1101 CE to 1200 CE

British Library announces plan to digitize Persian documents

The PARSA Community Foundation is teaming up with the British Library and others to provide online access to the Library's 11,000 Iranian manuscripts, one of the largest and best known in the world. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

Thieves steal crusader statue from church window

Sometime between May 13-16, 2012, thieves chiseled the small stone statue of a knight from a window frame in St Michael's Church in Castle Frome, near Ledbury, England. The little knight is thought to commemorate a knight in the Crusades.

The exemplary life of Dolce of Worms

A famous elegy, written in the 12th century, extoles the virtues of Dolce of Worms, a medieval Jewish woman in Germany. The elegy, and its preface, were written by her husband R. Elazar who depicted his wife as the perfect Jewish woman. Renee Levine Melammed profiles husband and wife.

Hildegard von Bingen formally made a saint

Pope Benedict XVI has canonized Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century German nun who is popularly known today as a mystic and composer.

12th century relics found at site of Eynsham Abbey

Contractors for a housing development at Abbey Farm in Eynsham, England, always expected to discover archaeological artifacts, but they were nonetheless surprised to find extensive remains relating to the 12th century Eynsham Abbey.

"Disgusting attack" on York's medieval hospital appalls local police

"This is a disgusting attack on York's heritage and those responsible should be deeply ashamed," said a North Yorkshire Police spokesman about recent graffiti inscribed on the ruins of York's 12th century St Leonard's Hospital. (photo)

12th century Persian poem receives modern artistic treatment

The Conference of the Birds, an epic Persian poem written by Farid ud-Din Attar in the 1100s, is being published as an artistic version of a graphic novel. The poem was adapted by Czech illustrator Peter Sis.

Heart of St Laurence O'Toole stolen from Dublin cathedral

Police in Dublin, Ireland are puzzled by the theft of the heart of St Laurence O'Toole, a 12th century relic housed at Christ Church Cathedral. The heart, in a wooden box, was stolen March 2, 2012 when the protective metal bars were cut.

British universities come together to study Vikings

"Experts coming together to pass on their knowledge to students in the beautiful environments of Oxford and Kirkwall - what could be better?" said Dr Donna Heddle, director of the Orkney-based Centre for Nordic Studies about the collaboration of scottish and English universities on Viking studies.

New Discoveries inside York Minster

Recent excavation for a "lift" inside York Minster has turned up the remains of 50 bodies in a charnel pit that probably dates back to the 12th century.

12th century Japanese "ogre pot" found in Kashihara City

Japanese Archaeologists working at Shindo Remains in Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture, have found an early 12th century pot with the face of ogre drawn on its surface in ink. Kashihara City was once the location of Japan's capital.

"Unscrupulous foxes:" Contemporary views of medieval military orders

In the 12th and 13th centuries, European military orders such as the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller were powerful and rich. Did their contemporaries love them or hate them? Helen Nicholson of History Today does the research.

Hampshire dig produces evidence of 12th century settlement

The Reverend James Bruce of St Michael and All Angels in Lyndhurst, England wanted a new driveway for the church, and allowed archaeologists to excavate the mound on which the church stands. Under the church, they discovered nearly 100 bits of medieval pottery.

Pope Benedict to Canonize Hildegard of Bingen

The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict XVI will appoint Hildegard of Bingen as a Doctor of the Church in October of 2012. The 12th century German Benedictine nun is also expected to be canonized in 2012. (video)

"Monks Trod" permanently closed

A medieval byway between two Welsh Cistercian abbeys, and walked by monks in the 12th century, has been damaged by modern traffic. The city councils of Powys and Ceredigion have banned all access, even walkers, from the path to preserve the ancient track.

Will skeletons tell story of Norwegian town?

The people of Stavanger, Norway are on a quest to discover the exact year their town was founded. A good starting place may be with the huge collection of human bones dating to the Middle Ages found beneath their cathedral.

Chocolate is "period" in the American southwest

A paper by Patricia L. Crown, of the Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, and W. Jeffrey Hurst, of The Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition, published on the PNAS website, explores the evidence of the use of cacao in the 11th and 12th centuries in the American Southwest.

1,000 years of British history on church walls

The history and art of Great Britain can be traced by the paintings on its church walls. Now interested parties may not have to travel to review the country's glorious wallpaintings, but can study them online thanks to the efforts of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Crypt columns with "cathedral grandeur" reburied in Devon

"There are only two known crypts in Devon and Cornwall and the other one's a Saxon crypt," said archaeologist Stewart Brown about a Norman crypt excavated in summer 2011. Two intricately-carved columns from the crypt have been reburied for preservation purposes.

British crusaders conquered, then settled in Tortosa

In the mid12th century, English and Welsh crusaders took part in the siege and capture of the Spanish city of Tortosa. Some apparently liked the climate and decided to stay. In an article for the Journal of Medieval History, Antoni Virgili tells their story.

Lost Newtown found in Ireland

Fifteen miles from modern Kilkenny, Ireland, a secret has been buried for centuries. That secret is the lost early Norman town of Newtown, now being decribed as "Kilkenny's Pompeii." LIDAR technology has disclosed the "streets, towns and dwellings" of the settlement.

Bodleian Library digitizes Mishneh Torah

One of the most important manuscripts in the Bodleian Library's Hebrew collection is the 12th century Mishneh Torah, a guide to Jewish law handwritten and signed by Hebrew scholar Maimonides. The manuscript has now been digitized and is available online.

Spirits banned at Nevern Castle

Archaeologists excavating at Nevern Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales have uncovered several slates dating to the 12th century scratched with images of stars and other symbols designed to ward off evil spirits. The slates were found in the castle's entranceway.

Yavneh-Yam believed to be stronghold of Islamic power

The harbor at Yavneh-Yam in Israel has been an important port since the Roman era, but now researchers think it was also "one of the final strongholds of Early Islamic power in the region."

Norman involvement in 11th century Spain

In his 2007 dissertation for the University of Nottingham, Norman and Anglo-Norman Participation in the Iberian Reconquista c.1018 – c.1248, Lucas Villegas-Aristizabal considers the contribution of the Normans, especially Crusaders, in the Christianizing of the Iberian Peninsula.

"Arrogant Jewish woman" revisited by modern historian

In 1171, Pucellina, a Jewish moneylender with ties to Count Thibaut of Blois, France, was arrested, along with 40 other Jews, for the killing of a Christian child. Her execution by burning is now attributed to a witness' aversion to an "arrogant Jewish woman with the gall to consider Count Thibaut her patron."

Cardigan Castle receives UK£4.5m lottery grant

For the past ten years, the Friends of Cardigan Castle in Wales have been hoping to raise money for restoration of the 12th Century building, the first stone castle built by the Welsh princes and the stronghold of Rhys ap Gruffydd. Now they have received an award of UK£4.5m European money.

Remains of 12th century tolbooth found in St. Andrews

In 12th century Scotland, the "tolbooth or praetorium was the office from which the provost and baillies organised the running of the newly-created burgh." Now archaeologists believe they have found the remains of the tolbooth in St. Andrews.

Inscribed 12th century slate may have been used to ward off evil

Archaeologists have discovered a rare incised slate while digging at Nevern Castle in England. The slate dates to between 1170 and 1190.

Discoveries at Ribãt da Arrifana offer insight into 12th century Islam

For ten years, archaeologists have been excavating the Islamic convent/fortress near Aljezur, Portugal. recent discoveries include "a mosque, 21 burials and a funerary head stone with an Arabic inscription," all of which have added to the impressive site.