Medieval History – The Middle Ages – Articles and Podcasts

Medieval History, The Middle Ages. Selected articles from popular magazines and newspapers, and podcast episodes, on historical topics.


Go to Century Past History Resources for a directory of all pages.

10 Dangers of the Medieval Period

It was one of the most exciting, turbulent and transformative eras in history, but the Middle Ages were also fraught with danger.

Dr Katharine Olson, History Extra 2018

A brief introduction to gargoyles

Usually taking the form of a twisted face or a animal hybrid, these ominous stone icons are referred to in Greek mythology as ‘chimera’ – a creature with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the long tail of a snake.

Heritage Calling 2018

Exploring abandoned castles in France

France is home to thousands of medieval castles, some that are prominent tourist sites or serve as hotels or lavish homes. However, there are hundreds of these sites that have been abandoned and left to slowly ruin. One website is documenting these places in hopes that it will lead to some conservation efforts. 2013

How to host a medieval Christmas

Christmas is today associated with merriment, gift giving and indulgence. But how was the festive season celebrated in the Middle Ages? What food was eaten? What traditions were upheld?

Matthew Champion, History Extra 2018

In Brief – Saxons, Vikings and Normans

The History of London 2018

Some of London’s most popular picnic spots on top of plague pits

Victims of the plague which wiped out 15 per cent of London’s population between 1665 and 1666 were buried in hundreds of plague pits scattered across the city and surrounding countryside

Keith Perry, Telegraph 2014

Surviving Winter in the Middle Ages

In 2013, a medieval reenactment group set out to see what it would be like to survive a Russian winter in the Middle Ages. They selected one of their members, Pavel Sapozhnikov, to live on a farmstead, with only ninth century tools, clothing and shelter for six months as part of a project entitled, ‘Alone in the Past.’ 2015

Top 10 Medieval Places That Don’t Exist

Based on medieval legends, fictional stories, or somewhat less than useful geographic reports, here is our list of ten medieval places you won’t be able to visit! 2014

The Crusades: A Complete History

A comprehensive account of a compelling and controversial topic, whose bitter legacy resonates to this day.

Jonathan Phillips, History Today 2015

Shot through the eye and who’s to blame?

Unpicking a tangle of history, myth and misunderstanding reveals why, for so long, we believed Harold was shot through the eye.

Martin Foys, History Today 2016

The Jews of medieval England

Jewish people first began arriving in England following the Norman Conquest in 1066 and their histories can be traced in the country’s major cities today. Through the story of a bronze cauldron known as the Bodleian Bowl, historian Rebecca Abrams explores the experiences of Jews in medieval England, from prosperity to persecution…

Rebecca Abrams, History Extra 2019

The Many Renaissances of Medieval Europe

An exhibition of illuminated manuscripts and Greek and Roman antiquities questions the idea that medieval artists operated in the dark

Sarah Waldorf and Annelisa Stephan, The Iris 2017

Medieval Rules for Jousting 2015

The truth about Viking berserkers

Symbolising uncontrollable rage and bloodlust, Viking berserkers were fierce warriors said to have fought in a trance-like fury. But did such people ever really exist? Here, Kim Hjardar investigates

Kim Hjardar, History Extra 2018

The Vikings at home

Cameron Balbirnie looks beyond the common image of the savage, pagan plunderers from Scandinavia to discover who the Viking invaders really were

Cameron Balbirnie, History Extra 2012

This Viking ‘Parliament’ Lay Hidden for Centuries in Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest

Before Robin Hood hid out in Sherwood Forest, Vikings held their most important meetings there

Alanna Martinez, Observer 2017

What was life like for a medieval housewife?

Today we enjoy a multitude of modern conveniences. Spare a thought, then, for the medieval housewife. How did she cook? Where did she shop? Where did her clothes come from? Toni Mount, author of The Medieval Housewife and Other Women of the Middle Ages, reveals what life was like for a typical housewife in the Middle Ages

Toni Mount, History Extra 2019

10 things You (probably) Didn’t Know about the Middle Ages

It is one of the most fascinating periods in history, popularised by Magna Carta, the Black Death, and the Hundred Years War. But how much do you really know about the Middle Ages?

John H Arnold, History Extra 2014

24 of Britain’s Best Castles

Offers a brief history of some of the best castles existing in Britain today. Some are well preserved, while others are ruins.

James Carter, Made from History 2015

8 key Viking Dates You Need to Know

From bloody battles and brutal raids to epic seafaring adventures, we bring you 8 dates from Viking history you need to know.

History Extra 2016

8 Viking Myths Busted

Bearded, violent beyond reason and singularly successful at suppressing everyone around them. This, says Janina Ramirez, is the popular – yet questionable – image of Vikings. But how violent were they really, and did they actually wear horned helmets?

Janina Ramirez, History Extra 2018

Aachen Cathedral: Charlemagne’s Enigmatic “Paradox”

Often referred to as the ‘Imperial Cathedral’, the Aachen Cathedral (in Aachen, west of Bonn, Germany) is a Roman Catholic church that is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe.

Dattatreya Mandal, Realm of History 2015

An Anglo-Saxon August

“I’ve been posting at intervals extracts from the Old English poem known as the Menologium, a tenth-century poem which catalogues the months of the year, describing their characteristic seasonal features and saints’ feasts. Nearly thirty lines are devoted to August, the month of Lammas and the harvest, and of several important saints’ days.”

