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Heloise and Abelard – Middle Ages in Europe

By |2017-09-05T02:42:54+00:00September 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+00:00August 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 [...]

Thomas Aquinas – Dominican monk

By |2018-04-24T09:23:15+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Philosophy|

Naples, with Mount Vesuvius in the background Like Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas was a great thinke who tried to figure out the relationship between science and religion. But unlike Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, Aquinas was a Christian. Thomas Aquinas was born in southern Italy, at his father's castle, in 1224 or 1225 AD. It was just after the death of Francis [...]

Fra Angelico – Medieval Florence

By |2018-04-10T22:55:45+00:00August 1st, 2017|Art, Medieval|

Mary Magdalene and Jesus by Fra Angelico (Louvre Museum) Fra Angelico was born about 1395 AD in a small town in northern Italy. Like his older brother, he learned to paint when he was growing up. When he was about 20 years old he became a Christian Dominican monk (like Thomas Aquinas before him). But Fra Angelico kept on [...]

Nara period – Early medieval Japan

By |2018-04-18T09:53:55+00:00July 27th, 2017|History, Japan|

Model of the Empress Genmei's imperial audience hall at Heijo, Nara Empress Genmei moved the capital of Japan to the new planned city of Nara in 710 AD. She wanted the move to help get more power into her own hands and out of the hands of other powerful Japanese families. Genmei succeeded in stopping [...]