Medieval History

The Black Death Massacres And Persecutions Against Jews

March 21, 2021

Burning of Jews during the Black Death epidemic, 1349. (Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons) The 14th century was a dangerous time to be Jewish in Europe. Well, it ...

A History Of Tavern Names And Their Clever Wordplay

March 18, 2021

The White Hart, the Pig N' Whistle, Ye Old Fighting Cocks: Whether it's the liquid courage or the desire to stand out from the crowd, it seems that pub owners have ...

The Crimes Of Christopher Columbus: Why He Was Brought Back To Spain In Chains

January 3, 2021

Posthumous portrait of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519. (Metropolitan Museum of Art/Wikimedia Commons) He's considered...

The Gregorian Calendar: Why Are The Months And Days The Way They Are?

December 27, 2020

(Biblioteca del Vaticano/Wikimedia Commons) January 1 marks the start of a new year, at least according to the Gregorian calendar. We've been using...

Christmas Trees: History And Origins Of Why We Cut Down Trees For A Christian Holiday

December 22, 2020

(Nagel Auktionen/Wikimedia Commons) While evergreens have long played a part in pagan solstice celebrations, it seems strange that ...

The Jesuit Order: How Catholicism Took Over The World

October 17, 2020

Monochrome version of the IHS emblem of the Jesuits. (Moranski/Wikimedia Commons) Formed in 1540, the Jesuit Order began as a sect of militaristic monks ordained b...

The Codex Gigas: The Devil’s Bible And Everything We Know About It

October 7, 2020

The Codex Gigas (the Devil's Bible) was written in the early 13th century in the Benedictine monastery of Podlazice in Bohemia and, during the Middle ...

Sir Francis Drake: Pirate, Slave Trader, Discoverer Of The World

September 26, 2020

Portrait of Sir Francis Drake (Tavistock, 1540-Panama, 1596), English privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician, 1583, painting from an engraving by Jo...

The Great Fire Of London: 80% Of London Burned Down In 1666

September 3, 2020

Fifteenth-century London was a crowded, dirty, polluted place with wooden buildings topped by tar-covered roofs, built close together along narrow streets. ...

Wine Windows Used During The Black Plague Have Reopened In Italy

August 17, 2020

As the novel coronavirus continues to ravage the globe, people are finding new ways to connect and, more importantly, new ways to drink. In Florence, I...

1439: Kissing Is Banned In England In Response To The Black Plague

July 16, 2020

(National Gallery/Wikimedia Commons) Here ye, here ye: No more smoochies! That's what Henry VI proclaimed on July 16, 1439, not because he was a roman...

1518 Dancing Plague: The Mania Where Hundreds Danced For Days To The Point Of Injury

June 24, 2020

(Pieter Bruegel the Elder/Wikimedia Commons) In 1518, one of the deadliest dance parties took place in Strasbourg, Alsace, when hist...

St. Scholastica Day Riot: When English People Killed Dozens Over The Taste Of Wine

June 6, 2020

St. Scholastica Day riot. (Howard Davies/Wikimedia Commons) Don't you hate it when you get all gussied up and head out to a restaurant...

1618 Defenestration Of Prague: Two Catholic Lords, Secretary Survive 70-Ft. Fall

May 23, 2020

On May 23, 1618, a divine miracle took place in Prague. That, or three guys just caught a lucky—albeit stinky—break. What began as a po...

The Order Of The Dragon: An Ancient Society Dracula's Father Belonged To

May 16, 2020

Medieval Europe was lousy with chivalric orders, bands of knights, and noblemen who lived by a set of self-imposed, righteous rules. The member...

Eyam's Quarantine: The Real Village Of The Damned Who Sacrificed Themselves To Save...

April 17, 2020

During the 14th century, the bubonic plague wiped out an estimated 50 million people, ripping them away from their families in a ...

Positives Of The Black Plague: Power In Society Was Given To The Young

April 16, 2020

The explosion of the Black Death in the 14th century completely devastated the Earth's population. Between 75 million and 200 million people died, eli...

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