Book: Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty - Dan Jones

Here are a few recent releases for medievalists hunting for Black Friday books and early Christmas gifts!

These are beautiful words to understand

15th century image of Venice by Erhardum Reüwich de Trajecto and Bernhard von Breydenbach

‘If those who wound felt the pain of those who are wounded, they could not often wound with pleasure.’

Down to the Last Stitch: Sumptuary Law and Conspicuous Consumption in Renaissance Italy

Detail from “The Adimari Cassone,” Giovanni di Ser Giovanni Guidi, called Lo Scheggia,( c. 1443–50)

Fashion and luxury were very important in Italian Renaissance society. One’s appearance indicated more than whether one was simply attractive, it also indicated one’s social standing.

Machiavelli and Botticelli Movies to Hit the Screen in 2016

Machiavelli The Prince by Lorenzo Raveggi.

Machiavelli and Botticelli are set to hit screens in 2016. We sat down to chat with Italian director, Lorenzo Raveggi about his two ambitious projects.

Movie Review: Dangerous Beauty

Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) kisses her lover, Marco Vernier (Rufus Sewell) in, "Dangerous Beauty".

Late 16th century Venice, where a woman can be a nun, a wife or a courtesan. For Veronica Franco, the free spirited girl scorned by because of her lack of wealth, the choice is an obvious one…

The Justinianic Reconquest of Italy: Imperial Campaigns and Local Responses

Gothic war map - created by Cplakidas / Wikicommons

This article examines a particular aspect of Justinian’s campaigns against the Ostrogoths in Italy, one that is often overlooked, yet one that is essential to the understanding of these wars

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”

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.

International trade and institutional change: Medieval Venice’s response to globalization

Venice in 1565 - Venice, engraving by Hogenberg and Braun from the Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Venice has always presented two faces. As a great medieval trading centre its wealth was used to build not only beautiful architecture, but also remarkably modern institutions.

Angels in Art: Angels Through the Ages

Quinten Massys - The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels (1506-1509)

A look at cool and fun facts about angels and how they were depicted in some of the most beautiful works of Medieval and Renaissance art.

Caterina Sforza’s Experiments with Alchemy

Caterina Sforza

She collected over four hundred alchemical, medicinal, and cosmetic recipes, and corresponded with other alchemical adepts about materials and laboratory techniques.

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.

Dyes, Diets and Deodorants: Venetian Beauty Secrets Revealed

Paris Bordon, Venetian Women at their Toilet, about 1545. These 2 women fit the blonde, pale, dedicated featured and small chested look prized by Venetians at the end of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

If you think it’s hard to keep up a beauty regime now, wait until you see what lengths the Venetians went to in order to be beautiful!

Beyond the Medical Text: Health and Illness in Early Medieval Italian Sources

Coin of Liutprand, King of the Lombards

The vast majority of surviving evidence for health care, medicine and attitudes to illness in early medieval northern Italy comes not from traditional medical texts, but legal, hagiographical and archaeological sources.

Quiz: The Italian Renaissance

Italian renaissance quiz

Test your knowledge of the Italian Renaissance!

Bishops and Their Towns

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

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

Quiz: Politics and the State in the Renaissance, 1450-1521

Florence a 1500

This quiz tests your knowledge of the Italian city-states during the Renaissance.

Why did Attila leave Italy?

16th century paingint by Raphael showing the Meeting between Leo the Great and Attila depicts Leo, escorted by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, meeting with the Hun king outside Rome.

Reporting on the paper ‘Attila’s Appetite: The Logistics of Attila the Hun’s Invasion of Italy in 452′, by Jason Linn, given at the International Congress on Medieval Studies

Renaissance Splendors in L.A.

Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts - photo by Danielle Trynoski

Danielle Trynoski takes in the new Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts exhibit at the Getty Center in Lost Angeles

10 Cool Facts about Saint Catherine

Caravaggio (1598) - Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Saint Catherine of Alexandria and her wheel have been well recognized symbols since the beginning of the Middle Ages. Here are 10 interesting tidbits about Saint Catherine:

Books of Art: 20 Medieval and Renaissance Women Reading

Saints Christina and Ottilia by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1506)

I love to read. I also love books depicted in art. I became fascinated with Medieval and Renaissance pictures of women reading or with books. I noticed while I was walking around the National Gallery, Musèe Cluny and the Louvre recently that there are many beautiful images of women reading or with books. Saints, sinners, and laywomen; I wanted to share a few of my favourites. Here are 20 works of art of women and their books

Teenage Rebellion in the Middle Ages: How Salimbene de Adam became a Franciscan

Fransicans - by José Benlliure y Gil (1855–1937)

It is a popular story – the teenage son defying his parents and doing something very rebellious. It could be using drugs, getting a tattoo, or falling into with the wrong type of people. Back in the thirteenth-century, the rebellious son might become a Franciscan!

Sacerdos et Predicator: Franciscan ‘Experience’ and the Cronica of Salimbene de Adam


The Chronicle of the thirteenth-century Franciscan friar Salimbene de Adam is filled with an abundance of self-referential passages.

Getty Museum opens Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts exhibition

Cutting from an antiphonal - Cutting from an antiphonal, early 16th century. Master B.F. (Italian, active about 1495 - 1510). Tempera and gold leaf on parchment. 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. 2009.5. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 104

The J. Paul Getty Museum has opened its newest exhibition – Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts – which brings together 25 works including illuminated manuscripts, paintings and drawings that showcases the beautiful artistic production taking place in cities such as Milan and Ferrara during the 15th century.

Lightning Strikes in Medieval Florence

lightning in Italy - photo by Jerry Riedl/ Flickr

Luca Landucci writes about lightning strikes in 15th century Florence.

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