Szczecin: Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes

View of the castle taken from the top of St. Jakub’s Basilica. (Photo by

My visit to Berlin included a quick stop across the border to Poland, to visit Szczecin and the Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes.

Genoa: The cog in the new medieval economy

View of Genoa by Christoforo de Grassi (after a drawing of 1481)

Journalist and author Nicholas Walton writes about medieval Genoa’s economy, trade and role in the Black Death. Walton recently published a book on Genoese history entitled, “Genoa: La Superba”

The Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson

Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson

My book review of Robin Hood tale, Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson.

Movie Review: Tristan and Isolde

Tristan and Isolde, starring James Franco and Sophia Myles.

As far as medieval movies go, Tristan and Isolde definitely isn’t the worst I’ve seen. I was looking for a movie to watch after work, and I thought, hey, James Franco, Sophia Moyles, Henry Cavill, and Rufus Sewell, all directed by Ridley Scott?! – this can’t be that bad. Well, it was pretty bad, but it wasn’t the worst 2 hours of my life. So what went wrong?

BOOK REVIEW: Genoa ‘La Superba’: The Rise and Fall of a Merchant Pirate Superpower by Nicholas Walton

Book cover: Genoa ‘La Superba’: The Rise and Fall of a Merchant Pirate Superpower by Nicholas Walton

While most books about Italy have been dedicated to tourist hubs like Milan, Florence, Rome, Sicily and Venice, Genoa with its rich history, rugged landscape, and tenacious residents, has been given only a passing mention.

Final Month to See British Library’s Magna Carta Exhibit

Magna Carta, London copy, 1215, on display in Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy. Photography © British Library. Cotton Augustus II. 106

It’s August, and summer has begun its inevitable wind down. Unfortunately, this means the British Library’s spectacular exhibit, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty and Legacy is winding down as well. This is the final month to catch a glimpse of the famous 800 year old document before the exhibit comes to a close on September 1st.

Magna Carta Conference Offers New Insights Into The 800-year-old Document

British Library's Magna Carta, photo credit Joseph Turp

Magna Carta just celebrated its 800th birthday this past Monday. In honour of this incredible milestone, King’s College London, and the Magna Carta Project, hosted a 3 day conference dedicated to this historic document.

Foundation Myths in Medieval and Renaissance Italy

Plaque of Regola, the VII rione of Rome. (

The 3 papers featured here looked at the development of the civic identities of Florence, Genoa and Rome through art, architecture and foundation legends.

Bishops and Their Towns

City of Lucca, Italy. Image via Flickr by bongo vongo.

Another #KZOO2015 post – this one examines Bishops and Their Towns.

KZOO 2015: Session #42 – Magna Carta in Context

British Library's Magna Carta, photo credit Joseph Turp

This coming week I’ll be featuring summaries on some of my favourites sessions and papers from #KZOO2015. I kicked off my first session on Thursday with the Magna Carta.

Magna Carta: The Road to Runnymede

This is one of the two Magna Carta owned by the British Library (c) The British Library Board

A look at the creation of the British Library’s Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition.

Philippa Langley: The End of Richard III and the Beginning of Henry I

Philippa Langley placing a rose on Richard's casket. Will Johnston - Leicester Cathedral.

Amidst all the excitement, and the whirlwind that was Richard III’s reburial in Leicester, I managed to catch up with one of the world’s most famous Ricardians, ‘the Kingfinder’, Philippa Langley.

BOOKS: Medieval Ireland


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

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.

10 Cool Medieval Things to See at the Musée de Cluny

Ivory Bishop's crozier - Musée de Cluny, Paris

I just visited Muée de Cluny this week while in Paris and picked out a few fabulous items you might want to check out on your next visit to this amazing medieval museum!

The Anglo-Saxon War-Culture and The Lord of the Rings: Legacy and Reappraisal

The Lord of the Rings - Aragorn

The literature of war in English claims its origin from the Homeric epics, and the medieval accounts of chivalry and the crusades.

Intersex in the Middle Ages

Statue of Hermaphrodite - Louvre

A brief look at how the medieval world viewed the Intersex individual.

Medieval Books for Christmas

The Middle Ages - Johannes Fried

It’s that time of year again – the mad scramble for the perfect Christmas gift for the historian, nerd, avid reader on your list. Here are a few suggestions for you – new releases for December and January!

Vice, Tyranny, Violence, and the Usurpation of Flanders (1071) in Flemish Historiography from 1093 to 1294

Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders & Hainaut

The earliest sources of the history of medieval Flanders do not agree on the origins of the counts. The earliest source, the so-called “Genealogy of Arnold [I],” credibly traces the counts’ origin to Baldwin I “Iron Arm,”…

Latin Grammar in the Cathedral School: Fulbert of Chartres, Bonipert of Pécs, and the Way of a Lost Priscian Manuscript

Priscian, or the Grammar, relief from the bell tower of Florence by Luca della Robbia

The starting point of the classical tradition in medieval Hungary is marked by a letter written by Bishop Fulbert of Chartres in Northern France to Bishop Bonipert of Pécs in Southern Hungary.

What Remains: Women, Relics and Remembrance in the Aftermath of the Fourth Crusade

The Fourth Crusade - the capture of Constantinople

After the fall of Constantinople to the Latin Crusaders in 1204 hundreds of relics were carried into the West as diplomatic gifts, memorabilia and tokens of victory. Yet many relics were alsosent privately between male crusaders and their spouses and female kin.

The Heraldic Casket of Saint Louis in the Louvre

King Louis IX - Sainte Chappelle

The Casket of Saint Louis invokes political and social networks and events relating to the Capetian dynasty in the years before Louis IX reached his majority.

Places to See: Notre Dame – Part I

Western facade of Notre Dame Cathedral

Part I of my initial visit to stunning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

An Apostolic Vocation: The Formation of the Religious Life for the Dominican Sisters in the Thirteenth Century

Dominican choir nuns of Notre Dame

The Dominican vocation sprang from complex historical understandings of the vita apostolica, and the Dominican women’s religio should be approached as part of these same contexts and perceptions.

Picturing Maternal Anxiety in the Miracle of the Jew of Bourges

2 scenes from the Miracle of the Jewish Boy from Bourges, Lincoln Cathedral (

During the middle ages, one of the most popular and most frequently illustrated Miracles of the Virgin Mary was the Miracle of the Jew of Bourges. According to the text of the miracle, the Virgin saves a young Jewish boy after his father throws him into a fiery oven upon learning he attended a Christian mass.

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