10 Cool Medieval Things to See at the Musée de Cluny

Ivory Bishop's crozier - Musée de Cluny, Paris

I just visited Muée de Cluny this week while in Paris and picked out a few fabulous items you might want to check out on your next visit to this amazing medieval museum!

A peasant is a peasant, is a peasant? : Medieval Maritime Peasant Lives

Medieval fishermen

A peasant is a peasant, is a peasant…or is s/he? Was the life of a peasant who lived in the coastal regions of England the same as that of the peasant who made his livelihood toiling on the land for his local lord?

Make-Up and Medicine in the Middle Ages

Medieval woman combing her hair

A look at cosmetics and make-up in the Middle Ages.

Intersex in the Middle Ages

Statue of Hermaphrodite - Louvre

A brief look at how the medieval world viewed the Intersex individual.

Trolls in the Middle Ages


Where did trolls come from? What did medieval and early modern people think of trolls? How did the concept of the modern day troll evolve?

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.

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!

How Witches Looked in Medieval Art

Hans Baldung - The Witches Sabbath (1510 AD)

I recently visited the British Museum and enjoyed their Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibit which runs until January 11th, 2015. It displays art depicting witches from the middle ages up to the late nineteenth century. This post looks at a few late medieval interpretations of witches and the artists behind these works.

Love and Marriage on the Medieval English Stage: Using the English Cycle Plays as Sources for Social History

The art of courtly love

Much scholarship concerning the concept of “companionate” marriage traces its origins to the early modern period as clergymen, especially Protestant ones, began to publish “guides” to the relationships and respective duties of husbands and wives in the 1500s and 1600s.

‘Falseness Reigns in Every Flock’: Literacy and Eschatological Discourse in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

Peasant's Revolt 1381

The literature of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, a miscellany of fourteenth-century poetry and prose penned before, during, and after the insurrection, often stresses the importance of literacy to the nonaristocratic population of England.

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.

Flandria Illustrata: Flemish Identities in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period

Jan van Eyck, Annunciation, 1434–1436. Wing from a dismantled triptych. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

This chapter discusses identity formation in early modern Flanders. It argues that policy makers and their intellectual agents transformed the perception of a province that had been divided by urban rivalries, civil war and conflicts with the Burgundian and Habsburg overlords, into a bastion of the Catholic Counter Reformation with strong ties to the Spanish King and his representatives.

Region and Frontier in the English State: the English Far North, 1296-1603

england scotland border - photo by James/Flickr

What was the relationship between the English far north and England as a whole in the late middle ages?

Besteiros Do Conto (Crossbowmen): Organization, abuses of power and irregularities during the reign of Dom João I (1385-1433)

Besteiros Do Conto (Crossbowmen/archers)

The aim of this paper is to examine an aspect of social life linked to one of the most important and original forms of military organization in the whole of Portuguese history—the besteiros do conto (crossbowmen).

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.

Hearing, smelling, savoring, and touching in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Medieval meal

Chaucer’s scholar’s have long recognized the poet’s keen sense of observation and have commented upon the poet’s ability to transfer his visual images to his writing.

Skirts and Politics: The Cistercian Monastery of Harvestehude and the Hamburg City Council

Medieval nun with skirt lifted

In 1482, Catharina Arndes lifted up her skirts in front of the archbishop’s chaplain. She was a respectable townswoman from Hamburg, and her action was carried out in defense of the Cistercian monastery of Harvestehude which was close to the city and where several of Catharina’s nieces lived as nuns.

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).

King’s sister, queen of dissent: Marguerite of Navarre (1492-1549) and her evangelical network

Marguerite de Navarre - Statue of Marguerite of Angoulême, in the gardens of the city hall of Angoulême

This study reconstructs the previously unknown history of the most important dissident group within France before the French Reformed Church formed during the 1550s.

Of sagas and sheep: Toward a historical anthropology of social change and production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland

Medieval hunt - images of sheep

This dissertation deals with the formation of chiefdoms, communities, ecclesiastical institutions and state, and with production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland in the context of climatic change and ecological succession.

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


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.

Conflicting expectations: Parish priests in late medieval Germany

Medieval priest giving confession

The study investigates the expectations various groups in late medieval German society held of their parish priests and how these expectations were mediated through specific relationships.

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.

The Rise of a Tax State: Portugal, 1367-1401

Pieter Brueghel the Younger - 'Paying the Tax' (The Tax Collector)'

This paper uses the case of fourteenth-century Portugal to question a common assumption of “fiscal history” literature, namely the linear relationship between war-related fiscal demands increase the level of taxation.

medievalverse magazine