VIDEO: Female Sufis in the Medieval Period

Hafiz Poems - Medieval Islamic Manuscript (Public Domain)

Dr. Lloyd Ridgeon talks about the role of Sufi women in the medieval period. Ridgeone examines positive and negative portrayals of Sufi women in a wide range of texts.

Creating a crusader saint: Canute Lavard and others of that ilk

Canute Lavard (died 1131), Danish prince and saint. Medieval painting in the church of Vigersted, Denmark. Photographer: Fredrik Tersmeden, Lund, Sweden (2002)

In the Middle Ages, saints were invoked before great, decisive battles, they sometimes participated directly themselves, and they did so more and more often after the eleventh and especially the twelfth century.

The Seafarers’ Saint: Medieval Representations of St Nicholas in the North Sea Area

Ragnhild Bo

The cult of St Nicholas was spread in Scandinavia in the last decades of the 11th and the first decades of the 12th centuries. Because the medieval cult of saints was not limited to the liturgy of the saints themselves, but was a wider social phenomenon.

I, Robot Saint

i robot

While it’s easy to think of the Middle Ages as a backward time in which everyone struggled with the most basic things, medieval people were no strangers to some pretty cool technology, including robots.

The ‘Miracle of Childbirth’: The Portrayal of Parturient Women in Medieval Miracle Narratives

14th century birth scene, from British Library Royal 2 B VII   f. 48

This paper explores how tales of difficult births found in medieval miracle narratives can contribute to our understanding of the experience of pregnancy and childbirth in twelfth-century England.

How Many Medieval Saints Are There?

Medieval saints in British Library MS Additional 16997  f. 137

Even a quick glance at medieval history will reveal that there are A LOT of saints from the Middle Ages. How many are there? The short answer is that we don’t know exactly, and that the number is still growing.

Kissing Heaven’s Door: the Medieval Legend of Judas Iscariot

The Betrayal with Judas kissing Christ and soldiers standing by.  British Library Harley 1782   f. 6v

When we consider Judas Iscariot as he appears in the Bible in modern terms, we might think along the lines of a pantomime villain.

Miracles from Medieval Iceland

saint thorlak - 15th century image of the saint, now found in the National Museum of Iceland - photo from Youtube

The first saint from Iceland was Thorlak Thorhallsson. The saga of his life reveals dozens of the miracles that were attributed to him after his death. Here are ten of these miracles, which reveal much about religion and daily life in medieval Iceland.

Cuthbert, Guthlac and the Life of St Antony

st anthony

Christians far from Egypt have drawn inspiration from the Life of St Antony, including England’s two most popular pre-Conquest hermit saints

Holy and Unholy Miracle Workers

Byzantine Magic

Examining the miracles of Byzantine saints

Katherine of Alexandria: Decline of an Empire

Katherine martyred on the wheel

According to hagiographers, (C)Katherine was a princess, the daughter of Roman governor named Constus. She was well educated, beautiful and highly intelligent. She converted to Christianity at the age of 13 or 14 and caught the eye of the Roman Emperor, Maxentius (278-318 AD).

Top Ten Superheroes of the Middle Ages

Medieval Superheroes

Even in medieval times they had stories and legends about people with extraordinary gifts – saints and warriors with special powers. Here is our list of ten superheroes from the Middle Ages.

10 Cool Facts about Saint Catherine

Caravaggio (1598) - Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Saint Catherine of Alexandria and her wheel have been well recognized symbols since the beginning of the Middle Ages. Here are 10 interesting tidbits about Saint Catherine:

Christians in the amphitheater? The ‘Christianization’ of spectacle buildings and martyrial memory

Sant Agnese in Agone  - Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778)

This article presents an overview of the archaeological evidence for Christian spaces inside spectacle buildings – stadia, hippodromes, theaters and amphitheaters.

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

The Medieval Saints of Sweden and Denmark

Parchment fragment of a medieval church book. Photo: Sara Ellis Nilsson/University of Gothenburg.

There is a clear link between the celebration of native saints and the ecclesiastical organisation that emerged in Scandinavia in the 12th century. Yet, according to a new doctoral thesis in history from the University of Gothenburg, important differences can be noted between Sweden and Denmark.

Which Irish Saint Are You?

irish saints

Brendan, Columba, Patrick – find out which Irish Saint you are most like!

The Life of St. Sabas the Younger as a Source for The History of the Catalan Grand Company

grand catalan company

A piece of Byzantine hagiography from the fourteenth century which, in spite of its religious character, is a valuable source for the history of the Catalan Grand Company, Roger de Flor’s famous band of Spanish mercenaries hired by the Byzantine emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282-1328) to fight the Turks in Anatolia.

A Viking Pacifist? The Life of St Magnus in Saga, Novel, and Opera

The statue of St Magnus of Orkney -  photo by Mike Atherton

Vikings settled in, and ruled, many parts of the British Isles and Ireland, but of these areas only the Norse earldom of Orkney has a whole Icelandic saga devoted to its early history.

A Hagiographical Reading of Egils saga

Egil

When the literary presentation of the character of Egill is examined carefully with an eye toward the hagiographical paradigm, one can see that it matches the presentation of a bishop’s life and character…

The Original Placement of the Hereford Map

Hereford_Mappa_Mundi_1300

This paper relies on new masonry and dendrochronological evidence and the system of medieval ecclesiastical preferments to argue that this monumental world map was originally exhibited in 1287 next to the first shrine of St Thomas Cantilupe in Hereford Cathedral’s north transept.

Shaping a Saint’s Identity: The Imagery of Thomas Becket in Medieval Italy

Venetian workshop, Martyrdom and Elevatio animae of Thomas Becket, third quarter of the 13th century, wall-painting. Treviso, Diocesan Museum

This article sets out to trace the visual responses to the sainthood of Thomas of Canterbury outside of his original cultural context, namely in Italy, where his cult was readily received, integrated and modified.

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