Medieval & Renaissance History

Podcast: A Brief History of the Reformation

Noted historian and author Carlos Eire breaks down some of the myths about Martin Luther and the Reformation and provides an insightful look at the history of the Catholic and Protestant religions from medieval to modern times. Subscribe: iTunes Stitcher

Women and (Soft) Power: Jackie Kennedy and Blanche of Castile

Lindy Grant— Last night I went to see the new film Jackie, in which Natalie Portman gives a searing portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death. It made me think of the similarities and differences between Jackie Kennedy and Blanche of Castile, the queen of France who lived

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The St. Brice’s Day Massacre: Then and Now

Levi Roach— “And in this year the king ordered all the Danish men who were in England to be slain; this was done on St. Brice’s feast day [13 November], because it was made known to the king that they treacherously wanted to deprive him and then all his counsellors

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Lowlands Travelogue: Utrecht

In Elisabeth de Bièvre’s book Dutch Art and Urban Culture, 1200-1700, the author explains how distinct geographical circumstances and histories shaped unique urban developments in different locations in the Netherlands and, in turn, fundamentally informed the art and visual culture of individual cities. In seven chapters, each devoted to a city, the book

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Lowlands Travelogue: Amsterdam

In Elisabeth de Bièvre’s book Dutch Art and Urban Culture, 1200-1700, the author explains how distinct geographical circumstances and histories shaped unique urban developments in different locations in the Netherlands and, in turn, fundamentally informed the art and visual culture of individual cities. In seven chapters, each devoted to a city, the book

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Frederick Barbarossa’s Bittersweet Ending

John Freed— On 22 June 1941, Germany launched Operation Barbarossa. Hitler’s personal decision to name the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union after Frederick Barbarossa (b. 1122, r. 1152-90) was the culmination of the nineteenth-century appropriation of the medieval emperor as the symbol of German national unity. Frederick’s uncle and

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Accidental Circumnavigators

Harry Kelsey— The men who sailed for Spain in the sixteenth century were descended from a long line of veterans who had served in the armies of Leon and Castile during several centuries of warfare against Moorish invaders. Battle-hardened and confident, these men of Spain journeyed westward, looking for the

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Remembering the Reign of Henry IV

Chris Given-Wilson— When Henry of Bolingbroke seized the throne from his cousin King Richard II in September 1399, he presented himself to the people of England as the champion of property rights–and no one was better qualified than he to do so, for it was Richard’s unjustified seizure of Henry’s

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Easter and Medieval Food

Chris Woolgar– Chocolate eggs, simnel cake and a return to those things we have given up for Lent? There are resonances in all these to medieval foods. While there may have been no chocolate, Easter was marked in the countryside by the eggs the peasants brought to their lords, a

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History’s Coldest Case: The Assassination of Lorenzino de’ Medici

Stefano Dall’Aglio— Some of you might be familiar with the TV series Cold Case, produced in the U.S. over seven seasons from 2003 to 2010 and successfully broadcast all over the world. The unusual task of the special division of the Philadelphia Police Department is to investigate murders committed many

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