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middle ages

Detail of a hurdy gurdy

Hurdy Gurdy Man: Rock Star of the Medieval Music Scene

The hurdy gurdy is a musical instrument, or more precisely, a string instrument, that traces its origin to the Middle Ages of Europe. The hurdy gurdy was initially used to play sacred music, before...
Medieval knight riding into battle. Credit: rudall30 / Adobe Stock

The Dramatic History of the Normans: A Tale of Medieval Conquest

History is full of stories that will grip you like a modern page-turner novel, but only a few can do it as easily as the tale of the Normans. Proud and fearsome, these Viking descendants were key...
The well-preserved, brightly colored fresco of Saint Alexis and Christ the Pilgrim. Source: ABC

Fresh Light Illuminates Brilliant Medieval Fresco Incarcerated For Centuries in Rome

A letter from 1965 alerted a curious historian to the existence of an interesting painting that was hidden in one of Rome’s many churches. Her discovery of the medieval fresco was a huge...
The Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, City of London, UK. Credit: KittyKat / Adobe Stock

Brexit Bill Threat Continues England’s Ancient History of Debt Defaults

Boris Johnson’s threat to withhold payment of the UK’s £39 billion Brexit divorce bill until the EU gives Britain better exit terms has been the source of much debate over whether or not it...
Eltz Castle in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Eltz Castle: A Majestic Medieval Pile Owned by the Same Family for 800 Years

Eltz Castle is a majestic castle situated on the top of a rock within a small wooded valley in Germany. Be it through luck or strategy, the castle has been mostly spared from the ravages of war...
Grape DNA sources around Europe had been connected with ancient Roman seeds.    Source: Grecaud Paul / Adobe Stock

French Wine With a Hint of Rome Revealed By Ancient Grape DNA

Seeds of grapes used in the production of wine, found in archaeological sites across Europe, have been genetically tested and tell a story of continuity from ancient Rome until this very day. It...
The animal trials were common in the Middle Ages. (The Trail of Bill Burns by P. Mathews, 1838)  Source: דוג'רית / Public Domain

Strange But Serious Medieval Animal Trials Were No Kangaroo Court!

One of the more unusual aspects of the Medieval world was that animals could be put on trial like human beings. Yes, there was such a thing as legal animal trials! While the veracity of many Medieval...
Vintage armillary sphere.

Armillary Spheres: Following Celestial Objects in the Ancient World

Astronomy is often considered to be one of the oldest branches of science. In many ancient societies, astronomical observations were used not only for the practical job of determine the rhythm of...
Full Contact Sword Combat during the Medieval combat in Russia. Source: Wranglerstar / YouTube Screenshot.

World Championship in Medieval Combat Unfolds Like a Ukrainian Game Of Thrones

This weekend the ‘World Championship in Medieval Combat’ was held in the Ukraine where hundreds of warriors clanking around in armor , swinging swords and axes, in a scene reminiscent of an episode...
Medieval style buildings in Passau where three people were found dead, shot by crossbow

Medieval Weapon Enthusiasts Killed With Crossbows

A quaint Bavarian hotel has become the scene of a murder mystery with medieval links. When hotel employees found the dead bodies of three people the scene was described as something akin to a scene...
Medieval knight armor with chain mail

Advances in Medieval Knight Armor Could Not Match Weapon Technology!

The knight in shining armor is undoubtedly the first image that comes to mind for most people when they think about warfare during the Middle Ages . The knight in this mental image is often a warrior...
 Boy went through 14 years of training on the journey to knighthood

Journey to Knighthood: The Hidden Steps of Becoming a Medieval Knight

The knight is arguably one of the most iconic figures of the Middle Ages. Knights were essentially mounted warriors, and in the hierarchy of Medieval society, were considered to be part of the lower...
Drolleries were common in medieval manuscripts.

Drolleries of the Middle Ages Included Comical Yet Sinister Killer Rabbits and Erotic Art

A drollerie (also spelled as drollery) is a type of marginalia found on Medieval manuscripts. Drolleries are amusing, often grotesque, figures drawn on the edges of manuscripts and may be found in...
Dr. Benjamin Pohl with the both the royal charter and the Bishop of Durham charter

Original King John Royal Charter Resurfaces After 800 Years [Press Release]

Press Release / University of Bristol A rare, original royal charter from the first year of King John’s reign has been discovered in Durham by a medieval historian from the University of Bristol. The...
The Iron Maiden: This Medieval Torture Device Was Used as Recently as 2003!

The Iron Maiden: This Medieval Torture Device Was Used as Recently as 2003!

The iron maiden is a torture device widely believed to have been used in Europe during the Middle Ages. This notorious contraption is known by other names, such as the Virgin (a reference to the...
Woman in the countryside

Kulning: The Ancient Swedish Herding Call That Has Echoed Through the Ages

Kulning is a vocal art with its origins in the forests and mountains of Scandinavia. It was first used as a method to call back cattle who were left free to graze in the wild landscape, but it is...

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