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Tropical fire ants traveled the world on 16th century ships

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.

Medieval Manuscripts: The Isabella Breviary

Within its pages lie some of the finest illuminations ever painted during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

The medieval roots of gender and sexuality in Spanish colonial law

Marie Kelleher will discuss the medieval roots of gender and sexuality in Spanish colonial law, beginning with the written law (both secular and ecclesiastical) and how it defines the parameters of respectable female behavior.

Spanish Vikings: Searching for the Norse presence in Iberia

The fearsome reputation of the Vikings has made them the subject of countless exhibitions, books and films – however, surprisingly little is known about their more southerly exploits in Spain.

‘Forget Your People and Your Father’s House’: Teresa de Cartagena and the Converso Identity

Religion is a very important factor to take into consideration in discussions about the identity of the conversos [converts] or New Christians, an emerging group in 15th-century Castile.

Intellectual Cartographic Spaces: Alfonso X, the Wise and the Foundation of the Studium Generale of Seville

This dissertation, “Intellectual Cartographic Spaces: Alfonso X, the Wise and the Foundations of the Studium Generale of Seville,” I reevaluate Spain’s medieval history, specifically focusing on the role of Alfonso X and his court in the development of institutions of higher education in thirteenth-century Andalusia.

The (Attempted) Alliance of Alfonso VIII of Castile and Valdemar II of Denmark: the Infante Fernando’s Marriage Reconsidered

This paper presents the evidence for a lost marriage alliance between Castile and Denmark, contextualizes the marriage within the larger framework of Alfonso VIII’s international relations, and finally, demonstrates that the match can help to underscore the importance of crusading lineages in the affairs of the Castilian royal family.

Beyond the Border. The aristocratic mobility between the kingdoms of Portugal and León (1157- 1230)

During the reigns of Fernando II and Alfonso IX, the kingdom of León became home to several Portuguese aristocrats. Their relations with the Galician and Leonese nobility helped them create many cross-border ties and a powerful network of family-based relationships which heavily influenced the course of the main political conflicts of this period.

Petrus Hispanus (circa 1215-1277) and ‘The Treasury of the Poor’

The identity of Petrus Hispanus is a matter of some controversy. Part of the problem is centred on the fact that ‘Hispanus’ covers the general region of the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in medieval times as ‘las Españas’ (the Spains), incorporating both present day Spain and Portgual.

Late Medieval Knight Reflecting on his Public Life: Hugo de Urriés (c. 1405-c. 1493), Diplomacy and Translating the Classics

This article focuses on Aragonese courtier Hugo de Urriés’s public profile by means of analyzing the critical points derived from examining his personal, political, cultural and historical stands making use of an invaluable primary source, his letter to Fernando the Catholic in the early 1490s.

A Peripheral Matter?: Oceans in the East in Late-Medieval Thought, Report and Cartography

It is something of a truism that the Ocean Sea {mare oceanum in medieval texts and cartography) marked out a real and conceptual periphery for medieval Western Europeans.

The Physicality of Service in German Ideas of Knighthood, c.1200-1500

Jörg’s memoir is a particularly informative example of how one knight understood his own calling to knighthood and his practice of it. The medieval knight had a voice, and although precious few memoirs like Jörg’s exist, knightly perspectives inform a considerable breadth of primary materials.

Medieval Mean Girls: On Sexual Rivalry and the Uses of Cosmetics in La Celestina

The prevalent use of cosmetics among women fast became a topic for moralist discourse, both inside and out of the Peninsula.

MOVIE REVIEW: Order of the Holy Grail (Captain Thunder)

This is a review of the Spanish medieval film: Captain Thunder or Order of The Holy Grail (El Capitán Trueno y el Santo Grial)

Using Gems in Medieval Spells

David Porreca examines how the magical spells found in the Picatrix made use of precious gems.

From Legible Text to Magical Pattern: Arabic Inscriptions in Muslim and Christian Spain

The Arabic inscriptions in this building fascinated me, and led me down a long path of research that continues today over a decade later. Today I will present some of that research, showing you some of the other structures and objects that are adorned with the same inscription.

Herb-workers and Heretics: Beguines, Bakhtin and the Basques

During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the word beguine was used by women to identify themselves as members of a wide-spread and influential women’s movement. The same term was used by their detractors and overt opponents, with the highly charged negative meaning of “heretic.” The etymology of the term “beguine” and ultimate origins of the movement have never been satisfactorily explained.

Pigs and Pollards: Medieval Insights for UK Wood Pasture Restoration

In this article, I examine the medieval evidence for how pig husbandry functioned in wood pasture in England.

The ‘Wiles of Women’ Motif in the Medieval Hebrew Literature of Spain

Most famous of all, perhaps is the tale of the woman whose husband leaves for battle. Her lover then sends his boy to tell her he is coming to her, and she seduces the boy.

Writing the Antithesis of María of Aragón: Alvaro de Luna’s Rendering of Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris

Of the many works that form the canon of the debate on women in the fifteenth century, particularly in the Iberian Peninsula, there is a text that often omitted. This lesser known text was written by one of the most notorious figures in Spanish history: don Alvaro de Luna.

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