Tropical fire ants traveled the world on 16th century ships

fire ant  photo Rick Hagerty / Flickr

Thanks to a bit of genetic sleuthing, researchers now know the invasion history of the tropical fire ant, the first ant species known to travel the globe by sea.

The Female Consort as Intercessor in Sixteenth-Century Saxony

Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg

In the first part, I will examine how the consort’s position was defined in the 1537 coronation of Christian III and Dorothea of Denmark-Norway.

Visualizing the Body: A Symposium in Honor of the 500th Anniversary of Vesalius’ Birth

Frontispiece from De humani corporis fabrica, Basileae: 1543, by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564

Thank-you to Kele Cable of the University of Minnesota for allowing us to post his Storify account of the Visualizing the Body Symposium, held in November 2014

10 Creepy Things to See at the Louvre That Are Better Than the Mona Lisa

Catherine de Medici - Louvre

If you’re an ancient historian, a medievalist, or early modernist, there are so many other amazing pieces and works of art a the Louvre other than these two tourist staples. Here is my list of cool, creepy, unusual and better than the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris.

The Universal Atlas of Fernão Vaz Dourado

FVD-11 001

Vaz Dourado authored at least four different nautical atlases, each of them including 20 maps, painted between 1568 and 1580, which is to say at the pinnacle of Portuguese cartography.

Eyewitness accounts of the 1510 influenza pandemic in Europe

Sick man in bed - Royal 6 E.VII, f.70

In 1510, there was little appreciation that a specific respiratory disease might have been recurring over centuries, but historians now believe that influenza had probably been circulating as an epidemic disease since as early as the 9th century AD, if not earlier.

A 16th century view of North America in the Vallard Atlas

vallard atlas north America

The scene above shows the second American map, which is of the East Coast of North America, and is one of the most significant of the Vallard Atlas.

Witchcraft Trials In Sweden: With Neighbours Like These, Who Needs Enemies?!

Olaus-Magnus - depiction of a witch 16th c.

Everyone has “that” neighbour on their floor, or street who they’d secretly love to move to Mars and never see again. Well, the Early Modern Swedes had a way of dealing with those kinds of nasty neighbours…

Move over Milan! Late Medieval and Renaissance Fashion in Venice

Cesare Vecellio's Venetian fashion

Milan may be Italy’s current fashion capital, but Venice had an important role to play in the development of the Italian fashion and textile industry since the late middle ages and renaissance period.

The Foxes of Venice

Venice in 1565 - Venice, engraving by Hogenberg and Braun from the Civitates Orbis Terrarum

This paper will focus on the process that led to the professionalization of ambassadorial relations and dispatches as a means to display the shift in the Venetian Senate’s political priorities, as it necessitated and enforced a constant and regular influx of foreign knowledge.

Renaissance Contacts Between Dubrovnik (Ragusa) and the Kingdom of Hungary

Coat of Arms of King Louis I of Hungary - a talisman of good luck.

During the rule of the Angevin dynasty (1308-82) in Hungary, towns and cities increasingly assumed greater political influence. The first treaty between the King of Hungary and Dubrovnik (in those days Ragusa) was signed in 1358, during the reign of Louis (Lajos) the Great.

Managing Criminal Women in Scotland: An Assessment of the Scarcity of Female Offenders in the Records of the High Court of Justiciary, 1524-1542

17th century map of Scotland

The records of Scotland’s High Court of Justiciary that run from 1524 to 1542 contain a remarkably low number of women charged with felonies and pleas of the crown, and reveal the justiciar’s reluctance to convict or execute female offenders.

The Book of Felicity

book of felicity

The Book of Felicity features descriptions of the twelve signs of the zodiac accompanied by splendid miniatures; a series of paintings showing how human circumstances are influenced by the planets; astrological and astronomical tables; and an enigmatic treatise on fortune telling.

Skirts and Politics: The Cistercian Monastery of Harvestehude and the Hamburg City Council

Medieval nun with skirt lifted

In 1482, Catharina Arndes lifted up her skirts in front of the archbishop’s chaplain. She was a respectable townswoman from Hamburg, and her action was carried out in defense of the Cistercian monastery of Harvestehude which was close to the city and where several of Catharina’s nieces lived as nuns.

King’s sister, queen of dissent: Marguerite of Navarre (1492-1549) and her evangelical network

Marguerite de Navarre - Statue of Marguerite of Angoulême, in the gardens of the city hall of Angoulême

This study reconstructs the previously unknown history of the most important dissident group within France before the French Reformed Church formed during the 1550s.

Crafting the witch: Gendering magic in medieval and early modern England

The Devil and witches

This project documents and analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.

Slippery When Wet: Madness and Eroticism in the Countess Elizabeth Bathory

Bathory

The Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a 16th century Hungarian noblewoman, is purported to have killed and bathed in the blood of 600 virgin girls

10 Terrifying Reads for Halloween!

An Examen of Witches

Here are some spooky medieval books for you to celebrate with over Halloween!

Does a Reformation End?: Rethinking Religious Simulation in Sixteenth-Century Italy

The Council of Trent, 1545 - 1563

A paper examining the Italian Reformation.

John Skelton’s ‘Speke Parott’

Speke Parott - Youtube / Skelton Project

Just four days after this video was posted to Youtube, nearly 130 000 people have watched a reading of the Middle English poem Speke Parott.

The Revolution in Writing Styles during the Renaissance

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Just as we have our faces, we each should have own writing style – this was the lesson that two leading Renaissance thinkers, Erasmus and Montaigne, gave to their contemporaries in 16th century Europe.

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