From its violent birth as the surviving portion of a civilization engulfed by invaders to its violent death as a lone city overwhelmed by irresistible assault, the Byzantine Empire was a state walled against perpetual siege.
Prostitution was a vice that was was considered a necessary evil because of “men’s lust”. Ecclesiastics felt that if brothels weren’t available to men in cities, they would find other inappropriate outlets for their entertainment. In an effort to curb potential problems, civic officials permitted prostitution to function within the city walls so long as it was regulated and turned a profit.
Just like their modern day counterparts, medieval cities had to deal with their own criminal underworlds – the sex trade, gambling, and violence taking place within their walls. At the International Medieval Congress, held earlier this month at the University of Leeds, these issues were explored as part of session #706: Perceiving and Regulating Vices.
Ideas of public space can say a lot about the societies that create them. A clear example of this was its use in Flanders during the medieval period. People within Flanders found themselves in a unique situation having one of the highest amounts of urban densities in Europe. This allowed for a distinct urban identity emerge.
Environmental archaeologist and Professor of Archeology at Reading, Dr. Aleks Pluskowski, examined Malbork and several other sites across Eastern and Northern Europe in his recent paper, The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Holy War, Colonisation, and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic. Pluskowski is keenly interested in the impact the Teutonic Knights and Christian colonisation had on the region. His ambitious 4 year project on the ecological changes in this area recently came to a close at the end of 2014.
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.