Just Beautiful: Medieval Calendar Pages

huth1

If you haven’t already added The British Library Medieval Manuscript page to your must-visit list, you really should. They routinely offer beautiful and fascinating treasures from their collection. This year, they’re running pages from The Huth Hours, a manuscript noted for its spectacular illuminations: The Hours include double page monthly calender spreads noting the feasts [Read More...]

Hidden Medieval Manuscripts Uncovered Thanks to New Tech

palamedes

This story first appeared while I was sick, when I marked it for later coverage. Even though it’s a few weeks old, it’s just too important to let slide. A palimpsest is a writing surface that has been erased and used again. Since parchment is made of animal skin, it was durable enough to stand [Read More...]

Medieval Latin Dictionary Finished After 100 Years

latin

Work on the The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (DMLBS) began in 1913. It was completed this month,  58,000 entries, 3,830 pages, and 17 volumes later: Begun in 1913, the finished dictionary is the culmination of a century-long enterprise which has had over 200 researchers working on it over the decades. Based on the writings found in poetry, [Read More...]

Medieval Warrior Snails

snail

The British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts Blog has an interesting compilation of marginal art depicting knights charging at snails. I’ve seen snails in marginals before, but never realized they were such a persistent motif. The symbolism and placement is still puzzling to many medievalists, particularly since the snail did not have a stable meaning associated with [Read More...]

St. Augustine and the Jews

The pilleus cornutus was a pointed had which medieval Jewish men had to wear when travelling outside their ghettos.

This is a post from way back at the beginning of this blog, but it’s one of the better things I’ve published here and it wasn’t seen by too many people at the time. Since today is the feast day of St. Augustine, I decided to rerun it.  The paper was the product of a [Read More...]

Mysterious Medieval Manuscript is Probably Not a Hoax

voynichcosmological

The Voynich Manuscript has baffled everyone since it was first acquired (or, some say, forged) by collector Wilfrid Voynich in 1912. Probably dating to the 15th century and originating in Northern Italy, the manuscript consists of 240 pages of vellum covered in a mysterious, indecipherable script and illustrations of non-existent plants, astronomical diagrams, tiny naked [Read More...]

Really Old Medieval Cookbook Found

Medieval cooking

Researchers have discovered a collection of recipes written in Latin by monks of Durham Cathedral in 1140. Some are calling it the oldest such collection of the Middle Ages. Many of the dishes sound like they would work on a modern restaurant menu. Faith Wallis, an expert in medical history and science based at McGill [Read More...]

Weird Medieval Marginalia

boneless

I guess it’s nice when the internet discovers the much-better-than-the Renaissance-or-Enlightenment awesomeness of the Middle Ages, but like schoolboys searching for the dirty words in the dictionary, they often only seems to find the bizarre or outrageously sexual stuff. Case in point: Buzzfeed’s 20 Bizarre Examples of Medieval Marginalia. Please, please, PLEASE do not click that [Read More...]


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