European

Cultures of Europe

New excavations at Black Sea fortress

After a 6th century earthquake destroyed the town of Dionisopolis, Byzantine emperors built a stronghold at Balchik, overlooking the Black Sea. Now a new team of experts hope to reveal more secrets of the site.

Winter Tree Crafts

Winter Tree Crafts provides locally hand-made SCA armour and leather goods of high quality at a reasonable price. They offer both custom and in-stock armour with an eye to authenticity.

Lost Knowledge: Timbrel vaulting

A look at the largely-lost Medieval art of timbrel vaulting structures and the related, more modern (late 19th century) system of interlocking terracotta tiles which create what are known as Guastavino domes, after their inventor, Rafael Guastavino.

Fish shortage drove medieval fishermen to sea

A new study by James Barrett from Cambridge University's McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, shows that around 1,000 C.E., medieval people were forced to begin fishing in the ocean due to a shortage of fresh water fish.

Armor photos from the Tinguely Museum

Richard Blackmoore reports that a collection of high resolution photos of 15th and 16th century armor are available to download from the Tinguely Museum website.

Defining the Middle Ages

Many re-enactors have difficulty defining the time period of the Middle Ages or the term "medieval." Wikipedia can help. The free encyclopedia has a comprehensive page with many links that can help answer questions about what the Middle Ages really were all about.

Swiss Guard may open ranks to women

The 500-year-old Swiss Guard, which protects the Vatican, may revoke its centuries-old ban on service by women, according to Commander Daniel Anrig. "I can imagine them for one role or another," he told Italian television.

Inbreeding may have led to the demise of the Hapsburgs

A new study by geneticists from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain shows that inbreeding may have weakened the male line and brought about the end of the Hapsburg dynasty. The last king, Charles II of Spain, died in 1700 without male heirs.

Medieval treasures in Nashville until June 7, 2009

Residents of Nashville, Tennessee have the rare opportunity to view "some of the finest medieval art in the United States" when the Frist Center for the Visual Arts presents Medieval Treasures from the Cleveland Museum of Art now through June 7, 2009.

SCAdian expert on Deadliest Warrior

YouTube has video clips available of the Spartan vs Ninja episode of Spike TV's Deadliest Warrior program. The Spartan expert on the program is the SCA's own Sir Balin of Tor (Barry Jacobsen).

[ACR] Fourth Crusade

The year is 1203. Crusading zeal is at its height, but the Muslims still control the Holy Land. From the Purple Palace in Constantinople reigns Emperor Alexius III, heir to the once-mighty Roman Empire. Eight centuries later, the year is 2009. Come recreate one of the greatest sieges in history. Constantinople may have fallen during the Fourth Crusade, but this time the Byzantines have one thing that they lacked in 1203-Haus Von Drachenklaue!

World Digital Library launches with 1,200 documents

The World Digital Library, Unesco's project to "promote curiosity and understanding across cultures," has launched its website with 1,200 documents ranging from a" 1,000-year-old Japanese novel to the earliest known map to mention America by name."

Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey on APOD

An medieval manuscript page from the notes for an astronomy lecture by Magister Wolfgang de Styria offers a glimpse at pre-Renaissance thinking in the astronomical field.

Dog Skeletons Indicate Medieval Custom of Sacrifice

A discovery of multiple buried dog skeletons in a medieval town outside Budapest suggests that the custom of animal sacrifice was much more widespread in early Christian Hungary than previously thought.

New York celebrates Henry Hudson's discovery of New Amsterdam

In commemoration of the Henry Hudson's 400th discovery of the City of New Amsterdam, the Museum of the City of New York will present “Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson,” an exhibition of 275 artifacts housed in a replica of the hull of Henry's triple-masted ship. The exhibit runs through September 2009.

Late Roman village discovered in Austria

The remains of a village, dating to late Roman times, have been discovered at the site of a proposed retirement home in Salzburg, Austria. Archaeologists believe it is the "largest find from that period of history in Salzburg to date."

Traditional Rapier Fencing: Victoria, BC

I live in Victoria, BC, and some time in the very near future, I want to learn and practice traditional fencing, particularly the Spanish style, la Verdadera Destreza.

School teaches late Middle Ages jousting

Knight School, a division of Historic Enterprises, is offering hands-on instruction in equestrian combat at regularly scheduled jousting classes. The classes offer school-provided horses but also welcome riders who have their own.

Tunnel network found under Malta's capital

A series of tunnels, believed to have been constructed by the Knights of Malta, descendants of the Crusader knights, have been discovered beneath the Maltese capital of Valletta. Experts believe that the tunnels were built in the 16th or 17th centuries in defense of the city from Muslim attack.

Bulgarian and British team will study early European settlement

Archaeologists from Bulgaria and Great Britain are joining efforts to begin research in the area of the lower Danube River, concentrating on the 5th through 7th centuries. The goal of the project is to study "changes in lifestyle and social life in the transitional period from antiquity to the Middle Ages."

Medieval Academy of America

The Medieval Academy of America is a web site devoted to scholarly research of the medieval period. They offer a magazine, Speculum, which has been published since at least 1975. There is a searchable index of articles if you are interested in a particular subject.

Folding chairs in history

DesignBoom.com has created a website dedicated to the history of the folding chair from ancient times through the Renaissance. The website includes illustrations.

Valentine's Day history still a mystery

Every year historians debate the "real" history of Valentine's Day, and still there seems to be no consensus on its true origins. Now student Sarah Clark gives it a try.

Experts theorize Tycho Brahe may have been murdered

For centuries experts believed that Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe died from a "twisted" bladder, but recent studies have shown a high concentration of mercury in the astronomer's hair, leading to the theory that Brahe was murdered. Now a "group of conservators, chemists and physicians" wants to open the grave and find out the truth: was Tycho Brahe murdered, and "who done it?"

DNA testing may unlock secrets of medieval manuscripts

Taking advantage of the fact that many medieval manuscripts were written onto animal skins, scientists are using the remaining DNA from these skins to help identify manuscripts that were created near one another in time and space.

12th century Georgian monastery found on Cyprus

Twelve graves dating from between the 14th and 16th centuries are shedding new light on a Georgian monastery, established in the 12th century in the island of Cyprus.

The Myth vs. The Man: Michaelangelo

A new exhibit at Manhattan's Palitz Gallery, sponsored by Syracuse University, showcases works by the Renaissance Master Michaelangelo Buonarotti.

Ancient Celtic coins found in Dutch cornfield

A cache of 1st century gold and silver coins was found recently by a metal detectorist near the city of Maastricht, Netherlands. The mix of Germanic and Celtic coins. The Celtic treasure is believed to have been minted by a tribe called the Eburones.

Sotheby's auction catalogue offers delights

On December 8, 2008, Sotheby's Auction House in London will be auctioning a number of western and oriental manuscripts. A catalogue of the items with closeups and descriptions is available to view online.

"Millennium" sheds light on the Dark Ages

Millennium, a new book by Tom Holland, takes a look at the Dark Ages with special focus on politics, religion and the combination of the two: the Crusades. Christina Hardyment of The Independent has a review.