Palmesel from St Jodokus in Bad Oberdorf. Sorce: Wikipedia/Xochoatl


The use of a statue of a donkey in connection with Palm Sunday is mentioned for the first time in the 10th century and in Augsburg. Hope was to achieve absolution for one’s sins by pulling the ass along

Palm Sunday in York 2014

The Entry into Jerusalem in York

When staging the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Medieval York simply turned into Jerusalem in the eyes and minds of the audience and performers

Palmese from Lower Franconia 15th century Source: Wikipedia

Approaching the Bible 

We are used to think of the bible as a book. However, in the Late Middle Ages, the Bible came in many disguises: performed as liturgy, music or plays; or mediated through sermons, images and ceremonial objects

Somali Wild Ass from Basel Zoo

The Medieval Zebro

In the Middle Ages a peculiar animal named the Zebro ran wild on the Iberian Peninsula. Was it a zebra? A wild ass? A wild horse? Or the descendant of feral horses, which had run wild? New research opens the debate

Reliquary casket showing the murder of Thomas Becket. Limoges, France, about 1180-1190. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Thomas Becket – Major Exhibition

850 years ago, on the 29th of December, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered at the altar in his Cathedral on King Henry II’s instigation. A major exhibition in the British Museum promises to guide us through his history

Detail of Alabaster panel from an altarpiece showing Becket’s consecration as archbishop. England, first half of the 15th century. Private Collection. © Nicholas and Jane Ferguson.

Becket – Life, Death, and Legacy

The celebrations and activities surrounding the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket have suffered due to the pandemic. Luckily, an important conference has shifted to zoom and April 2021

Becket reliquary © The Dean and Chapter at Canterbury Cathedral

Thomas Becket’s Shirt Returns in 2022

A garment traditionally thought to have been worn by Saint Thomas Becket at the time of his brutal murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 was to return to the UK as part of the commemorations to mark 850 years since his death. The return has been postponed to 2022

Thomas Becket at Sdr Nærå in Denmark © National Museum and Arnold Mikkelsen

Was Thomas Becket a Controversial Saint in Scandinavia?

The history of the 12th-century Scandinavian church and the formation of the Norwegian and Swedish provinces is interwoven with the murder of Thomas Becket

Svend Estridsen. Wikipedia/ John Lee

The Story of Henry II and Thomas Becket – Retold as a Moral Exemplum by Saxo Grammaticus

The story by Saxo of a murder, prompted by the Danish King, Sven Estridsen, in the Cathedral in Roskilde ca. 1160, echoes the events a hundred years later, when Henry II had Thomas Becket murdered


From: Peraldus. A Theological miscellany, including the Summa de vitiis. England 1236 to c. 1250. © British Library. Harley 3244, f 37r

Digital Anglo-Norman Dictionary Launched


Researchers at Aberystwyth University have launched a new digital platform providing detailed chronological information for all Anglo-Norman words for the first time ever online Read more

Medieval Feast in Durham © Blackfriars Restaurant

Fast and Feast – a Taste of Easter Past


The intriguing world of medieval Easter will be unearthed at a new virtual course staged by Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle in conjunction with Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies Read more

Jorvik Festival 2021

That JORVIK Viking Thing 2021


For years Yorvik has hosted a week-long celebration of all thing Viking. In 2021. Jorvik Plans an online festival of all things Viking. Read more

St Anthony tormented by medieval monsters © British Libray: Yates Thompson 49, fol 34

Face Masks – A Nightmarish Challenge?


Recurring nightmares seems to be one of the unforeseen complications following Covid-19. Some people report being attacked by masked medieval monsters. Read more

Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg © VisitAlsace

The Royal Castle in Alsace – Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg


The Castle Ruin at Staufenberg from the 12th century in Alsace was rebuilt by the Emperor, Wilhelm II between 1900-1908. An archaeological report tells the story of this iconic “Medieval Castle” Read more

Merseburg Charms. Soucre: wikipedia

Civilizations of the Supernatural


Astrology, amulets, pagan magic charms, witches, and superstitions. All figure in a new book
Read more

July 2019. International Medieval Congress 2019. Black and whites.

