Merovingian Things 1: The Fredegar Manuscript

One of my ambitions for 2019 is to make some serious progress with a new project provisionally entitled Merovingian Worlds. And, I thought, a good way to make some progress would be have a semi-regular feature on Merovingian ‘things’. Books, jewellery, charters, relics – whatever. A good place to start, my thoughts continued, would be… Continue reading Merovingian Things 1: The Fredegar Manuscript

Open Access: The Global Eminent Life

Today marks the release of the latest volume of Medieval Worlds - the excellent, open-access journal launched in 2015 by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The journal's mission is to provide a forum for 'comparative, interdisciplinary and transcultural studies of the Middle Ages', and 'to overcome disciplinary boundaries, regional limits and national research traditions in… Continue reading Open Access: The Global Eminent Life

Writing about Holy People, East to West

There is a productive global turn in early medieval studies. The old concerns and many problems still remain. Still, big projects have been pushing western medievalists out of their traditional comfort zones, including Vienna’s Visions of Community, the PIMIC network, and Edinburgh’s forthcoming Classicising Learning in Medieval Imperial Systems. It is important to be attentive… Continue reading Writing about Holy People, East to West

Medievalists Should Talk About Game of Thrones

Should the fact that Game of Thrones is not set in the Middle Ages in a specific historical way stop medievalists talking about it? In a blog post yesterday, Philippa Byrne argued that, if medievalists do, they run the risk of making medieval history "'ornamental', relegating it to the status of fantasy". Talking about whether… Continue reading Medievalists Should Talk About Game of Thrones

Frankish? Irish? Other? The Problem with Labels

How and why do you label an idea as belonging to a particular culture? I have been looking at a ninth-century collection of materials on history, calendars and the Easter reckoning which highlights the difficulties in answering this question. The collection (Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, H 150 inf) is known as the ‘Bobbio Computus’ [1] because… Continue reading Frankish? Irish? Other? The Problem with Labels

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)

A Review of Peter Brown’s ‘Ransom of the Soul’ (2015)

Last summer, I reported a nice little chat I had had with the great Peter Brown about medieval futures. Now Brown’s new book has been out for a little bit, I thought I would share my review of what will no doubt turn out to be another important contribution to our understanding of late Antiquity.… Continue reading A Review of Peter Brown’s ‘Ransom of the Soul’ (2015)

Apocalypse, Merovingian and Modern

Last week Cambridge University Press published my new book, The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages! This, I thought, would be a good time to reflect on a couple of themes from the book. The idea that people believed that the world would end, and probably soon, is often not taken too seriously. For many… Continue reading Apocalypse, Merovingian and Modern

1400 Years of the Edict of Paris!

It was issued 1,400 years ago today! On 18 October 614, the Merovingian king Chlothar II promulgated the Edict of Paris, following the defeat of his rivals and the unification of the Frankish kingdom.[1] In the middle of the twentieth century the Edict was labelled a ‘Magna Carta of the Frankish nobility’ – a description… Continue reading 1400 Years of the Edict of Paris!

Alice Rio (KCL) on Penal Slavery

What was penal slavery for in the Middle Ages? Dr Alice Rio came up from KCL yesterday, through the snow, to St Andrews to our rather bustly Monday research seminar to talk about precisely this. It is a 'neglected topic' so there is not a lot of historiography to fight against here, bar the odd… Continue reading Alice Rio (KCL) on Penal Slavery