1401 CE to 1500 CE

Former tour guide campaigns for statue of Henry VII

Melanie Phillips, a former tour guide at Pembroke Castle in Wales, has begun a campaign to construct a memorial to King Henry VII, who was born in the castle.

Happy belated birthday, Scotch!

Experts have determined that Scotch whiskey was born on June 1, 1495 when King James of Scotland commissioned Friar Jon Cor to makes eight bowls of the potent drink. Wired Magazine celebrates the event in their "This Day in Tech" column.

Medici collection sculpture to be sold

An antiquity once owned by Lorenzo de Medici will go on sale at Sotheby's June 11. 'Il Magnifico' laid claim to Three Satrys Fighting a Serpent shortly after its excavation in 1489.

"Treasure" badge likely belonged to Richard III's retainer

A silver-gilt boar badge representing Richard III and found last year at Bosworth Field has been declared treasure. The badge probably belonged to a member of the king's inner circle and may indicate the spot where he fell.

Can Botticelli make you high?

A plant in Botticelli's Venus and Mars resembles the hallucinogen Datura stramonium. Blogger Jonathan Jones speculates that the artist intended the painting to affect the viewer like taking a love potion.

Computer science project uses new tech in service of ancient art

Computer scientists at the University of Kentucky will turn their attention to a pair of medieval manuscripts this summer.

15th century "golden gown of Queen Margareta" re-created

Based on the silk fabric of the golden gown of Queen Margaret of Sweden, experts at Durán Textiles have produced a hand-printed design and re-created the gown. The story, with photos, appears in the Durán Textiles newsletter.

Maps: "Snapshots" of history

Most of us think of a map as a tool for getting from one place to another. But throughout history, mapmakers have had other priorities than providing a factual picture of the world.

York's Merchant Adventurers on Facebook

The 15th century met the 21st recently when York, England's Company of Merchant Adventurers announced that it will share the secrets of its famous guildhall in Fossgate on a Facebook website.

Sackler Gallery to present "Gods of Angkor"

The Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. will host Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia, "the first international exhibition to focus specifically on the skills and achievements of Khmer bronze casters," May 15, 2010 through January 23, 2011.

Website traces European effigies

The Effigies and Brasses website offers links and images for numerous European effigies, brasses, incised slabs, half-reliefs, and other miscellaneous representations dating from the 12th-15th centuries.

Jewish contributions to medieval Spain

“Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain”  opened recently at the Museum of Biblical Art near New York's Lincoln Center. The exhibition takes a historical approach to Jewish contributions to Christian art in the two centuries before they were expelled from Spain by Queen Isabella in 1492.

Joan of Arc letter online

On November 9, 1429, Joan of Arc dictated a letter addressed to the citizens of Riom, hoping to recruit reinforcements for the Siege of La Charité. A scanned image of her letter, complete with translation, is available on the Letters of Note website.

Bidar fort excavations reveal escape tunnels and soldiers' quarters

Excavations at the 15th century Bidar Fort constructed by Sultan Ahmed Shah of the Bahamani Dynasty in Bidar, India have revealed an extensive series of royal escape tunnels, wells and soldiers' quarters.

Preview issue of BBC History Magazine available online

Jane Stockton reports that BBC History Magazine is offering a free 14-page digital preview drawn from the March 2010 issue of the magazine.

Erwin Tomash Library offers insight into history of computing, geometry, and mathematics

A casual interest in the history of computing led Erwin Tomash, who started his career in computer engineering in the 1940s and became one of the pioneers of the information age, to compile an encyclopedic, illustrated catalog of primary source references dating back to the 12th century CE. The catalog is available online for free access.

Lasers to be used to clean historic paintings

Long used to clean metal and stone, lasers may be the new tool of choice for cleaning famous works of art. The technique is the same used to remove tattoos.

Forum centers on Hundred Years War

The Hundred Years War Underground is a  new forum created "for those interested in exploring the history of the Hundred Years War."

Hidden bee hive found at Rosslyn Chapel

As workers carefully dismantled several roof pinnacles at Rosslyn Chapel during a UK£13M renovation project, they found that one of the pinnacles was deliberately hollowed out during its fabrication to make a beehive.

15th century mourners march to New York City

Thirty-seven statues of mourners from the 15th century tomb of John the Fearless and his wife Margaret of Bavaria are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Experts believe they have found true site of Battle of Bosworth Field

A new study of documents, artifacts, and archaeological surveys seem to prove the true location of the Battle of Bosworth, the site of the death of King Richard of England. (map & photo)

Secret Vatican documents published

A collection of 105 documents, some dating back over 1,000 years, has been published in book form by the Vatican. The Vatican Secret Archives features a such diverse documents as a letter from the grandson of Genghis Khan to a 1550 note from Michelangelo demanding payment.

Joan of Arc "relics" trace to ancient Egypt

Devotees of Joan of Arc were disppointed recently to learn that relices of Joan of Arc, overseen by the Archbishop of Tours in Chinon, France, are not only fake, but actually the "bones of a human and a cat tracing back to ancient Egypt."

Mona Lisa suffered from high cholesterol

Vito Franco of the University of Palermo thinks Mona Lisa is sick, that is, she suffered from "worryingly high levels of cholesterol." Franco bases his observations on a "xanthelasma – a subcutaneous accumulation of cholesterol – in the hollow of the Mona Lisa's left eye, and a tell-tale lipoma, a fatty tissue tumour, on one hand."

Renaissance portrait gallery highlights jewelry

Illusion Jewels, a retailer of medieval and renaissance jewelry, has created an online portrait gallery featuring classic paintings from the 15th - 17th centuries that feature jewelry.

Website offers detailed photos of Novgorod leather

From Legio Draconis: a website with photos of the amazingly-preserved leather from Novgorod, Russia including sheathes, pouches and incredibly, whole boots and shoes, dating to the 12th and 14th centuries.

Belles Heures to be displayed at the Cloisters

Beginning March 2, 2010, the Belles Heures (1405–1408/9) of Jean de Berry, a lavishly-illustrated manuscript, will be on display at the Cloisters Museum in New York. The unbound leaves will remain on display until June 13, 2010. (video)

Cod, not elephants, brought down Greenland settlements

For the past ten years, Norse scholars have debated whether the breakdown in trade of walrus ivory brought down the Norse settlements in Greenland during the 15th century. In a new article, scholar Kirsten Seaver disputes the theory and offers her own: English cod fishing.

Embroidered textiles bring high prices at Bonham auction

On December 9, 2009, a collection of 15th-19th century works of art and textiles was auctioned by Bonham's Auction House. Detailed photos of the auctioned items are available to view on the website.

"1415: Henry V's Year of Glory" shows new Henry V

For centuries, Englishmen have revered King Henry V as "the greatest man that ever ruled England,” but 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory, a new book by Ian Mortimer gives a new view of the king. Dominic Sandbrook of The Telegraph has a review.