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medieval history



  • Colin Morris, 1928-2021

    Colin Morris identified the beginnings of the concept of individualism two centuries earlier than had previously been believed, part of a career of groundbreaking scholarship on the Middle Ages. 



  • When a Bible Isn't a Bible

    by Kathleen E. Kennedy

    The British press has bungled its accounting of the discovery of a gold bead in the form of an open book. If it's not a Bible, what is it? 



  • Why Dragons were the Dominant Medieval Monstrosities

    by David M. Perry and Matthew Gabriele

    Scott Bruce and Michael Psellos are among the historians shedding light on how medieval people talked about monsters and what cultural roles they played. 



  • Fact and Fiction in "The Last Duel"

    by Sara McDougall and David Perry

    "The film effectively depicts the violence embedded in medieval ideas of elite masculinity while taking historical liberties when it comes to the real nature and function of trials by combat, or how rape accusations worked in medieval Europe."



  • Viking Map of Americas Shown to be a 20th Century Forgery

    by David M. Perry and Matthew Gabriele

    Both financial gain and the prevalent sectarian conflicts over immigration and nationality in early 20th century America probably motivated the forgery and muted the inclination to challenge it. 



  • Is this the Moment for Dante's Purgatory?

    by Judith Thurman

    Dante's epic examined the uncharted space of the new Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. New translations make his vision speak to today's mood of unsettlement and uncertainty.



  • The Many Myths of the Term ‘Anglo-Saxon’

    by Mary Rambaran-Olm and Erik Wade

    References to America's "Anglo-Saxon heritage" are often racist dogwhistles, and usually fully detached from the history of the Anglo-Saxon people. 


  • The History Behind Demands for "Trial by Combat"

    by Eric Jager

    A call for "trial by combat" may seem desperate or insane, but may also hint at a desire for a clear, definitive verdict when truth proves elusive. A medievalist reconstructs the world that allowed the last legal, judicial duel.