An Italian cemetery may provide clues on cholera’s evolution

Field School students excavate human remains buried in the post-medieval churchyard at Badia Pozzeveri - photo courtesy Ohio State University

Burial grounds ‘a thousand-year history’ into human health

How to restore virginity – advice from Caterina Sforza

Caterina Sforza

If you follow the advice of Caterina Sforza, ‘you will see that thing become so narrow that you yourself will be in admiration.’

10 Creepy Things to See at the Louvre That Are Better Than the Mona Lisa

Catherine de Medici - Louvre

If you’re an ancient historian, a medievalist, or early modernist, there are so many other amazing pieces and works of art a the Louvre other than these two tourist staples. Here is my list of cool, creepy, unusual and better than the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris.

From Tempests and Hydraulic Machines to the Arno Diversion: the Historical Significance of da Vinci’s Study of Water

da vinci water

Reemergence of classical thought and the importance of water in society led da Vinci to pursue multiple projects regarding his study of water – culminating in the project to divert the Arno River.

Move over Milan! Late Medieval and Renaissance Fashion in Venice

Cesare Vecellio's Venetian fashion

Milan may be Italy’s current fashion capital, but Venice had an important role to play in the development of the Italian fashion and textile industry since the late middle ages and renaissance period.

The Importance of Being Good: Moral Philosophy in the Italian Universities, 1300–1600

medieval university teaching

This paper therefore explores how important moral philosophy was, during the Italian Renaissance, as an independent university subject, and whether its status had a direct relationship with that of rhetorical studies

Shaping a Saint’s Identity: The Imagery of Thomas Becket in Medieval Italy

Venetian workshop, Martyrdom and Elevatio animae of Thomas Becket, third quarter of the 13th century, wall-painting. Treviso, Diocesan Museum

This article sets out to trace the visual responses to the sainthood of Thomas of Canterbury outside of his original cultural context, namely in Italy, where his cult was readily received, integrated and modified.

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!

Plague Remedies from Renaissance Italy

Renaissance Florence - photo by Francesco Caminiti

‘Rue tops, one clove of garlic, a walnut, a grain of salt, and eat on an empty stomach everyday for up to a month, and you must be cheerful, and this recipe, it’s good against vermin and it’s perfect.

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.

The Sincere Body: The Performance of Weeping and Emotion in Late Medieval Italian Sermons

The Magdalen Weeping - by Master of the Legend of the Magdalen, dated 1525.

In 1493 the well-known and controversial Franciscan preacher Bernardino of Feltre gave a series of Lenten sermons to the people of Pavia. On March 11 he dedicated an entire sermon to the necessity of contrition—or perfect sorrow over sin—in the rite of confession.

CONFERENCES: The Stellinga, the Saxon Elite, and Carolingian Politics

Battle of Fontenoy - The battle as depicted in the fourteenth-century Grandes Chroniques de France. Grandes Chroniques de France, France, Paris, Cote : Français 73 , Fol. 150

This is my summary of a paper presented at the Institute of Historical Research on the causes of the Stellinga uprising in the Carolingian period.

Flee the loathsome shadow: Marsilio Ficino (1433-99) and the Medici in Florence

Marsilio Ficino - (c) Walker Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

This article examines the changing political landscape of Medicean Florence, from Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464) to his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492), through the letters of the celebrated neo-Platonist philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1433-99).

Constructing social identity in Renaissance Florence: Botticelli’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’

Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Brandini (1471) by Botticelli

This study scrutinizes a work within a neglected portion of Botticelli’s oeuvre, examining the ways in which its modest, and somewhat ambiguous, visual cues also construct its sitter’s elevated social identity, while simultaneously protecting it.

Women’s monasticism in late medieval Bologna, 1200-1500

Nuns

This dissertation explores the fluid relationship between monastic women and religious orders. I examine the roles of popes and their representatives, governing bodies of religious orders, and the nunneries themselves in outlining the contours of those relationships.

Petrus Hispanus (circa 1215-1277) and ‘The Treasury of the Poor’

Pope John XXI (Petrus Hispanus)

The identity of Petrus Hispanus is a matter of some controversy. Part of the problem is centred on the fact that ‘Hispanus’ covers the general region of the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in medieval times as ‘las Españas’ (the Spains), incorporating both present day Spain and Portgual.

10 Terrifying Reads for Halloween!

An Examen of Witches

Here are some spooky medieval books for you to celebrate with over Halloween!

The drawings that Michelangelo did not want you to see

Studies for the head of Leda c.1530 - Casa Buonarroti / AGO

There are about 600 drawings by the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo that have survived to the present day – many of them stunningly beautiful – but he would probably have been ‘absolutely horrified’ that the general public can now see them.

Does a Reformation End?: Rethinking Religious Simulation in Sixteenth-Century Italy

The Council of Trent, 1545 - 1563

A paper examining the Italian Reformation.

Profile of a Plant: The Olive in Early Medieval Italy, 400-900 CE

olive

The essay illuminates some of the ways that early medieval Italian communities engaged their environmental inheritance, how they recast the stolid olive to fit local contingencies.

10 Medieval and Renaissance Things to See at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Chest belonging to Elisabetta Gonzaga, 1488. Mantua or Urbino, Italy.

My latest visit to the Victoria and Albert Musuem: 10 Medieval and Renaissance Things to See at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Domestic Slavery in Renaissance Italy

Portrait of an African Slave Woman Annibale Carracci, attrib., ca. 1580s, Walters Art Museum

The ways merchants in Italy differentiated along ethnic and religious lines among the slaves they dealt in sheds light more on how the people of Italy made distinctions among themselves than on the origins and religion of their captives.

The Fashion Police in 16th-century Italy

Renaissance Fashion

Patrolling the streets and squares of the bustling city as arbiters of the level of ostentation that was deemed appropriate, the sumptuary magistrates were quite simply the Fashion Police.

The Floating State: Trade Embargoes and the Rise of a New Venetian State

Neptune offering gifts to Venice - Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

This paper was given by Georg Christ and examined embargoes and state formation in the late medieval and early modern period in Venice.

Latin Patrons, Greek Fathers: St Bartholomew of Simeri and Byzantine Monastic Reform in Norman Italy, 11th-12th Centuries

A mosaic with Roger II receiving the crown from Christ, Martorana, Palermo. The mosaic carries an inscription 'Rogerios Rex' in Greek letters. (Wikipedia)

St Bartholomew of Simeri (ca. 1050-1130), a Greek monastic founder and reformer from Calabria, saw the effective end of Byzantine imperial power in southern Italy in 1071, the conquest of Muslim Palermo by Robert Guiscard the following year, and the rise of the Norman kingdom of Roger II at the end of his life.

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