Cathar or Catholic: Treading the line between popular piety and heresy in Occitania, 1022-1271

The Murder of St Peter the Martyr, by  Giovanni Bellini

This paper will explain the origins of popular piety and religious reform in medieval Europe before focusing in on two specific movements, the Patarenes and Henry of Lausanne, the first of which became an acceptable form of reform while the other remained a heretic.

How to travel to the physical and heavenly Jerusalem without leaving home


By the fifteenth century numerous accounts of the holy places circulated in Western Europe, many of them in Latin, a few in various vernaculars such as French and Middle Dutch.

Trees in the Middle Ages

Trees in the Middle Ages

What did medieval people think of trees? Here are a few observations about the role trees played in the spiritual and cultural life of the Middle Ages.

Late Medieval Enclosed Gardens of the Low Countries

Late Medieval Enclosed Gardens of the Low Countries

In the late Middle Ages and Early Modernity an artistic phenomenon emerged in a feminine religious context, particularly in the Low Countries and the Rhineland: the so-called Enclosed Gardens.

Bishops and Their Towns

City of Lucca, Italy. Image via Flickr by bongo vongo.

Another #KZOO2015 post – this one examines Bishops and Their Towns.

Margery Kempe and the People on the Periphery

The first page of the Book of Margery Kempe - British Library Add MS 61823

There are few medieval texts I find so entertaining as The Book of Margery Kempe, the fifteenth-century story of a seemingly ordinary woman of Bishops Lynn, England, whose life was transformed by visions of Jesus. T

The Remembrance of the Deceased in the Traditional Polish Culture of the Middle Ages

This skull illustrates the office of the dead, the officium defunctorum, in the Gualenghid’Este Hours by Taddeo Crivelli (d. ca. 1479).

In the Middle Ages, Polish Christian holidays remained consistent, except for minor temporary deviations. They included the basic structure of pre-Christian rituals. Yet, traces of the old Slavic ritual calendar can be clearly identified in the Polish and Czech sources from the fourteenth- and fifteenth-centuries.

Papers on Medieval Prosopography: Session #47 at KZOO 2015

Pieter Brueghel - Kermesse (The Feast of Saint George)

Three fantastic papers on Prosopography from #KZOO2015.

Parental Grief and Prayer in the Middle Ages: Religious Coping in Swedish Miracle Stories

The Mother of Allegranzia Appealing to Saints Aimo and Vermondo to Save Her Child -c.1400

This article focuses on expressions of bereavement and religious coping in medieval miracle stories from Sweden.

‘Que lo lean literalmente’: Clerical Ignorance and a Late Medieval Wedding Ceremony

medieval wedding

There is ample evidence that in late-medieval Spain a vast number of priests charged with carrying out the Church’s everyday liturgical responsibilities were undereducated and had little or no capacity in that language.

Angels and the Antichrist: The Cardeña Beatus

Cardeña Beatus 1

Take a look inside the pages of the 12th century manuscript Cardeña Beatus

David Nirenberg on ‘Religion and Violence’

David Nirenberg

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?

Medieval mysticism or psychosis?

Margery Kempe's autobiography - British Library

Alison Torn investigates the strange case of Margery Kempe

Katherine of Alexandria: Decline of an Empire

Katherine martyred on the wheel

According to hagiographers, (C)Katherine was a princess, the daughter of Roman governor named Constus. She was well educated, beautiful and highly intelligent. She converted to Christianity at the age of 13 or 14 and caught the eye of the Roman Emperor, Maxentius (278-318 AD).

Christians in the amphitheater? The ‘Christianization’ of spectacle buildings and martyrial memory

Sant Agnese in Agone  - Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778)

This article presents an overview of the archaeological evidence for Christian spaces inside spectacle buildings – stadia, hippodromes, theaters and amphitheaters.

Christianisation of the Piast Monarchy in the 10th and 11th Centuries


Which facts testify to the beginning of the Christianisation process of a given country and which ones indicate its conclusion?

Teenage Rebellion in the Middle Ages: How Salimbene de Adam became a Franciscan

Fransicans - by José Benlliure y Gil (1855–1937)

It is a popular story – the teenage son defying his parents and doing something very rebellious. It could be using drugs, getting a tattoo, or falling into with the wrong type of people. Back in the thirteenth-century, the rebellious son might become a Franciscan!

The Crucifixion of Jesus in Medieval Art

Crucifixion of Jesus in Medieval Art

Take a look at these fifteenth examples of how the Crucifixion of Jesus was depicted by medieval artists between the 3rd and 15th centuries.

Palm Sunday in Medieval Manuscripts


How Palm Sunday was depicted in two of the most important illuminated manuscripts of Medieval Europe: The Isabella Breviary and Bible Moralisée of Naples.

Richard III’s Book of Hours

Richard III's Book of Hours - Lambeth  Palace Library

When King Richard III’s remains were reburied at Leicester Cathedral today, the service made use of his personal prayer book, known as The Hours of Richard III.

BOOKS: Medieval Ireland


In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, here are some great books on medieval Ireland!

Environmental Crusading: The Teutonic Knight’s Impact After the Baltic Crusades

Malbork Zamek Krzyzacki. Wikicommons

Environmental archaeologist and Professor of Archeology at Reading, Dr. Aleks Pluskowski, examined Malbork and several other sites across Eastern and Northern Europe in his recent paper, The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Holy War, Colonisation, and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic. Pluskowski is keenly interested in the impact the Teutonic Knights and Christian colonisation had on the region. His ambitious 4 year project on the ecological changes in this area recently came to a close at the end of 2014.

The Papacy and Christian Mercenaries of Thirteenth-Century North Africa

Condottiero drawing by Leonardo da Vinci

Could one be a good mercenary and a good Christian at the same time?

How secret was the Templar admission ceremony? Evidence from the proceedings in the British Isles


I have argued in my introduction to the proceedings against the Templars in the British Isles that we cannot believe any of the evidence given by the Templars during the proceedings against them.

Priests and the Black Death

Boccaccio's 'The plague of Florence in 1348'

As news of outbreaks of disease continues to swirl around the world, I keep being reminded of the bravery of the caregivers who bring comfort and aid to the sick and the dying.

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