Small-town life in a late medieval Burgundy: the case of Cluny

Town of Cluny - photo by Ludovic Péron / Wikimedia Commons

To serve the domestic needs of the mother community, a town grew up at the gates of the abbey in which traders and merchants, men of law and craftsmen of all sorts soon established themselves.

New Location for the Battle of Crécy discovered

Proposed site of the Battle of Crecy, showing the English and French approaches to the battlefield and the site of the English wagenburg and defensive ditch upon the site of the Herse, superimposed upon the modern topography. Image courtesy Michael Livingston

For over 250 years it has been believed that the Battle of Crécy, one of the most famous battles of the Middle Ages, was fought just north of the French town of Crécy-en-Ponthieu in Picardy. Now, a new book that contains the most intensive examination of sources about the battle to date, offers convincing evidence that the fourteenth-century battle instead took place 5.5 km to the south.

‘The boldest and most remarkable feat ever performed by a woman’: Fiery Joanna and the Siege of Hennebont

Fierry Joanna leads the charge - from La Bretagne ancienne, published in 1859

It ranks as one of the most fascinating stories from the 14th century, one that chroniclers of that time relished in telling and historians have ever since recounted.

Rollo, Viking Count of Normandy

Statue of Rollo in Falaise - photo by Michael Shea

n recounting what is known of Viking history and the sagas which were written about in the Middle Ages, Clements tells the story of Hrolf the Walker, otherwise known as Rollo or Rolf.

Making Identities in the Hundred Years War: Aquitaine, Gascony and Béarn

Jean Froissart and Espaing de Lyon on their way; Gaston Phébus receiving them

This paper focuses on three phases in which political issues played crucial roles to make Gascon identities in the time of the Hundred Years War.

‘Virile Strength In A Feminine Breast’: Women, Hostageship, Captivity, And Society In The Anglo-French World, C. 1000- C.1300

Empress Matilda

My interest in the relationship between hostage- and captive-taking practices and gender originally arose out of the idea for a much grander project about women and warfare.

Castle for Sale in France: Chateau d’Arcine

Chateau Arcine 2

This medieval castle, which dates back to the 11th century, is located on the French-Swiss border.

Avalanches in the Middle Ages

Avalanches in the Middle Ages - photo by Scientif38/ Wikicommons

One of the dangers a medieval traveller might face when crossing through mountainous terrain is the threat of avalanches.

The Strange Mystery Of The King’s Head: Henry IV of France (1553-1610)

Henry IV head

This paper reexamines the claims which were made in both the documentary and a subsequent book on the subject and, with respect, challenges the conclusions made by the investigators.

Medieval Emergencies and the Contemporary Debate

seal Philip IV of France

This article shows that medieval France formulated its own state of exception, meant to deal with emergencies, based on the legal principle of necessity.

Cathar or Catholic: Treading the line between popular piety and heresy in Occitania, 1022-1271

The Murder of St Peter the Martyr, by  Giovanni Bellini

This paper will explain the origins of popular piety and religious reform in medieval Europe before focusing in on two specific movements, the Patarenes and Henry of Lausanne, the first of which became an acceptable form of reform while the other remained a heretic.

Angels in Art: Angels Through the Ages

Quinten Massys - The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels (1506-1509)

A look at cool and fun facts about angels and how they were depicted in some of the most beautiful works of Medieval and Renaissance art.

Hero or Villain?: Two views on Simon de Montfort, Crusade Leader

Death of Simon de Montfort

There is perhaps no better medieval example of the phase ‘Truth is in the eye of the beholder’ than these two versions of the death of Simon de Montfort, the leader of the crusaders during the Albigensian Crusade.

Conflicting Perspectives: Chivalry in Twelfth-Century Historiography

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Division occidentale, Français 226, fol. 256v, Bataille de Tinchebray (1106)

Historians have found the task of defining medieval chivalry to be an elusive task.

The Frankish War-Machine of Charles Martel

Charles Martel in the Battle of Tours - 19th century painting by Charles de Steuben

The Franks had a war-machine that was a highly effective and mobile under the leadership of Charles Martel. It fought from the North Sea in the north to the Mediterranean Sea in the south and from Aquitaine in the west to Bavaria in the east.

Ritualized Violence against Sorcerers in Fifteenth-Century France


These tales of violence and sorcery reveal interesting interactions with renowned sorcerers in villages that had not yet become involved in the witch hunts that were beginning to break out in the mountains in eastern France

The Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

The Great Hours of Anne of Brittany, created between 1503 and 1508 in Tours, France, is undoubtedly a masterpiece of French painting.

Joan of Arc Museum opens in France

Joan of Arc Museum

Those interested in the story of Joan of Arc have a new destination – Rouen, where the Joan of Arc History Centre opened last month, making use of a 15th century Archbishop’s palace that played a role in history of the Maid of Orléans.

Books of Art: 20 Medieval and Renaissance Women Reading

Saints Christina and Ottilia by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1506)

I love to read. I also love books depicted in art. I became fascinated with Medieval and Renaissance pictures of women reading or with books. I noticed while I was walking around the National Gallery, Musèe Cluny and the Louvre recently that there are many beautiful images of women reading or with books. Saints, sinners, and laywomen; I wanted to share a few of my favourites. Here are 20 works of art of women and their books

Trial by Battle in France and England

15th century Normandy, France: duel with swords between plaintiff and defendant. Hand-painted color miniatures with ornate borders. Illustration in: The Costumes de Normandie, ca. 1450-1470 (folio 89).

This dissertation surveys the history of trial by battle in the French-speaking regions of the European continent and England, concentrating on the period between roughly 1050 and 1350 when it was most practiced.

Archaeologists discover medieval castle in France

Viarnes archaeological sites - photo by Denis Gliksman/ Inrap

Archaeologists working at the northern French town of Viarmes have revealed several discoveries, including the remains of a medieval castle and a manor house destroyed in the fourteenth century.

Discovering hidden music in the Bestiary of Love

Elizabeth Eva Leach

Elizabeth Eva Leach speaks on ‘Richard de Fournival Across the Disciplines’

Medieval Mass Grave discovered in Paris

Medieval Mass Grave in Paris  © Denis Gliksman Inrap

Archaeologists in the French capital have discovered more than 200 skeletons on what was once the site of a medieval hospital. It is believed that the remains date between the 14th and 16th centuries.

Castle for Sale: Château de Vigny

castle for sale: chateau de vigny

A beautiful French Renaissance castle on sale for 5.7 million euros.

How a 13th-century royal chapel influenced the history of France

La Crypte de la Sainte Chapelle - photo Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P./ Flickr

UCLA art historian Meredith Cohen and her fascination with the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris

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