Dental Health in Viking Age Icelanders

Photo by Allan Foster / Flickr

The purpose of the study was to evaluate dental health in Iceland 1000 years ago.

Marking the Face, Curing the Soul? Reading the Disfigurement of Women in the Later Middle Ages


This specific example, and a survey of later medieval texts suggests that the period between 1150 and 1500 was one of increasing attention to the facial features of both men and women within and outside clerical circles, driven partly by increased exposure of western Europeans to peoples of different physical appearance, and partly by the rediscovery of the ancient pseudo-science of physiognomy, which claimed to read character traits from facial features.

Performative Rituals for Conception and Childbirth in England, 900–1500

British Library - Royal 2 B VII  f. 22v

This study proposes that performative rituals—that is, verbal and physical acts that reiterate prior uses—enabled medieval women and men to negotiate the dangers and difficulties of conception and childbirth.

Demon Possession in Anglo‐Saxon and Early Modern England: Continuity and Evolution in Social Context

A miniature in the British Library Yates Thomson MS 26, with Saint Cuthbert's hand healing a paralytic

Sometime between around 687 and 700, a distraught father brought his raving son, in a wagon, to the island of Lindisfarne, where the holy relics of Saint Cuthbert were kept.

Investigating a Murder: The Case of the Justinianic Plague in Scythia Minor

medieval skull - photo by Todd Huffman / Flickr

The study beforehand applies a logical scheme of analysis over a possible presence of the Justinianic plague in the province of Scythia Minor.

Management of penile tumours during the Byzantine period

Paul of Aegina, as pictured in a 16th-century woodcut.

In the Byzantine period, surgery appeared to have been highly developed, as one may conclude from the surgical material included mainly in the works of Oribasius of Pergamus and Paul of Aegina.

Menstruation: curse or blessing?

Zodiac sign of Virgo in a 15th century manuscript - Photo by e-Codices / Flickr

Menstruation in our lifetime has been commonly called ‘The Curse’. Our sisters in the 16th century, however, welcomed this cleansing as a fertility sign from God, through the moon that determined the tides of all that flowed on the earth.

Medieval Studies and STEM

Medieval Studies and STEM

Here are 15 ways that medieval studies and STEM are working together.

The Achievements of Albucasis in the Field of Oral Surgery

Medieval Islamic dentistry

In this research, we are going to study the Historical period where Albucasis lived, and the famous physicians there. Then we have to study the most important achievements of Albucasis in oral surgery

The Strange Mystery Of The King’s Head: Henry IV of France (1553-1610)

Henry IV head

This paper reexamines the claims which were made in both the documentary and a subsequent book on the subject and, with respect, challenges the conclusions made by the investigators.

The Medieval Art of Medicine: A Poem

medieval physician

What was it like to be a physician in the Middle Ages? A poem by a 14th-century physician sheds a little light on the challenges of practicing medicine in his own time.

Single Genetic change created the medieval plague, researchers find

Illustration of the Black Death from the Toggenburg Bible (1411)

Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that caused Justinian’s Plague and the Black Death, was once only able to cause a mild gastrointestinal infection. However, researchers have found that a single genetic change to bacteria turned into one of the deadliest diseases in human history.

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.

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!

Yersinia pestis and the Plague of Justinian 541–543 AD: a genomic analysis

Plague of Justinian

Between 541 and 543 AD, the Plague of Justinian, traditionally regarded as the first of three human plague pandemics, spread from either central Asia or Africa across the Mediterranean basin into Europe, killing an estimated 100 million people according to the contemporary scholar Procopius

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.

Human-Bovine Plagues in the Early Middle Ages

ox book of durrow

In other words, when spreading among cattle, a now-extinct morbillivirus episodically colonized and spread in human populations during the early Middle Ages.

Mystery, Secrets and Magic

Star map for May 19, 1536. Created by Hunter S. Jones

When I decided to put pen to paper for a Tudor historical fiction story, I had no idea what I wanted to write. The subject has been analyzed and romanticized for five hundred years. What could I do that would be an original slant on this iconic subject matter? After having a look around I noticed that no one appears to have the exact moment of her execution. From there, the story began to slowly develop and present itself to me.

Project to compare health of Londoners from medieval and industrial eras

Medieval London Quiz

The Museum of London will be starting a ground-breaking research project to explore the effects of industrialisation on Londoners.

Fifteen Anglo-Saxon Cures for Minor Medical Problems

Anglo Saxon Cures Lacnunga - British  Library MS Harley 585

How did people Anglo-Saxon England treat a headache or indigestion? Here are fifteen cures for minor ailments from the Lacucgna, which include what to do if your finger nail falls off, and how Jesus Christ cured Peter’s toothache.

Did Richard III keep his scoliosis a secret?

Richard III

No mention of Richard’s distinctive physique survives from during his lifetime, perhaps out of respect to a reigning monarch, or perhaps because he hid it so well.

Medieval Medicine and Modern Science: An Interview with Freya Harrison

Petri dish - photo by Umberto Salvagnin / Flickr

We talk about this project’s collaboration, the potential of medieval medicines, and her reaction to all the attention her research has generated.

Medieval Viagara

medieval anatomy figures

Over a thousand years before Viagra was invented, medieval men were looking for ways to treat erectile dysfunction. We take a look at the prescriptions offered in one of the most popular medical textbooks from the Middle Ages.

Medieval cesspit in Jerusalem reveals 15th century diseases

British Library Egerton 1070   f. 5   Jerusalem

Analysis of a latrine in Jerusalem that dates back over 500 years finds human parasites common in northern Europe yet very rare in Middle East at the time, suggesting long-distance trade or pilgrimage routes and shedding light on prevalent infectious diseases of the age.

Historian discovers evidence of malaria from the Early Middle Ages


In his paper, ‘Malaria and Malaria-Like Disease in the Frankish Empire, c.450-950, Timothy Newfield examines over fifty references to illnesses which appear in Merovingian and Carolingian sources

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