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Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap? The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843—not even to the monks barricaded in the city's cathedral. "The heathens mowed down the entire multitude of priest, clerics, and laity," according to one witness account. Among the slain, allegedly killed while celebrating the Mass, was a bishop who later was granted sainthood. To modern readers the attack seems monstrous, even by the standards of medieval warfare. But the witness account contains more than a touch of hyperbole, writes Anders Winroth, a Yale history professor and author of the book The Age of the Vikings, a sweeping new survey. What's more, he says, such exaggeration was often a feature of European writings about the Vikings. When the account of the Nantes attack is scrutinized, "a more reasonable image emerges," he writes.

In 782, for instance, Charlemagne, now heralded as the original unifier of Europe, beheaded 4,500 Saxon captives on a single day. Kinder, Gentler Vikings? Not According to Their Slaves. The ancient reputation of Vikings as bloodthirsty raiders on cold northern seas has undergone a radical change in recent decades. A kinder, gentler, and more fashionable Viking emerged.

(See “Did Vikings Get a Bum Rap?”) But our view of the Norse may be about to alter course again as scholars turn their gaze to a segment of Viking society that has long remained in the shadows. Archaeologists are using recent finds and analyses of previous discoveries—from iron collars in Ireland to possible plantation houses in Sweden—to illuminate the role of slavery in creating and maintaining the Viking way of life. “This was a slave economy,” said Neil Price, an archaeologist at Sweden’s Uppsala University who spoke at a recent meeting that brought together archaeologists who study slavery and colonization. Scandinavian slavery still echoes in the English language today. Slavery in the region long predates the Vikings. Shortage of Women and Workers Slavery was a very significant motivator in raiding. Medieval Christmas: how did people in the Middle Ages celebrate? 1) Don’t go over the top Medieval Christmas wasn’t quite the all-encompassing celebration it often is today, so relax a little.

Christmas, the Feast of Jesus’s Nativity, was important, but more significant was Easter, and perhaps also the Annunciation – that moment celebrated on 25 March when God was supposedly conceived in Mary’s womb. 2) Be wary Much of the medieval world didn’t celebrate Christmas, and if you were a medieval Jew, Christmas could be a time of danger. At Korneuburg in around 1305, townsfolk accused the Jews of procuring a consecrated communion wafer at Christmas and desecrating it, whereupon it ‘bubbled blood-drops, like an egg sweats when it is cooked’.

Stories like these – imagining Jews conspiring to attack Jesus’ vulnerable body, present in the wafer – could lead to terrible reprisals. 3) Fast then feast For those who did celebrate Christmas, it wasn’t just one day, but a season covering at least the 12 days from 25 December to Epiphany on 6 January. 8) What to eat? Computers Piece Together Scattered Ancient Scrolls | Early Jewish Texts & The Cairo Genizah | Middle Eastern History | Computerization of Ancient Scrolls. It's like something out of "The Da Vinci Code": Hundreds of thousands of fragments from medieval religious scrolls are scattered across the globe. How will scholars put them back together? The answer, according to scientists at Tel Aviv University, is to use computer software based on facial recognition technology.

But instead of recognizing faces, this software recognizes fragments thought to be part of the same work. Then, the program virtually "glues" the pieces back together. This enables researchers to digitally join a collection of more than 200,000 fragmentary Jewish texts, called the Cairo Genizah, found in the late 1800s in the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo. Genizahs are storerooms for holy texts, which under Jewish law cannot be simply tossed in the garbage when they're worn out. A non-profit organization, the Friedberg Genizah Project, is working to digitize the fragments of the Cairo Genizah. "It's a more complicated challenge," Wolf said, referring to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Medieval immigrants: moving to England in the Middle Ages. Reading the name ‘Reginald Newport’ in the English records of the 14th century does not immediately lead one to suppose that its holder was a foreigner. To all intents and purposes, the man in question was a full and active subject of the English crown, a minor functionary in the royal household of Edward III, a property-holder in the city of London and rural Berkshire, and an influential public official as regulator of fisheries along the Thames basin.

And yet, when the city of London challenged Reginald’s powers in 1377, it quite deliberately chose to undermine his authority by naming him as “Reginald Newport, Fleming”. Suddenly, we open up a whole new aspect of the life and career of Reynauld Nieuport, as we might now call him. In the middle years of the 14th century, immigrants from Flanders had a particularly high profile in England. They came over, in quite significant numbers, as agricultural labourers, as skilled cloth weavers, and as merchants involved in international trade.

