Swan you say? Medieval Feasting!

Medieval feast

A guest post on medieval food and feasting in the Middle Ages by author Regan Walker.

Did People Ice Skate in the Middle Ages?

Medieval ice skates made of bone on display at the Museum of London. Photo by Steven G. Johnson, Wikipedia.

How did medieval people pass the time during the coldest part of the year? I came across several instances of medieval people strapping on skates and taking a twirl (or a tumble!) on the ice. Here is how it all began!

Florentine merchant companies established in Buda at the beginning of the 15th century

Buda during the Middle Ages, woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)

The scope of the present article is to analyze the activity of these merchant companies through various sources housed by the Florentine National Archives and place them in the context of Florentine long distance trade.

Prostitution in the Medieval City

Brothel scene; Brunswick Monogrammist, 1537; Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Prostitution was a vice that was was considered a necessary evil because of “men’s lust”. Ecclesiastics felt that if brothels weren’t available to men in cities, they would find other inappropriate outlets for their entertainment. In an effort to curb potential problems, civic officials permitted prostitution to function within the city walls so long as it was regulated and turned a profit.

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.

Renaissance Contacts Between Dubrovnik (Ragusa) and the Kingdom of Hungary

Coat of Arms of King Louis I of Hungary - a talisman of good luck.

During the rule of the Angevin dynasty (1308-82) in Hungary, towns and cities increasingly assumed greater political influence. The first treaty between the King of Hungary and Dubrovnik (in those days Ragusa) was signed in 1358, during the reign of Louis (Lajos) the Great.

Slippery When Wet: Madness and Eroticism in the Countess Elizabeth Bathory


The Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a 16th century Hungarian noblewoman, is purported to have killed and bathed in the blood of 600 virgin girls

Dynastic Intrigues and Domestic Realities during the Reigns of Andrew I and Bela I

King Béla I of Hungary

In the mid-1030s, the cousin of King Stephen I of Hungary, Prince Vazul (the son of Michael, the younger brother of Geza, Stephen’s father) conspired to assassinate the elderly and ailing king.

Hungary’s Conversion to Christianity: The Establishment of Hungarian Statehood and its Consequences to the Thirteenth Century

Mummified right hand of Stephen I of Hungary - canonized in 1083 A.D.

The Carpathian Basin occupies a peculiar place in history. It was the ground where Roman-Germanic world met that of the Slavs and mounted nomad peoples, where no group had achieved sustained unity before the state of Hungary was founded.

The Journey of Charles I, King of Hungary, from Visegrád to Naples (1333): Its Political Implications and Artistic Consequences

Charles I King of Hungary and Croatia

The aim of this article is to reconstruct the journey of Charles I, King of Hungary (1310– 1342), from Visegrád to Naples in the year 1333.

The Visit of King Sigismund to England, 1416

King Sigismund of Luxemburg

In their chapter-length account of Sigismund’s visit to England in 1416, James Hamilton Wylie and William Templeton Waugh remark that, though this was the first and only visit by a Holy Roman Emperor to England during the Middle Ages, aside from an immediate political gain, in the treaty signed by Sigismund and Henry V to defend each other against the French, the impact in terms of anecdote or literature is virtually nil; and they conclude somewhat ironically, “The most notable momento of Sigismund’s stay in England is his sword, which is now one of the insignia of the corporation of York.”

The Magyar Raids: Fact and Fable

Hungarian Conquest of the Carpathian Basin, from the Chronicon Pictum, 1360.

What is important is that the movement of some 200,000 men, women and children, and maybe more, with their herds of horses; cows; camels, sheep and goats and even pigs was done in an orderly, organized fashion that needs further research.

The Origins of the Tale of the Blood Drinking Hungarians

Excerpt from the Gesta Hungarorum

The motif of the covenant of blood was quite widespread in West European chronicle literature, and it was not necessarily applied to Oriental peoples, nor particularly to Hungarians.

Life in the Pauline Monasteries of Late Medieval Hungary

St. Paul the Hermit - Pauline Order

The Pauline order emerged in the second half of the thirteenth century and became one of the most popular religious communities of medieval Hungary.

Manuel II Palaeologus in Paris (1400-1402): Theology, Diplomacy, and Politics


The end of the fourteenth century found the Byzantine Empire in a critical state.

Floods and weather in 1342 and 1343 in the Carpathian Basin

Concerning weather, weather-related extremes and catastrophic consequences, 1342 was an extraordinary year in most parts of Central Europe, even in such an extraordinary decade as the 1340s. Accounting with the seven flood events (including one Danube flood) mainly of great magnitude, at present 1342 is the most important known flood year of medieval Hungary.

Reconsidering Agatha, Wife of Eadward the Exile

Edward the Exile/Edward Aetheling

The antecedents of Agatha, wife of Eadward the Exile and ancestress of Scottish and English monarchs since the twelfth century and their countless descendants in Europe and America, have been the subject of much dispute…

Stealing the King’s Crown

Crown of Saint Stephen of Hungary

In the year 1440, a servant woman named Helene Kottanner is given the task of stealing the crown of the King of Hungary. Helene tells us how she did it.

Janos Hunyadi: Preventing the Ottomans from Conquering Western Europe in the Fifteenth Century

Janos Hunyadi - hand-colored woodcut in Johannes de Thurocz's Chronicle Chronica Hungarorum, Brno, 1488.

By using his experiences gained in the condottiere wars in Italy and in the Hussite Wars in Bohemia, he was able to defend the Hungarian borders, and successfully attacked the Turks on their territory

Understanding Pestilence in the Times of King Matthias

The Black Death 2

Even if medieval medicine was revealed to be powerless by the mass-scale epidemics of the mid-fourteenth century, the Black Death was far from ending the career of university-trained physicians or the continuation of their art.

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