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Articles on Medieval history

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Does a painting from 1400 depict one of Jesus’ torturers as suffering from ‘saddle nose,’ a common effect of syphilis? Detail of an Austrian painting c. 1400 of the Passion of Christ, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Manuscripts and art support archaeological evidence that syphilis was in Europe long before explorers could have brought it home from the Americas

The idea that Europeans brought new diseases to the Americas and returned home with others has been widely accepted. But evidence is mounting that for syphilis this scenario is wrong.
A wall relief from the British Museum shows three scribes amid a military campaign of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III, in Babylonia (Iraq). WikiCommons

3 reasons to study science communication beyond the West

All cultures have communicated their knowledge in diverse and marvellous ways throughout time. Failing to see the significance of this is racist and lazy.
The Bishop’s Palace of Chrysopolitissa (Paphos, Cyprus), possibly destroyed by an earthquake in the medieval period. Paolo Forlin

How medieval Europe recovered from earthquakes

Medieval disaster response was not so different to the measures we use today.
The biblical book of Ezekiel describes a vision of the divine that medieval philosophers understood as revealing the connection between religion and science. By Matthaeus Merian (1593-1650)

When religion sided with science: Medieval lessons for surviving COVID-19

Those experiencing stress and uncertainty amid the coronavirus may find guidance in medieval responses to plagues, which relied on both medicine and prayer.
The Black Death inspired medieval writers to document their era of plague. Their anxieties and fears are starkly reminiscent of our own even if their solutions differ. (Shutterstock)

How medieval writers struggled to make sense of the Black Death

During the Black Death of the 1300s, medieval writers struggled to make sense of the disease just as we are now during the COVID-19 pandemic
Two manuscripts of the visionary, writer and composer St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) survived the Dresden bombings after a librarian stashed them in a bank vault. (Avraham Pisarek/Deutsche Fotothek/Wikimedia)

How two women pulled off a medieval manuscript heist in post-war Germany

Two precious manuscripts hidden in a bank vault survived the Allied bombing of Dresden, but one wound up in Soviet hands — until it was smuggled home.

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