Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seven links to the past

In which we explore a few interesting sites on the Internet about medieval times.

A Spring Sky Over Hirsau Abbey
Shown above. Photo taken from the courtyard of Hirsau Abbey, once one of the most prominent Benedictine abbeys of Germany. It was founded in about 830 A.D., and many of the buildings were erected in the 11th century, but the abbey was destroyed by the French in 1692 and is now in ruins. Photo by Till Creder, NASA Astronomy Picture of the day. Click the link, then move your cursor over the image to see astronomical notations.

Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages
On-line blog for a special exhibit this summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Curatorial comments, exhibition themes, additional resources, and many amazing images — plenty to explore, if you can't get to New York.

Midmar Castle for sale
To quote the website: "This is one of the principal castles of Mar and the only one in private ownership. It is fully restored and with contents including an extensive collection of weapons and armory. The property includes a renowned deer farm." Just in case you have £5.5 million available. The rest of us can scroll through the photos and dream, can't we? For more modest tastes, Barcaldine, the "Black Castle" of Benderloch, can be yours for only about £1.3 million:

Stirling Castle Skeleton Reveals Violent Life Of A Medieval Knight
In Amadis, from time to time our heroes need to get medical attention, although no doctor could have saved some of their opponents. Archeologists have uncovered the bones of a young man from the early 1400s, possibly a knight, with wounds that sound familiar.

Arthuriana Through the Ages
Ruth Nestvold examines the development of Arthurian literature and how the legend has been adapted by authors to suit their times, often with little regard for real history. Amadis of Gaul, of course, is part of the Arthurian cycle.

Review of Medieval Knights: The Age of Chivalry, by Jose Sanchez Toledo
Craig M. Nakashian of the University of Rochester takes a critical look at Sanchez's book, and Nakashian's remarks serve as a good introduction to some of the ongoing scholarly debates about the age of chivalry.

Got Medieval
Finally, a rigorous but light-hearted site by Carl Pyrdum, which describes itself as "A[n intermittently updated] tonic for the slipshod use of medieval European history in the media and pop culture." Its introduction clarifies: "During that period, women didn't wear chainmail bikinis, but they totally should have."

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