From Marvels of Nature to Inmates of Asylums: Imaginations of Natural Folly

medieval disability

Even human beings were collected when their physical or mental state did not fit the norms of men. According to an inventory in 1621, the portrait gallery of Ambras showed pictures of people who were perceived as giants, dwarfs, or so-called hirsute men.

Was King Richard III a control freak?

King Richard III, by unknown artist, late 16th century

University of Leicester psychologists believe Richard III was not a psychopath – but he may have had control freak tendencies

Dreaming in Dante’s Purgatorio


Three successive nights on the mountain of Purgatory, Dante pauses to rest, engaging in regenerative sleep. As he sleeps, he experiences three distinct morning-dreams, describing each in detail.

Awkward Adolescents: Male Maturation in Norse Literature

old norse

Although medieval masculinities have become a subject of scholarly interest, there has been relatively little discussion of the transition in Old Norse until very recently.

Suicide in the Middle Ages

Medieval Suicide

All three types of source need careful interpretation. Suicide is notoriously elusive to records even in modern times, and more so for the Middle Ages. Once due allowances have been made for each genre, however, it is some reassurance that they agree on certain basics, and that these, in turn, agree with estimates from better-recorded centuries…

The Politics of Madness: Government in the Reigns of Charles VI and Henry VI


This approach is further hampered by the continually changing nature of modem psychology. Due to alterations in the criteria used for diagnoses, terms and illnesses become obsolete, thus negating our previous theories.

Juana “The Mad”: Queen of a World Empire

Joanna 'the Mad' of Castile

It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that scholars discovered new material about Juana in the Spanish and Austrian archives that gave another side to the person of the woman who had been con- sidered “la loca.”

Transylvanian Identities in the Middle Ages

Medieval Transylvania

Identity has become a subject of historical exploration as it is also one of the themes examined from the perspectives of various disciplines belonging to the social sciences such as sociology, psychology or anthropology.

Magical Dream Provocation in the Later Middle Ages

Magical Dream Provocation in the Later Middle Ages

Hidden in the manuscripts of illicit magic we may find a hitherto untreated practical literature of dream divination…this literature sets out to provoke specific kinds of dreams.

Prescribing Love: Italian Jewish Physicians Writing on Lovesickness in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Early modern Jewish wedding

This paper begins with a general survey of early modern European medical literature concerning lovesickness. This is followed by a short introduction to the Jewish physicians who lived and worked in the geographic area currently constituting Italy during the beginning of the early modern period, focusing on three physicians who wrote about lovesickness…

The Lost Millennium: Psychology During the Middle Ages

Modern depiction of  Peter Abelard and Heloise

The medieval period – roughly the 1,000 years from the classical Greco-Roman age to the Renaissance and modern era has long been neglected in the history of psychology.

Dreaming and the Symbiotic Relationship Between Christianity and the Carolingian Dynasty

Carolingian Lorsch Gospels (circa 778–820)

Setting out to understand the role of dreams during the Carolingian period it is important to note that the dreams to which we have access are those that have been recorded and survived as physical documents for approximately twelve centuries.

The Physicality of Anger in the Middle Ages

medieval anger

The corporeal expression of anger has long carried deep cultural values. This was especially true in the Middle Ages, when anger was understood and valued through the physiognomy of the human body.

Madness and Gender in Late-Medieval English Literature

Removing Madness - Renaissance

Madness has been long misrepresented in medieval studies. Assertions that conceptions of mental illness were unknown to medieval people, or that all madmen were assumed to be possessed by the devil, were at one time common in accounts of medieval society.

Near-Death Folklore in Medieval China and Japan : A Comparative Analysis

Japan - medieval

Medieval Chinese and Japanese literature provides numerous examples of near-death experiences, episodes in which the narrator claims to have gained personal images of the after life.

Defining the ‘Strano’: Madness in Renaissance Italy

Removing Madness - Renaissance

It is easy to recognise madness, but how does one define it?1 This thesis explores the different ways madness was defined and portrayed in Italian texts from the early fifteenth century through to the late sixteenth century.

An introduction to the investigation into the mental health of female medieval mystics

Catherine of Siena

While the Medieval ascription to madness is known, in the light of recent psychological and medical insights, I will explore alternative explanations for the extreme behaviour of devout women in the Middle Ages.

Fear and its Representation in the First Crusade

Adhémar de Monteil carrying the Holy Lance in one of the battles of the First Crusade

In preaching the First Crusade, Pope Urban II created a synthesis of holy war and pilgrimage, but, by analysing the depiction of fear in histories of the First Crusade, this article supports the position that it was only after the success of the Crusade that a coherent and internally consistent body of thought on crusading developed.

A brief review of the history of delirium as a mental disorder

Treatment for removing madness (insanity and mental illness)

This paper will review the most important of these concepts about delirium, from ancient times until the appearance of the two classification systems. Special attention will be paid to the question of how those concepts have dealt with the particular problems posed by prognosis and outcome.

Strategic Insights: The Battle of Crecy

Battle of Crecy 2

This paper will explore and analyze strategic decision making by Edward III, King of England, and Philip VI, King of France, at the Battle of Crecy using the critical thinking model as a conceptual framework, in conjunction with egocentrism and sociocentrism as the two main cognitive frames of reference.

The study of emotions in early medieval history: some starting points

medieval painting

The challenge of making sense of the emotional worlds of past individuals and cultures see, as first, to be particularly acute for the early Middle Ages.

In a spin: the mysterious dancing epidemic of 1518

Die Wallfahrt der Fallsuechtigen nacho Meulebeeck

As the dance turned epidemic, troubled nobles and burghers consulted local physicians. Having excluded astrological and supernatural causes, the members of the medical fraternity declared it to be a ‘natural disease’ caused by ‘hot blood’.

The jus primae noctis as a male power display: A review of historic sources with evolutionary interpretation

medieval marital sex

Although most historians would agree today that there is no authentic proof of the actual exercise of the custom in the Middle Ages, disagreements persist concerning the origin, meaning, and development of a widespread popular belief in this alleged “right” and the existence of symbolic gestures associated with it.

Dreaming of dwarves: Nightmares and Shamanism in Anglo-Saxon Poetics and the Wid Dweorh Charm


Psychological and psychiatric ailments must have baffled early medical practitioners.

Joan of Arc, creative psychopath: is there another explanation?

Joan of Arc in battle

Many of these facts can be explained by the hypothesis that Joan of Arc suffered from tuberculosis with a temporal lobe tuberculoma and tuberculous pericarditis.

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