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ALFONSO X (1221-1284). King of Castile, Leon, and Galicia, 1252-1284.

Alfonso X – Justinian of His Age

Alfonso X is on of the great rulers of Medieval Iberia. Known for his collections of Marian Folk Songs, he was also responsible for numerous works of history, philosophy, science and the laws known as Siete Partidas. New book introduces this law code

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Chapelle de st Radegonde Chinon

The Chivalric Turn

The Chivalric Turn explores the shift at the end of the 12thcentury when the pursuit of knightly excellence and social eminence gave rise to a new code of conduct: chivalry

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St. George Slaying the dragon. In Storkyrkan in Stockholm. Souce: wikipedia

Companion to Chivalry

Unpacking chivalry is necessary for anyone trying to grasp the history of Europe 1000 – 1500. And to come to grips with many ways in which the Middle Ages return in the 21st century. New handbook offfer a solid introduction

A Companion to Chivalry
Edited by Robert W. Jones, Peter Coss
Boydell & Brewer 2019


A Companion to Chivalry - CoverIn the Middle Ages, the idea of the warrior as one of the linchpins in society came to rule the minds of people. Following this, chivalry – the cultural code of conduct ruling these warriors – turned into a pregnant concept combining the ideas of military service, physical skills, horsemanship, and courteous behaviour. Rooted in various ideas about chivalry, the elite came to embody a certain habitus and mentalité – a way of life. Embodied by glorious knights and pretty damsels in distress, chivalry conquered not only the minds of poets, readers and artists but also the European elite from one end to the other. As such, chivalry did not just rule the day-to-day way of life among the privileged; chivalry also governed the politics of the day. Whether in diplomatic negotiations or warfare, chivalry was fundamentally another way of conducting “politics”.

Thus – as a way of life or habitus, a life style, and a code of conduct – chivalry set its mark on landscapes, clothes and armour, artefacts, gestures and legends, daily life and feasts, language, poetry and visual arts. Huizinga famously called it “an aesthetic ideal assuming the appearance of ethical ideal” (1919, p. 58). To reduce the idea of chivalry in this way, however, is to reduce its very real and bloody impact on the lives of people from the 11th century, and onwards until it petered out in the 16th century, when it was finally turned into a laughing matter, marked out by the novel of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (published 1605). And yet, it lingered on as a bottomless well of inspiration to be reinvented whenever politics became too messy and bloody. Ivanhoe created by Walter Scott in 1820 is an excellent example of such a reinvention of the chivalric tradition. From our day and age, the exploits of Jamie Lannister in ‘Game of Thrones’ is another such timely invention. In a world ruled by fear and terror, it seems we once more need armoured knights coming to our rescue.

Such media events partly explain why the last decade has once again seen a handful of major introductions to the proper medieval history of chivalry. Interest was reignited in 1999, when Richard Kaeuper published his introduction, Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe. In 2009, the same historian followed up with his book on “Holy warriors: the religious ideology of chivalry”, and again in 2016, Cambridge University Press published a textbook on Medieval Chivalry by the same author. Interspersed, we find such introductions as The Knight: The Warrior and World of Chivalry, which Robert W. Jones published in 2011. Mixed up are numerous monographs and scholarly studies of chivalry as it unfolded at specific times, in special locations and among particular groups of people.

According to Keuper, chivalry is foremost a tough and pragmatic warrior code with which the elite made sense of violence and cruelty in a world of constant feuds and wars. At seen through this lens, we are able to pinpoint a special way of life and how it helped the knights to deal with piety, women, victimhood, friendship, and not least power involving who would live and who would die; and how. Through Keuper’s work we are nearly able to listen in on the chivalric small-talk exchanged over a mug of beer in a soldier’s tavern. Thus Keuper offers a well-wrought thesis positioned to explain and convince.

However, chivalry was performative. As such it existed not just as word-play, but as a continued stage play, where the constant reworking of the ‘text’ supplied the audience with further inspiration as to their own reenactment. As such, the idea of chivalry was always practical and hands-on. Chivalry was constantly reworked, rethought, represented in new ways, while creating complexity and countless nuances.

The new handbook edited by Robert W. Jones and Peter Coss aims to tackle this set of challeges by providing an “accessible and more holistic survey of the subject”. Its chapters, by leading experts in the field, cover a wide range of areas: the tournament, arms and armour, the chivalric society’s organisation in peace and war, its literature and its landscape. They also consider the gendered nature of chivalry, its propensity for violence, and its post-medieval decline and reinvention in the early modern and modern periods. In short: this book aims to offer a synopsis of the diverging scholarship governing the field.

