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.

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

Malbork Zamek Krzyzacki. Wikicommons

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.

A Fifteenth-Century Merchant in London and Kent: Thomas Walsingham (d.1457)

Ruins of Scadbury Manor- photo Ian Yarham

In 1424 the London citizen and vintner Thomas Walsingham acquired the manor of Scadbury, then in the parish of Chislehurst in north-west Kent.

Make-Up and Medicine in the Middle Ages

Medieval woman combing her hair

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

Move over Milan! Late Medieval and Renaissance Fashion in Venice

Cesare Vecellio's Venetian fashion

Milan may be Italy’s current fashion capital, but Venice had an important role to play in the development of the Italian fashion and textile industry since the late middle ages and renaissance period.

Working women in thirteenth-century Paris

Medieval women at work weaving.

This thesis examines the role of women in the Parisian economy in the late thirteenth century.

CONFERENCES: Arnold Fitz Thedmar: an Early London chronicler

London (c. 1650)

Another fascinating paper given at the Institute for Historical Research in central London. For those of you interested in chronicles, urban history and London, this paper was definitely for you. Ian Stone discussed his dissertation about thirteenth century London through the eyes of wealthy Alderman, Arnold Fitz Thedmar.

Urban Territories in Late Medieval Brussels. Imagined Frontiers and Responsible Institutions

Medieval Brussels Map

This chapter focuses on the spatial analysis of intra-urban territories which existed in late medieval and early modern Brussels (Belgium). By studying their morphological characteristics and origins, I seek to understand their functions within urban society.

‘Appropriate to Her Sex?’ Women’s Participation on the Construction Site in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

city of ladies

Although it is true that the majority of day labourers and craftsmen at any given site were male, there is evidence in many regions of Western Europe that women were commonly employed alongside the men, albeit in the most menial tasks

A First Escape from Poverty in Late Medieval Japan: Evidence from Real Wages in Kyoto (1360-1860)

Muromachi Samurai (1538)

This paper offers a first investigation of long-term trends in Japanese living standards from the mid-14th to the mid-19th century using urban daily wages and price data for a number of basic commodities.

Taxes, Loans, Credit and Debts in the 15th Century Towns of Moravia: A Case Study of Olomouc and Brno

Medieval Money Lenders

The paper explores urban public finance in the late medieval towns on the example of two largest cities in Moravia—Olomouc and Brno.

Venetian Trading Networks in the Medieval Mediterranean

Venetians

To understand the system of business relations within the commercial network of the Republic of Venice, this article adopts a network analysis that differs from a standard narrative based on a privileged subset of actors or relations. It allows us to examine the socially mixed group of entrepreneurs, brokers, and shippers at the heart of Venice’s economic system.

Did Purchasing Power Parity Hold in Medieval Europe?

1449 - Medieval Workshop - by Petrus Christus

This paper employs a unique, hand-collected dataset of exchange rates for five major currencies (the lira of Barcelona, the pound sterling of England, the pond groot of Flanders, the florin of Florence and the livre tournois of France) to consider whether the law of one price and purchasing power parity held in Europe during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.

Measuring the Value of Things in the Middle Ages

The Money Changer and his Wife (1490).

The difficulty of understanding the value of things in the Middle Ages is one of the obstacles to our understanding of economic life in that era. The issue is first of all associated with the ways medievalists quantify and use numbers. Value was first investigated when studying prices in the 19th century, as a prerequisite to any knowledge of the economy.

Citie Calls for Beere: The Introduction of Hops and the Foundation of Industrial Brewing in London 1200-1700 

Depiction of 16th century brewers

This paper examines the impact of hopped beer on the brewing trade in London between the years 1200-1700.

Time, space and power in later medieval Bristol

Medieval Bristol - Robert_Ricart's_map_of_Bristol

With a population of almost 10,000, Bristol was later medieval England’s second or third biggest urban place, and the realm’s second port after London. While not particularly large or wealthy in comparison with the great cities of northern Italy, Flanders or the Rhineland, it was a metropolis in the context of the British Isles.

Origin and Creation: London Guilds of the Twelfth Century

london

London, as well as other towns and cities of the twelfth century, acted as the epicenter for guilds to create a regulated authority over members, monopolies, and outside merchants.

Mortality in the Fifteenth Century

Medieval town

For decades medieval historians have placed population at the centre of they concerns, but it is only in recent years that their studies have begun to constitute a respectable branch of historical demography.

BOOKS: The Feuding Families of Medieval and Renaissance Italy

The House of Medici - Its Rise and Fall

Put down the Godfather, turn off the Sorpanos, and check out the real Italian families of Medieval and Renaissance Italy!

Women in early towns

The Viking Age: Ireland and the West: Papers from the Proceedings of the Fifteenth Viking Congress

What do we know about women’s role in these societies? What did women do and how numerous were they? And did they pay the same role in Viking-Age proto-towns as in more developed medieval urban communities?

Corruption at Court? Crisis and the theme of Luxuria in England and France, c. 1340-1422

Medieval Courtiers

Why was the behaviour of courtiers such a concern in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries? Historians often take contemporary remarks about the excesses of the court and the immorality of its members as simple observations of fact.

Youth and Old Age in Late Medieval London

Tower of London - Royal Menagerie

This article is concerned with the relationship between life stages and a person’s place in urban society. The two life stages studied here are the end of youth and the onset of old age, that is to say the two stages at either end of that period in life when men were most active economically, socially, and politically, when they were expected to build a family and run a business.

Ivan the Terrible: Centralization in Sixteenth Century Muscovy

Ivan the Terrible - Oprichniki

From 1565-1572, the Oprichnina was a land within Muscovy of Ivanís choosing where he alone held sole power. The Zemschina was the remaining portion of Muscovy that was governed by the state administration.

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