Magna Carta Conference Offers New Insights Into The 800-year-old Document

British Library's Magna Carta, photo credit Joseph Turp

Magna Carta just celebrated its 800th birthday this past Monday. In honour of this incredible milestone, King’s College London, and the Magna Carta Project, hosted a 3 day conference dedicated to this historic document.

Genre Medievalisms: Geek Goes Chic!

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in HBO's, 'Game of Thrones'. Photo courtesy of (TV Guide)

Is Cersei a collection of bad medieval stereotypes? Have nerds gone mainstream? Were American cowboys a modern retelling of the medieval knight? Put down that comic, put away your bag of dice, and indulge your inner nerd.

Knights’ Tales: Looking at Representations of the Knight on Film


The present paper will focus on different portrayals of the knight in English-speaking films. What medieval features are kept? To what extent is accuracy important? How do these films contribute to our own modern day view of the knight and the Middle Ages?

BOOKS: Medieval Ireland


In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, here are some great books on medieval Ireland!

The Anglo-Saxon War-Culture and The Lord of the Rings: Legacy and Reappraisal

The Lord of the Rings - Aragorn

The literature of war in English claims its origin from the Homeric epics, and the medieval accounts of chivalry and the crusades.

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!

Crafting the witch: Gendering magic in medieval and early modern England

The Devil and witches

This project documents and analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.

Beyond the Border. The aristocratic mobility between the kingdoms of Portugal and León (1157- 1230)

Alfonso IX of León

During the reigns of Fernando II and Alfonso IX, the kingdom of León became home to several Portuguese aristocrats. Their relations with the Galician and Leonese nobility helped them create many cross-border ties and a powerful network of family-based relationships which heavily influenced the course of the main political conflicts of this period.

Late Medieval Knight Reflecting on his Public Life: Hugo de Urriés (c. 1405-c. 1493), Diplomacy and Translating the Classics

Sepulchre of Hugo de Urriés (1420-1443) - at Huesca Cathedral. By Gothic sculptor, Pere Johan

This article focuses on Aragonese courtier Hugo de Urriés’s public profile by means of analyzing the critical points derived from examining his personal, political, cultural and historical stands making use of an invaluable primary source, his letter to Fernando the Catholic in the early 1490s.

Knighthood in Le Morte D’Arthur: Recapitulation of Development of Medieval Chivalric Literature

Chaucer’s Knyght - knights

Undoubtedly chivalry belongs among the most influential phenomena in medieval Europe. Since its emergence in the eleventh century chivalry with its concept of knighthood is adopted by various European countries in the era as one of the principal codes applied not only in military campaigns but also in the sphere of morality as well as the social stratification of the monarchies.

The Grant Atour of Metz (1405): denouncing the past, shaping the future

Metz (Porte des Allemands) German's Gate, 13th c.

In the late middle ages, the Imperial free city of Metz is firmly in the hands of the patricians: they control its entire government through associations called paraiges – and as the wealth of the city has been relying heavily on their rural possessions since the decline of the commercial role of the city, their leadership is not seriously at risk.

Irish Hagiographical Lives in the Twelfth Century: Church Reform before the Anglo-Norman Invasion

Saint Brendan and the whale from a 15th century manuscript

In order to further disentangle the reality and fiction of this view of culture versus barbarity and of reform versus wickedness, I shall analyse twelfth-century Irish vitae.

Arms and Armor: A Farewell to Persistant Myths and Misconceptions

Knight, Death and the Devil

But the image remains—the knight in shining armor, gleaming, protected, hidden, isolated behind helm; yet gallant, courtly, protector of the weak, of maidens, of orphans, widows; dedicated to God, devoted to the distant lady, never turning back from the challenge of a joust, brave and gentle, proud and courteous, forever riding off in search for adventure, in quest of Holy Grail or holy war.

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.

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.”

Medieval Misogyny and Gawain’s Outburst against Women in “‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - from original manuscript, date unknown.

The view has been gaining ground of late that the Gawain of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a knight renowned as ‘Pat fyne fader of nurture’ (1. 919) and as ‘so cortays and coynt’ of his ‘hetes’ (1. I525), degenerates at the moment of leave-taking from the Green Knight, his erstwhile host, to the level of a churl capable of abusing the ladies of that knight’s household (11.2411 -28).

Caught in Love’s Grip: Passion and Moral Agency in French Courtly Romance

The art of courtly love

French royal courts in the late twelfth century were absolutely smitten with love. Troubadaours traveled from place to place reciting stories of knights and the ladies they wooed.

The Physicality of Service in German Ideas of Knighthood, c.1200-1500

German Knight - Jörg (Georg) von Ehingen

Jörg’s memoir is a particularly informative example of how one knight understood his own calling to knighthood and his practice of it. The medieval knight had a voice, and although precious few memoirs like Jörg’s exist, knightly perspectives inform a considerable breadth of primary materials.

BOOK REVIEW: A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

A Triple Knot - Emma Campion

BOOK REVIEW: A Triple Knot by Emma Campion I had the pleasure of reading another Emma Campion (Candace Robb) novel recently. Campion, who has written extensively about Alice Perrers, the royal mistress of King Edward III, in her hit, The King’s Mistress, is back on the shelves with a new book released this month entitled: A Triple Knot. This […]

The American Dark Ages and the Terrorist Witch in Season of the Witch


In this article we argue that medieval films are not to be analyzed according to their faithfulness to the known historical sources, but that they can only be fully analyzed by understanding medievalist codes, traditions and (filmic) intertextuality.

THINGS TO SEE: Murder in the Cathedral

Death of Thomas Becket

This is my review of the T.S. Eliot’s play, “Murder in the Cathedral”, on at St. Bartholomew in Smithfield, London.

MOVIE REVIEW: ‘A Knight’s Tale’

A Knight'sTale movie poster

Staying home on a Sunday night? Looking for a fun medieval movie to watch? Here is my review of ‘A Knight’s Tale’ for your Sunday night selection!

Stains on shining armour: Perceptions of chivalry during the reign of Edward III, 1327-1377

Harley 4379 f. 99 Knights

How did chivalry influence the life of a knight in the fourteenth century and how were the ideals of chivalry reflected in practice?

Bernard of Clairvaux’s Writings on Violence and the Sacred

The Vision of St Bernard, by Fra Bartolommeo, c. 1504 (Uffizi)

Monk, exegete, political actor and reformer, Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) was not just a man of his times; he was a man who shaped his times.

Badia Burning: The Spectacle of Violence in 14th-century Tuscany

The Cerchi seek vengeance - 1300 (Florence)

The theme of this paper is the use of ecclesiastical properties as sites of theatrical violence, and violence as a major element in the complex discourse between powerful rural lords and the Florentine commune.

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