Each contributor has been asked to draw on their own areas of expertise, outlining the many diverging viewpoints and offering a guide through the perplexities. For instance one of the editors, Peter Coss opens the volume with a well-argued explanation of the difference between the Anglophone and Francophone historiographies, essential for anyone who grew up on a diet of Duby and the Annales School. And thus, the book proceeds, offering nuances in a much disputed scholarly field.

Chivalry is a debated and contested field. It eludes a formal definition, and yet it is central to our popular ideas of what the Middle Ages were all about. We need to be able to teach this complexity to secure a more nuanced attitude towards the history of these past times.

The past is a foreign country. We need robust and comprehensive travel-guides. This book will indeed be invaluable to the student and the scholar of chivalry alike.

Karen Schousboe


  • Introduction – Robert W. Jones
  • The Origins and Diffusion of Chivalry – Peter Coss
  • The Organisation of Chivalric Society – David Simpkin
  • The Secular Orders: Chivalry in the Service of the State – David Green
  • The Military Orders – Helen J Nicholson
  • Marshalling the Chivalric Elite for War – Robert W. Jones
  • Chivalric Violence – Samuel A. Claussen and Peter Sposato
  • Chivalry in the Tournament and Pas d’Armes – Richard W Barber
  • Heraldry and Heralds – Robert W. Jones
  • Arms and Armour – Ralph Moffat
  • Constructing Chivalric Landscapes: Aristocratic Spaces Between Image and Reality – Oliver H. Creighton
  • Gendered Chivalry – Louise J. Wilkinson
  • Chivalric Literature – Joanna Bellis and Megan G. Leitch
  • Manuals of Warfare and Chivalry – Matthew Bennett
  • The End of Chivalry? Survivals and Revivals of the Tudor Age – Matthew Woodcock
  • Chivalric Medievalism – Clare A Simmons
  • Bibliography


Robert W. Jones is a Visiting Scholar in History, Franklin and Marshall College
Peter Coss is Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, Cardiff University

Contributors: Richard Barber, Joanna Bellis, Matthew Bennett, Sam Claussen, Peter Coss, Oliver Creighton, David Green, Robert W. Jones, Megan G. Leitch, Ralph Moffat, Helen J. Nicholson, Clare Simmons, David Simpkin, Peter Sposato, Louise J. Wilkinson, Matthew Woodcock



Medieval Londoners. Collage of portraits from © British Library, Liber benefactorum of St Albans Abbey, MS. Cotton Nero D. VII

Medieval Londoners

Medieval Londoners is a generous gift. Not only to Caroline Barron, long-time emeritus professor of Medieval History at the occasion of her 80th birthday. But also to her numerous students teaching the history of London to new generations. In this spirit the book is offered as open-source.

Medieval Londoners. Essays to mark the eightieth birthday of Caroline Barron
Edited by Elizabeth A New and Christian SteerSeries: IHR Conference Papers
University of London Press and Institute for Historical Research 2019


Caroline Barron at the 2019 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium © Catherine Rendon
Caroline Barron at the 2019 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium © Catherine Rendon

Medieval Londoners were a diverse group, some born in the city, and others drawn to the capital from across the realm and from overseas. For some, London became the sole focus of their lives, while others retained or developed networks and loyalties that spread far and wide. The rich evidence for the medieval city, including archaeological and documentary evidence, means that the study of London and its inhabitants remains an active field. Medieval Londoners brings together archaeologists, historians, art historians and literary scholars whose essays provide glimpses of medieval Londoners in all their variety.

This volume is offered to Caroline M. Barron, Emeritus Professor of the History of London at Royal Holloway, University of London, on the occasion of her 80th birthday. Her remarkable career – over some fifty years – has revitalized the way in which we consider London and its people. This volume is a tribute to her scholarship and her friendship and encouragement to others. It is thanks to Caroline M. Barron that the study of medieval London remains as vibrant today as it has ever been.

