Tag Archives: Medieval history

Monastic Libraries

Monastic Libraries


Medieval library history extends from the sixth century to the fifteenth century. One could say, as Irwin does, that it has a precise beginning when St Benedict founded his monastery at Monte Cassino. Throughout this long period, almost all the libraries of western Europe were institutional and ecclesiastical—the libraries of the monasteries and the cathedrals.

‘Alien’ citizens in the Medieval England

‘Alien’ citizens in the Medieval England

Thousands of foreigners poured into England in the Middle Ages. Similar like today, they have been attracted to England by job opportunities or possibility to study. Finding these everyday immigrants is no easy task. The English state had no comprehensive way of regulating immigration in the Middle Ages, and although it is often used the labels ‘denizen’ or ‘alien’, it had no standard means of defining these categories. 

When and where was the trebuchet invented?

When and where was the trebuchet invented?

Like many premodern technologies, it is not known when or where the first trebuchet appeared. Unlike ancient artillery, which relied on torsion (twisting) to supply ballistic force, medieval trebuchets utilised a simpler lever action to propel projectiles. Like a seesaw, once one side of the lever was forcefully brought to the ground, by pulling on ropes (traction trebuchets) or a weight (counterweight trebuchets), a projectile – most commonly a stone – was released from a sling attached to the other side. 

The ascent of the Medieval Serbia

The ascent of the Medieval Serbia

The main stages in the development and expansion of the Serbian States were also stages in its relationship with the Byzantine Empire, and each one represented a struggle: for independence under the Nemanja, for the heart of the Macedonian Balkans since the time of Milutin, and for hegemony over the Balkan peninsula in Dušan’s time. During each of these periods, Serbia’s progress was conditioned by the contrasting and gradual decline of Byzantium.

The Inquisitors’ work

The Inquisitors’ work

Hideously unjust and psychotic in their devotion to duty, the Inquisitors went to any lengths to wring confessions from their victims. Anyone who denied being a heretic was tortured. Among the devices monks had at hand were the rack which would pull the limbs in different directions until tendons tore or bones cracked. There was the strappado in which the accused was suspended by his wrists and heavy attached to his ankles.