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The Statutes of the Teutonic Knights: A Study of Religious Chivalry

Codex Manesse, UB Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. germ. 848, fol. 264r: Der Tannhäuser

The purpose of this study is to examine the role of the religious military orders, and of the Teutonic Knights in particular, within the process of change in developing the concept of a religious and a Christian warrior during the Crusades, or, in other words, how the existing Latin ideal of religious retreat was adapted, blended and attached to the chivalric image of Western Europe in the Holy Land, as reflected in the statutes of the Teutonic Knights.

Soldiers of Christ: The Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar in medieval Ireland

soldiers of christ book

In an Irish context, the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar were the most significant expressions of this unusual vocation that sought to combine military service with monastic observance.

BOOK REVIEW: Medieval Medicine: Its Mysteries and Science by Toni Mount

Medieval Medicine by Toni Mount

Our review of Toni Mount’s fascinating look at medicine in the Middle Ages in – Medieval Medicine: Its Mysteries and Science by Toni Mount.

The Global Side of Medieval at the Getty Centre: Traversing the Globe Through Illuminated Manuscripts

Ethiopian Manuscript. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA. 'Traversing the Globe Through Illuminated Manuscript' (Photo courtesy of Dani Trynoski)

Los Angeles correspondent, Danielle Trynoski takes through the, ‘Traversing the Globe Through Illuminated Manuscripts’ exhibut at the Getty Museum.

Movie Review: Pope Joan – Medieval Legend Comes to Life Onscreen

Film: Johanna Wokalek as Pope Joan

Released in 2009, also under its German title, ,Die Päpstin,, ,Pope Joan’ recounts the medieval legend of Johanna von Ingleheim, a woman who disguised herself as a man, lived as a monk, and eventually went on to become pope in the ninth century.

A Quick Guide to Medieval Monastic Orders

Benedictine monks chanting - from British Library Additional 39636

During the Middle Ages, thousands of monastic communities were founded throughout Europe. Throughout this period, different types of monasteries were formed, which had different emphasizes and goals.

Five Surprising Rules for Medieval Monks

15th century monks singing - in the Noted Breviary Getty Museum MS 24

The Rule of Saint Benedict was one of the quintessential texts of the Middle Ages. It explicitly lays out how to effectively run and be a part of the ideal monastic community – at least in Benedict’s view.

Jocelin of Brakelond and the power of Abbot Samson

Detail of a miniature of the installation of abbot Baldwin and the building of the abbey at Bury St. Edmond's. From British Library MS Harley 2278 f.115v

This article reconsiders a well-known narrative source from the beginning of the thirteenth century, Jocelin of Brakelond’s Chronicle.

Monasticism
 and 
the 
Royal
 Abbey
 of
 Saint ­Denis

17th century image of Saint Denis

Saint‐Denis 
seems 
to 
occupy
 a
 curious
 place
 in 
French
 history:
 never 
has 
there 
been a
 church
 so
 revered
 and
 yet 
so 
reviled.


The Norwegian Attack on Iona in 1209-10: The Last Viking Raid?

Photochrom print of Iona from about 1905

A closer look at what happened in and around Iona in the early 1200s, makes the interpretation that this was just another such ‘classic viking raid’ rather unlikely.

Bulls, bere and black oatmeal: Iona’s economy in the later Middle Ages

Iona Abbey - photo by Mike Beltzner

This paper will take a brief look at some of the landholdings of both the abbey and the nunnery, and at how they were used – and perhaps misused – over this period.

Medieval monastery destroyed by Islamic State

Saint Elijah's Monastery photographed in 2005. It has now been completely destroyed by IS

Saint Elijah’s Monastery – the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, has been completely destroyed by forces from the Islamic State (IS), according to a report from the Associated Press.

