Ways to Win an Argument

Medieval saints are often good at winning arguments. For your entertainment today, I bring you a story about St Fintán (or Munnu) of Taghmon. The story concerns the Easter controversy of the early seventh century, when many in Ireland felt that they should probably observe the same Easter as the rest of the world rather… Continue reading Ways to Win an Argument

Bede, Misdirection, and the Synod of Whitby

The Synod of Whitby in 664 witnessed one of the most famous cultural clashes of the early Middle Ages. Bede gives one long and detailed account of what happened. In the middle of the seventh century, the Northumbrian kingdoms were influenced strongly by both ‘Irish’ and ‘Roman’ practices, with their respective cultural epicentres in Iona… Continue reading Bede, Misdirection, and the Synod of Whitby

Easter and Co-ordinating Time in the Early Middle Ages

How do you co-ordinate communities effectively without modern technology? It is a well-repeated factlet that time only became properly uniform with canal and train timetables during the Industrial Revolution. Technology allowed it to be the same 10:45am in London as in Glasgow. Uniformity of time in Antiquity and the Middle Ages was still pretty important.… Continue reading Easter and Co-ordinating Time in the Early Middle Ages

Early Medieval Science in Galway: The Report

I’ve posted a couple of times about the 2014 International Conference on the Science of Computus. It took place this last weekend and was every bit as strong and stimulating as I’d hoped. (I also tweeted highlights as it unfolded). Computus is not mainstream, I think it’s fair to say. It is not ‘Kings! Power!… Continue reading Early Medieval Science in Galway: The Report