Why did Attila leave Italy?

16th century paingint by Raphael showing the Meeting between Leo the Great and Attila depicts Leo, escorted by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, meeting with the Hun king outside Rome.

Reporting on the paper ‘Attila’s Appetite: The Logistics of Attila the Hun’s Invasion of Italy in 452′, by Jason Linn, given at the International Congress on Medieval Studies

Angels on Christmas trees and medieval ideas of hierarchy

christmas tree angel - photo by missteee / Flickr

In the fifth century, the medieval theologian Pseudo-Dionysius wrote the definitive work on angelic hierarchies, during which he asserted that there were nine orders of hierarchy, ranging from the most humble messenger angels to the most elevated archangels.

Justinian’s Reconquest: Notions of Return in Procopius’ Gothic Wars

Italy and Sardinia

Though the native Italians play a relatively minor role in the Gothic Wars, the essay will suggest, that in Procopius’ mind, the Western Romans’ ‘decision’ to forego their martial roles for less martial forms of male self-fashioning in the fifth century had led, not only to the rise of the ‘barbarian’ Vandals and the Goths, but had separated the Italians from an essential component of Romanitas—masculine martial virtues.

A British legion stationed near Orléans c. 530?

Roman Legion soldier end of 3rd century - northern province

Several recent books lead the reader to believe that Vita sancti Dalmatii, written in c. 800, records a legio Britannica (a British army) stationed near Orléans in c. 530. As this paper demonstrates, the only correct detail of this purported record is the word legio, and this may well have a non-military connotation.

Christianity and the Latin tradition in early Medieval Ireland

Book of Ballymote - explaining Ogham script

The Christianity which arrived in Ireland with the fifth-century missionaries was more than just a literate religion; it was very much a religion of the book.

Rethinking Hardown Hill: Our Westernmost Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery?

Anglo Saxon Warrior burial

This paper reassesses the early Anglo-Saxon assemblage from Hardown Hill, Dorset. Wingrave excavated the objects in 1916 but apart from his 1931 report, and Evison’s 1968 analysis, there has been little subsequent discussion.

Amending the Ascetic: Community and Character in the Old English Life of St. Mary of Egypt

Saint Mary of Egypt - British library

Among the most eligible saints for such treatment, Mary of Egypt deserves particular consideration: her popularity is evidenced by over a hundred extant Greek manuscripts of her Life and her uniquely prominent position in the Lenten liturgical cycle in the Eastern Church.

Goths, Lombards, Romans, and Greeks: Creating Identity in Early Medieval Italy

Carved sarcophagus depicting a battle between Romans and Barbarians, Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome,

This essay explores how two different non-Roman historians represented the past to their peoples: the Gothic historian Jordanes’ sixth-century work, the Getica, and the eighth-century Lombard historian Paul the Deacons’ History of the Lombards.

Scandinavia and the Huns: an Interdisciplinary Approach to the Migration Era

Hunnish -Set of Horse Trappings

The aim of this paper is to discuss the early Migration period as a particular period of ‘short term history’ and its formative impact on the Scandinavian longue duree in the first millenium.

The transition between late antiquity and the early medieval period in north Etruria (400-900 AD)

Fall of the Roman Empire

Traditionally, the idea that the Roman empire ‘declined and fell’ was considered a historical fact, not a matter for debate. The beginning of the ‘decline’ was usually dated to the 3rd or 4th century AD.

Making a difference in tenth-century politics: King Athelstan’s sisters and Frankish queenship

Eadgifu of England/Wessex

In the early years of the tenth century several Anglo-Saxon royal women, all daughters of King Edward the Elder of Wessex (899-924) and sisters (or half-sisters) of his son King Athelstan (924-39), were despatched across the Channel as brides for Frankish and Saxon rulers and aristocrats. This article addresses the fate of some of these women through an analysis of their political identities.

A Game of Power: Courtly influence on the decision-making of Emperor Theodosius II (r. 408-450)

Constantine Manasses Chronicle, 14 century: Emperor Theodosius II and Aelia Eudocia

The aim of this thesis is to uncover the workings and levels of courtly influence on Theodosius II’s (r. 408-450) decision-making, but also, through analysis of the material by using modern theories, to gain a deeper understanding of the courtly structures, power, and dynamics at play at his court in Constantinople.

