The Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

About 80 kilometers southwest of Paris stands the city of Chartres, one of whose main cultural attractions is its Gothic cathedral built between 1194 and 1220. It was built in the same place where other churches and cathedrals had been before, the first one around 360 A.D., all of them destroyed by fires: the first…Continue readingThe Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

The High Court of Chivalry, a medieval institution still active in the United Kingdom

Heraldry is the science of the coat of arms, the “art of explaining and describing the coats of arms of each lineage, city or person” (apart from making ostentation and self-praise). It is a science that dates back to the Middle Ages, since it was then that this type of identity representations were born, and…Continue readingThe High Court of Chivalry, a medieval institution still active in the United Kingdom

The Great Taboo, the 240 square kilometer area sealed for eight centuries where the tomb of Genghis Khan is believed to be

The national literary work par excellence of Mongolia is the Secret History of the Mongols, of which the author is unknown, but it is known to have been composed between 1227 and 1228, shortly after the death of Genghis Khan. The original document is not preserved, but a copy a century later and written in…Continue readingThe Great Taboo, the 240 square kilometer area sealed for eight centuries where the tomb of Genghis Khan is believed to be

Battle on the Ice, the medieval battle fought on a frozen lake

If you haven’t already watched Sergei Eisenstein’s movie, Alexander Nevsky, I recommend that you look for it and watch it, regardless of whether it’s a 1938 black and white film or not. Not only because this director’s titles are still visually fascinating three quarters of a century later, but also because, after reading this article,…Continue readingBattle on the Ice, the medieval battle fought on a frozen lake

How two Byzantine princesses scandalized Europe by using a fork

A few years ago I was invited to dinner by some Bengali friends and when we sat down what was my surprise to see that there was a knife but no fork, even though the menu was based on rice and chicken. They used their hands to eat it and, wherever you go, do what…Continue readingHow two Byzantine princesses scandalized Europe by using a fork

The plan of Saint Gall, the largest known architectural drawing of the High Middle Ages that was never built

The abbey of Saint Gall ( Sankt Gallen in German) was founded in the year 613 in the town that today bears his name in Switzerland by an Irish monk, Gallus of Hibernia. It would be one of the main Benedictine monasteries in Europe for many centuries. It flourished under the patronage of Pepin the…Continue readingThe plan of Saint Gall, the largest known architectural drawing of the High Middle Ages that was never built

Gutisko Razda, the language spoken by the Visigoths

Visigoths were a branch of the Goths, who in turn belonged to the East Germanic tribes that between 600 and 300 BC migrated from Scandinavia to the region between the Oder and Vistula rivers. Some researchers believe that the Visigoths are the same people as the Thervingi, as the sixth century AD historian Jordanes says…Continue readingGutisko Razda, the language spoken by the Visigoths

The Missal of Silos, the oldest European book made of paper

Egyptians wrote on papyrus, a material made from the plant of the same name (Cyperus papyrus) that grows on the banks of the Nile, before the 30th century BC. Later, during the Greco-Roman antiquity, the use of parchment became popular, made from sheep or goat skins tanned and polished to allow the fixing of the…Continue readingThe Missal of Silos, the oldest European book made of paper

Christine de Pizan, the first professional female writer in the Late Middle Ages and a forerunner of feminism

The honor of being a pioneer, of paving the way to something, is usually much disputed. Today we are going to see a female case, that of the considered first female professional writer in the western world, an honour that tradition bestows on the Venetian Christine de Pizan. Her legacy would have a considerable influence…Continue readingChristine de Pizan, the first professional female writer in the Late Middle Ages and a forerunner of feminism

Valknut, the Nordic symbol whose original meaning and name are unknown

Although today it is sadly famous for its appropriation and use by some supremacist groups, the truth is that Nordic Valknut seems to be more related to religion and funeral rites than to politics or other types of issues. It is a symbol that appears on inscriptions and rune stones, rings, furniture, ships and other…Continue readingValknut, the Nordic symbol whose original meaning and name are unknown