Clerk of Oxford blog

Anglo Saxon London Map: Updated

“In 2011, we put together a map showing the London area in Anglo Saxon times (roughly speaking, 500-1066AD). It’s pieced together from many resources, showing our guess at the roads, rivers, forests and marshland that characterised the region. We’ve now updated the map, based on feedback and further research.”

Londonist 2018

Anglo-Saxon ‘Palace’ Possibly Discovered Near Sutton Hoo Site

“Rendlesham lies only about 4 miles from Sutton Hoo, and yet it might just compete with the renowned Anglo-Saxon site in terms of sheer archaeological value. To that end, researchers have recently discovered the structural remains of a 23 m (75 ft) by 9 m (30 ft) building that could have been a royal hall or a palace-like construction.”

Dattatreya Mandal, Realm of History 2016

Arming a Knight in the 15th Century

“By the time we reach the late fifteenth century armour has developed to the extent where plate has almost completely replaced mail, thus creating the ‘knight in shining armour’ of popular imagination. But getting into it was a lot more complicated than you might think …”

Catherine Hanley

Back to the Dark Ages

The ‘Dark Ages’ is an outdated stereotype abandoned by historians years ago, which makes its use by English Heritage all the more disappointing.

Kate Wiles, History Today 2016

Betwixt nature and God dwelt the medieval ‘preternatural’

[Some kinds of] accidents of nature were known as ‘prodigies’,. i.e. floods; rains of blood or body parts; miscarriages, human and animal; volcanic eruptions and earthquakes; comets, eclipses … They occupied a middle ground between natural and supernatural: the preternatural.

Laura Bland, Aeon

Building a 13th-Century Castle in the 21st Century – The Atlantic

Guedelon Castle is a project started in 1997 by Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin in the Burgundy region of France. The castle is styled on typical French medieval chateau-fort, modeled on designs from the 13th century, and is being built using techniques and materials available to masons and builders 800 years ago.

Alan Taylor, Atlantic 2016

Clones Castle rediscovered after 250 years

A 17th century castle “lost” for more than 250 years has been rediscovered in the centre of a town on the Irish border. The walls were covered in ivy and hidden in undergrowth but there were clues that had been overlooked.

Julian Fowler, BBC News 2016

Defending the ‘Dark Ages’

In describing the violent culture of the fifth and sixth centuries, the term ‘Dark Ages’ has both meaning and resonance.

Ian Mortimer, History Today 2016

Exploring the True Origins of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

It is believed that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has been in existence since the Middle Ages, passed down through word-of-mouth over the centuries. It has generally been regarded as purely a tale of fiction. However, recent research suggests the famous fairy tale may not be so fictional after all.

April Holloway, Ancient Origins 2015

Laundry, Lye and Blood-letting

The Anglo-Saxon Monk lingers over the laundry duties of a medieval priory and discovers more than just soap and water.

Anglo Saxon Monk 2016

Law and Order in Anglo-Saxon England

Extensive review of the book “Law and Order in Anglo-Saxon England” by Tom Lambert

Dr Philippa Byrne, Reviews in History

Royal People: Emperor Charlemagne, King of the Franks

Charlemagne lived between c. 747 and c. 814. He became joint Frankish King in 768 upon the death of his father, and once his brother and co-King, Carloman, died suddenly in 771, Charlemagne became sole ruler.

Just History Posts 2016

Stitches in Time: A History of the Bayeux Tapestry

Little is known about the origins of the Bayeux Tapestry, or its journey from Norman propaganda to a world-famous tourist attraction. Yet those moments in which its story does come into focus reveal a surprising history of cross-cultural exchange.

Charlie Rozier, History Today 2018

The Enduring Appeal of a Lolcat: Ancient and Medieval Cats as Pets

The concept of taking humorous pictures of cats (even complete with captions) goes back more than a century. Way back in 1870, an Englishman named Harry Pointer started to take pictures of cats in humorous circumstances. He would sell these pictures as greeting cards.

Just History Posts 2017

This Benedictine Monk Travels The World Helping Preserve Centuries-Old Manuscripts, Cultural Heritage

Father Columba Stewart (@ColumbaStewart) has spent more than a decade traveling to some of the world’s most dangerous regions- Iraq, Syria, the Balkans – to find and preserve manuscripts, many of them centuries old.

Here and Now 2017

Chivalry – Podcast

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss chivalry, the moral code observed by knights of the Middle Ages. Chivalry originated in the military practices of aristocratic French and German soldiers, but developed into an elaborate system governing many different aspects of knightly behaviour.

In our Time, BBC Radio 4 2014

Prester John – Podcast

In the Middle Ages, Prester John was seen as the great hope for Crusaders struggling to hold on to, then regain, Jerusalem. He was thought to rule a lost Christian kingdom somewhere in the East and was ready to attack Muslim opponents with his enormous armies.

In our Time, BBC Radio 4 2015

The History of the Byzantine Empire – Podcasts

This history lecture podcast covers the little known Byzantine Empire through the study of twelve of its greatest rulers.

Lars Brownworth, 12 Byzantine Rulers

Directory at Century Past History Resources


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