1401 CE to 1500 CE

Richard III tomb nearly destroyed by Victorians

How different things might have been for Richard III enthusiasts if Victorian builders had placed their foundation one foot lower. The change would have destroyed the grave believed to be that of the king killed at the Battle of Bosworth. (photo of re-enactors guarding site.)

15th-century prayer book highlights "the grandeur of Spanish-Jewish artwork"

A Jewish prayer book, created in 15th century Spain, is a survivor. The book includes liturgies for the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement and managed to survive both the Inquisition and the Holocaust.

Podcast discusses significance of Richard III discovery

An Academic Minute on WAMC radio discusses the recent archaeological discovery of remains which could possibly be those of King Richard III who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The podcast features Norman Housley, a professor of history at the University of Leicester.

Richard III Society hopes to rewrite English history

Winston Churcill wrote, "History is written by the victors." So believe the members of the Richard III Society who feel that the Tudors - including Shakespeare, who worked for them - maligned the memory of King Richard for their own purposes.

Development threatens War of the Roses battlefield

The Northampton Borough Council in Northampton, England is eager to turn over the 85-acre Delapre Park to sports club for their use, but there's a glitch. The park may be the site of a decisve battle between the Houses of York and Lancaster in 1460.

French demand England pay restitution for Plantagenet killing

The French city of Angers has petitioned the British government for compensation payment in the death of Edward Plantagenet, son of Edward IV and nephew of Richard III of England, who died in 1499. The city was the medieval capital of Anjou, whence the Plantagenet family originated.

Website features playing cards through history

Want to know what a deck of cards looked like at Henry VIII's table? How about Salladin? The World of Playing Cards is the place to find out!

Finding the bones of Mona Lisa

Historians' obsession with the real life Mona Lisa continues with the recent discovery of a complete skeleton beneath the floor of the derelict Convent of St. Orsola in Florence, Italy. Some experts believe the remains are those of Lisa Gherardini, AKA Mona Lisa.

Tomb of 15th century Sufi saint attacked by fanatics

A group of hardline Muslim Salafists, armed with bulldozers, recently attacked the shrine of 15th-Century scholar Abdel Salam al-Asmar in Zlitan, Libya. The Salafists believe that such shrines are idolatrous.

Thermal Quasi-Reflectography new tool for art historians

Experts tasked with restoring damaged and faded works of art have a new tool in their toolbox: Thermal Quasi-Reflectography (TQR), a process which uses the mid-infrared part of the spectrum to reveal images invisible to the naked eye. (photos)

Grave of Richard III found

Archaeologists working on a dig beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England believe they have discovered a grave containing the remains of King Richard III who was killed in battle in 1485.

Capitoline Wolf created in the Middle Ages?

One of the most famous symbols of Rome is the Capitoline Wolf, a bronze statue depicting a mother wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. But now experts believe the statue was created during the Middle Ages, with parts as late as the 15th century.

Banking records found under 15th century heraldry

Economic historians at Queen Mary, University of London have discovered Italian banking records dating to the early 15th century half covered by English coats of arms in a book of British heraldry.

In search of Kitezh

Archaeologists are looking for evidence of Kitezh, the “Russian Atlantis,” on the shores of Svetloyar Lake near Nizhny Novgorod. According to legend, Kitezh is "a hidden city where the righteous live and work in prayer, and where only the chosen ones can enter."

Claimant to British throne dies at 71

If things had gone differently in the 15th century, Michael Abney-Hastings, the 14th Earl of Loudoun, would have been King of England. Instead, he worked as a forklift driver in New South Wales, Australia until his death recently at the age of 71.

Evidence of medieval spectacles found in book

On the blog Cultural Compass, an employee of the Harry Ransom Center chronicles the discovery of rare evidence of medieval eyeglasses, not in an illustration, but in the end pages of a book.

Yorkshire Museum needs UK£2,000 to buy Richard III badge

In 2010, a metal detecting enthusiast from Stillingfleet, near York, England discovered a real treasure, a rare silver gilt badge in the shape of a boar linked to the supporters of King Richard III. Now the Yorkshire Museum hopes to raise UK£2,000 to buy the badge for its collection. (photo)

Royal Collection Art

The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace will exhibit more than 100 works by Northern European artists including Durer, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Holbein the Younger.

Medieval fishing hut excavated in Iceland

Archaeologists are racing against erosion to excavate a 15th century fishing hut in Iceland. While people in the area have been known for centuries to use temporary huts during the fishing season, this one shows signs of longer occupation.

Controversy continues over role of Hagia Sophia

Devout Muslims in Istanbul are calling for the re-opening of the historic 6th century Hagia Sofia as a mosque. The move would break a Turkish law prohibiting worship in the monument.

Town councillor recruited to translate mysterious text

Workmen renovating a medieval house in St Katherine’s, England, have enlisted the help of a former mayor to translate the ancient text discovered on the ceiling. The writing is believed to be Latin.

"Funeral achievments" of Henry V showcased in British Museum clip

In a short video clip on YouTube, Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor discusses the helmet, sword and saddle believed to have belonged to Henry V from his tomb in Westminster Abbey.

The legend of the Grateful Dead

Zombies are not just the stuff of modern movies and flash mobs. A medieval legend popular in Germanic northern Europe tells of armed zombies who rise from the grave to protect the righteous.

15th-century mosque attacked at Timbuktu

A group of Islamist militants bearing pickaxes has attacked and damaged the Sidi Yahya mosque in Timbuktu, a World Heritage site, breaking down a door that "locals believed had to stay shut until the end of the world."

Wenlok Jug stolen from English museum

A hunt continues to recover a medieval bronze jug stolen from the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton, England. The "nationally significant" Wenlok Jug was taken from the museum May 12, 2012.

Medieval Lingerie

A remarkably modern-looking bra and "string bikini" from the 15th century have been discovered in East Tyrol.

Rare black-tinted Flemish manuscripts online

In the second half of the 15th century, the noble families of Burgundy were privileged to enjoy illuminated books with black tinted pages, scribed with gold and silver script. Examples of these rare and magnificent manuscripts may be viewed on artist Daniel Mitsui's blog, The Lion & the Cardinal.

Restoration of famed "Gates of Paradise" complete after 33 years

Restoration is complete for Lorenzo Ghiberti's masterpiece, the bronze and gilt doors that he created for the Florence Baptistry in 1452. Michaelangelo called them the Gates of Paradise.

"FACES" project to identify historical figures

The University of California, Riverside, has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to use state-of-the-art facial recognition software to identify figures in paintings and sculpture.

The power of Botticelli's Venus

In a recent ArtBlog posted by The Guardian, Jonathan Jones ponders Botticelli's enduring masterpiece, The Birth of Venus, painted in 1484, and tries to discover if it is the ancient religion that makes it so compelling.