...in which I share some of my favorite medieval research resources and methods for the benefit of others interested in also writing about the Middle Ages

Friday, April 29, 2016

The travelogue inside my head

Here are some of the places my research and imagination have visited recently:

The world of medieval Pater Noster cords. How do they differ from rosaries? Both are used to count prayers, but rosaries form a loop, while Pater Noster cords hang loose at each end. 


(detail from Adoration of the Magi, by Stefan Lochner)


Crystal reliquaries


(14th century reliquary from Florence, Italy)


And St Edburg (also known as St Edburga or St Eadburh)




(stained glass rendering of St Edburg)

Monday, March 21, 2016

The travelogue inside my head

I can't afford to travel to all the places I'd like to visit to research my books--besides, the price of a time travel machine is absolutely prohibitive!--but thanks to the internet, I can virtually visit the places I research. Here are a few places I visited today.

Medieval Sicily:

Did you know there was a huge earthquake there in 1169? It was over there on the east coast. It triggered a tsunami and at least 15,000 people died. Hugo Falcandus chronicled the event. You can read a bit of his account in this excerpt from A History of the Tyrants of Sicily By 'Hugo Falcandus' 1153-69 at this GoogleBooks link: http://bit.ly/21Bp3Gy. (Or you can order a copy of the book, but the going rate for the paperback version on Amazon is $159.95! http://amzn.to/1UsRHdK) The GoogleBooks excerpt cuts the account off before the end, but what's there is still fascinating reading.



I also visited....


Medieval Venice:




Medieval Florence:



Where will I go next?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Medieval Word of the Day


Manor: agricultural estate owned by a lord; sometimes attached to a castle, sometimes attached to a fortified manor house


(villeins working on a medieval manor)

Click here to view the layout of a medieval manor and take a tour of a medieval manor house



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Medieval word of the day


Tallage – one of the fees owed by villeins to their lords; basically a land tax, sometimes a fixed amount, sometimes determined “at will” by the lord of the manor


(a medieval villein paying taxes, or tallage, to his lord)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Medieval Word of the Day


Merchet: a fine or fee paid by a villein for permission for his daughter to marry, within or without the manor


(peasants marrying)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Medieval Word of the Day

Wood-penny: a penny required of villeins before they could gather dead wood from the forest


(an English medieval penny)



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Medieval Word of the Day


The Law of a Year and a Day: one of the few ways a villein could win his freedom. If a villein escaped from his manor, took refuge in a chartered town, and was accepted into a guild without being caught and challenged by his manor lord for a year and a day, he was considered free from serfdom.


(An escaped villein had to join a guild, like this shoemakers' guild)