1401 CE to 1500 CE

Richard III: Just misunderstood?

Members of the Richard III Society have long believed that the last medieval king of England got a bad rap from the conquering Tudors and their bard, William Shakespeare. Now, with the discovery of Richard's remains, others are beginning to reconsider the monarch. (audio interview)

"In 1492, Columbus sailed the oceans blue. And brought back syphilis."

Medical researchers have long sought the origins of the sexually-transmitted disease syphilis, but most now believe that the pox was brought back by Christopher Columbus from one of his voyages to the New World. LiveScience recently published an Op-Ed from the Conversation.

Validating the Principessa

Art historians around the world are never quick to validate a "lost" work by one of the great masters. Thus is the case of La Bella Principessa, a small, "pen-and-ink portrait of a Florentine woman with a Mona Lisa-esque smile," believed to have been created by Leonardo da Vinci. (photo)

Sistine Chapel "dazzles" after tech makeover

A new lighting system will allow visitors to the Vatican's Sistine Chapel  to appreciate Michelangelo's famous frescoes more than ever better. The chapel makeover "cost some three million euros (US$3.77 million)—with 1.9 million euros spent on the lighting alone."

Pennsic documentary producer to make video of USA Knights at IMCF world championships

Zorikh Lequidre, known in the SCA as Lord Ervald the Optimistic, is set to make a video documentary of USA Knights, America's original full-combat armored combat team, at the International Medieval Combat Federation world championships this Spring in Malbork Poland. The new video is to be titled “American Knights.”

The dark vengeance of Vlad the Impaler

For centuries, people have been fascinated with stories of vampires, and at the top of the story list is the dark tale of Count Dracula, a medieval prince also known as Vlad the Impaler. Elizabeth Palermo of Live Science has a feature story.

15th century Spanish shipwreck found in Greece

Arcaheologists are intrigued by the discovery of a 15th century Spanish shipwreck off the coast of Zakynthos, Greece. The 2014 underwater explorations of the site have revealed enough of the ship’s wooden frame to allow study of "the transitional art of shipbuilding during the 15th and 16th centuries." (photo)

"Magical mud" of Novgorod reveals treasures

“Send me a shirt, towel, trousers, reins, and, for my sister, send fabric. If I am alive, I will pay for it,” wrote a 14th century father, Onus, to his son, Danilo, in the block letters of Old Novgorod language on a birch bark scroll. The note, among a dozen others, was discovered recently in the "magicial mud" of Veliky Novgorod, Russia.

Richard III burial timetable and appeal for funds

As the reburial of King Richard III approaches, the city of Leicester, England and Leicester Cathedral prepare for the festivities by calling on the locals to help with fundraising. The diocese has raised only UK£1.9m of the £2.5m cost of the celebration.

Catholics and Protestants unite over Richard III funeral

Richard III died before the Reformation, but Leicester Cathedral, where the king will be buried, is staunchly Anglican, facts which should have produced strife. The funeral of a king, however, has brought the two faiths together to offer Richard III a burial "with the dignity befitting his rank."

Dracula imprisoned in Turkish castle

Iconic baddie Vlad the Impaler seems to have slept more places than George Washington. The latest claim comes from Turkey which says that the young prince was held captive in a fortress there. Rachel Nuwer for Smithsonian Magazine online has the story. (photo)

Witches at the British Museum

The British Museum has been invaded by witches - at least until January 2015. A new free exhibit, Witches and Wicked Bodies, will look at the history of witches in Great Britain from the 1400s until the Victorian era, and will include artists' renditions, objects of sorcery and magic, as well as artifacts from antiquity depicting famous witches.

Not the Santa Maria

Expectations were high recently when archaeologists believed they had found the wreck of the Santa Maria, Columbus' flagship off the coast of Haiti, but it was not to be. New evidence shows that the remains of the ship are from a later period.

Scholars pinpoint site of Columbus' departure

In the 15th-century, Palos de la Frontera in southwestern Spain was a thriving port. New scholarship, and the discovery of pottery and a reef, have led experts to establish the site as the departure point for Christopher Columbus' 1492 voyage.

