Did People Ice Skate in the Middle Ages?

Medieval ice skates made of bone on display at the Museum of London. Photo by Steven G. Johnson, Wikipedia.

How did medieval people pass the time during the coldest part of the year? I came across several instances of medieval people strapping on skates and taking a twirl (or a tumble!) on the ice. Here is how it all began!

10 Medieval and Renaissance Things to See at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Chest belonging to Elisabetta Gonzaga, 1488. Mantua or Urbino, Italy.

My latest visit to the Victoria and Albert Musuem: 10 Medieval and Renaissance Things to See at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Amending the Ascetic: Community and Character in the Old English Life of St. Mary of Egypt

Saint Mary of Egypt - British library

Among the most eligible saints for such treatment, Mary of Egypt deserves particular consideration: her popularity is evidenced by over a hundred extant Greek manuscripts of her Life and her uniquely prominent position in the Lenten liturgical cycle in the Eastern Church.

Living la vita apostolica: Life expectancy and mortality of nuns in late-medieval Holland

Medieval Nuns

Living la vita apostolica: Life expectancy and mortality of nuns in late-medieval Holland Jaco Zuijderduijn (Utrecht University ) Centre for Global Economic History: Utrecht University, Working Paper No. 44, June (2013) Abstract Data on vital events of medieval women are extremely scarce. We use a dataset based on a necrology of nuns in late-medieval Holland […]

CONFERENCES: Renaissance Drinking Culture and Renaissance Drinking Vessels

Renaissance Tazza cup

This paper took a closer look at Renaissance drinking vessels and drinking culture and examined the types of vessels commonly used in Italy and the Netherlands during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Herb-workers and Heretics: Beguines, Bakhtin and the Basques


During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the word beguine was used by women to identify themselves as members of a wide-spread and influential women’s movement. The same term was used by their detractors and overt opponents, with the highly charged negative meaning of “heretic.” The etymology of the term “beguine” and ultimate origins of the movement have never been satisfactorily explained.

Transformations of Print into Painting: A Case Study of the Context of Prints in an Illustrated Brigittine Psalter

Brigittine Psalter

This liturgical psalter raises issues of the production and consumption of religious texts in convents in the northern Netherlands.

New Insights from the Metal Detected Brooches of Early Medieval Frisia

Early medieval Frisian brooch

My research undertook the bulk analysis of over 600 copper alloy brooches by hhXRF and onsite morphological analysis at repositories in the north of Holland.

Medieval Shoes

Armoured shoes: This late 15th century metal sabatons were part of a complete suit of armour. The narrow strips of metal would have helped the man secure his foot in a stirrup while riding.

What set the trends for medieval shoe styles? The Politics, power, economics and climate behind medieval shoes.

The Anna Selbdritt in late medieval Germany : meaning and function of religious image

Anna Selbdritt

The Anna Selbdritt in late medieval Germany : meaning and function of religious image Virginia Nixon Doctor of Philosophy, Concordia University, School of Graduate Studies, Montreal, Canada (1997) Abstract In the decades between 1480 and 1520 the production of images of Saint Anne with the Virgin and Child increased in Germany and the Netherlands in […]

Tales of tricks and greed and big surprises: Laymen’s views of the law in Dutch oral narrative

Fox - trickster (animals)

I will be looking at folktales, i.e. popular, international, and (mostly) orally transmitted narratives, varying from traditional genres like fairy tales, fables, and legends to modern genres like jokes, funny riddles and urban legends.

Adventures far from home: Hanseatic trade with the Faroe Islands

Hanseatic Cities

he voyage to Iceland, now a major destina- tion, took about four weeks (gardiner & mehler 2007, 403; Krause 2010, 150). The Faroe Islands are situated more or less in the middle of that distance and provided a fine stop-over. The islands were an additional market for their trade business and in case of storms offered a safe and most welcome shelter.

The Art of the Science of Renaissance Painting

Van Eyck - Arnolfini Marriage (1434)

During this study we began to examine paintings for the presence of optical artifacts that could serve as supporting scientific evidence for these visual observations. Here we briefly describe some of the scientific evidence contained within three paintings that demonstrate lenses were in use by certain artists to project images as early as c1425. We present only a general discussion here, and refer interested readers to previous publications for details.

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