Table of Content:Medieval Londoners 2019

  1. Introduction: medieval Londoners
    Elizabeth A. New
  2. Families in later medieval London: sex, marriage and mortality
    Vanessa Harding
  3. A portrait of a late medieval London pub: the Star inn, Bridge Street
    Justin Colson
  4. Huntington Library MS. HM 140: household reading for Londoners?
    Julia Boffey
  5. Palaeography and forgery: Thomas D.’s Book of the Hartshorn in Southwark
    Martha Carlin
  6. ‘Go to hyr neybors wher she dwelte before’: reputation and mobility at the London consistory court in the early sixteenth century
    Charlotte Berry
  7. Aliens, crafts and guilds in late medieval London
    Matthew Davies
  8. William Styfford (fl. 1437‒66): citizen and scrivener of London and notary imperial
    L. Bolton
  9. Bankers and booksellers: evidence of the late fifteenth century English book trade in the ledgers of the Bardi bank
    T. W. Payne
  10. Nicholas Alwyn, mayor of London: a man of two loyalties, London and Spalding
    Anne F. Sutton
  11. Charity and the city: London Bridge, c. 1176‒1275
    John A. McEwan
  12. John Reynewell and St. Botolph Billingsgate
    Stephen Freeth and John Schofield
  13. The testament of Joan FitzLewes: a source for the history of the abbey of Franciscan nuns without Aldgate
    Julian Luxford
  14. Souls of benefactors at Grey Friars church London
    Christian Steer
  15. Afterword: The transformative effect: Caroline Barron as teacher and colleague
    Clive Burgess


Detail from collage of portraits from © British Library, Liber benefactorum of St Albans Abbey, MS. Cotton Nero D. VII

Ferdinand and Isabella - Spanish Monarchs . Source Wikipedia

The Routledge History of Monarchy 

The Routledge History of Monarchy draws together current research across the field of royal studies, providing a rich understanding of the history of monarchy from a variety of geographical, cultural and temporal contexts.

The Routledge History of Monarchy
by Elena Woodacre, Lucinda H.S. Dean, Chris Jones, Zita Rohr and Russell Martin
Series: Routledge Histories
Routledge 2019
ISBN-10: 113870332X
ISBN-13: 978-1138703322

Divided into four parts, this book presents a wide range of case studies relating to different aspects of monarchy throughout a variety of times and places, and uses these case studies to highlight different perspectives of monarchy and enhance understanding of rulership and sovereignty in terms of both concept and practice. Including case studies chosen by specialists in a diverse array of subjects, such as history, art, literature, and gender studies, it offers an extensive global and interdisciplinary approach to the history of monarchy, providing a thorough insight into the workings of monarchies within Europe and beyond, and comparing different cultural concepts of monarchy within a variety of frameworks, including social and religious contexts.

Opening up the discussion of important questions surrounding fundamental issues of monarchy and rulership, The Routledge History of Monarchy is the ideal book for students and academics of royal studies, monarchy, or political history.


Elena Woodacre is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Winchester, UK, and a specialist in queenship and royal studies. Elena is the founder of the Royal Studies Network and the ‘Kings & Queens’ conferences and editor of the Royal Studies Journal, the Gender and Power in the Premodern World and the Queens of England series.

Lucinda H.S. Dean is a Lecturer at the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, and a specialist in late medieval and early modern ritual and ceremony of the Scottish monarchy. She has published widely in this area and co-edited a volume on Medieval and Early Modern Representations of Authority in Scotland and the British Isles (2016).

Chris Jones is an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His work focuses upon medieval France and political thought. Among his publications is the monograph Eclipse of Empire? Perceptions of the Western Empire and Its Rulers in Late Medieval France (2007). He is Director of the Canterbury Roll Project and President of the Australian & New Zealand Association for Medieval & Early Modern Studies Inc. (ANZAMEMS).

Russell E. Martin is Professor of History at Westminster College, USA. He is widely published and the author of A Bride for the Tsar: Bride-Shows and Marriage Politics in Early Modern Russia. He is Editor-in-Chief of Canadian-American Slavic Studies, President of the Early Slavic Studies Association and a member of the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House of Romanoff (Moscow).

Zita Eva Rohr is a political historian of the late medieval and early modern periods and has published widely in the field of gendered political and diplomatic history, including her monograph Yolande of Aragon (1381–1442): Family and Power (2016). She is an Honorary Fellow at Macquarie University, Australia, in the Department of Modern History, Politics, and International Relations.



Three seal matrixes from Lincoln Cathedral from the 12th to 14th centuries © Lincoln Cathedral

Companion to Seals

Seals represent some of the most exciting objects preserved from the Middle Ages. Offering distinctive legitimacy to individuals and cooperations, they are one of the most important sources for studying self-representation.

