Time to Revive Medieval Sensous Cultures?

We live in horrible times. Media offers us direct inroads into a kind of pain and suffering we long thought was relegated to what has often been called “medieval” states in far-flung and uncivilised corners of the world. This Easter – and right on our westernised doorstep – we once again become acquainted with unprecedented suffering. Perhaps it’s time to listen to the great music composed to make us reimagine…

Wild asses from negev Source Pixabay/JDBlack. Open Domain

The Story of Christ on a Donkey and the Medieval Palmesel

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

Arnulf of Leuven – Salve Mundi Salutare or Medieval Sensuality

In the Late Middle Ages, the immersion into the corporeal horrors of the crucifixion led to a new devotional practice, the sensual contemplation of the seven wounds. Arnulf of Leuven led the way

Detail of Lucas Cranach the Elder: The Crucifixion. Source: Google Art Project

Seven Words of Christ – or Early Modern Spirituality

Time to revive Early Modern Sensuality? Listen to the Seven Words of Christ by Pergolesi from the beginning of the 18th century

St. Severin In Cologne. Source: Wikipedia/Howi

Crucifixus Dolorosus or the Forked Crucifix from c. 1300

In an unusually dramatic way, a Crucifixus Dolorosus depicts the suffering and dying Christ hung on a living tree. Such forked crucifixes became important features in late medieval churches, and were regarded as miraculous destinations of pilgrimages

Christ from Aunslev - a viking pendant © Fyns Museer

Christ from Aunslev – Denmark’s Oldest Crucifix

Around AD 900, a Danish Viking woman went for a walk in the fields near Aunslev on the Island of Funen and lost a precious piece of jewellery: a Viking crucifix. The pendant may bear witness to an early presence of Christianity in Denmark

Do we really live in the Middle ages?

Apocalypse. Tapestry from the 14th century at Angers. The adoration of the Beast

The Return of the Middle Ages

In the 1990s, a number of scholars and historians wrote about the impending “Return of the Middle Ages”. We truly live in a time marked by the “Return of the Medieval”….

BnF fr. 126 : Anonyme, Livre de l’information des princes (trad. Jean Golein, France, Rouen, v. 1450 © Source Gallica

The Medieval World and the Middle Ages

What was the Middle Ages known for? Why was it called the Middle Ages? What characterised the Medieval World?….

Inflicting attrition or seeking a decisive battle?

We may think that history never repeats itself. Nonetheless, the present ongoings in Ukraine has reminded us of events during the Hundred Years’ War and the reign of Edward III (1312-1377). Apart from controlling information and staging decisive battles, the waging of war in the 14th century also involved the visitation of countless atrocities upon the hapless and unfortunate civilians living in the path of war. Read the essays about the war and the heinous acts experienced by a French chronicler. And be inspired to delve into the military history of the late Middle Ages.

Detail from The Battl at Crécy. From: The Chrionicle of Froissart. BNRF. source: wikipedia OD
The Hundred Years’ War and the Battle at Crécy

In 1346 Edward III launched an invasion of Medieval France. Mounting the largest medieval invasion ever, he gained an overwhelming victory of the French army at Crécy. Since then, scholars have asked whether he was just lucky or a superb strategist

The routiers from Ghent capture and pillage Grammont Jean Froissart, Chronicles, fol. 135r. BNF, FR 2644 Mercenaries in the 14th Century

In the Middle Ages, mercenaries were widely recruited. However, what was the military effectiveness of these forces? And the downside?

Venette near Compiègne. Rosette in the church of St Martin . Source: wikipediaRevisiting a Wartorn Countryside – Venette near Compiegne in 1359

In 1358, the village of Venette near Compiegne was visited by marauding English troops burning, pillaging and murdering innocent people. These events inspired an evocative and haunting description of the horrors of wars

Reenactment at Agincourt. Source: wikipediaThe Hundred Years’ War

A short bibliography of the Hundred Years’ War – where to begin

Exhibition in Moesgaard Viking in the East © Moesgaard/Due

Rus – Vikings in the East

Spectacular exhibition showcasing the history of Medieval Ukraine, the Kyivan Rus’, is currently on show in Århus, Denmark….

Putin in May 2009 together with Shevkunov at the grave of Ivan Ilyin, Source: kremlin.ru

Putin and his Medieval Worldview

Putin’ Orthodox worldwiev calls for him to play the leading role in the reenactment of the medieval Kyivan Rus’

Statue of Vladimir the Great © kremlin.ru

Kremlin under Medieval Siege

UNESCO considers removing World Heritage Status from the Kremlin due to the erection of a massive statue of Vladimir the Great….

Putin at the Holy Dormition – Pskovo-Pechorsky – Monastery. Source: Kremlin

The Pskov School of Architecture

The listing of the churches and monasteries in the ancient principality of Pskov 20 km from the borders of Estonia reflects the geo-political interests of Putin’s Russia

Church Sarcophagus from the Church of Desiatynna. Identified as that of Vladimir's. Soruce: Wikipedia

Vladimir the Great (958-1015)

Vladimir the Great is remembered as the founding father of the Kievan Rus’. Of Viking decent, he converted to Christianity in AD 987 and lost his barbarian aura in later chronicles….

