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….

Ruins of the Visigothic church at St-Côme © Val Wineyard

The Visigoths in Gaul

Of all the barbarians entering the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, the Visigoths were among the first to forge a successor-kingdom. Scholars disagree as to the early nature of this fledgeling polity, but the result is clear: the centre of the first barbarian kingdom in the 5th century came to be located at Toulouse…

The Pietroasa Treasure famous for its golden torc with an early Runic inscription

The Gothic Pietroasa Treasure from the Fifth Century

The famous gold hoard from Pietroasa in Romania was found in 1838. Although only 12 of the 22 original pieces still exist, it remains one of the most impressive witnesses to the Goths in the migration period. 2020 some of the fabled pieces may be seen in Toulouse…

Silver Plate from the 5th century found in Toulouse © Museum of Warsaw

Theoderic II, Euric, and Vectius – as seen by Sidonius Appolinaris

Theoderic II and Euric were kings of the Visigoths in Toulouse in the second half of the 5thcentury. From the letters of Sidonius Appolinaris  we possess precious biographical glimpses of these Goths and their counterpoise, Vectius…

The Missorium of Theodosius. Ca AD 388. Source: Wikipedia/Ángel M. Felicísimo

Europe and the Dawn of the Middle Ages

Europe is constituted by an impressive number of separate states and inhabited by numerous  people separated by any number of distinct languages, traditions and histories. This is the gift of the Middle Ages. We still live in the cusp of these strange times…

"Lunds Backe" near Skänninge with a Götevi and Götala on either side with a probable settlement nearby, named Götalboalund; the “lund” of the people called “Göta” living near the temple (“al”). © Kulturarv Östergötland

Etnogenesis and Indegeneity

In the latter half of the 20th-century historians of Late Antiquity have been ferociously engaged in debates concerning the “identity of the Goths”. Were they a people? In what sense? And what does Ethnogenesis and Indigeneity mean?

Isil in Iraq Source: Propaganda photo

Barbarian Hordes and Pitiful People

Sometimes politicians comment upon the fugitive crisis in Europe 2015 by referring to the ‘Barbarian Hordes’ and the events in the 4th and 5th centuries. Does this make sense?


Sturgeon (Beluga) Source: Flickr/ Jin Kemoole

Boiled Sturgeon


The sturgeon was a royal fish. According to ancient law, any sturgeon found on the beaches or caught in the Atlantic or the Baltic, belonged to the king. Read more

Frans Snyder Fishmarket with sturgeon. The Hermitage. Source: wikipedia

An Ancient Atlantic Sturgeon and a Sea-Monster


Recently, archaeologists from Lund University succeeded in identifying a massive specimen of an Atlantic sturgeon in the womb of a capsized royal ship off the Baltic coast 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

Broddetorpaltar. Gilded copper altar (c. 1150) Source: Stat. Hist. Mus., Stockholm

Ascension of Christ


Luke tells us that Christ ascended into Heaven after Easter. From the 4th century, a feast came to be celebrated, and artists began to depict the Ascension Read more

Maarup church before the demolition. Source: mapio

Deserted Churches in Denmark 1050 -1536


Denmark boasts of more than 1550 medieval churches in continuous use since the 11th and 12th centuries. Less known is that a number of other churches were deserted already in the Middle Ages. Read more

Becket reliquary © The Dean and Chapter at Canterbury Cathedral

Thomas Becket’s Shirt Returns to Canterbury Cathedral


The Tunic raditionally thought to have been worn by Saint Thomas Becket at the time of his brutal murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 is to return to the UK in July as part of this year’s commemorations Read more

Scriptorium fro manuscript in Madrid, Biblioteca de San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Summer School – The Medieval Book and Quantitative Codicology


How do you characterise medieval manuscripts in such a way that quantitative and statistical analyses become possible? Read more

Middelaldercenteret in Lolland, Denmark © Karen Schousboe

Involved in Medieval Heritage Promotion?


Engaged in Medieval Heritage Promotion? Working at a medieval living history center? Involved in experimental archaeology? New EU programme invites practitioners in the heritage industry to upgrade professionalism. Read more

New Books

Au sieur de Bellenville, roi d'armes en Artois. BnF, MF 5230

Regnal Communities or Nations in the High Middle Ages


Medieval historians hesitate to talk about medieval nation-states. Instead, they prefer to talk about kingdoms and their corresponding royal communities or assemblies. New book reviews the questions regarding terminology. Read more

Detail of the Ghent Altarpiece © Kirkipa.be

The Ghent Altarpiece – Research and Conservation


Conservation carried out of the Gent Altarpiece since 2012 have revealed major overpainting covering the the original work of Jan and Hubert van Eyck. New book tells the story Read more

Court of King's Bench

Law in Late Medieval England


How did common people engage with law in Late Medieval England? New book explores the legal culture of its time and how it touched upon the lives of common men and women. Read more

Otto the great Kissing the feet of Christ

Medieval Rules and Rituals


How was power exibited? And what role did rules, regulations and rituals play. Gert Althoff is known as one of the medieval historians, who has explored these questions in detail. New book provides translations into English of his more recent contributions.  Read more

New Research

© Ulster Historical Park

The Black Death in Ireland


Already contemporaries noted how the Black Death hit the Anglo-Norman settlers in Ireland much harder than the Gaelic People. New research offers an explanation Read more

Volcano under the Ocean Source: Wikipedia

Undersea Volcanism may Explain Medieval Years of Darkness after AD 536


After AD 536 a mysterious dimming of the sun brought on global cooling, famines, and civil upheavals. Believed to have been caused by climate changes caused by volcanic forcing, new research indicate some of this was undersea volcanism Read more

Huerto from outside Valencia Source Wikipedia

Gardens in Early Medieval Iberia ca. 750–1000


In 1974 the historian Andrew Watson published an influential article in which he coined the phrase: The Arab Agricultural Revolution. How has this thesis fared? What do we know today about gardening in Early Medieval Iberia?
Read more

The Ilopango Volcano in San Salvador. Source: wikipedia

The Ilopango Volcano in El Salavador was responsible for the events in AD 539-40.


The climatic disruption in the 6thcentury was forced by a series of massive volcanic eruptions. Recently the Ilopango volcano was identified as responsible for the events AD 539-40. NEW RESEARCH: Radiocarbon and geologic evidence reveal Ilopango volcano as source of the colossal ‘mystery’ eruption of 539/40 CE Robert A.Dull, John… Read more

New Exhibitions

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

Closer to Van Eyck - Map of digitized works © closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be

Facing Van Eyck – The Miracle of the Detail


Come September, Brussels houses an exhibition focusing on the visually detailed techniques of Jan van Eyck and his work of art. The exhibition is paired with a prized digital resource. Read more

Portraits of Joos Vijd and Elisabeth Borluut, donators of the Ghent Altarpiece. Source: Closer to Ghent Altarpiece

The Art of Jan Van Eyck – the Optical Illusions of Light and Darkness


Jan van Eyck is perhaps the most prominent of all the Flemish Masters. This year, we are invited to Ghent to explore his optical revolution Read more

Detail from the Golden Antepedium from Basel © Historisches Museum Basel, Philipp Emmel

Gold and Glory in Basel


In 1019 the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry II, took part in the consecration of the Minster in Basel. A major exhibition marks the anniversary Read more