British Library appeals for help in cracking code carved in sword. A 13th century sword, found in 1825, has a cryptic 18-letter message on itNDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI is engraved down the weapon's central grooveIt is on display at the British Library as part of the Magna Carta exhibition By Sarah Griffiths and Sam Tonkin For Mailonline Published: 09:01 GMT, 7 August 2015 | Updated: 11:59 GMT, 7 August 2015 A medieval sword that carries a mysterious inscription has baffled historians for centuries. Little is known about double-edged weapon, least of all the meaning behind a cryptic 18-letter message running down the central groove which reads: NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI. Now The British Library have appealed for the public’s help in cracking the conundrum. Scroll down for video Little is known about double-edged weapon, least of all the meaning behind a cryptic 18-letter message running down the central groove which reads: NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI (pictured) It weighs almost 3lbs (1.2kg) and measures 38 inches (96cm) in length.

The exhibition closes on September 1. 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about King Henry V and the battle of Agi... Teresa Cole explores the life and legacy of the medieval warrior king in her book, Henry V: The Life of the Warrior King & the Battle of Agincourt 1415. Here, writing for History Extra, she reveals 10 lesser-known facts about Henry V… 1) Nobody knows when he was born Henry V was born at Monmouth castle, perched high above the River Monnow, but there is no record of his birth, and even the year is uncertain.

Some say his birthday was 9 August 1387, but an alternative date is 16 September 1386. However, the French astrologer who drew the horoscope was later accused in Paris of being an English spy, and it is possible the work was just an excuse for the man to come to England and meet with Henry. 2) He was in Ireland with Richard II when his father seized the throne When his father, Henry Bolingbroke, seized the throne, the young Henry was in the custody of King Richard II as a hostage for his father’s good behaviour. Richard, however, was made of different stuff. Medieval Empires. Where the Middle Ages Begin Medieval Empires August 2, 2015 By Throughout the medieval era, many multi-ethnic states emerged – some lasting for just a generation, while others would endure for centuries.

Here is our list of twenty empires from the Middle Ages, starting with the most successful. Powered by Learn more about these empires: The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire – Interview with Edward N. The Mongol Empire: The State of the Research The Fall of the Angevin Empire Merovingian and Carolingian Empires: An Analysis of Their Strengths and Weaknesses Cnut: England’s Danish King The Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Retrospective of Comparative Historical Sociology of Empire by Taboolaby Taboola Sponsored LinksSponsored Links Promoted LinksPromoted Links You May Also Like TimeToBreak 14 Jaw-Dropping Before And After Photos Of Rescued DogsTimeToBreak Undo Yellow Pages Why Do I Always Have Dark Circles Under My Eyes? My Snoring Solution Babbel Forbes Ancestry. Switzerland’s Dance of Death Bridge: A series of danse macabres lead travelers across this Swiss bridge. Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders.

Like us on Facebook and Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter. From the outside, Lucerne's Spreuer Bridge looks to be a peacefully bucolic Old World span, the kind where medieval lovers might have met on a warm spring day. But hanging beneath the covered roof are dozens of historic paintings of skeletons and reapers collecting souls and reminding travelers that every second is one closer to death. The gable-roofed bridge was built in the 13th century to connect a group of mill buildings to the mainland. During its initial usage, the bridge was unique in that the mill workers could simply dump their waste into the river, since they were so far downstream.

The wooden bridge survived for hundreds of years, retaining its peaked medieval style. Then, in the mid-1600s, it was decided that the bridge would be spruced up a bit. A Comparative Analysis of the Concepts of Holy War and the Idealized Topos of... A Comparative Analysis of the Concepts of Holy War and the Idealized Topos of Holy Warrior In Medieval Anatolian And European Sources By Ceren Çıkın Sungur Master’s Thesis, Bahçeşehir University, 2014 Abstract: Claims of holy war characterized the Middle Ages in both Muslim Anatolia and Christian Europe, where soldiers on both sides were portrayed as holy warriors.

Named gazis, akıncıs, alps, chevaliers and knights, they came from the elite military classes. Literary depictions of these men as holy warriors were fundamentally idealized topoi created by writers who were patronized by or were close to those in power. These topoi were largely determined by political, social and economic circumstances, as well as the ambitions of the sovereigns, but they also reflected the ideals, beliefs and customs of the past. Introduction: Claims of holy war characterize the period between the eleventh and the fifteenth centuries A.D., both in Christian Europe and Muslim Anatolia.

Want more medieval? The City of Rome in the Middle Ages. The City of Rome in the Middle Ages By Gordon McNeil Rushforth Pegasus: University of Exeter Classical Society Magazine, Vol.25 (1982) Introduction: Let us begin by considering the importance of the idea of Rome in the medieval mind. On the one hand there was the ancient prestige of the City, the capital of the greatest empire the world had known, the seat of a civilisation and art so far above what most of the Middle Ages could attain. They may have known little about the true history of the ancient world, or the meaning of its remains, but the glamour of the past and the legends which grew up combined to form a conception of almost supernatural grandeur which dominated the medieval imagination.