The soldier’s life: martial virtues and hegemonic masculinity in the early Byzantine Empire

Armed-horseman - Late Roman Empire

This dissertation argues that martial virtues and images of the soldier’s life represented an essential aspect of early Byzantine masculine ideology. It contends that in many of the visual and literary sources from the fourth to the seventh centuries CE, conceptualisations of the soldier’s life and the ideal manly life were often the same.

Bright Beginnings: Jewish Christian Relations in the Holy Land, AD 400-700

Christian Jewish Conversion scene

This paper shows that Christian and Jewish relations in the Holy Land between the fourth and seventh centuries, according to the archaeological evidence, were characterized by peaceful co-existence.

Warriors and warfare: ideal and reality in early insular texts

Viking Warfare

This thesis investigates several key aspects of warfare and its participants in the Viking Age insular world via a comparison of the image which warriors occupy in heroic literature to their concomitant depiction in sources which are primarily nonliterary in character, such as histories, annalistic records, and law codes.

Did a Megadrought force the Huns to invade Europe?

During La Niña, sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific are below average, and temperatures in the western tropical Pacific are above average. This pattern is evident in this temperature anomaly image for November 2007.

The worst megadrought in the last 2000 years hit Central Asia around 360 AD, new study finds

“I, too, am a Christian”: early martyrs and their lives in the late medieval and early modern Irish manuscript tradition

Irish Saints

This paper examines part of that future: late medieval and early modern Gaelic Irish devotion to the early Christian martyrs as evidenced in the vernacular manuscript tradition.

Theodora, Aetius of Amida, and Procopius: Some Possible Connections


Behind the purported facts of Theodora’s career as a common prostitute and later as empress are the hidden details of what we might call feminine pharmacology: what were the drugs used by prostitutes and call-girls in sixth-century Byzan- tium? Were there ordinary pharmaceuticals employed by such professionals to stay in business?

Theoderic the Great vs. Boethius: Tensions in Italy in the Late 5th and Early 6th Centuries

Theodoric the Great

In 524AD the Roman senator Boethius was executed for committing treason against Theoderic the Great, the ruling gothic king in Italy. Boethius was never given a trial, and the charge of treason may have been an exaggeration of what actually happened.

Merovingian and Carolingian Empires: An Analysis of Their Strengths and Weaknesses

Merovingian rulers Guntram and Childebert II, from the Grandes Chroniques de France.

In this research paper I will analyze the achievements and the destruction of the Merovingian Empire to demonstrate how both provide a basic structure of government for the Carolingians to adopt.

Crisis of Legitimacy: Honorius, Galla Placidia, and the Struggles for Control of the Western Roman Empire, 405-425 C.E.

The Favorites of the Emperor Honorius, by John William Waterhouse, 1883.

This dissertation offers a new analytical narrative of the years from 405 to 425 C.E., a period which extends from the final phase of the general Stilicho’s control over the administration of the emperor Honorius

The Enigma of the Picts


Yet superficially the subject does not seem so problematical. The task in hand is that of identifying the general political, linguistic and cultural personality of the people, or peoples, who lived to the north of the Forth- Clyde line from the first century B.C. (around when the first historical details were collected) to the ninth century A.D. (when the Pictish kingdom disappeared).

Illustrated Octateuch Manuscripts: A Byzantine Phenomenon


Illustrated Octateuch Manuscripts: A Byzantine Phenomenon John Lowden The Old Testament in Byzantium: Selected papers from a symposium held Dec. 2006, Dumbarton Oaks Abstract The first recorded use of the word Ὀκτάτευχος (literally “eight books”) was by Prokopios of Gaza (d. 538), who called a volume of his biblical commentary Exegeses of the Octateuch (Εἰς τὴν […]

Fifth-century massacre discovered by Swedish archaeologists

Swedish massacre site from the 5th century - photo courtesy Lund University

Archaeologists in Sweden have uncovered the site where hundreds of people may have been killed in a brutal massacre.

Was Theoderic a Great Builder?

Brick with the emblem of Theodoric, found in the temple of Vesta, Rome. It reads "+REG(nante) D(omino) N(ostro) THEODE/RICO [b]O[n]O ROM(a)E", which translates as With our master Theodoric the Good reigning in Rome [this brick was made].

Or was he a great recycler?

medievalverse magazine