Medieval & Renaissance

Medieval & Renaissance Period.

Soul Cakes – Snacks that Honor the Dead and Treat the Living

By Alicia McDermott - August, 26 2020

A soul cake is a small, round, lightly-sweetened treat which has been made by Christians since the eighth century to commemorate the dead on All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, or All Souls’ Day. However, scholars suggest that the idea emerged from earlier pre-Christian practices.

Medieval Monsters Taught Morals in a Book of Beasts

By lizleafloormag - May, 19 2020

During the Middle Ages the phoenix rose from its ashes to be reborn, dangerous dragons battled elephants to the death, and the pelican tore out its own breast to feed its young with its life’s blood – in bestiaries, that is.

Stiff Penalties in Historic Impotence Trials

By Riley Winters - May, 15 2020

The impotence trials of pre-revolutionary France sound a bit like a political joke. France had mostly squelched the ability for couples to divorce, and it was in this wake that the impotence trials arose.

Vestiges of the Vikings: Magic Buried in a Viking Woman's Grave

By Riley Winters - February, 11 2020

Murky, elusive and undefined, the religion of the pre-Christian Vikings has long been subject to debate. Contemporary texts of their spiritual worship do not survive, and the later records that do survive stem from Christian authors. Thus, they are tainted with a Christian worldview and anti-pagan opinions. The magic of the Vikings, however, is somewhat a secondary field of interest.

Becerrillo: The Terrifying War Dog of the Spanish Conquistadors

By Joanna Gillan - August, 24 2019

Dogs have been used as powerful weapons of war for at least the last 3,000 years. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Sarmatians, Britons, and Romans are all known to have used dogs in combat, or for scouts, sentries, trackers, or executioners. But the Spanish conquistadors employed war dogs on a scale that had rarely been seen before, and with devastating effect.

Discovery of Göbekli Tepe: The First Temple the World Had Ever Seen

By Joanna Gillan - August, 24 2019

On a windswept hilltop located six miles from Şanlıurfa– known in ancient times as Edessa – an American team, in collaboration with Istanbul University, carried out a survey in the early 1960s. They were examining sites across south-east Turkey to investigate the transition from hunting and gathering to the beginnings of farming.

Ginger: 5,000 Years of Spicing Up Our Lives

By Ancient Origins - December, 15 2018

Fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, powdered, or ground, ginger is used in many forms. In Ayurvedic traditions, it is used for its taste (rasa), energy (virya), and post-digestive effects (vipāka). But most importantly, its potent medicinal properties have earned it the name vishwabheshaja, “the universal medicine”.

How to Cook Like a Wealthy, 14th-Century ‘Good Wife’: Medieval French Chicken Cinnamon Soup

By Alicia McDermott - November, 24 2018

This recipe is taken from Le Ménagier de Paris’ (The Good Wife’s Guide), a guidebook from 1393 discussing the “proper behavior” for a woman in her marriage and while running a household. The text is not only a cookbook; it also includes advice from a fictional elderly husband telling his younger wife how to go about life in the garden, kitchen, and bedroom.

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