medieval history

  • Maps are the Record of Humans' Imagination of the World

    by Meredith F. Small

    World maps have always been made without regard for practicality. Useless for navigation or for demarcating ownership, they are imaginative and expressive of a society's view of the world—which makes them important. 

  • The Middle Ages Were Much Cleaner Than We Think

    by Eleanor Janega

    Our myths about medieval cleanliness are contradicted by mountains of evidence about the lengths people of all social classes went to to bathe. 

  • "Receptiogate" and the Bad Incentives in Academic Research

    by Charlotte Gauthier

    A case of academic theft that might otherwise be of interest to a handful of medievalists stands out because of the immense, bungling, cloak-and-dagger internet chicanery involved, but more importantly because it reveals the misbehavior incentivized by European research funding. 

  • Which Medieval Jewish Stories Need to Be Told?

    by David M. Perry

    The history of European Jews in the medieval period is unfortunately dominated by discussions of death that make violent antisemitism seem inevitable and inescapable. 

  • Safe Haven "Baby Boxes" are a Medieval Horror

    by Maria Laurino

    "As generations of twentieth-century Italian mothers and their children can attest, giving a woman no choice but to anonymously surrender her baby is a route to ruined lives."

  • On Beer, or, Why Chicks Rock

    by Eleanor Janega

    The history of brewing in medieval Europe reflects on the present in interesting ways from the inside of the pub. 

  • The Popular Medieval History Hated by Medievalists

    by Daniel Lavery

    "It’s the most prominent example of a type of book that fascinates me: The amateur/popular history of an entire field that’s largely beloved (or at least successful) outside of said field and widely loathed within it."

  • Questing for the Past

    by Katherine Churchill

    A nameplate in an 1864 edition of Gawain and the Green Knight led the author to discover the connections between a mythic medieval past and the Lost Cause ideology of Jim Crow Virginia. 

  • Was the Black Death Less Severe and Shorter than We Think?

    by Adam Izdebski, Alessia Masi and Timothy P. Newfield

    "While no two pandemics are the same, the study of the past can help us discover where to look for our own vulnerabilities and how to best prepare for future outbreaks. To begin to do that, though, we need to reassess past epidemics with all the evidence we can."

  • On Writing The Bright Ages

    by David M. Perry and Matthew Gabriele

    The authors of a new book reconsidering the history of the medieval world describe how the project came about and how the work of writing history benefits by collaboration.

  • 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.