Health and Illness in Early Medieval Italian Sources

Coin of Liutprand, King of the Lombards

The vast majority of surviving evidence for health care, medicine and attitudes to illness in early medieval northern Italy comes not from traditional medical texts, but legal, hagiographical and archaeological sources.

‘Such a great multitude’: Biblical numerology as a literary device in Nauigatio Sancti Brendani

Darcy Ireland presents at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies

This presentation will begin by briefly summarizing the text, presenting evidence for its intended audience and purpose, defining Biblical numerology and outlining its role in Jewish and Christian textual traditions up to the early medieval period. Then the presentation will provide a handful of examples in the use of Biblical numerology in Nauigatio.

Human-Bovine Plagues in the Early Middle Ages

ox book of durrow

In other words, when spreading among cattle, a now-extinct morbillivirus episodically colonized and spread in human populations during the early Middle Ages.

Katherine of Alexandria: Decline of an Empire

Katherine martyred on the wheel

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).

William of Normandy’s Claim to the English throne: Examining the Evidence

William the Conqueror

Whether or not Edward’s promise of the throne to William was genuine, it was later certainly made irrelevant by Edward’s deathbed will.

Plague, Settlement and Structural Change at the Dawn of the Middle Ages

Plague of Justinian

The plague of Justinian definitely hit the coastal areas of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean as well as the inland areas connected with the sea

Early Historic Scotland to 761

The question that concerns us now is how the kingdom came into being. The best-known story is that Fergus Mór mac Erc, a king of Dál Riata who died in AD 501, led the migration.

King Edmund Ironside

Battle of Assandun - Edmund Ironside and Canute the Dane

It was the early eleventh century and England was being overrun by Vikings. Parts of the country were in the hands of the Danes and they were trying to acquire more…

Where would you find the Vikings

find the vikings

We created this short guide to explain all the lands that the Vikings came to – either to raid, trade or settle in – which stretched from Russia to North America.

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

Picts offer historians a picture of non-Roman Briton culture

Aberlemno Pictish Cross - Scotland by Neil Howard / Flickr

History has never been too kind to a group of early British Isle inhabitants referred to as the Picts, but the often mischaracterized, always mysterious people may serve as a historical laboratory to explore how the island’s culture might have developed without Roman intervention, according to a Penn State historian.

10 Cool Medieval Things to See at the Musée de Cluny

Ivory Bishop's crozier - Musée de Cluny, Paris

I just visited Muée de Cluny this week while in Paris and picked out a few fabulous items you might want to check out on your next visit to this amazing medieval museum!

Slavs in Fredegar and Paul the Deacon: medieval gens or ‘scourge of God’?

Chronicle of Fredegar

This article presents a new interpretation of the accounts of Slavs given by two early medieval Latin narrative sources.

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

The Lord of the Rings - Aragorn

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

The Early Medieval Cutting Edge of Technology

anglo saxon knife from the British Museum

Comparison of knives from England, Dublin and Europe revealed that the Vikings had little direct impact on England’s knife manufacturing industry, although there was a change in manufacturing methods in the 10th century towards the mass produced sandwich welded knife.

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?

London in the Not-So-Dark Ages

Lyn Blackmore

An overview of the results of over 40 years of archaeological research into the origins, development and decline of the Middle Saxon trading settlement of Lundenwic, London.

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.”

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