Rollo, Viking Count of Normandy

Statue of Rollo in Falaise - photo by Michael Shea

n recounting what is known of Viking history and the sagas which were written about in the Middle Ages, Clements tells the story of Hrolf the Walker, otherwise known as Rollo or Rolf.

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!

‘De civitatis utriusque, terrenae scilicet et caelestis’: Foundation Narratives and the Epic Portrayal of the First Crusade

Siege of Antioch - from a 15th-century miniature painting.

My summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical research on the accounts of Antioch and Jerusalem during the First Crusade.

Latin Patrons, Greek Fathers: St Bartholomew of Simeri and Byzantine Monastic Reform in Norman Italy, 11th-12th Centuries

A mosaic with Roger II receiving the crown from Christ, Martorana, Palermo. The mosaic carries an inscription 'Rogerios Rex' in Greek letters. (Wikipedia)

St Bartholomew of Simeri (ca. 1050-1130), a Greek monastic founder and reformer from Calabria, saw the effective end of Byzantine imperial power in southern Italy in 1071, the conquest of Muslim Palermo by Robert Guiscard the following year, and the rise of the Norman kingdom of Roger II at the end of his life.

Herleva of Falaise, Mother of William the Conqueror


Legends states the young Duke Robert I of Normandy was on the walkway of his castle at Falaise looking down at the river and discovered a beautiful young girl washing clothes. He asked to see her and she became his mistress. She would become the mother of William the Conqueror.

(Re)casting the Past: The Cloisters and Medievalism

The Cloisters - NYC.

In this essay, I focus on a variety of texts printed using Anglo-Saxon type between 1566 and 1623 in an effort to explore the use of Anglo-Saxon typeface in the early modern period as the use of the Old English language progressed from polemical truncheon to historiographical instrument.

A Feast for the Eyes: Representing Odo at the Banquet in the Bayeux Embroidery

Bayeux banquet

This paper will therefore investigate Odo’s role in the banquet as a way to ask larger questions about how patronage has been portrayed in the literature on the Bayeux Embroidery as a whole.

Greek in Marriage, Latin in Giving: The Greek Community of Fourteenth-century Palermo and the Deceptive Will of Bonannus de Geronimo

Van Eyck - Arnolfini Marriage (1434)

This article discusses the pitfalls that can occur in the study of ethnicity in the me- dieval period in the context of the potential existence of two separate Greek minori- ties—one indigenous and one immigrant—in fourteenth-century Latin-dominated Palermo, Italy.

Unpleasant Affairs That Please Us: Admonition and Rebuke in the Letter Collections of the Archbishops of Canterbury, 11th and 12th Centuries

Archbishop of Canterbury -Thomas Becket

From the Norman Conquest in 1066 up to the famous “murder in the cathedral”2 in 1170, six archbishops of Canterbury ruled over the English church…

How cutting off a horse’s tail was a big insult in the Middle Ages

Bayeux Tapestry Horse

Want to humiliate your adversary? Attacking his horse and cutting off its tail was the preferred method, according to a recent article.

‘Part of our commonwealth’: a study of the Normans in eleventh-century Byzantine historiography


‘Part of our commonwealth’: a study of the Normans in eleventh-century Byzantine historiography Alexander Olson (Simon Fraser University) Simon Fraser University: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Master of Arts (2009) Abstract In the eleventh century several Norman mercenaries went to Byzantium where they alternately served or rebelled against the Empire. This thesis examines how […]

Using Ancient Military Handbooks to fight Medieval Battles: Two stratagems used by Alexios I Comnenos against the Normans and the Pechenegs

Byzantine warfare

During the whole of his lengthy reign, Alexios I Comnenos (1081-1118) faced multiple military threats from many different opponents that seriously threatened the cohesion and the existence of the empire.

Hearing and seeing, remembering and writing: ‘From Memory to Written Record’ across the Norman conquest


Of course, it is well known that some Anglo-Saxon historians took issue with Michael’s characterization of the use and extent of writing in England before 1066. They saw a contradiction between their interpretation of the role of literacy and what Michael had concluded.

Great Medieval Fiction 2013!

Dangerous Women

For those of you who enjoy some fantasy or a historical novel – this list is for you!

Thomas Fitzanthony’s Borough: Medieval Thomastown in Irish History, 1171-1555

Norman Invasion of Ireland

Thomas Fitzanthony’s Borough: Medieval Thomastown in Irish History, 1171-1555 Marilyn Silverman In the Shadow of the Steeple VI, Duchas-Tullaherin Parish Heritage Society (1998) Abstract In the year 1295, King Edward I “ordered that all goods belonging to subjects of the King of France should be seized and sold”. A man named Richard Ie Marshall then […]

1066: The Limits of our Knowledge

Battle Abbey viewed from across the battlefield of the Battle of Hastings - photo by Ealdgyth

As the most pivotal and traumatic event in English history, the Norman Conquest continues to generate controversy and debate, especially among those who know little about it or enjoy passing judgement on the past.

The Fortune of War: Henry I and Normandy, 1116 – 1120

Henry I mourning the death of his son

The Fortune of War: Henry I and Normandy, 1116 – 1120 Dillon Byrd Oklahoma Christian University, Tau Sigma, Journal of Historical Studies, Vol.21 (2013) Abstract Henry I had great success in keeping the peace in England and Normandy, aside from the first two years of his reign. There were only two Norman uprisings against Henry, the first […]

The Norman Invasion of Sicily, 1061-1072: Numbers and Military Tactics

16th century map of Sicily

No comprehensive study of the military aspects of the Norman conquest of Sicily has been written, and this paper intends to cover this specific gap. It deals with the first two stages of the Sicilian conquest, the per

Theft, Homicide and Crime in Late Anglo-Saxon Law


In order to understand these issues properly we must first consider our own ideas about ‘crime’, a deeply problematic term for the period before the late twelfth century.

The Garments of Guy in the Bayeux Tapestry

The Garments of Guy in the Bayeux Tapestry

In her paper, Gale R. Owen-Crocker looks at how the late 11th century frieze portrays Guy, Count of Ponthieu.

Conquest, Contact, and Convention: Simulating the Norman Invasion’s Impact on Linguistic Usage


How do conventions arise? Lewis adressed this in his work Convention via signaling games, a mathematical model of communication where a sender sends a message to a receiver who then interprets it. When we say conventions, we mean by that a system of coor- dinated behavior pairing information states with actions

The earls in Henry the Second’s reign

Henry II

The earldoms of Henry Ills reign can only be understood in the context of their history. The roots of the nature of earldoms in Henry II’s reign stretch back beyond the Norman Conquest to England and the Continent before 1066. It was the combination of these two traditions that shaped many of the features of the earldom under the Norman and early Angevin kings of England.

Widows in Anglo-Saxon England

Owing to a fairly large number of mainly vernacular codes of law that have survived, we are in a position to see at least how in legislation the position of women in general, but also of widows in particular, was defined.

“The Wrath of the Northmen”: The Vikings and their Memory

These raiding peoples emerge out of all three Scandinavian homelands–Norway, Sweden, and Denmark–sending off their young men all over the known world in search of wealth and prestige.

The Papal Bulls for the Invasions of England and Ireland

Papacy in Rome

John has represented his master’s enterprise in the very best light, making him out as an enthusiast for the reformation of the lax moral and ecclesiastical condition of Ireland.

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