The Siege of Belgrade, 1456

Have you ever wondered why most Christian (i.e. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) churches ring their bells at noon every day? Pope Callixtus III (1455-1458) ordered the bells of every European church to be rung every day at noon, as a call to pray for the Hungarian and Crusader victory defending the fortress at Belgrade (then Nándorfehérvár as…

10 Great Tips from the Middle Ages

Hello Again Everyone, Here is an entertaining re-post from Medievalists.net on advice from those living in the Middle Ages on a range of topics from the new book ‘Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice from Yesteryear‘ by Elizabeth P. Archibald. “Want to know how to garden with lobsters? How to sober up? Grow a…

The self-publicist whose medical text books caused a stir

Published nearly 500 years ago, Andreas Vesalius’s medical text books occupy an important place in scientific history. Intricate art, unlike anything that had been seen before, sits alongside detailed text that sought to change the way bodies were dissected post mortem. Cambridge University Library holds well-preserved copies of the Fabrica, and its companion piece the…

Infection Control 600 Years Before the CDC

Modern health authorities combating the Ebola virus in West Africa might look into the past for inspiration. During the medieval period and into the early 20th century, plague—The Black Death—was a feared and incurable infection, spreading rapidly through Europe along trade routes. As a result, authorities in port cities through the ages were especially vigilant…

Over 21 000 medieval items found in England and Wales in 2013

Over 21,000 medieval objects were discovered in England and Wales in 2013, according to the latest release of the The Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Report. Since its inception in 1997, over one million historical objects have been recorded by the scheme. Some of the medieval objects highlighted in 2013 report include a lead Papal bulla of…

Mysteries of medieval graffiti in England’s churches

Medieval graffiti of straw kings, pentagrams, crosses, ships and “demon traps” have been offering a tantalizing glimpse into England’s past. What do the pictures reveal about life in the Middle Ages? A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England….

Images of Castles from Medieval Manuscripts

Sarah Peverley has put together this set of 43 images of medieval castles and walled towns besieged, under attack, being constructed, and in the landscape. You can visit Sarah’s website – SarahPeverley.com – or follow her on Twitter @Sarah_Peverley You can also learn more about medieval castles: Castles as Past Culture: Adaptation and Identity in the Post-Life of…

Medieval Images of the Human Body

Medieval Images of the Human Body By the later Middle Ages there was great interest in anatomy and how the body worked. Medieval people made illustrations to explain medical and anatomical issues of human body. Here is a list of medieval images of the whole or parts of the body, which offer a fascinating, unique…

800 Years of Ják Abbey

Medieval Hungary: 800 Years of Ják Abbey This year mark the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Benedictine monastery of Ják (pronounced yak). It is known that the monastery was established by Márton “the Great” comes from the Ják kindred some time before 1223 (when its abbot was first mentioned). Circumstantial evidence puts the…

A Year on the Medieval Farm

A Year on the Medieval Farm What did medieval peasants do on a farm? Some documents from the period offer insights into the agricultural activities throughout the year. One of these works was the Liber ruralium commodorum, written by Pietro de’ Crescenzi around 1304-09. This treatise about agriculture offered advice on all kinds of things…

The Most ‘Evil’ Rulers of the Middle Ages

The Most ‘Evil’ Rulers of the Middle Ages These medieval rulers would earn the nicknames like the Bad, the Cruel and the Accursed! While in the Middle Ages there were many rulers who could be harsh and destructive, we choose these six men because of their personal treachery towards even their family members and the…

When banquets were dangerous for the soul

When banquets were dangerous for the soul In the Middle Ages, wedding banquets were extremely common and popular rituals. Eating and drinking together were the basic public expression of marriage: the most widely accepted, the most genuinely shared. There are many reasons that lie behind this success, but if we should summarise them in one…

600th Anniversary of the Council of Constance

600th Anniversary of the Council of Constance 2014 marks the 600th anniversary of the start of the Council of Constance. The Council was a major event in church politics which made Constance the center of European politics and a meeting place of European cultures in the years 1414-1418. Baden-Württemberg commemorates the anniversary of the world event…

BBC News – The riddle of the Voynich Manuscript

BBC News – The riddle of the Voynich Manuscript The puzzling – and thus far indecipherable – nature of an old manuscript has confounded some of the world’s greatest cryptologists. Is there truly a code to break, or is it all an elaborate hoax?

Black Death skeletons unearthed by Crossrail project

Black Death skeletons unearthed by Crossrail project BBC News – Skeletons unearthed in London Crossrail excavations are Black Death victims from the great pandemic of the 14th Century, forensic tests indicate.

What medieval Europe did with its teenagers

What medieval Europe did with its teenagers Today, there’s often a perception that Asian children are given a hard time by their parents. But a few hundred years ago northern Europe took a particularly harsh line, sending children away to live and work in someone else’s home. Not surprisingly, the children didn’t always like it.

Espionage in the 16th century Mediterranean: Secret Diplomacy, Mediterranean Go-betweens and the Ottoman-Habsburg Rivalry

Espionage in the 16th century Mediterranean: Secret Diplomacy, Mediterranean Go-betweens and the Ottoman-Habsburg Rivalry Spies played a crucial role in early modern imperial rivalries. While past scholars have emphasized the Islam/Christendom divide in the Mediterranean, these go-betweens, who mastered the codes of both cultures, easily crossed invisible boundaries between civilizations and connected the Ottomans and…