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medieval history


  • 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. 



  • Vikings, Crusaders, Confederates

    by Matthew Gabriele

    The far-right has combined a selective and outdated version of medieval history from popular culture to express values of racial superiority, aggressive masculinity and violence in defense of threatened values.


  • How Venetians Invented Health Care

    by Meredith F. Small

    It's been widely discussed during this pandemic year that Venetians invented the quarantine. But the author of a new book on Venice's history of innovation argues that it was just one of the public health measures for which we can thank them.



  • The Overlooked Queer History of Medieval Christianity

    by Roland Betancourt

    An attentive reading of the record shows that same-sex intimacy, gender fluidity, and diverse sexual identities were prevalent among early Christians, contrary to the claims made by some fundamentalists today that these represent deviations from historical norms. 



  • Queen of Heaven, Empress of Hell

    by Vanessa R. Corcoran

    Contemporary depictions of Mary tend to be gentle in their holiness, but Christians centuries ago envisioned her as a powerful agent who fought for their salvation.



  • How two women pulled off a medieval manuscript heist in post-war Germany

    by Jennifer Bain

    After the Dresden bombings, the Soviet Army seized and inspected the surviving vault. The first bank official to enter the vault afterwards found it pillaged, with only one manuscript remaining. The bank could never confirm if the vault was emptied in an official capacity or if it was plundered.

  • Sacred Objects: Medieval History and Star Wars

    by Stephenie McGucken

    For European believers, relics allowed worshipers to encounter some aspect of an object of devotion—a holy person or place—when the object itself was physically unavailable or geographically inaccessible.



  • Historian and medievalist Brian Tierney dies at 97

    Tierney was a past president of the American Catholic Historical Association, a member of the American Philosophical Society, a corresponding fellow of the British Academy, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Medieval Academy of America.