Infidel Dogs: Hunting Crusaders with Usama ibn Munqidh

Battle between the Turks and the Crusaders  - The Hague, KB, KA 20 fol. 254v

Few works of medieval Arabic literature are as valuable to the student of Islamic perspectives on the Crusades as the Kitab al-I tibar or Book of Learning by Example by the Syrian warrior and man-of-letters Usama ibn Munqidh (1095–1188).

Danish Ferocity and Abandoned Monasteries: the Twelfth-century View

Lindisfarne ruins - created by  Thomas Girtin (1775–1802)

This article tries to explain why twelfth-century authors found it so important to invent stories of Viking brutality towards monks and nuns and what ideas and material they used to create their stories.

The Partition of a Kingdom: Strathclyde 1092-1153

Strathclyde kingdom - Wikimedia Commons

The last British king of Strathclyde, Owein, son of Dyfnal, died in 1018. At that time his kingdom stretched from Lennox, north of the Clyde, as far south as the Rere Cross at Stainmore in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

The Anglo-Saxon War-Culture and The Lord of the Rings: Legacy and Reappraisal

The Lord of the Rings - Aragorn

The literature of war in English claims its origin from the Homeric epics, and the medieval accounts of chivalry and the crusades.

The Lion’s Roar: Anger in the Dispute between Henry II and Thomas Becket

Henry II arguing with Thomas Becket

The purpose of this paper will be to analyze representations of anger in the sources on Becket’s life and the place of anger in the dispute, and to assess what that suggests about understandings and uses of anger in twelfth-century English politics.

‘De civitatis utriusque, terrenae scilicet et caelestis’: Foundation Narratives and the Epic Portrayal of the First Crusade

Siege of Antioch - from a 15th-century miniature painting.

My summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical research on the accounts of Antioch and Jerusalem during the First Crusade.

‘Hag of the Castle:’ Women, Family, and Community in Later Medieval Ireland

Sheela-na-gig from the Fethard wall in Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, detail, 12th c.

In a letter written as part of his work for the Irish Department of the Ordnance Survey in 1840, Thomas O’Conor recorded his reaction to a “Sheela- na-gig” sculpture—the image of a naked woman shown exposing her genitalia (fig. 1)—that he saw on the old church at Kiltinane, Co. Tipperary.

Strange Bedfellows : The Rise of the Military Religious Orders in the Twelfth Century

Military and religious life in the Middle Ages and at the period of the Renaissance (1870)

Although they were devout members of a pacifist religion, they were also its dominant military force. By the most basic tenants of Christianity, the Military Orders should never have existed.

An Apostolic Vocation: The Formation of the Religious Life for the Dominican Sisters in the Thirteenth Century

Dominican choir nuns of Notre Dame

The Dominican vocation sprang from complex historical understandings of the vita apostolica, and the Dominican women’s religio should be approached as part of these same contexts and perceptions.

Feminine Love in the Twelfth Century – A Case Study: The Mulier in the Lost Love Letters and the Work of Female Mystics

Heloise and Abelard - painting created in 1819

This article compares the twelfth-century writings of the secular mulier in the Lost Love Letters with the work of religious female ‘mystics’ to draw comparisons about the way these authors chose to express love.

Of sagas and sheep: Toward a historical anthropology of social change and production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland

Medieval hunt - images of sheep

This dissertation deals with the formation of chiefdoms, communities, ecclesiastical institutions and state, and with production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland in the context of climatic change and ecological succession.

Anatomy of a Crusade: The De Expugnatione Lyxbonensi and the Lisbon Crusade of 1147

The Conquest of Lisbon painting by Alfredo Roque Gameiro (1917)

This paper will argue that the author crafted the speeches largely after the fact, and that Raol was able to graft ecclesiastical crusade theory onto the siege. In effect, he was able to marry a military success to the growing body of crusade propaganda.

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.

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

King Alfonso VIII 'the Noble' of Castile

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)

Alfonso IX of León

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.

The Episcopal Body and Sexuality in Late Medieval England

Thomas Becket, with mitre, pall and cross, being consecrated.

How was long-term celibacy thought to affect the health of religious men? How could medical knowledge help clerics to achieve bodily purity?

Tundale’s Vision: Socialization in 12th Century Ireland

tundale vision

The purpose of this project is to explore the historical image of Hell in Medieval Europe as an agent of socialization for illiterate Christian communities.

Earl Rögnvaldr of Orkney, a Poet of the Viking Diaspora

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkneys, Scotland - St Rognvald, earl of Orkney - photo by Otter

Kali Kolsson, later Rögnvaldr, Earl of Orkney, ca. 1103–1158, is a truly international figure. He was born in Noway. He travelled to England with some traders in his youth. He then came to power in Northern Scotland.

Constructing memory: holy war in the Chronicle of the Poles by Bishop Vincentius of Cracow

Poland

The Chronicle of the Poles by Bishop Vincentius of Cracow is a twelfth-century history of Poland and a recognised masterpiece of medieval scholarship.

The Floating State: Trade Embargoes and the Rise of a New Venetian State

Neptune offering gifts to Venice - Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

This paper was given by Georg Christ and examined embargoes and state formation in the late medieval and early modern period in Venice.

The Wages of Sin: Kinship and Forgiveness in the ‘Herlechin’s Hunt’ of Orderic Vitalis

"Wodan's Wild Hunt" (1882) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine

In Book VIII of this lengthy chronicle of Norman affairs, Orderic paused in his description of the political struggles between the sons of William the Conqueror to tell a ghost story.

12th-century Byzantine manuscript returned to Greece

byzantine manuscript - image courtesy the Getty Museum

After being stolen from a monastery over fifty years ago, a 12th-century Byzantine manuscript has been returned to Greece by the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Medicine and surgery in the Livre des Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois de Jérusalem

The Assizes of Jerusalem

The Livre des Assises, written in the thirteenth century in Acre, not only provides insights into the practice of medicine and surgery in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, but also suggests that the licensing and regulation of doctors reflected contemporary Islamic practice.

Mirrors for Princes: Henry II and the Succession to the Angevin Empire

Henry II and his children - Royal 14 B V   Membrane 5

Understandably, with so many ‘devilish’ offspring, Henry II faced many difficulties when it came to bringing up his sons, including the problem of how to successfully integrate them into the rule of the Angevin Empire.

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