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”

Qur’an manuscript discovered in England could be over 1400 years old

oldest quran manuscript - photo courtesty University of Birmingham

Experts at the University of Birmingham believe they have discovered a manuscript of the Qur’an that is at least 1370 years old, making it the oldest known copy of the Islamic Holy Book.

A Comparative Analysis of the Concepts of Holy War and the Idealized Topos of Holy Warrior In Medieval Anatolian And European Sources

story of the crusaders

This thesis focuses on the relations between the idea of holy war and the portrayals of holy warriors in medieval narratives composed by those in the service of power-holders.

David Nirenberg on ‘Religion and Violence’

David Nirenberg

Do the respective claims of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic holy texts contribute to the violence between the various communities that read them? Or do they provide a basis for solidarity between the three Abrahamic religions?

Imagining Islam: The Role of Images in Medieval Depictions of Muslims

Song of Roland

Instead, one finds accurate, even rather compassionate accounts of Islamic theology side by side with bizarre, antagonistic, and even hateful depictions of Muslims and their belief.

Women’s role in politics in the medieval Muslim world

Illustration from a 19th  century edition of "One Thousand and One Nights"

The objective of this paper will be to demonstrate in what ways medieval women (the upper-class women) of the Middle East made themselves visible and wielded influence or power over affairs of the state.

The First Arab Siege of Constantinople

Konstantinos Kaldis - View of Constantinople - 1851

The details of the siege remain, however, shrouded in mystery: its exact dates (670–7 or 674–8?) and length (4 or 7 years?) are a matter of controversy; it is disputed whether the Arabs subjected Constantinople to a regular siege or only to a naval blockade; and the overall logic of events is far from clear.

Islamophobia, the First Crusade and the Expansion of Christendom to Islamic World

first crusade battle

Through the description of the First Crusade, mostly from the Western sources, this paper is intended to show that it was the Pope who systematically sown the seeds of Islamophobia among Western Christians so that they will realise his vision of expanding his Imperial Christendom to the Islamic World.

‘De civitatis utriusque, terrenae scilicet et caelestis’: Foundation Narratives and the Epic Portrayal of the First Crusade

Siege of Antioch - from a 15th-century miniature painting.

My summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical research on the accounts of Antioch and Jerusalem during the First Crusade.

The Morality of Misogyny: The Case of Rustico Filippi, Vituperator of Women

Gherardo di Giovanni del Fora (Florentine, 1444/45-1497), Chaste Women in a Landscape, Probably 1480s,

At the outset of his influential study on Rabelais, Mikhail Bakhtin makes an interesting observation. The scholar dedicates several pages to detail how the French author’s critical reception changed over time. Bakhtin illustrates how the attempt to comprehend an author can frequently be stymied by the cultural changes that occur across the centuries.

A Treasury of Virtues – Sayings of the Caliph ‘Ali

One Hundred Sayings by Ali (Walters MS 615)

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 40 H/661 AD) was one of the most important figures in early Islamic history.

Early copy of the Qur’an discovered

early copy of quran

Researchers in Germany have discovered that a manuscript of Qur’an written between 20 and 40 years after the Prophet Muhammad’s death, making it one of the earliest copies of the Islamic holy book known to be in existence.

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.

Chingiz Khan: Maker of the Islamic World

Genghis Khan

For centuries Chingiz Khān has been a symbol of barbaric mayhem and murderous plunder, and the unifier of the Turco-Mongol Eurasian tribes has been presented as the archetypal embodiment of evil, a threat to the sedentary civilised world, and the stereotypical steppe marauder.

The Perils of Polygamy in 15th century Cairo

arabic woman

Under medieval Islamic law, a man could marry up to four women. However, if accounts from 15th century Egypt are indicative, it would be rare for such an arrangement to work out for all parties.

Dental and oral diseases in Medieval Persia, lessons from Hedayat Akhawayni

Medieval Islamic dentistry

Persian physicians had a great role in assimilation and expansion of medical sciences during the medieval period and Islamic golden age.

Medicine and surgery in the Livre des Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois de Jérusalem

The Assizes of Jerusalem

The Livre des Assises, written in the thirteenth century in Acre, not only provides insights into the practice of medicine and surgery in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, but also suggests that the licensing and regulation of doctors reflected contemporary Islamic practice.

Banditry and the Clash of Powers in 14th-Century Thrace: Momcilo and his Fragmented Memory

Macedonian-bracelet (Thrace)

In the 14th century, a time of civil wars, religious and dynastic strifes, epidemics, natural disasters and miserable living conditions for the wider strata in the cities and the countryside that increased migratory movements, banditry, an indigenous phenomenon in the Balkan mountainous regions, intermingled with the intensified political struggles.

Rome, New Rome and Baghdad: Pathways of Late Antiquity

Baghdad_150_to_300_AH

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

Race, Periodicity, and the (Neo-) Middle Ages

Late Middle Ages

My goal is to intervene in ongoing discussions of race and periodicity, particularly vis-à-vis medieval culture, in order to investigate the informing role of the medieval and more particularly of medievalisms in the construction, representation, and perpetuation of modern racisms.

Nicolette : action transvestite, or, who and what is the heroine of Aucassin et Nicolette?

Aucassin and Nicolette, 19th-century oil-on-canvas by Marianne Stokes

In this paper, I will show how Nicolette is constantly, deliberately, changing, in appearance and identity, from the beginning of the story, and how she is thus Izzard’s action transvestite.

A Mongol Princess Making hajj: The Biography of El Qutlugh Daughter of Abagha Ilkhan (r. 1265–82)

Mongols Travelling - 14th century image of Illustration of Rashid-ad-Din's Gami' at-tawarih

his study examines in detail the biographical entry of an Ilkhanid (the Mongol state centred in Iran) princess, El Qutlugh Khatun daughter of Abagha Ilkhan (r. 1265–82), in the biographical dictionaries of the Mamluk author Khalil b. Aybeg al-Safadi (d. 1363)

‘That melodious linguist’: Birds in Medieval Christian and Islamic Cosmography

Medieval Birds

“Birds,” writes Albertus Magnus, “generally call more than other animals. This is due to the lightness of their spirits.”

The Muslim Conquest of Byzantine Palestina – Monstrous Invasion or Peaceful Occupation?

Byzantine Palestine. Created by Haldrik

The Persian and Muslim invasions of Palestina brought with them large-scale changes to the whole region

Kissing Cousins: Incest and Sex Change in Tristan de Nanteuil

Chansons de Geste

In this paper I re-examine Blanchandine‘s sex change in light of its relation to the issue of incest; as I will show, incest is directly related to the sex change and also punctuates the narrative at other points. Tristan de Nanteuil depicts two sexual and/or romantic relationships between cousins…

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