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Heloise and Abelard – Middle Ages in Europe

By | 2017-09-05T02:42:54+00:00 September 5th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Heloise and Abelard The story of Peter Abelard and his wife Heloise is one of the saddest love stories of Western history. Abelard, who was born in 1079 AD, came to Paris as a young man and taught classes at the new Christian church school there. (This was just a few years after the Norman Conquest). Abelard [...]

What is tonsure? Medieval Christianity and hair

By | 2018-04-02T21:46:22+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|History|

Young tonsured monks at school Tonsure means to cut off someone's hair. Monks and nuns in the Middle Ages generally showed that they were monks by cutting their hair short (when most people wore theirs long).  Christian monks got a special short haircut by shaving a bald spot in the middle of the back of [...]

St. Benedict – Christianity – History of Religion

By | 2017-08-21T17:33:57+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Egyptian caves where early monks and nuns lived In the 500s AD, Benedict was the founder of a new Christian movement toward monasticism: living as monks or nuns. Already in the 300s, especially in Egypt, men and women had been going off by themselves into the desert, away from people, to live a life of prayer, devoted entirely to [...]

Medieval School – Europe

By | 2018-04-11T09:19:36+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, People|

Clerks in the Manessa Codex (1300 AD) In medieval Europe, even fewer kids went to school than in the Roman Empire. People were poorer, and kids had to work in the fields weeding and harvesting and taking care of pigs and chickens. Most people never learned to read or write. Richer people often home-schooled their children, especially girls and children [...]

Leo to Empress Irene – Byzantine History

By | 2017-08-02T09:17:48+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Leo the Isaurian (ca. 720 AD, Louvre museum, Paris) When Justinian's assassin Philippicus turned out to be a worthless party animal, other Roman officials killed him. In 713 AD the people of Constantinople chose a court official named Anastasius II to be the next emperor. Anastasius (ann-ah-STAYS-yus) was a practical guy, with good ideas - but [...]

What is a cloister? Medieval architecture

By | 2018-03-14T09:21:41+00:00 July 30th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Cloister at Moissac (ca. 1100 AD, southern France) Cloisters were a medieval kind of building that developed out of Greek and then Roman peristyles. A cloister is a courtyard garden inside a building. Often people grew herbs or fruit or flowers in the garden. Around the sides of the courtyard there is a covered walkway, with a waist-high wall between [...]