IMC 2021 Goes Virtual


International Medieval Congress in 2021 will be digitally organised. Clearly, Leeds hope to overwinter as the flagship of the Medieval History World Read more

Denghis Khan © Musee du Nantes

China Tries to Corrupt History of Mongol Culture


Du to Chinese attempt at censorship, the Museum of Nantes in Bretagne has been forced to postpone an exhibition of Genghis Khan and the Mongols Read more

New Books

Becket in the Luttrell PsalterAdd. MS 42130 © British Library

Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint


Marking the 850th anniversary of his dramatic murder of Thomas Becket, this book accompanies a major exhibition at the British Museum Read more

Digital reconstruction of the Shrine at Canterbury Cathdral 1408 ©Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture

The Materiality of Saint Thomas Becket


A fine collection of essays celebrates the 850th anniversary of Thomas Becket by delving into the blood, the brain, the footsteps, the ripped remnants of cloth and the light.  Read more

Eagle devouring a deer. Detail from the Cahsuble of Thomas Becket in Fermo © Museo Diocesano di Fermo

The Chasuble of Thomas Becket


The Cathedral in Fermo in Italy has preserved Thomas Becket’s chasuble. A new book explores the golden textile Read more

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 411: Psalter, 40v-41r. © Parker Library on the Web

The Last Relic of Thomas Becket


This is a crafty and learned detective story of how Christopher de Hamel discovered the personal prayer-book of Thomas Becket in the collection of Corpus Christi College in Cambridge Read more

New Research

Church at Thurnau. Source: Wikipedia

Limbo at Thunau


Archaeologists have been working for decades to excavate the early medieval settlements at Thurnau near Gars in Eastern Austria. Recent studies of the burial ground excavated in 1975-2000 tell the story of the burial of the unbaptized destined for limbo. Read more

Harvest Scene from Cotton MS Julius A VI, fol 6r , British Library.

From Wheat to Rye – Agriculture and Climate in Europe during Late Antiquity


During the 4th-8th century, vast stretches of Europe shifted from growing wheat to rye. Careful studies indicate the shift was a reflection towards a new, more balanced peasant economy. Read more

The Schlüsselfeld Ship. Source: Wikipedia

The Schlüsselfeld Ship


In the 14th century, it became fashionable to decorate tables at noble or royal banquets with models of ships, symbolising “Good Luck” and “Fair Wind”. Later, the wealthy merchants in the cities picked up this fashion. The Schlüsselfeld ship is one of the more famous. Read more

Dining with Richard II. From: BL Royal, MS 14 E IV, fol 265 v. Source: wikipedia

Ships as Table Decorations in the Middle Ages


Ships were prized ornaments decorating the tables of kings and lords into the 16th and 17th century. Read more

New Exhibitions

Reliquary casket showing the murder of Thomas Becket. Limoges, France, about 1180-1190. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Thomas Becket – Major Exhibition


Eight-hundred and fifty years ago, on the 29th of December, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered at the altar in his Cathedral on King Henry II’s instigation. A major exhibition in the British Museum promises to guide us through his history. Thomas Becket is a fascinating historical person. As… Read more

Exhibition in Toulouse: Visigoths. Kings of Toulouse

Visigoths in Toulouse


The Visigoths in Toulouse forged one of the first barbarian kingdom inside the Roman Empire, ruling from 420 – 507. In 2020 an exhibition in Toulouse celebrates the 1600-anniversary of their foundation. This summer a major exhibition focusing on the Visigothic kingdom in Toulouse 420 – 507 has been organised… Read more

Nuns. Powerful women in the Middle Ages. A view of the exhibition. Copyright: © Swiss National Museum

Nuns and their lives in the 14th century


This summer, visitors to Zürich National Museum can study the remarkable story of the careers of medieval nuns. Extended to mid-august, an exhibition is worth looking into, if you are in the vicinity. Read more

Papal letter confirming donation to Absalon 1186. © Royal Danish Archive

The Early History of Copenhagen at a New Museum


Last week, a new attraction opened, The Museum of Copenhagen, covering the history from the ice-age hunters and gatherers and into the near future. Central is the brand new story of the earliest period in the life of the town ca. 1000 Read more