The Life of Saint Euphrosyne of Połack

Alexey Kuzmich "Crying Euphrosyne of Polotsk" 1992, oil on canvas, 120,7 x 100 cm

Saint Euphrosyne (c. 1105-1167) was the granddaughter of the famous prince of Polack, Usiaslau (Vseslav) whose long reign (1044-1101) and many exploits – in particular his determined struggle against Kiev – made such an impression on his contemporaries that they refused to believe him to be an ordinary mortal

Dirhams for slaves: Investigating the Slavic slave trade in the tenth century

10,000 silver Dirhams from the 7th-9th century AD, hidden c. 820 AD - Bode-Museum

The idea that a massive trade in Slavic slaves underpinned the economic growth of Europe in the 9th and 10th centuries is not new. It is, however, most often only implicit; and at any rate, it is very rarely discussed.

Epiphany: Three Kings Day

The Three Magi, Byzantine mosaic c.565, Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy (restored 18th century). As here Byzantine art usually depicts the Magi in Persian clothing which includes breeches, capes, and Phrygian caps. Wikipedia

A look at the history behind Epiphany and Twelfth Night.

Celebrating the New Year, Medieval Style

The Festival of Fools - Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525)

A look at New Year’s in the Middle Ages.

The Emperor’s Spooky Night

Night view of the Castle and Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic. Photo by Jorge Royan

Emperor Charles IV reveals in his autobiography what happened to him one night at Prague Castle, and how he saw a huge swarm of locusts.

Prostitution in the Medieval City

Brothel scene; Brunswick Monogrammist, 1537; Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Prostitution was a vice that was was considered a necessary evil because of “men’s lust”. Ecclesiastics felt that if brothels weren’t available to men in cities, they would find other inappropriate outlets for their entertainment. In an effort to curb potential problems, civic officials permitted prostitution to function within the city walls so long as it was regulated and turned a profit.

Cracking down on illegal gambling in Medieval Livonia

by Master Jean de Mauléon (c.1535)

Just like their modern day counterparts, medieval cities had to deal with their own criminal underworlds – the sex trade, gambling, and violence taking place within their walls. At the International Medieval Congress, held earlier this month at the University of Leeds, these issues were explored as part of session #706: Perceiving and Regulating Vices.

Papers on Medieval Prosopography: Session #47 at KZOO 2015

Pieter Brueghel - Kermesse (The Feast of Saint George)

Three fantastic papers on Prosopography from #KZOO2015.

Lasting Falls and Wishful Recoveries: Crusading in the Black Sea Region after the Fall of Constantinople

16th century map of the Black Sea

This paper examines the Black Sea question in the second half of the 15th century, with special emphasis on crusading and religious questions.

‘Great Moravian State’: a controversy in Central European medieval studies

Great Moravia during the reign of Svatopluk I (9th-century) - image created by  Jirka.h23 /Wikicommons

The idea that Great Moravia was the earliest state of Central European Slavs, which was a direct predecessor of the statehood of the Czech Přemyslids, the Polish Piasts and the Hungarian Arpáds family, remains very much alive in the Central European region.

Medieval Horse Stable: The Results of Multi Proxy Interdisciplinary Research

medieval horse

A multi proxy approach was applied in the reconstruction of the architecture of Medieval horse stable architecture, the maintenance practices associated with that structure as well as horse alimentation at the beginning of 13th century in Central Europe.

The Impalings of Vlad the Impaler

Impalings of Vlad the Impaler

One of the most infamous chararacters from the Middle Ages was Vlad III Dracula, the prince of Wallachia. Here is the story of how he gained the name of ‘the Impaler’.

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

Priscian, or the Grammar, relief from the bell tower of Florence by Luca della Robbia

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.

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.

Renaissance Contacts Between Dubrovnik (Ragusa) and the Kingdom of Hungary

Coat of Arms of King Louis I of Hungary - a talisman of good luck.

During the rule of the Angevin dynasty (1308-82) in Hungary, towns and cities increasingly assumed greater political influence. The first treaty between the King of Hungary and Dubrovnik (in those days Ragusa) was signed in 1358, during the reign of Louis (Lajos) the Great.

The Power of Word: Preachers in Medieval Dubrovnik

Franciscan Monastery - Dubrovnik, Croatia

In the pastoral of the Franciscan and Dominican orders preaching became the principal task of their mission. Preaching manuals represented the basis of the new art. The preachers also used sermon collections, Bible concordances and exempla collections.

Imperial Memory and the Charles Bridge: Establishing Royal Ceremony for Future Kings

The Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)

The History behind the Charles Bridge Built during the reigns of Charles IV (1346-1378) and his son, Wenceslas IV (1363-1419), the Charles Bridge crosses the river Vltava in Prague, joining the Old Town on its eastern side, the commercial hub of the city, and the Hradčany and Malá Strana on the west, where the castle and cathedral are located

The Legal Status of Female Guardians in 1530s Lithuania

Portrait of a young woman - Lucas Cranach the Elder (1530)

The office of guardianship was clearly needed in the society of sixteenth-century Lithuania. The comparatively short average life expectancy meant that quite a great number of children lost one or both of their parents before reaching majority, and thus had to receive some sort of protection.

Characteristics of Medieval Artillery in the Light of Written Sources from Bohemia and Poland

Battle of Domažlice, 15th century Jena Codex

Artillery appears in Central Europe at the end of the 14th c. and it starts playing a more significant role only in the next century.

Hungary’s Conversion to Christianity: The Establishment of Hungarian Statehood and its Consequences to the Thirteenth Century

Mummified right hand of Stephen I of Hungary - canonized in 1083 A.D.

The Carpathian Basin occupies a peculiar place in history. It was the ground where Roman-Germanic world met that of the Slavs and mounted nomad peoples, where no group had achieved sustained unity before the state of Hungary was founded.

Slaves, Money Lenders, and Prisoner Guards: The Jews and the Trade in Slaves and Captives in the Crimean Khanate

Jewish Slave Trader being presented to Boleslav of Bohemia

Trade in slaves and captives was one of the most important (if not the most important) sources of income of the Crimean Khanate in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

The cultural identity of medieval Silesia: the case of art and architecture

Wrocław, Church of St Mary Magdalene

The cultural identity of architecture and visual arts of the Middle Ages in Silesia can be analyzed in the following frameworks: 1.) the distinct formal features of local artwork; 2.) the specific content expressed through it. Macro factors (the type of materials and their availability) are important in architecture, as are architectural patterns and styles.

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