We may say that, physically and materially, what kept Rome together, and reserved its integrity and Continuity throughout the Dark Ages, was its Walls. Click here to read this article from the University of Exeter Want more medieval? Discovered Near Arctic - Mysterious Lost Medieval Civilization And Puzzling A... - A group of scientists excavating on the edge of the Siberian Arctic have made a very intriguing discovery unearthing unopened human remains wrapped in birch bark belonging to a mysterious lost medieval civilization.

Several of the ancient bodies were overlain with copper sheets, parts of copper kettles and together with the permafrost. This mummification process gave a remarkable preserving effect. Archeologists working at the site, near Salekhard, say they suspect the remains are of a child or teenager from the 12th or 13th centuries AD. Checks with a metal detector show there is indeed metal beneath the birch bark. ' The birch bark 'cocoon' is of 1.30 meters in length and about 30 cm at the widest part. See also: Ancient Unsolved Mysteries Of Siberia - A Place Full Of Secrets This Is What The Siberian Princess Looked Like In Real Life Mysterious Sunduki: "Home Of The Gods " And A Spectacular 16,000 Year-Old Astronomical Observatory © Source. Hellenes and Romans in Ancient China (240 BC – 1398 AD) Hellenes and Romans in Ancient China (240 BC – 1398 AD) By Lucas Christopoulos Sino-Platonic Papers, 230 (August, 2012) Introduction: Following the death of Alexander the Great, a large number of his soldiers were forced to remain in the Asian fortified cities of Bactria and northwest India in order to control the occupied territories.

These new colonies of the East appealed to migrants, many of them artists or mercenaries from Greece, during the reign of Alexander’s successor, Seleucos. Many of the children that issued from the mixed marriages of Greeks and locals belonged to a Hellenized aristocracy that came to rule Bactria and northwest India for, in some places, the next three hundred years. Soon after Seleucos had made an alliance with Chandragupta Maurya, the king of India, the Kshatriya, the warrior caste of India, had come to consider the Greeks as entirely members of their own clan. Click here to read this article from Sino-Platonic Papers Want more medieval? Saladin's Triumph: The Battle of Hattin, 1187. The Battle of Hattin, from a 15th-century manuscript.In a battle fought near the western shore of the Sea of Galilee on July 4th, 1187, the Sultan Saladin inflicted a terrible defeat on the field army of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, killing or capturing the vast majority of its soldiers.

Historians have questioned the long-term significance of many medieval battles, but nobody has denied that the Battle of Hattin had a decisive impact on the history of the crusader states in Palestine and Syria. Hattin led to Saladin's conquest of nearly all the lands held by the Franks, including his occupation of Jerusalem on October 2nd. It also precipitated the Third Crusade, which succeeded, by the terms of the Treaty of Jaffa in 1192, in re-establishing the Latin Kingdom in the form of a narrow coastal strip, containing most of the important Palestinian ports. Nonetheless, the threat to the Latin Kingdom took some years to materialise. Two of these themes were of particular importance. Imprisoning the Mentally Ill in Medieval England. What to do with mentally ill individuals who are violent? This is a question that modern and medieval societies had to deal with.

In two papers given last month at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, scholars examined what sources from medieval England revealed about under what conditions the mentally ill would be imprisoned. The papers were given by Leigh Ann Craig of Virginia Commonwealth University and Wendy J. Turner of Portland State University, two of the leading scholars in issues regarding mental illness in the Middle Ages. “Inside a Most Fortified Little House”: Communities and the Imprisonment of the Senseless in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries Leigh Ann Craig examined eight medieval miracle stories from England which had stories of individuals being imprisoned, either in a home or a shrine, because of a mental illness. For example, in one story a ten-year old girl found a bloody rag and believed it was a relic of Jesus Christ.

The Battle of Marston Moor and the English Revolution. Chain, Chest, Curse: Combating Book Theft in Medieval Times. The Evolution of Arthur. Who actually died at the Battle of Crecy? Pigs and Prostitutes: Streetwalking in Comparative Perspective. 10 Fun Fashion Facts from the Middle Ages. The Dominican Order in the Middle Ages - Medieval Histories. Imprisoning the Mentally Ill in Medieval England. The Medieval Rabbi Who Invented the Decimal Fractions System. Sites of Encounter in the Medieval World — California History-Social Science ... Physicists Make Fascinating Discovery When Comparing Masterpieces Of Medieval... Did People in the Middle Ages Fight as Well With Swords as Portrayed in Movie...

Is it Better to Die in Battle or to Flee? A Medieval View. Students: raising hell since the Middle Ages. 14 Most Painful Medieval Torture Techniques Ever. A Different Picture of the Middle Ages. Slaughter at the End of the Middle Ages | Rick Steves. The Experience of Growing Up in Medieval Society. Christianization of Early Medieval Societies: an Anthropological Perspective. King Stephen’s Siege Tactics. Courtly Magic in the Middle Ages. Did Richard III keep his scoliosis a secret?