WWII metal detecting leads to discovery of medieval axes

A group of Polish engineers, tasked with finding and disposing of World War II artillary shells in the Forest District Wipsowo, have discovered the heads of three Teutonic battle axes, dating to the late Middle Ages. (photo)

Battle of Tewkesbury site for sale

The site of the 15th century Battle of Tewkesbury, where the Lancaster forces were defeated by those of the House of York in 1471, is for sale. The price tag is UK£120,000 to £150,000.

Honoring the "standing cup"

Like their modern counterparts, medieval people enjoyed entertaining guests, often with their best utensils. Naomi Speakman, curator for the British Museum's Late Medieval Collection, salutes the museum's newest acquisition, the Lacock Cup, in a feature article on the museum blog. (photos)

"Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy" at the Sackler

Islamic art does not depict the human form, but it often finds its greatest inspiration in calligraphy. A new exhibit at the Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. is devoted to nasta’liq, Persian calligraphy developed from the 14th to 16th centuries. Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy will be featured at the gallery from September 13, 2014 through March 22, 2015.

Chivalry died at Agincourt

In an excerpt from his book Agincourt: My Family, The Battle And The Fight For France, in the Mail Online, English writer and adventurer Sir Ranolph Fiennes discusses his ancestors' parts in the 1415 Battle of Agincourt, the day, he writes, chivalry died.

UK£3,000 needed to secure Lindisfarne Hoard

In 2003, builder Richard Mason found an old, pottery jug on the island of Lindisfarne, in northern England. Later, he noticed that the jug contained 17 coins, dating from the reigns of Henry VI - Elizabeth I. The silver and gold hoard has been valued at UK£30,900, but the Great North Museum in Newcastle needs an additional UK£3,000 to purchase the coins for its collection. (photo)

"Dracula stayed here"

Tokat Castle in Turkey "is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious,” said archaeologist İbrahim Çetin about the dungeon-laden castle which once held the captive Prince Vlad III the Impaler, AKA Dracula.

The lifestyle changes of Richard III

Everyone knows Richard III was king of England, however briefly, but did he live a royal lifestyle? Researchers say yes. A new study shows that the king's location and diet changed after his ascendance to the throne.

Abandoned school becomes Richard III grave visitor center

Leicester, England mayor Peter Soulsby was on hand recently to celebrate the opening of a UK£4 million visitor center near the site of the grave of Richard III, discovered in 2012 in a city car park. The center is housed in an abandoned school building.

Medieval teen given face in Scotland

In 2009, the remains of nearly 400 people were discovered by workers for the Edinburgh Trams system in Leith, Scotland. Now forensics experts have given one of the individuals, a teenage boy, a face. (photos)

First English book brings more than £1m

The Recuyell of the Histories of Troye is considered to be the first book ever to be printed in English. A translation of a French book by William Caxton, the 1474 English edition sold recently at auction for more than £1m. (photo)

Battle of Grunwald search to include lakes

Archaeologists working near the site of the Battle of Grunwald, between the army of King Jagiello of Poland and the Teutonic Knights in 1410, plan to use an electromagnet to drag the bottom of several lakes in the area, hoping to find weapons lost lost before and during the battle.

What killed Richard III?

A new report, published in The Lancet, reveals that King Richard III was "probably killed by two blows to the head during a 'sustained attack'" when he perished August 22, 1485 in the Battle of Bosworth. (photos)

The diet of a king

The discovery of the remains of Richard III has given the scientific community an unparalleled glimpse into royal lifestyles in the Middle Ages. The latest published research involves the diet and drinking habits of the 15th century monarch.

Richard III to be buried March 26, 2015

After much debate, court rulings, and fuss, the remains of King Richard III, England's latest medieval monarch, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral on March 26, 2015.

Medieval treasures among books of auctioned library

Heywood Bright, liberal British politician, was a collector of rare books. Recently his library, including several previously unknown or incomplete medieval treasures, was auctioned by Christie's.