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.

Shadow of the Sword (The Headsman)

Eddie Marsan as the sleazy, evil Headsman's assistant, Fabio.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau gives us a sympathetic Headsman in Reformation Austria, in the ‘Shadow of the Sword (The Headsman)’.

BOOKS: Medieval Ireland


In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, here are some great books on medieval Ireland!

The Patriarch Alexios Stoudites and the Reinterpretation of Justinianic Legislation against Heretics

Justinian and his attendants - 526-547 AD (Byzantine) San Vitale, Ravenna

Using normative legal sources such as law codes and imperial novels to illuminate Byzantine heresy is a very difficult proposition. One of the great problems in the analysis of Byzantine law in general is that the normative legal sources rarely were adapted to subsequent economic, political, or social conditions.

10 Terrifying Reads for Halloween!

An Examen of Witches

Here are some spooky medieval books for you to celebrate with over Halloween!

Does a Reformation End?: Rethinking Religious Simulation in Sixteenth-Century Italy

The Council of Trent, 1545 - 1563

A paper examining the Italian Reformation.

The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory: the Albigensian Crusade and the Subjugation of the Languedoc

Albigensian Crusade

In March of 1208, Pope Innocent III preached the Albigensian Crusade. The crusade, which covered an area from Agen to Avignon and the Pyrenees to Cahors, initiated a new phase in the already strained relationship between the Catholic Church and the Languedoc.

The Adamites: Hippy Heretics of the Middle Ages


Wandering through forests and hills, some of them fell into such insanity that men and women threw off their clothes and went nude, saying that clothes had been adopted because of the sin of the first parents, but that they were in a state of innocence.

Women, Heresy, and Crusade: Toward a Context for Jacques de Vitry’s Relationship to the Early Beguines


Grundmann‘s search for a founding figure is understandable in light of the problematic nature of Beguine institutional history. Beguine historiography has long struggled with the anomalous lack of clear foundation documents and accounts.

Boundaries in the making – Historiography and the isolation of late medieval Bohemia

Hussite War Wagon - Wagenburg

This paper deals with an episode of early 15th century Bohemian history. During the so-called Hussite wars, a coalition of Catholic powers tried to establish a far-reaching blockade on trade and commerce against the kingdom of Bohemia, which then was considered to be a hotbed of heresy, and to be rebellious against its legitimate ruler and the papal church.

Why Study Heresy in the Later Middle Ages?

Rob Lutton

An interview of Dr. Rob Lutton by Tom O’Loughlin for the University of Nottingham’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies

Catharism and Heresy in Milan

16th century map of Milan

Evidence suggests that heresy in Lombardy proliferated during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a period of upheaval in the structure and form of politics and society, especially in itscapital city. From 1117 Milan operated as a commune, securing independent jurisdiction at thePeace of Constance (1183).

BOOK REVIEWS: “The Chalice” by Nancy Bilyeau

The Chalice

My book review of Nancy Bilyeau’s, “The Chalice”.

The Spread Out of Arianism: A Critical Analysis of the Arian Heresy

Constantine and Arianism

On this paper I will focus on the Arian heresy, trying to show how this heresy spread out on the Roman Empire and how it kept his strength for many century on the spiritual formation of some people.

Herb-workers and Heretics: Beguines, Bakhtin and the Basques


During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the word beguine was used by women to identify themselves as members of a wide-spread and influential women’s movement. The same term was used by their detractors and overt opponents, with the highly charged negative meaning of “heretic.” The etymology of the term “beguine” and ultimate origins of the movement have never been satisfactorily explained.

A Heresy of State: Philip the Fair, the Trial of the ‘Perfidious Templars,’ and the Pontificalization of the French Monarchy

Interrogation Of Jacques De Molay - 19th century image

This article provides an outline for a new interpretation of the trial of the Templars, with special attention to the texts written by the instigators of the case, namely, Philip the Fair and his ministers.

Preaching and Heretics: The Medieval Public Sphere


To counter Habermas’ theory with regards to the medieval public sphere, we look to two scholars and their written works: David D’Avray’s The Preaching of the Friars: Sermons Diffused from Paris before 1300 and R.I. Moore’s book called The War on Heresy and an article written by him called Literacy and the Making of Heresy c. 1000 – c. 1150.

Legal Centralization and the Birth of the Secular State

witch burning

This paper investigates the relationship between the historical process of legal centralization and increased religious toleration by the state. We develop a model in which legal centralization leads to the criminalization of the religious beliefs of a large proportion of the population.

Lay Preaching and the Lollards of Norwich Diocese, 1428-1431


The following case-study of Lollards in Norwich diocese is in two parts. The basis for the study is a collection of records of heresy trials in the diocese of Norwich from 2 1428 to 1431.

The Orthodox Heresies: ‘Lollardy’ and Medieval Culture

John Wycliffe's bones being burnt in 1428. From John Foxe's book (1563)

This is not Margery Kempe’s first run-in with the law. Already, she has been accused multiple times of heresy, of wantonness, and of being a general pest.

Devil Worship in the Middle Ages

The Devil and witches

Probably the most reasonable explanation of the Devil worship phenomenon at this time is a combination of both of these hypotheses. Lingering ideas of pre-Christian cults of Diana and the Homed God became entwined with the doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning evil.

Simoniaca Heresis

Gregory the great

With Gregory the Great (pope, 590–604) the expression simoniaca heresis becomes a frequently used phrase.

Why Cats were hated in Medieval Europe

medieval cats

Cats in medieval Europe mostly had a bad reputation – they were associated with witches and heretics, and it was believed that the devil could transform himself into a black cat.

Sickness and Sin: Medicine, Epidemics and Heresy in the Middle Ages

Medieval medicine 2

Disease was more common, as already unsanitary populations grew more crowded, culminating with the devastating Black Death. With mostly Church chronicles telling the story, and a sense of religion underlying everyday life, comparisons were bound to be drawn between plagues and unruly dissent. On the one hand sickness of the body and the other a corruption of the mind.

Women on Trial: Piecing Together Women’s Intellectual Worlds from Courtroom Testimony

Medieval woman being burned at the stake

To tease out these issues, I would like to offer an analysis of a specific set of criminal records from the city of Toulouse in the later Middle Ages. In recent years, many scholars have attempted to gain access to the lives of women in medieval Languedoc.

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