Category Archives: History

Session: Arthurian Horses

Organiser: Dr Anastasija Ropa Participants: Dr Joseph M. Sullivan Dr Eleana Creazzo Dr Sandy Feinstein   Horses in the Middle Ages were a means of transport, but, in the world of chivalry, they were also powerful symbolic vehicles. An Arthurian … Continue reading

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CFP: The THE MEDIEVAL HORSE Sessions at the International Medieval Congress 2018 at Leeds, 2-5 July 2018

Palfreys and rounceys, hackneys and packhorses, warhorses and coursers, not to mention the mysterious ‘dung mare’ – they were all part of everyday life in the Middle Ages. Every cleric and monk, no matter how immersed in his devotional routine … Continue reading

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Where to execute a criminal in the Middle Ages?

Do you have morbid fascination with gallows, pillories and other sites of execution and infamy? If you do, you will probably never confess this interest, lest your colleagues shall fear you as a closet maniac. Unless, of course, you are … Continue reading

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Medieval Churches in Latvia

Romanesque, early Gothic and late Gothic churches were all present on the landscape of medieval Latvia. Many of them have survived wars and fires and still make their mark on the surroundings. Constructed from the twelfth century onwards and rebuilt throughout their history, medieval churches offer a standing testimony to the malleability of history, a reminder of the instability, permeability of meaning. Burned to the four walls and erected once again (Krimulda Church), rebuilt to suit the latest tastes already in the Middle Ages (St. Peter’s), or ruined to the four shattered walls, plaintively exposed against the blue waters of the Daugava River (Ikshkile Church) – these are just a few examples of the still beautiful monuments of sacred history which have the power to take the visitors back in time. Continue reading

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Medieval Welsh Horses Had Weird Names

What did the greatest Arthurian knights call their steeds? You will never guess it, unless you read he Black Book of Caermarthen – or my post. Continue reading

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Medieval Horses Love Water!

November has come, with its dull winter days, the first snow and cold, wet horses. Apparently, it was no problem in the fifteenth-century France, where the calendar page from the spectacular Bedford Hours show a horse splashing in a fountain: … Continue reading

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What did medieval people know about Hungary?

What do the Old Norse sagas, the chronicle narrative of Jean Froissart and the Old Serbian annals have in common? How about the Dominican collection of pious exempla by Jacobus de Cessolis, Liber de moribus? Well, to give you yet another clue, think of the late French Arthurian romance of Melyador and the anonymous fifteenth-century Middle English metrical romance Capystranus. Still no nearer to the answer? Hungary and the Hungarians! Surprising as it may sound, Hungary makes a frequent and variegated appearance in a variety of medieval narrative sources across Europe, from Iceland to Italy, not to mention Germany, France, England and such close neighbours as Poland and Serbia. Continue reading

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What is an Illuminated Charter?

What is a charter? What is an illuminated charter? Each national tradition of scholarship has their own approaches. Thus, one possibility may be to include everything produced in the chancery into the category of charters. Another approach would be to limit the scope of inquiry based on formal features: a document on one page, with signatures or other subscriptions, sealed or having place for a seal. Yet a third possibility is to make the analysis functional: as advised by a certain lawyer, a legal document would be any document that would result in certain action, the imposition of legal obligation, etc. In particular, indulgencies, though envisaging a contract of non-material kind, fit the functional definition well. Continue reading

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Illuminated Charters and Digital Humanities – A Conference Report

What is an illuminated charter? This is the question me and Edgar unfailingly heard from friends and relatives when we told them we are going to Vienna to a conference on Illuminated Charters. I must confess that I was puzzled and mystified when I first read the call for papers ‘Illuminated Charters: From the Margins of two Disciplines to the Core of Digital Humanities’. This may have been the reason I enlisted my co-author’s and husband’s help and sent a proposal to the conference organisers, on ‘The Functions of Illuminated Charters from Latvian and Lithuanian Archives in European Context’. Continue reading

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Economics of Quality: People and Products on Medieval and Modern Markets

The first day of the 5th summer school on economic history opened with three papers by experts in the field, Christian Bessy, Laurent Feller and Bert de Munck, who introduced different theoretical issues in the economics of quality (économies de la qualité), followed by questions and discussion sections. Continue reading

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