A Companion to Seals in the Middle Ages
Ed. by Laura Whatley
Brill 2019


Medieval seals are material and visual statements of identity, power, agency. Offering legitimacy either locally or traversing great geographic expanses, they served to assert individual or corporate authority. This inter-disciplinary companion offers fourteen essays analysing seal design, production, meaning, usage and reception in the Middle Ages. With emphasis on Europe, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and Byzantium 1100-1500, the volume is a cross-disciplinary effort. The essays are organized thematically, and it emphasizes important, often cutting-edge, methodologies for the study of medieval seals and sealing cultures.

As the chronological, temporal and geographic scope of the essays in the volume suggests, the study of the medieval seal—its manufacture, materiality, usage, iconography, inscription, and preservation—is a rich endeavour that demands collaboration across disciplines as well as between scholars working on material from different regions and periods. It is hoped that this collection will make the study of medieval seals more accessible and will stimulate students and scholars to employ and further develop these material and methodological approaches to seals.


Introduction: Approaches to Medieval Seals and Sealing Practices. By: Laura J. Whatley

  • Analysis of the Materiality of Royal and Governmental Seals of England with a Focus on the Great Seals (1100–1300): Methodology and Findings. By: Elke Cwiertnia, Adrian Ailes and Paul Dryburgh
  • Material Analysis of Seals Attached to the Barons’ Letter to the Pope By: Paul Dryburgh, Elke Cwiertnia and Adrian Ailes
  • Does Size Matter? Seals in England and Wales, ca.1200–1500 By: John A. McEwan
    Pages: 103–126
  • Fragments of the Past: the Early Antiquarian Perception and Study of Seals in England. By: Oliver D. Harris
  • Medieval Armorial Seals in The National Archives (UK). By: Adrian Ailes
  • The Seals of the Judges of the Hippodrome: Drawing Data from Seals without Context. By: Jonathan Shea
  • Administration and Identity: Episcopal Seals in England from the Eleventh to the Thirteenth Century. By: Philippa Hoski
  • Power, Family, and Identity: Social and Personal Elements in Byzantine Sigillography. By: Angelina Anne Volkoff
  • Two Seals of Muskinus the Jew (Moshe b. Yeḥiel, d. 1336), the Archbishop of Trier’s Negociator. By: Andreas Lehnertz
  • ‘Creatio Regni’ in the Great Seal of Bosnian King Tvrtko Kotromanić. By: Emir O. Filipović
  • Reconsidering the Silent Majority: Non-Heraldic Personal Seals in Medieval Britain. By: Elizabeth A. New
  • Seals of the Wives of Silesian Knights in the Pre-Hussite Age (1259–1414). By: Marek L. Wójcik
  • Coins as Seals in Lombard Italy. By: Ashley Jones
  • The (Re-)Use of Ancient Gems and Coins: the Presence of Antiquity in Medieval Sigillography. By: Caroline Simonet


Laura J. Whatley, Ph.D. (2010), University of Illinois, is Assistant Professor of Art History at Auburn University Montgomery. She has published articles on crusader and military seals and crusading visual culture in medieval England. She also co-edited the volume The Crusades and Visual Culture (Routledge, 2015).


Contributors are Adrian Ailes, Elka Cwiertnia, Paul Dryburgh, Emir O. Filipovi, Oliver Harris, Philippa Hoskin, Ashley Jones, Andreas Lehnertz, John McEwan, Elizabeth A. New, Jonathan Shea, Caroline Simonet, Angelina A. Volkoff, and Marek L. Wójcik. Show Less.



Digital Sigillography Resource

Digital sigillography resourceHundreds of thousands of seals survive from medieval Europe, and they provide unique and important information.  Men and women from all levels of society used seals to authenticate documents, but also to make statements about their family connections, social aspirations and personal values. Seals incorporate both text and images so they are powerful tools of expression. In a period starved of evidence concerning the individual, seals offer insight into identity, and expose regional and local culturalvariations. The advent of digital technology offers an unprecedented and exciting opportunity to harness the extraordinary potential of this unique historical resource. With more than 40.000 records of seals, this site offers an important opportunity to delve into the world og seals and signs from the Middle Ages.

