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.

Make-Up and Medicine in the Middle Ages

Medieval woman combing her hair

A look at cosmetics and make-up in the Middle Ages.

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?

Medieval Books for Christmas

The Middle Ages - Johannes Fried

It’s that time of year again – the mad scramble for the perfect Christmas gift for the historian, nerd, avid reader on your list. Here are a few suggestions for you – new releases for December and January!

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.”

Vice, Tyranny, Violence, and the Usurpation of Flanders (1071) in Flemish Historiography from 1093 to 1294

Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders & Hainaut

The earliest sources of the history of medieval Flanders do not agree on the origins of the counts. The earliest source, the so-called “Genealogy of Arnold [I],” credibly traces the counts’ origin to Baldwin I “Iron Arm,”…

A Created Enemy: ‘Barbarians’ in spite of Religious Conversion. Visigoths and Byzantines in 6th-Century Iberia

Capital from the Visigothic church of San Pedro de la Nave.

This study approaches the concept of resistance as a tool for historical analysis during Roman Late Antiquity, especially with respect to the identity construction and the creation of physical or mental borders between Byzantines and Barbarians.

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.

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

Medieval depiction of animals

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.

Early Medieval Tunic recreated in Norway

One of our aims in reconstructing the tunic is to learn more about how the textile was made, how time-consuming it was to make, and how the wool was used, explains Marianne Vedeler. Photo: Yngve Vogt

A few years ago, the oldest known piece of clothing ever discovered in Norway, a tunic dating from the Iron Age, was found on a glacier in Breheimen. Now about to be reconstructed using Iron Age textile techniques, it is hoped the tunic will inspire Norwegian fashion designers.

Raymund’s Daughter’s Divorce in the 9th-Century: a Woman’s Textual Role in the Breaking of an Alliance

Marriage Medieval (Germany)

This chapter will analyse an aspect of one of the divorce cases of the mid 9th century: I review its links with politics of the day and reconsider the roles given to wife and husband in the only text that deals with this case…

The Bones of St. Cuthbert: Defining a Saint’s Cult in Medieval Northumbria

Miniature of a man being healed by shoes belonging to Cuthbert, from Chapter 45 of Bede's prose Life of St Cuthbert. Yates Thompson 26, f.80

This paper investigates the social, political, and religious changes and tensions which surrounded the cult of St. Cuthbert in medieval Northumbria. Specific comparisons are made between the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods in English history, and how St. Cuthbert’s cult responded to the Norman Conquest in 1066.

The Names of Islands in the Old Norse Faereyinga Saga and Orkeyinga Saga

Picture of King Harald from the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók.

The Names of Islands in the Old Norse Faereyinga Saga and Orkeyinga Saga Hilda Radzin (St. John’s University) Literary Onomastics Studies: Volume 5, Article 7 (1978) Abstract In the Old Norse language the word saga denoted any kind of story or history in prose, whether written or oral. Used in this sense, the word saga […]

The Viking Language of the Highlands and Islands: Reconstructing the Norn Language from Old Norse

Viking carving

The Orkney and Shetland islands of Scotland were at one time colonized by Vikings and belonged firmly within the field of Scandinavian cultural influence. During this time the people of these archipelagos spoke a unique language known as Norn which evolved from the Old Norse language.

Places to See: Notre Dame – Part I

Western facade of Notre Dame Cathedral

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

The Patriarch Alexios Stoudites and the Reinterpretation of Justinianic Legislation against Heretics

Justinian and his attendants - 526-547 AD (Byzantine) San Vitale, Ravenna

Using normative legal sources such as law codes and imperial novels to illuminate Byzantine heresy is a very difficult proposition. One of the great problems in the analysis of Byzantine law in general is that the normative legal sources rarely were adapted to subsequent economic, political, or social conditions.

Hagiography and the Experience of the Holy in the Work of Gregory of Tours

Gregory of Tours - statue

The rich literature associated with the Desert Fathers provides convincing evidence of the important role played by charismatic figures in the transformation of Late Antiquity.

Unexpected Evidence concerning Gold Mining in Early Byzantium

Roman gold mine

One of the consequences of the decline of Roman imperial might was the shortage of slaves at state-run mines. Consequently, criminals were often sentenced to damnatio ad metallum. The need for gold especially soared when the gold solidus was introduced at the beginning of the fourth century.

The Prologue to Alfred’s Law Code: Instruction in the Spirit of Mercy

Alfred the Great from a 13th Century manuscript

The Prologue to Alfred’s Law Code: Instruction in the Spirit of Mercy Michael Treschow Florilegium: Volume 13 (1994) Abstract Alfred’s law code tends to receive scant attention in discussions of the char- acter of his reign. It lacks the distinctive stamp of his other writings and acts. It is a conservative code that seeks not […]

Of sagas and sheep: Toward a historical anthropology of social change and production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland

Medieval hunt - images of sheep

This dissertation deals with the formation of chiefdoms, communities, ecclesiastical institutions and state, and with production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland in the context of climatic change and ecological succession.

medievalverse magazine