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‘God helped thee; The eagle got food afresh’: Norse Crusaders and the Pleasure of Killing

The men of the north are often depicted in the Norse sagas as taking great pleasure in killing, even doing it for no good reason

Cracking down on illegal gambling in Medieval Livonia

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 Afterlife of the Dead: Reform in Attitude Towards Medieval Burials, Corpses and Bones

The International Medieval Congress is taking place at the University of Leeds, I’m on hand this week to report on the conference. This blog post reports on my first session.

Foundation Myths in Medieval and Renaissance Italy

The 3 papers featured here looked at the development of the civic identities of Florence, Genoa and Rome through art, architecture and foundation legends.

Papers on Medieval Prosopography: Session #47 at KZOO 2015

Three fantastic papers on Prosopography from #KZOO2015.

David Nirenberg on ‘Religion and Violence’

Do the respective claims of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic holy texts contribute to the violence between the various communities that read them? Or do they provide a basis for solidarity between the three Abrahamic religions?

‘The Halved Heads’: Osteological Evidence for Decapitation in Medieval Ireland

This paper examines the osteological evidence for decapitation from 30 skeletal assemblages dated to the medieval period (6th to 16th century) from Ireland.

Trial by Battle in France and England

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.

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

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.

Vikings: Brutal and Bloodthirsty or Just a Misunderstanding?

During its first two seasons, the popular History Channel series Vikings triggered a vigorous debate among scholars and amateur historians about the show’s authenticity—particularly the gore and violence. But separating truth from fiction, it turns out, is harder than it sounds.

Vice, Tyranny, Violence, and the Usurpation of Flanders (1071) in Flemish Historiography from 1093 to 1294

The earliest sources of the history of medieval Flanders do not agree on the origins of the counts. The earliest source, the so-called “Genealogy of Arnold [I],” credibly traces the counts’ origin to Baldwin I “Iron Arm,”…

What Medieval Torture Method Would You Use on Your Enemies?

If you were looking for information in the Middle Ages, you probably wouldn’t just ask nicely to get it. How would you go about dealing with your enemies? What would be your medieval torture method of choice? Take the test and find out!

Painful Pleasure: Saintly Torture on the Verge of Pornography

Within female hagiographical narratives, stimulating, pornographic and often sadistic endeavours can be detected, gendering the tortured body parts such as tongue, teeth or the breast and thus supporting the development of (negative) erotic phantasies.

The Gendered Nose and its Lack: ‘Medieval’ Nose-Cutting and its Modern Manifestations

Rather clearer is its connection with patriarchal values of authority and honor: the victims of such punishment have not always been women, but this is nevertheless a gendered punishment of the powerless by the powerful.

INTERVIEW: A Conversation with SD Sykes about Plague Land

My interview with fiction author, SD Sykes about her fantastic medieval crime novel, Plague Land.

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

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

Sleepwalking and Murder in the Middle Ages

It happens that many people get up at night while asleep, take weapons or sticks, or ride a horse.What is the cause of this? What is the remedy?

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