Four Kidnappings in Thirteenth-Century Aragon: Christian Children as Victims of Christian-Muslim Domination

Aragonia et Navarra, by Willem Janszoon Blaeu. Amsterdam: 1640

We don’t have to probe too deeply to identify the impetus for these acts: it was simple greed.

How Do You Say ‘Bastard’ in Medieval Latin?

william the conqueror

As I am finding, analysis of the language of illegitimate birth reveals a rich, complex vocabulary used to indicate something less than fully legitimate birth.

BOOKS: Medieval Ireland


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

Topography of Prostitution in Renaissance Ferrara

Antonio Frizzi, Ferrara in 1385, after Bartolino da Novara

On any given morning in 1471, the prostitute Giovanna of Venice, then resident of a Ferrarese brothel on Via Malborghetto, might have contemplated with resignation the options open to her for a day on the town.

From Viking Chiefdoms to Medieval State in Iceland: The Evolution of Social Power Structures in the Mosfell Valley

16th century map of Iceland

Norse settlers from Scandinavia arrived in Iceland in the 9th century AD and encountered an unoccupied and virgin landscape. This dissertation focuses on how these Viking Age migrants interacted with the local environment and with each other to develop a new society, and how that society evolved over the following four centuries.

The Reverent Irreverence of Mardi Gras

carnival in rome - Jan Lingelbach, 17th century

How, you may have wondered, is the beginning of a time of deprivation related to such wild festivity?

Ye Ol’ Bed & Breakfast: A Look at the Medieval Inn

The Mermaid Inn, Rye . Built 1420) - photo by  Richard Rogerson / Wikicommons

What were medieval English inns really like?

Immigrants made up 1% of the population in Medieval England, researchers find

englands immigrants

About one out of every hundred people in late medieval England was an immigrant, according to researchers at the universities of York and Sheffield. They have also launched a new database that offers details about 65,000 immigrants who lived in England between 1330 and 1550.

Ceremonial Drinking in the Viking Age

A drinking scene on an image stone from Gotland, Swedish Museum of National Antiquities, Stockholm.

Drinking ceremonies played a very important social role in Viking Age Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxon England.

A peasant is a peasant, is a peasant? : Medieval Maritime Peasant Lives

Medieval fishermen

A peasant is a peasant, is a peasant…or is s/he? Was the life of a peasant who lived in the coastal regions of England the same as that of the peasant who made his livelihood toiling on the land for his local lord?

Laughing at the Middle Ages

medieval laughing

This paper asks: how and why has modernity laughed at the Middle Ages, and what are the ethical stakes of this laughter?

Intersex in the Middle Ages

Statue of Hermaphrodite - Louvre

A brief look at how the medieval world viewed the Intersex individual.

In Pursuit of Aristocratic Women: A Key to Success in Norman England

medieval marriage

Discussion of marital strategies of the aristocracy in England, 1066-1154, including recruitment through marriage, marital alliances, and political advantage.

Common Violence: Vengeance and Inquisition in Fourteenth-Century Marseille

Detail of a miniature of Cain murdering Abel.

Medieval violence has a bad reputation.

From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus

st nicholas santa claus

How did a 4th century bishop become the jolly man who comes down the chimney with gifts for children on Christmas?

Gift Giving in the Middle Ages – new exhibition at The Getty

gift giving middle ages - Cutting from a choir book, 1470s - Photo courtesy

Just in time for the holidays, Give and Ye Shall Receive: Gift Giving in the Middle Ages, is now on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Marital Affection and Expectations in a 14th-Century Parisian Court

A View of Paris from around 1600

I argue that the women in fourteenth-century Paris expected affection, or at least a lack of hatred, within their marriages.

Medieval Books for Christmas

The Middle Ages - Johannes Fried

It’s that time of year again – the mad scramble for the perfect Christmas gift for the historian, nerd, avid reader on your list. Here are a few suggestions for you – new releases for December and January!

Love and Marriage on the Medieval English Stage: Using the English Cycle Plays as Sources for Social History

The art of courtly love

Much scholarship concerning the concept of “companionate” marriage traces its origins to the early modern period as clergymen, especially Protestant ones, began to publish “guides” to the relationships and respective duties of husbands and wives in the 1500s and 1600s.

A Created Enemy: ‘Barbarians’ in spite of Religious Conversion. Visigoths and Byzantines in 6th-Century Iberia

Capital from the Visigothic church of San Pedro de la Nave.

This study approaches the concept of resistance as a tool for historical analysis during Roman Late Antiquity, especially with respect to the identity construction and the creation of physical or mental borders between Byzantines and Barbarians.

‘Falseness Reigns in Every Flock’: Literacy and Eschatological Discourse in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

Peasant's Revolt 1381

The literature of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, a miscellany of fourteenth-century poetry and prose penned before, during, and after the insurrection, often stresses the importance of literacy to the nonaristocratic population of England.

A Medieval Drinking Song

Carmina Burana

A song about drinking and gambling from the 13th century.

The Sincere Body: The Performance of Weeping and Emotion in Late Medieval Italian Sermons

The Magdalen Weeping - by Master of the Legend of the Magdalen, dated 1525.

In 1493 the well-known and controversial Franciscan preacher Bernardino of Feltre gave a series of Lenten sermons to the people of Pavia. On March 11 he dedicated an entire sermon to the necessity of contrition—or perfect sorrow over sin—in the rite of confession.

How England’s 1% remained the same since 1066

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrews, (c. 1748–1750) - by Thomas Gainsborough

If your surname reveals that you descended from the ‘in’ crowd in the England of 1066—the Norman Conquerors—then even now you are more likely than the average Brit to be upper class.

Flandria Illustrata: Flemish Identities in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period

Jan van Eyck, Annunciation, 1434–1436. Wing from a dismantled triptych. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

This chapter discusses identity formation in early modern Flanders. It argues that policy makers and their intellectual agents transformed the perception of a province that had been divided by urban rivalries, civil war and conflicts with the Burgundian and Habsburg overlords, into a bastion of the Catholic Counter Reformation with strong ties to the Spanish King and his representatives.

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