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,”…

Flandria Illustrata: Flemish Identities in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period

Jan van Eyck, Annunciation, 1434–1436. Wing from a dismantled triptych. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

This chapter discusses identity formation in early modern Flanders. It argues that policy makers and their intellectual agents transformed the perception of a province that had been divided by urban rivalries, civil war and conflicts with the Burgundian and Habsburg overlords, into a bastion of the Catholic Counter Reformation with strong ties to the Spanish King and his representatives.

Skirts and Politics: The Cistercian Monastery of Harvestehude and the Hamburg City Council

Medieval nun with skirt lifted

In 1482, Catharina Arndes lifted up her skirts in front of the archbishop’s chaplain. She was a respectable townswoman from Hamburg, and her action was carried out in defense of the Cistercian monastery of Harvestehude which was close to the city and where several of Catharina’s nieces lived as nuns.

Intellectual Cartographic Spaces: Alfonso X, the Wise and the Foundation of the Studium Generale of Seville

The University of Seville, est. 1505 - one of the legacies of Alfonso X's 1254 establishment of escuelas generales (general schools).

This dissertation, “Intellectual Cartographic Spaces: Alfonso X, the Wise and the Foundations of the Studium Generale of Seville,” I reevaluate Spain’s medieval history, specifically focusing on the role of Alfonso X and his court in the development of institutions of higher education in thirteenth-century Andalusia.

Bede’s Temple as History

The Venerable Bede Translates John by J. D. Penrose (ca 1902)

Another IHR paper, this time, a talk given about Bede’s writing and his interest in the image of the Temple and its relation to Christianity. This paper also examined how Bede’s views shifted over time. How did Bede view Judaism? Was he truly ambivalent?

Mythical Millenaries: The Victorian Quest for the Historical Alfred

Alfred infiltrates the Danish camp - Pictures of English History: From the Earliest Times to the Present Period (1868)

Now that we are learning to hear Asser’s voice not through the ears of the Victorians, but with our own ears, with no reason at all to fear the voice of an intelligent and sophisticated hagiographer, we will at last be hearing a voice which Alfred himself heard.

Ghost Commandery: Shaping Local Templar Identity in the Cartulary of Provins

templars seal

What makes the case of this cartulary particularly interesting is that the Templar house in Provins was not established until 1193, sixty years after André’s gift. In 1133, there were no Templars living in Champagne at all.

The Norman Conquest of England: The Alternative Histories


We take a look at two alternative histories of the Norman Conquest – Waces’s Roman de Rou and the Vita Haroldi

CONFERENCES: Arnold Fitz Thedmar: an Early London chronicler

London (c. 1650)

Another fascinating paper given at the Institute for Historical Research in central London. For those of you interested in chronicles, urban history and London, this paper was definitely for you. Ian Stone discussed his dissertation about thirteenth century London through the eyes of wealthy Alderman, Arnold Fitz Thedmar.

Constructing memory: holy war in the Chronicle of the Poles by Bishop Vincentius of Cracow


The Chronicle of the Poles by Bishop Vincentius of Cracow is a twelfth-century history of Poland and a recognised masterpiece of medieval scholarship.

Different roles of Empire(s) in the Universal Chronicle of Frutolf of Michelsberg

Chronicles of the Investiture ContestChronicles of the Investiture Contest

Frutolf, a monk of the Benedictine monastery of Michelsberg in Bamberg, wrote five years before his death in 1103 a universal or world chronicle of about 300 folios.

Medieval and Modern Concepts of Race and Ethnicity

medieval people - Harley 2278   f. 29v

In fact, while the language of race in the Middle Ages may often seem primarily concerned with descent groups, a closer look shows that this genetic component was often overshadowed by considerations of a different order.

The Friars Preachers: The First Hundred Years of the Dominican Order


When Dominic of Caleruega began preaching in southern France in the early 1200s, he would have had no idea of the far reaching influence that the band of men he would attract would leave such a broad and enduring influence on medieval history.

Why does Saladin have such good PR in the Medieval West?

Saladin -  by Gustave Doré

The story of Hattin and the Third Crusade is a very good read and it features a splendid duel, indeed almost a tournament, pitting Saladin against Richard the Lionheart. And to this exciting mixture is added a dash of sex

Rome, New Rome and Baghdad: Pathways of Late Antiquity


What I propose to do in this lecture is to discuss some salient features of Late Antiquity as a category in historical studies and then move on to the theme of Islam in Late Antiquity

History as Wonder

medieval wonder

Does the connection of wonder with changes and origins mean that history begins with wonder too?

The Stewart Earls of Orkney and the History of Orkney and Shetland

Orkney Islands - Scotland

The Northern Isles have their own national, or at any rate quasi-national, historical tradition. It is quite separate from that of Scotland, though it is clearly connected to it; and it offers parallels to the nineteenth-century growth in historical consciousness elsewhere in the British Isles.

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.

Galbert of Bruges’ ‘Journal’: From Medieval Flop to Modern Bestseller

The Murder of Charles the Good

Galbert’s text was an utter failure in the Middle Ages. No medieval copies of the journal survive and there is no reason to believe that more than one copy of it every existed during the period.

(Re)casting the Past: The Cloisters and Medievalism

The Cloisters - NYC.

In this essay, I focus on a variety of texts printed using Anglo-Saxon type between 1566 and 1623 in an effort to explore the use of Anglo-Saxon typeface in the early modern period as the use of the Old English language progressed from polemical truncheon to historiographical instrument.

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.

The secret histories of Gregory of Tours

Gregory of Tours

In recent years the spiritual side of Gregory’s Histories has been firmly brought into focus, but the possibility that there may be a political aspect to them and to their literary form has been little considered

The Uses Made of History by the Kings of Medieval England


The kings of medieval England, besides using history for the entertainment of themselves and their courts, turned it to practical purposes. They plundered history-books for precedents and other evidences to justify their claims and acts. They also recognised its value as propaganda, to bolster up their positions at home and strengthen their hands abroad.

CONFERENCES: Count Hugh of Troyes and the Crusading Nexus of Champagne

Image of the First Crusade

This is my summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.

Quid Tacitus . . . ? The Germania and the Study of Anglo-Saxon England


This paper considers the vexed historiography of Tacitus’s Germania and its reception history, first among German and other European historians and then among Anglo-Saxonists.

medievalverse magazine