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The Medieval Magazine

Where the Middle Ages begin

Enjoy expertly curated content about the Middle Ages 


Issue 121 - Love, Marriage, and Relationships

In this issue: Runestone romance? A look at love in Old Norse Literature. Sex in the Middle Ages: who, where, and when was it appropriate? We get the medieval Jewish and Christian perspectives on sex. A look at sibling love, how two Jewish brothers maintained close family ties over many years through their letters. Marriage in medieval Italy with a focus on art, and lay vs church celebration. We’ve also got courtly love and music, and last but not least, read about gender swapping and same-sex marriage in the tale of Ydé et Olive.

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Earning Your Badge
Mementos of

By Danièle Cybulskie

One of the brilliant things about humankind is our desire to continuously strive to accomplish difficult things: epic journeys, great feats, tough challenges. We do this to learn more about ourselves, to test ourselves, or sometimes to set ourselves on a spiritual journey. One of our most enduring and common impulses is to share our triumphs with the world. While the majority of people who climb Everest today doubtless do it for personal reasons, rare indeed is the person who climbs the mountain and never tells anyone.

BETH 9. Viking runestone, Trelleborg, Denmark.jpg

If he liked it, then he shoulda put a ring on it: 
Harald Bluetooth and the Ring-Castle at Trellebor

By Bethany Rogers

Castles are synonymous with the medieval period, but not all of these structures bring to mind Sleeping Beauty and knights in armor. In fact, the real-life European castle which inspires most popular imaginings of these aristocratic fortresses is Neuschwanstein, in Bavaria, commissioned by King Ludwig II and intended as a royal retreat before his death. Its graceful turrets and even crenellations in the Romanesque Revival style served as the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle at Disneyland in Orlando, Florida. The castle’s construction began in 1869 and was completed in 1886. Much of what sparks our imagination about the medieval period comes from much later sources.

Diet, prejudice, and non-Popular Participation in Byzantine Politics

By João Vicente de Medeiros Publio  Dias

In 1047, an uprising broke in Byzantium under the leadership of Leo Tornikes, seeking to depose the emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (1042-1055). The rebels were able to achieve a major victory over the imperial forces before the walls of Constantinople. The city was vulnerable and ready to be taken over, but instead of entering in the city with his troops and deposing Constantine by force, Tornikes waited for an invitation by the inhabitants. This gave the emperor time to reinforce his position and eventually defeat the rebel. How can we explain this hesitation?

ANDREA 2. Medieval Feast – Dressed peacock. Wikimedia Commons.jpg

Eat Like a King: Dietary Advice to Theuderic I

By Minjie Su
We are what we eat. This expression probably has had more of a ring of truth to those who lived in the Middle Ages, than to us. Hippocratic and Galenic medicine was still the norm, and humoral theory formed the foundation for the understanding of the human body and temperament. To stay in good health, it was essential to keep the four humors (black
bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood) in balance.

The Warrior

By Meghna N. Desai

The Indus Valley Civilisation laid the founding stone in establishing organised trade relations with Mesopotamia and Egypt. Archaeologist Prof. J.M. Kenoyer, who spent decades unearthing the trade and crafts technologies of the Indus Valley writes, ‘ single individual or dynasty dominated the cities for very long, and that they may have been controlled by several competing groups of elites, i.e. landowners, merchants, or  ritual specialists. Collectively, these communities appear to have established and maintained order and hierarchy among many different social classes and economic groups that would have been present in larger cities.’

SYDNEY 7. Reliquaire de Sainte Foy de Conques.jpg

The Cult Of Saints: Sainte Foy

By Sydney K. Gobin

Divine rays of ethereal light stream through rich, multicolored glass; overwhelming scents are emitted from hanging lanterns, masking the indistinguishable mixture of odors brought into the sacred space; footsteps echo against the cavernous stone walls. Angels, demons, saints, and prophets peer downward imploring self-reflection and fear upon the visitors; recalling those they left behind and those who came before. Monopolizing the senses, the pilgrimage church served as an awe-inspiring symbol of the holy power which reigned supreme in France during the Middle Ages. These monumental stone institutions were part of a network of churches leading the penitent pilgrim along their treacherous journey of hope. 

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