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Sex and Sagas

Would you have sex with a troll woman? In this episode of the Medieval Grad Podcast, Lucie talks with Matthew Roby, who deciphers for us the dirty details of these Old Norse and Icelandic texts. Turns out there are a lot of them, and many include monstrous beings!


How Black Rats colonised Europe – Twice

A new study explains the rodent colonised the continent on two occasions in the Roman and Medieval periods.

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El Cid and the Conquest of Valencia

Rodrigo Díaz, better known as El Cid, would find his greatest success in the year 1094, when he captured the city of Valencia. How he did it depends on which writer you believe.

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The Wicked Grandmas of Medieval Literature

Grandmothers today tend to be understood as kindly and caring, but in the Middle Ages, some of the evilest characters of the literary world were the grandmothers.


Corrupted Air and Water: Pollution in Medieval Cities

When poop and entrails filled the Thames. Dealing with urban pollution in the Middle Ages.

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Princess Olga: A Medieval Hero for Modern Ukraine

Princess Olga, the tenth-century ruler of Kyiv and all Rus, is a fitting figure to represent the current Ukrainian challenge given her wit, wisdom, and fighting spirit.

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The Past and Present of Abortion in Medieval Law

Abortion is once again in the spotlight in the United States, as its Supreme Court is set to uphold a law limiting this right. How do medieval laws and views on abortion play a role in this issue?

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Kalamazoo 2022: What the Congress Program Tells Us

Giving a preview of the upcoming International Congress on Medieval Studies – the largest annual gathering of the medieval academic community.

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Household Goods in Medieval London with Katherine French

Material goods are a rich and fascinating source for finding out more about the ordinary lives of the people of the Middle Ages. This week, Danièle speaks with Katherine French about what Londoners’ homes were like both before and after the Black Death, what they filled them with, and how we know.


National Library of Scotland digitises 240 medieval manuscripts

The National Library of Scotland has digitised a collection of more than 240 precious manuscripts, many with Scottish origins ranging from the 9th to the 16th century. The collection also includes volumes produced in England, France, Italy and northwest Europe, as well as Greece and Iceland.

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Book of the Month: De Sortibus: A Letter to a Friend about the Casting of Lots, by Thomas Aquinas

Our Book of the Month for May is De Sortibus: A Letter to a Friend about the Casting of Lots, by Thomas Aquinas, translated by Peter Carey

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Medieval hairstyles: From bianfa to top-knots in Northeast Asia

The importance of hair and hairstyles among Chinese, Mongols and other peoples of northeast Asia during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

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A Few Ways Medieval Christianity Anticipated the Reformation

While the shift was monumental in many ways, some of the reforms Henry VIII made were actually anticipated in medieval Christianity.

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1002: The Year in Review

Looking back at the year 1002 – which saw a powerful struggle emerge in Germany, the creation of one of the most famous works in Japanese literature, and a massacre in England.

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Medieval Scottish Women and the Crusades with Gordon Reynolds

In this episode of Scotichronicast, Kate Buchanan is joined by Gordon Reynolds to discuss his work on how women supported the crusades and his Instagram project, TheHallofGordon.

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Trees have histories too, with Alexander Olson

A conversation with Alexander Olson about the secret lives of olive trees and oak trees in Byzantium. Contrary to what you may think, these were not cultivated consistently in the Mediterranean ecosystem of the Middle Ages; their uses to the human population fluctuated over time, giving the trees a history of their own, albeit one shaped by that of the people around them (and vice versa).

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Disney’s Not-So Wholesome Medievalisms

Disney’s work has never been value-neutral … and some of the messages it conveyed in the past, and of the past, were downright toxic.


New survey of Dunstable Priory reveals a grander complex

Historic England has published a survey giving fascinating insights into Dunstable Priory, a monastery founded by King Henry I around the year 1132. It reveals that the church was grander and more elaborate than originally thought.

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The Northman

This week on The Medieval Podcast, Danièle and Peter Konieczny give their takes on Hollywood’s latest foray into medieval movie-making: The Northman.


Who was eating meat in early medieval England?

Very few people in England ate large amounts of meat before the Norse settled, and there is no evidence that elites ate more meat than other people, a major new bioarchaeological study suggests.


Beta Samati and the Aksumite Empire of East Africa: From the Red Sea to the Ancient Mediterranean

This was the mighty Empire of Aksum, an ancient east African kingdom that thrived at the same time as the Roman and Byzantine empires.


Whose Aristotle? Latinate Knowledge and Vernacular Translation in Medieval Italy

By staging the anxieties connected with the vulgarization of knowledge, the novella seizes upon a phenomenon—vernacular—whose significance to Medieval and Renaissance culture can hardly be overstated.

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Medieval Manuscripts: Picture Book of the Life of Saint John and the Apocalypse

Not only is the Picture Book of the Life of Saint John and the Apocalypse a sophisticated forerunner of modern comic books, but it also exudes an aura of gloss and opulence.


Alicia McKenzie passes away

Alicia McKenzie, a medieval historian and instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University, has passed away at the age of 46.

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Sagas and Gender

Did you know that Loki was a gender-bending God? In this episode of the Medieval Grad Podcast, Lucie Laumonier interviews Matthew Roby on sex and gender in Old Norse and Icelandic sagas. There were many gender-bending characters in these texts, informing us of the gender representations and roles of Norse societies.

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