Danish ferocity and abandoned monasteries: the twelfth-century view

Ruins of Lindisfarne - photo by _The Real McCoy /Flickr

Apart from brief accounts of attacks on Lindisfarne and Donemutha in the 790s, there are almost no accounts of Viking attacks on Anglo-Saxon monasteries in contemporary sources. There are however many in twelfth century sources, most of them fictive or largely so. This article tries to explain why twelfth-century authors found it so important to invent stories of Viking brutality towards monks and nuns and what ideas and material they used to create their stories

How did people sleep in the Middle Ages?

A sleeping man in a medieval manuscript - from British Library Royal 19 D III   f. 458

A recent book on the history of sleeping shows that during the Middle Ages people typically slept in two periods during the night.

The Christmas Eve massacre of 986

Iona Abbey - photo by dun_deagh / Flickr

For the year 986, the Annals of Ulster records, ‘Iona was plundered by Danes on Christmas Eve, and they killed the abbot and fifteen men of the seniors of the church.’ What more can we learn about this attack and why it happened?

‘Crowned with Many Crowns’: Nuns and Their Statues in Late-Medieval Wienhausen

17th century image of Wienhausen monastery

The crowning of statues was a common practice in medieval cloisters, but at the north German convent of Wienhausen, the golden crowns of statues were confiscated by Observant reformers after the reformation of 1469.

The Heloise of History

Raymond Monvoisin depiction of Heloise in the 19th century

This thesis seeks to determine the historical role of the twelfth-century abbess Heloise, apart from the frequently cited and disputed letters exchanged between her and Peter Abelard.

Skriðuklaustur monastery: Medical Centre of Medieval East Iceland?

Excavation site of Skiðuklaustur in Iceland from the fifteenth century.  Photo by Christian Bickel / Wikimedia Commons

Skriðuklaustur monastery was the youngest of nine cloisters operated in Iceland during the Catholic period of the Middle Ages.

Medieval Lisbon: Jerónimos Monastery

Jerónimos Monastery, Belém, Lisbon. Photo by Medievalists.net.

Of the four medieval #placestosee in Lisbon, Jerónimos Monastery, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, was my favourite. The monastery is located in Belém, a suburb of Lisbon, that is famous for the 16th century monastery, as well as for its world famous pastry shop, Pastéis de Belém…

Medieval Lisbon: Carmo Convent

View of the majestic Gothic tomb of King Ferdinand I (1345-1383), along with several other Gothic sarcophagi inside the Carmo Monastery museum. Photo by Medievalists.net

Part III of my series on Medieval Lisbon. This visit took me to Carmo Monastery and museum.

Priests found spiritual satisfaction by serving nuns, Stanford medieval historian says

A female scribe and male artist present their book to the Virgin Mary in this medieval manuscript, called the Guta-Sintram Codex (c. 1154). The Codex supports Fiona Griffiths' finding that men and women collaborated during this period of history. Photo by Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons

A study of medieval texts and imagery by Stanford history Professor Fiona Griffiths counters commonly held beliefs about misogynistic practices in medieval Europe. Griffiths’ research reveals how some male clergy acknowledged and celebrated the perceived religious superiority of nuns.

Who Were The Celts? The British Museum Offers Answers with New Exhibition

Gundestrup Cauldron Silver  Gundestrup, northern Denmark, 100 BC–AD 1 © The National Museum of Denmark. The British Museum. Photo by Medievalists.net

The British Museum just opened its latest exhibit, Celts: Art and Identity this past Thursday, covering 2,500 years of Celtic history. The exhibit explores Celtic identity and how it eveolved from the time of the Ancient Greeks to the present through art, culture, daily life, religion and politics.

‘God Damn’: The Law and Economics of Monastic Malediction

Hildebert cursing a mouse. An image from the  12th century manuscript De Civitate Dei

Today monks are known for turning the other cheek, honoring saints, and blessing humanity with brotherly love. But for centuries they were known equally for fulminating their foes, humiliating saints, and casting calamitous curses at persons who crossed them.

The Origins of Cistercian Sign Language

monastic sign language

The present study begins with a discussion of the different forms of non-verbal communication used in early medieval monastic communities, with an emphasis on the sources for the use of sign language among Cluniac monks.

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