Final Month to See British Library’s Magna Carta Exhibit

Magna Carta, London copy, 1215, on display in Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy. Photography © British Library. Cotton Augustus II. 106

It’s August, and summer has begun its inevitable wind down. Unfortunately, this means the British Library’s spectacular exhibit, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty and Legacy is winding down as well. This is the final month to catch a glimpse of the famous 800 year old document before the exhibit comes to a close on September 1st.

Cracking down on illegal gambling in Medieval Livonia

by Master Jean de Mauléon (c.1535)

Just like their modern day counterparts, medieval cities had to deal with their own criminal underworlds – the sex trade, gambling, and violence taking place within their walls. At the International Medieval Congress, held earlier this month at the University of Leeds, these issues were explored as part of session #706: Perceiving and Regulating Vices.

The Experience of Growing Up in Medieval Society

Medieval Children - Omne Bonum - Royal 6 E.VII, f.67v (det). Wiki Commons.

This session (#508) was one of several at Leeds devoted to exploring childhood in the Middle Ages. Our presenters talked about the stereotypes of adolescence, and what the coroner’s rolls revealed about the deaths (and lives) of medieval children.

Exhibit: Magna Carta Through the Ages at the Society of Antiquaries of London

The Black Book of Peterborough. Photo by Medievalists.net

If you’re passing through London and want something to do that is very quick, free, and historical, check out this great little Magna Carta exhibit at Burlington House hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Imprisoning the Mentally Ill in Medieval England

imprisonment - Detail of a miniature of Bel Acueil in prison, being guarded by Vielle (old woman). British Library

What to do with mentally ill individuals who are violent? This is a question that modern and medieval societies had to deal with.

The Laws about Weddings in Viking-Age Gotland

medieval church on Gotland - photo by  Stella Hwang / Flickr

An important source about daily-life in Viking-Age Scandinavia is Guta Lag, a set of laws from the Swedish island of Gotland. This includes details on how weddings were to be conducted.

Medieval Emergencies and the Contemporary Debate

seal Philip IV of France

This article shows that medieval France formulated its own state of exception, meant to deal with emergencies, based on the legal principle of necessity.

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.

Bishops and Their Towns

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

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

Shadow of the Sword (The Headsman)

Eddie Marsan as the sleazy, evil Headsman's assistant, Fabio.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau gives us a sympathetic Headsman in Reformation Austria, in the ‘Shadow of the Sword (The Headsman)’.

KZOO 2015: Session #42 – Magna Carta in Context

British Library's Magna Carta, photo credit Joseph Turp

This coming week I’ll be featuring summaries on some of my favourites sessions and papers from #KZOO2015. I kicked off my first session on Thursday with the Magna Carta.

Incest in Early Medieval Society

Painting of Audovera's repudiation by Albert Maignan.

The question of what persons and why can have sexual relations with each other and consequently, can contract marriage, is of basic importance for the functioning of every society, irrespective of time, place and the degree of the society’s development.

Magna Carta: The Road to Runnymede

This is one of the two Magna Carta owned by the British Library (c) The British Library Board

A look at the creation of the British Library’s Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition.

Trial by Battle in France and England

15th century Normandy, France: duel with swords between plaintiff and defendant. Hand-painted color miniatures with ornate borders. Illustration in: The Costumes de Normandie, ca. 1450-1470 (folio 89).

This dissertation surveys the history of trial by battle in the French-speaking regions of the European continent and England, concentrating on the period between roughly 1050 and 1350 when it was most practiced.

Law in the Lives of Medieval Women: Beyond the Magna Carta

women and magna carta

Ruth Mazo Karras discussed, through an analysis of the lives of three women, the way law affected (or not) women at different levels of society in medieval England.

Ostsiedlung or Transition of German Law? Legal Perspective on Settlement According to German Law in Medieval Poland

Pawel Dziwinski

Paper given at Twenty-First Annual Forum of Young Legal Historians – 6th Berg Institute International Conference

Capital and Corporal Punishment may have been rare in Anglo-Saxon England, researcher suggests

Skeletons under excavation at Walkington Wold - photo by Rod Mackey

A long standing belief about early medieval justice was that many offenders would be executed for serious crimes, or face punishments such as amputations for lesser offences. However, an examination of archaeological data suggests that these kinds of punishments were rare in Anglo-Saxon England.

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?

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

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

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?

Aquinas on Torture

Aquinas Benozzo_Gozzoli

Here we are faced with something that, for this writer at least, is something of an enigma. It does not appear that Aquinas approved of this practice. Nowhere does he defend it, although he explicitly defends putting heretics to death.

The King’s Courts and the King’s Soul: Pardoning as Almsgiving in Medieval England

Henry III - Royal 20.A.II, f.9

This paper examines the workings of the English royal courts in the thirteenth century through one of their practices—pardoning—and argues that the king and his officials could see courts not just as venues for justice, but also as institutions through which the king could see to the health of his own soul.

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!

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.

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).

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