Radziwill Chronicon fol 14-2. Source Wikipedia Open Domain

BEST BOOK on the Kingdom of Rus’

This book explores how sloppy medieval history has downplayed the European significance of what has been considered a minor “barbaric” proto-state, the Kievan Rus’.

New Viking Exhibitions 2020-22

Sword and ax from Langeid, first half of the 11th century. © Museum of Cultural History, UiO

New Viking Exhibition in Oslo

A new Viking exhibition – Vikingr – opened last year in Oslo, showcasing some of the fabulous finds from recent years

Salme Vikingship © Salme Viikingiturg

Vikings Before Vikings

When the two Viking ships found at Salme and holding the remains of 41 dead warriors were dated to ca. AD 700-750, the sensation rippled through academic circles. Now, the finds are exhibited in Estonia.

Photomontage Viking © National Museum of Denmark. Martin de Thurah og Kasper Tuxen

The Viking Expedition – Copenhagen 2021

In a few weeks time, The National Museum of Denmark opens its doors to a whole new “take” of the Viking Experience….

Feature Photo from Exhibition in Stockholm summer 2021

The Viking World – Exhibition in Stockholm 2021

A new exhibition in Stockholm called the Viking World boasts of being the world’s largest. Opening its doors in June, the jury is still out. But the preview seems impressive….

Viking silver mounted warrior Source: Moesgaard/RUS

The Rus – Vikings of the East

In January 2022, the Museum at Moesgaard in Århus plans to open a new exhibition telling how the Vikings conquered the East while sailing, trading, raiding and settling from Novgorod to Kiev and further South

New Research

Wadden See. The Geomagnetic team at work on the tidal flats near Hallig Hooge. © Ruth Blankenfeldt

Life in the Medieval town of Rungholt in 1362


In AD 1362, a terrible storm broke through the medieval dykes in the Wadden Sea, protecting people living in the marshy foreland. Later called the Grote Mandrenke – The Great Drowning of Men – a whole town, Rungholt, together with 42 parishes, disappeared. Read more

The River Aulne in the autumn© Brittany Flyfishing

Brittany in the 6th century – abandoned, wet, cold and covered in forests


New research reveals a marked shift in the landscape of Northwestern France in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages Read more

Detail of belt featuring lions. The effigy of the Black Prince. Canterbruy Cathedral © Jessica Barker

Camera reveals details of the tomb of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral


When the Black Prince, Edward of Woodstock, died in 1376, he left precise specifications for his burial as well as his effigy. New studies of the cast gilded brass sculputure have yielded a new understanding of the sculpture Read more

Chernaya Mogila in Ukraine. Source: wikipedia

Black Grave in Chernaya Mogila in Ukraine


A magnificent Viking burial took place at Chernihiv more than a thousand years ago. Recent studies of the find in the tomb has uncovered an extraordinary new “Viking artefact” Read more


The reconstructed medieval chruch in Söndra Råda in Wärmland in Sweden © Mimmi Göllas

Medieval Church in Södra Råda in Sweden Rebuilt


This Whitsun, Södra Råda Church in Värmland in Sweden will be re-inaugurated. The aim of the reconstruction of the burnt-down medieval treasure was to learn how a church was built in the 14th century. Read more

Frankish Fibula c. 400-600from Xanten. The rider carries a helmet and a cloak. Source: Wikimedia

The Franks – from Migrants and Tribal Warriors to Roman Mercenaries AD 200-500


The Franks were an amalgamation of people active in the region around the lower Rhine surfacing in Late Antiquity as a significant player in Gaul. Read more

Headless horses found in Merovingian graves in Knittlingen


Recent excavations have revealed 140 Merovingan graves at Knittlingen near Stuttgart. Some of the graves were accompanied by decapitated and headless horses. Read more

Web BNF Français 118 Lancelot du Lac, Fol. 223v. Sorce: BNF/Wikipedia

A Cultural History of Peace in the Middle Ages


Warring was endemic to the Middle Ages. But so were endeavours to try and soften the attrition to secure peace and the truce of God. New book tells the cultural history of medieval peacemaking Read more

New Books

Old and New Minster in Winchester. Source: Wikipedia

Early Medieval Winchester


After AD 800, Winchester was gradually established as a prominent royal centre. New books tells the story of how historians and archaeologists have worked together to reconstruct the physical realities of the landscape, the royal and ecclesiastical institutions and their wider impact of the formation of future England. Early Medieval… Read more

Old Wardour Castle © Wiltshite Life

The Castle in England


A vibrant history of the castle in Britain, from the early Middle Ages to the present dayA vibrant history of the castle in Britain, from the early Middle Ages to the present day Read more

The Sea Stallion at High Water © Isarap

Viking Age Textile Production


The story goes that a Viking leaned to keep a stoic face if their ship was lost. However, if the ship sank together with the sails, he cried. New book tells the story of the production system and the economy of the textiles in Viking Age Society Read more

The Visor of Agilulf. Source: Wikipedia

Conflict and Violence in Medieval Italy 568-1154


Studies have shown that people in the Middle Ages were inherently more violent than at other times. New book explores how this violence played out in Medieval Italy 568-1154 Read more



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