Maria the Prophetess: Mother of Alchemy

Engraving depicting Maria Prophetissima from Michael Maier's book Symbola Aurea Mensae Duodecim Nationum (1617).

One of the first female scientists, Maria, the Jewess also referred to as Maria the Prophetissa and Maria, Sister of Moses, whose inventions and designs of equipment are used in laboratories today.

Medieval Studies and STEM

Medieval Studies and STEM

Here are 15 ways that medieval studies and STEM are working together.

Caterina Sforza’s Experiments with Alchemy

Caterina Sforza

She collected over four hundred alchemical, medicinal, and cosmetic recipes, and corresponded with other alchemical adepts about materials and laboratory techniques.

Ibn Al-Haytham’s Contributions to Optics and Renaissance Art

Charles Falco

I am going to talk about the science of optics, the history of western art, and the influence of Ibn Al-Haytham.

The Astrolabe: Medieval Multi-Tool of Navigation

Chaucer's Astrolable - photo by Viewminder / Flikr

They were the Swiss Army knife of medieval travelers.

Places to See: The King Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester

Standing over the spot Richard III was discovered at the King Richard III Visitor's Centre in Leicester. Photo by Medievalists.net

Now that Richard III has been laid to rest, and his tomb is open to the public for viewing, what more is there left to see when you’re in Leicester? Plenty.

Saltpetre in medieval gunpowder: Calcium or Potassium Nitrate?

medieval cannon

Until recently, it has been accepted that the formulation of gunpowder has always been based on variable mixtures of charcoal, sulphur and potassium nitrate. This has recently been challenged.

A Portal to the Universe: The Astrolabe as a Site of Exchange in Medieval and Early Modern Knowledge

medeval astrolabe

This essay analyzes the astrolabe and its ability to transfer ideas and culture across traditional geographic boundaries, from the perspective of Europe in the Medieval and Early Modern eras.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Study of Light and Optics: A Synthesis of Fields in The Last Supper

Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci’s preoccupation with the natural world led him to the fields of optics and astronomy.

Assessment of early-modern observations of comets and supernovae: Focus on pre-telescopic European astrometric and physical data

comet - from The Book of Miracles (Augsburg, 16th century)

It will be worth while in this investigation to inquire whether comets have the same nature as the planets and stars … A comet seems to have certain things in common with them: rising and setting, the same appearance, although a comet is scattered and extends farther. It is also fiery and bright. And so, if all planets are earthy bodies, comets will also have the same condition. ~ Seneca

High-Tech Feudalism: Warrior Culture and Science Fiction TV

Richard III with Aliens? Perhaps...Star Trek the Next Generation, Lieutenant Worf and Captain Picard in the episode, "Sins of the Father"

“Richard ΠΙ with aliens” is how Cornell (102) describes “Sins of the Father,” an episode of Star Trek: TheNext Generation (hereafter TNG) in which the Klingon warrior Worf, son of Mogh, seeks to restore his family’s honour by exposing and challenging those responsible for falsely accusing his dead father of treason to the Klingon Empire.

Remediating Viking Origins: Genetic Code as Archival Memory of the Remote Past

genetics

In this article we explore how the remote past is made relevant in the present for participants in a study of population genetics in the UK.

The Relationship of Light and Colour in Medieval Thought and Imagination

Harley 2278 f. 72v Rainbow

The primary point of access for medieval thought concerning visual experience was theology; an overarching set of beliefs concerning the divine significance of light (lux) in accordance with the creation of the world at God’s utterance presented in the first chapter of Genesis.

Daily Weather Observations in Sixteenth-Century Europe

Winter landscape (1608) Hendrick Avercamp

Thirty-two weather diaries written in astronomical calendars in central Europe in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are presented and discussed.

Ten Medieval Inventions that Changed the World

Medieval Inventions that Changed the World

Ten Inventions from the Middle Ages that have had lasting importance, even to the present-day.

Northern Renaissance? Burgundy And Netherlandish Art In Fifteenth-Century Europe

El Descendimiento, by Rogier van der Weyden (1400-1464)

Everyone who has studied medieval or modern history knows that the periodisation of the eras on either side of the Renaissance provides much food for thought. This contribution aims irst to address the usefulness of the widespread concept of the ‘Northern Renaissance’.

From Sin to Science: Astrological Explanations for the Black Death, 1347-1350

15th century image of Death - Majorana, Cristoforo (fl. ca. 1480-1494). Image from New York Public Library

Few survivors of the plague’s horrors could have remained indifferent to debates over its ultimate cause. The frequent evocation of astrology in these debates helped to increase the circulation of astrological ideas in the later fourteenth century, and contributed to the wider vogue they enjoyed during the early modern period

A New Set of Fourteenth Century Planetary Observations

Illustration of an excerpt of Pliny's Natural History on the positions and movements of seven planets, with earth in the centre, and around it the moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn

The Astronomy of Levi ben Gerson (d.1344) is unusual for recording 45 observations he made of planetary longitudes and latitudes that are presented here for the first time.

An Introduction to the Mechanical Arts in the Middle Ages

Medieval Mechanical Arts

I plan to present the mechanical arts as they stood in medieval intellectual thought.

Wax or wane? Insect perspectives on human environmental interactions

Rhyncolus ater - insects

The sites discussed in this paper include a range of sites investigated on national road schemes and other development projects across Ireland, covering a long time-span from the Neolithic period through to the medieval period.

The Cyrurgia of Albucasis and other works, 1500

13th_century_anatomical - medicine

Four surgical treatises, printed in the last year of the fifteenth century, make up the oldest illustrated printed book in the Sibbald Library. The second one, the Cyrurgia of Albucasis, is the most interesting and I shall deal only briefly with the others.

Quasicrystals in Medieval Islamic Architecture

Abdullah Khan Madrassah, 16th century

Quasicrystal patterns have remarkable properties: they do not repeat periodically, and have special symmetry—and were not understood in the West until the 1970s.

A Medieval Multiverse

Medieval Universe

Ideas in a thirteenth-century treatise on the nature of matter still resonate today, say Tom C. B. McLeish and colleagues.

Medieval Magic Tricks

Medieval Magic Tricks

How to turn water into wine, make a cross turn by itself, or have worms appear on cooked meat – some fun medieval magic tricks!

Sickness in the Nidaros Cathedral?

Sickness in the Nidaros Cathedral?

Up towards the ceiling vault of the Nidaros Cathedral, a number of artworks are hidden from public view. Many of the stone sculptures portray mythological animals and other scary creatures. In such company, one would imagine that human faces were also intended to evoke fear and anguish. Do they depict people with diseases?

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