John McEwan BA (University of Western Ontario), MA PhD (Royal Holloway, University of London) specializes in the political, social and cultural history of medieval Britain. His research focuses on social organization, local government, and visual culture in London, c.1100-1350.He is involved in a number of projects that investigate the application of electronic data management tools, including geographic information systems, to the analysis of medieval sources.


Viking Silver From Estopnia © XOphoto


In Austrvegr: The Role of the Eastern Baltic in Viking Age Communication across the Baltic Sea
By Marika Mägi
BRILL 2018



Marika Mägi’s book considers the cultural, mercantile and political interaction of the Viking Age (9th-11th century), focusing on the eastern coasts of the Baltic Sea. The majority of research on Viking activity in the East has so far concentrated on the modern-day lands of Russia, while the archaeology and Viking Age history of today’s small nation states along the eastern coasts of the Baltic Sea is little known to a global audience.

This study looks at the area from a trans-regional perspective, combining archaeological evidence with written sources, and offering reflections on the many different factors of climate, topography, logistics, technology, politics and trade that shaped travel in this period. The work offers a nuanced vision of Eastern Viking expansion, in which the Eastern Baltic frequently acted as a buffer zone between eastern and western powers.


1 Viking Age Cultural Contacts across The Baltic Sea: Behind the Interpretations
1.1 The Evolutionary Development Model
1.2 Eastern Baltic Archaeology and the Concepts of Different Cultural Impacts
1.3 The Character of Communications across the Baltic Sea
1.4 Conclusions

2 Clan-Based Collectivists or Hierarchical Individualists? Late Prehistoric Societies in the Eastern Baltic
2.1 Finland
2.2 Estonia
2.3 Latvia and Lithuania
2.4 Prussia
2.5 Comparing Social Systems in Different Regions in the Eastern Baltic
2.6 Conclusions

3 Making Trade: Cultural Landscapes and Communication Routes
3.1 Maritime Landscapes in Countries around the Baltic
3.2 Long-distance Trade Routes through the Eastern Baltic
3.3 Travelling along Viking Age Routes
3.4 Points in Communication
3.5 Different Modes of Communication in the Eastern Baltic
3.6 Conclusions

4 The Historical Reality: Places, Place Names, and Ethnonyms in Written Sources
4.1 Estland(s) in the East
4.2 Pre-viking and Viking Age Eastern Baltic in Scandinavian Sources
4.3 What Was Rus’?
4.4 Languages and Personal Names
4.5 Conclusions

5 Networks Take Shape: Communication Through the Eastern Baltic 600–850
5.1 Cultural Situation around the Northern Part of the Baltic Sea
5.2 Viking Colonies in the Southern Half of the Eastern Baltic
5.3 Pre-Viking Period Hill-Forts and Trade Centres along the Eastern Baltic Coast
5.4 Conclusions

6 West Goes East: Viking Age Long-distance Communication and the Eastern Baltic 850-ca. 1000
6.1 Viking Age Centres Connected with International Trade Routes in the Eastern Baltic
6.2 Cultural Landscapes along the Eastern Way
6.3 Cultural Landscapes in the Middle Part of the Eastern Baltic
6.4 Coin Finds in the Eastern Baltic
6.5 Interpreting Routes and Centres in the 9th–10th Centuries
6.6 Conclusions

7 Between Consolidating States. The Eastern Baltic Areas in the 11th and 12th Centuries
7.1 Interaction with Scandinavian Kingdoms
7.2 Northern Eastern Baltic in the Final Centuries of Prehistory
7.3 The East Attacks
7.4 Landscapes around the Daugava Route
7.5 Southern Couronian Coast
7.6 Coins and Trade
7.7 Conclusions

8 Summing up and Conclusions
8.1 Two Cultural Spheres in the Eastern Baltic
8.2 The Shared Cultural Sphere of Warriors
8.3 Written Sources and Places on the Eastern Coasts of the Baltic Sea
8.4 Different Periods in the Viking Age


Marika Mägi, PhD (2002), Tartu University, is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Medieval Studies at Tallinn University. She is an archaeologist and historian and has published mainly on Viking Age and Middle Ages in Estonia and neighbouring areas.

Vikings attacking England. St Edmunds © The Morgan Library and Museum

Heirs of the Vikings

Chronicles, hagiographies, and charters tell us different stories of the character and the identity of the Vikings. By comparing the evidence from both England and Normandy, a new book introduces the reader to the complex ways in which Scandinavian heritage was used strategically to cement local politics. 

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