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BOOK REVIEW: Spies, Sadists, and Sorcerers: The History You Weren’t Taught in School

Book: Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers by Dominic Selwood

A review of Dominic Selwood’s, ‘Spies, Sadists, and Sorcerers: The History you Weren’t Taught in School’

A Tale of too Many Romes: Competing Byzantine and Medieval Claims to Roman Legacy

Map of the Roman Empire, by John Speed

Likewise in the Middle Ages, Rome’s legacy was contested among many powers and interested parties. The eastern (Byzantine) and western (German) emperors insisted that each was the sole legitimate owner of the title ‘Emperor of the Romans.’

Restauratio and Reuse: The Afterlife of Roman Ruins

View of Theater of Marcellus with Savelli apartments on attic story - by Stefano Du Perac in 1575

As sustainability becomes ever more critical to the architectural profession, it is worth noting that the practice of recycling has a long history.

Celebrating the New Year, Medieval Style

The Festival of Fools - Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525)

A look at New Year’s in the Middle Ages.

Medieval Lisbon: Castelo de São Jorge

Walking along the castle walls, you can see the red and green flag of Portugal whipping in the wind alongside the black and white flag of the city. Photo by Medievalists.net.

Above Lisbon’s skyline of colourful tiled houses and red roofs lies Castelo de São Jorge, a dominating, but beautiful, 11th century fortress in the heart of this vibrant city…

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.

Hellenes and Romans in Ancient China (240 BC – 1398 AD)

17th century map of China, by Johan Nieuhof (1618-1672)

In this article I have assembled elements from historical texts, archaeological discoveries and research from other scholars in order to establish the links between these civilizations.

Foundation Myths in Medieval and Renaissance Italy

Plaque of Regola, the VII rione of Rome. (Dailyphotostream.blogspot.com)

The 3 papers featured here looked at the development of the civic identities of Florence, Genoa and Rome through art, architecture and foundation legends.

Paying the Army in the Theodosian Period

late roman soldiers - photo by G.dallorto / Wikicommons

Calculating how much the army was paid during the Theodosian period is more difficult than calculating the army’s pay about a century earlier or later.

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).

10 Cool Facts about Saint Catherine

Caravaggio (1598) - Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Saint Catherine of Alexandria and her wheel have been well recognized symbols since the beginning of the Middle Ages. Here are 10 interesting tidbits about Saint Catherine:

The conversion of Constantine and the Christianisation of Europe

Constantine's conversion, as imagined by Rubens.

Historians have argued for centuries – in the face of contradictory primary sources – both about when and how the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, and the nature and extent of his faith.

Unexpected Evidence concerning Gold Mining in Early Byzantium

Roman gold mine

One of the consequences of the decline of Roman imperial might was the shortage of slaves at state-run mines. Consequently, criminals were often sentenced to damnatio ad metallum. The need for gold especially soared when the gold solidus was introduced at the beginning of the fourth century.

Rose without Thorn, Eagle without Feathers: Nation and Power in Late Medieval England and Germany

Rupert King of Germany with his wife Elizabeth of Nuremberg

It is hard at times to take the Agincourt Carol entirely seriously. Patriotism of such brash exuberance seems more properly to belong in a brightly lit Laurence Olivier world of mid twentieth-century medievalism than amid the grim and tangled realities of fifteenth- century politics and war.

ARTICLES: The Deflation of the Medieval in Joyce’s Ulysses

Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses

For James Joyce, Irish nationalism, with its appeal to patriotic emotionality and promotion of interest in the archaic and medieval Irish past, was suspect.

A British legion stationed near Orléans c. 530?

Roman Legion soldier end of 3rd century - northern province

Several recent books lead the reader to believe that Vita sancti Dalmatii, written in c. 800, records a legio Britannica (a British army) stationed near Orléans in c. 530. As this paper demonstrates, the only correct detail of this purported record is the word legio, and this may well have a non-military connotation.

Christianity and the Latin tradition in early Medieval Ireland

Book of Ballymote - explaining Ogham script

The Christianity which arrived in Ireland with the fifth-century missionaries was more than just a literate religion; it was very much a religion of the book.

Hungary’s Conversion to Christianity: The Establishment of Hungarian Statehood and its Consequences to the Thirteenth Century

Mummified right hand of Stephen I of Hungary - canonized in 1083 A.D.

The Carpathian Basin occupies a peculiar place in history. It was the ground where Roman-Germanic world met that of the Slavs and mounted nomad peoples, where no group had achieved sustained unity before the state of Hungary was founded.

The Birth of the Monarchy out of Violent Death

Murder of Dagobert II - carving from the crypt at Stenay-sur-Meuse.

There were many motives for murdering a king.

Slaves, Money Lenders, and Prisoner Guards: The Jews and the Trade in Slaves and Captives in the Crimean Khanate

Jewish Slave Trader being presented to Boleslav of Bohemia

Trade in slaves and captives was one of the most important (if not the most important) sources of income of the Crimean Khanate in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

Goths, Lombards, Romans, and Greeks: Creating Identity in Early Medieval Italy

Carved sarcophagus depicting a battle between Romans and Barbarians, Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome,

This essay explores how two different non-Roman historians represented the past to their peoples: the Gothic historian Jordanes’ sixth-century work, the Getica, and the eighth-century Lombard historian Paul the Deacons’ History of the Lombards.

Scandinavia and the Huns: an Interdisciplinary Approach to the Migration Era

Hunnish -Set of Horse Trappings

The aim of this paper is to discuss the early Migration period as a particular period of ‘short term history’ and its formative impact on the Scandinavian longue duree in the first millenium.

The Medieval Life of the Colosseum

Colosseum

Archaeologist working on Rome’s Colosseum have discovered that the ancient landmark continued to be used throughout the Middle Ages, but not as a gladiatorial arena. Instead, it was used homes, workshops and even stables.

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