Gog and Magog: Crossing Boundaries

I spent much of this week at a wonderful conference in Erlangen on Gog and Magog legends, hosted by the generous Georges Tamer and his team. The legends of Gog and Magog are one of those ‘memes’ (as Anna Ayşe Akasoy called them) that have relevance in many different Jewish, Islamic, and Christian traditions. One… Continue reading Gog and Magog: Crossing Boundaries

Medieval Apocalypse, Open Access

A little reminder that there are a couple of things on early medieval apocalypse by me available for free online. First up, there is chapter three of Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2014) here - a wide-ranging chapter which covers Columbanus, Isidore of Seville, Julian of Toledo, Bede, and even the transmission of… Continue reading Medieval Apocalypse, Open Access

Freak Weather (Climates of Crisis 1)

The weather outside is frightful. Severe and repeated flooding in northern England and Scotland has made this a winter to forget for many, and it is not looking great along the Mississippi either. We have all read several times over that this is the consequence of man-made global warming, short-sighted environmental policies, the strongest El… Continue reading Freak Weather (Climates of Crisis 1)

Climates of Crisis!

The climate changes. How does that affect societies? We may be facing unprecedented global warming but the past can still help us to frame and understand the relationship between environmental change and history. There is a growing scholarship on this and has been since Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie started exploring the subject in the 1950s… Continue reading Climates of Crisis!

Early Medieval Futures

Yesterday I met THE Peter Brown. He was receiving an honorary degree from the University of St Andrews because he is quite simply one of the greatest historians of the last forty years. (The degree was bestowed on him by Sir Menzies Campbell and the other honorand was Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s chief international correspondent… Continue reading Early Medieval Futures

Fun with Merovingian Dates

I meant to post about this a while ago, after I received an email from Professor Apocalypse, Richard Landes. He noted a discrepancy between how I had dated a text in a manuscript in London (British Library, Cotton A ii) and how Wilhelm Levison had done it. The manuscript is a compilation of odds and… Continue reading Fun with Merovingian Dates

New Directions for 2014

Happy New Year! 2014 is already shaping up to a big year for history, with anniversaries for Charlemagne, Bannockburn, WWI and – although you’ll probably miss it – the Edict of Paris (614 ‘Magna Carta for the French aristocracy’, y’know). And next year it will be Columbanus Year! So much fun. Anyway, I thought I’d… Continue reading New Directions for 2014