Encountering Early Medieval Time

This is a much-reduced summary of a lecture I gave at the Paris IMS Conference 'Le temps' in July 2019   What is time? A mystery? The calendar? The movement of the heavens? Money? One thing medievalists have long agreed on is that it is important to understand the senses of time societies used to… Continue reading Encountering Early Medieval Time

Science & Medicine at the Medieval Academy of America 2019

Medieval histories of science and medicine were well represented at the Medieval Academy of America this year. And with a few big (or biggish) projects getting funding in the field recently, it was a good opportunity to take stock of some of the things that are going on. ‘Networks and Exchanges of Science and Medicine’… Continue reading Science & Medicine at the Medieval Academy of America 2019

Was There ‘Scientific Method’ in the Early Middle Ages?

Was there ‘scientific method’ in the early Middle Ages? This was a question posed on Twitter yesterday. It is a good question. I am also going to give a paper that addresses this at the University of Kent next week so it is hard for me to compress quite what I want to say into… Continue reading Was There ‘Scientific Method’ in the Early Middle Ages?

Merovingian Dates and the Formulary of Angers (or Not)

Putting dates to events in the Merovingian period can be a pain. AD-dates were not popularly used until well into the eighth century. What we have instead are infrequent references to years from the Passion of Christ, years from the beginning of the world, years according to the Easter table of Victorius of Aquitaine (Year… Continue reading Merovingian Dates and the Formulary of Angers (or Not)

Willibrord’s Astronomical Horologium

One of the most famous manuscripts of the eighth century is Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 10837. It is famous because it contains the calendar of St Willibrord (d. 739) – an Englishman from Northumbria whose early story is told by Bede in his Ecclesiastical History (731). Willibrord travelled to Rath Melsigi in Ireland… Continue reading Willibrord’s Astronomical Horologium

In Praise of Unpromising Sources: Science and Society 743-809

Some medieval source material just doesn’t look promising. Researchers and their audience want a story. Preferably a big story. If not, everyone quickly wonders why they bothered. This is not a new thing: historical writing in the nineteenth century tended to be BIG history about chronicles, laws, states, nations. It is what people were and… Continue reading In Praise of Unpromising Sources: Science and Society 743-809