Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

MDT Ep. 47: Concerning Ragnarok

Disco Yggdrasil

Disco Yggdrasil

This episode we tap into the Ragnarok zeitgeist and go back to the medieval Norse sources: Snorri Sturluson’s Gylfaginning and the apocalyptic poem Völuspá.

Today’s Texts:


  • Page, R.I. Chronicles of the Vikings: Records, Memorials and Myths. U of Toronto P, 1995.
  • Page, R.I. Norse Myths. The Legendary Past Series, U of Texas P, 1990.
  • Sequentia. Edda: Myths from Medieval Iceland. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 1999.

Spotify Links: Performance of Völuspá by Sequentia:

Image: “Disco Yggdrasil,” based on a manuscript image from Árni Magnússon Institute MS AM 738 4to (Wikimedia Commons), filtered through Google’s Deep Dream.


MDT Ep. 46: Concerning the Giant of Mont St. Michel

This Halloween marks our third anniversary, and we ring in our fourth year with two versions of King Arthur’s famous battle with the man-eating giant of Mont St. Michel.
Today’s Texts:
  • Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Of Giants: Sex, Monsters, and the Middle Ages. Medieval Cultures, vol. 17, U of Minnesota P, 1999.
  • Finlayson, John. “Arthur and the Giant of St. Michael’s Mount.” Medium Aevum, vol. 33 no. 2, 1964, pp. 112-120.
  • Huot, Sylvia. Outsiders The Humanity and Inhumanity of Giants in Medieval French Prose Romance. U of Notre Dame P, 2016.
  • Owen, D.D.R. The Wandering Giant in Literature: From Polyphemus to Papageno. Tuckwell Press, 2003.

Image: Source image of the Abbey of Mont St. Michel (via Wikimedia Commons), filtered through Google’s Deep Dream Generator.

MDT Ep. 45: Concerning Magnus Barefoot vs. Ireland

Wooden statue of Magnus Barefoot in Tannaghmore Gardens, Craigavon, Northern Ireland. Photo by P Flannagan, via Wikimedia Commons.This episode we (that is, I) wax autobiographical as we look at our first saga text, an account of the death of King Magnus Barefoot during his attempted conquest of Ireland in 1103. Also, there are some thoughts on the idea of the progress of literary technique.
Today’s Text:
  • Snorre Sturluson. The Heimskringla, or The Sagas of the Norse Kings. Translated by Samuel Laing, revised with notes by Rasmus B. Anderson, vol. 4, John C. Nimmo, 1889. Available at Google Books.

Image: Wooden statue of Magnus Barefoot in Tannaghmore Gardens, Craigavon, Northern Ireland. Photo by P Flannagan, via Wikimedia Commons.

MDT Ep. 44: Concerning Turnover of the Kings of Man

This episode we crack open the Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys to look at the Isle of Man and the rise of the royal house of King Orry, Godred Crovan, and King Magnus Barefoot of Norway is warned in a dream to leave Norway and never return.
Today’s Text:
  • Kinvig, R.H. The Isle of Man: A Social, Cultural, and Political History. Charles E. Tuttle, 1975.

Image: Coat of Arms of the Isle of Man (via Wikimedia Commons)

MDT Ep. 43: Concerning the Resurrection of Cannibals

Today we plunge into some hard-core scholasticism, as we hear Thomas Aquinas wrestle with the thorny question: “If all dead bodies are resurrected at the Last Judgment, what happens to the bodies of cannibals, whose bodies are made up of the flesh of those they have eaten, who also need to be resurrected?” We also wrap up with a reflection on George Romero and the zombie apocalypse.
Today’s Text:
  • Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Supplement, Q. 80, Art. 4. Available at, which reproduces the text of the Second and Revised Edition, 1920, literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province.
  • Bynum, Caroline Walker. Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion. Zone Books, 1992.
  • Murphy, James Jerome. Rhetoric in the Middle Ages: A History of Rhetorical Theory from Saint Augustine to the Renaissance, University of California Press, 1974.

Image: Detail from Manuscrito Valenciennes BM MS 320, f. 45.

MDT Ep. 42: Concerning the Exhumation of St. Cuthbert (1827)

We conclude our three-part look at the remains of St. Cuthbert with James Raine’s account of his 1827 exhumation of Cuthbert’s body and the recovery of some extraordinary early medieval artifacts.
Featured Music: Extracts from Franz Schubert, Piano Trio in E flat major, D. 929 and Piano Trio no. 1 in B flat major, D. 898, both composed in 1827. (via MusOpen.)
Today’s Texts:
  • Raine, James. A Brief Account of Durham Cathedral, with Notices of the Castle, University, City Churches, &c. Newcastle: Blackwell & Co., 1833. Google Books. Web. 6 Apr, 2016. [Available at Google Books.]
  • Raine, James. St. Cuthbert, with an Account of the State in Which His Remains Were Found upon the Opening of His Tomb in Durham Cathedral, in the Year MDCCCXXVII. Geo. Andrews, 1828.  [Available at Google Books.]

Other References:

  • Battiscombe, C.F., editor. The Relics of Saint Cuthbert. Oxford UP, 1956.
  • Reginald of Durham. Reginaldi Monachi Dunelmensis Libellus de Admirandis Beati Cuthberti Virtutibus Quae Novellis Patratae Sunt Temporibus, edited by James Raine, publication of the Surtees Society, J.B. Nichols and Son, 1835. [Available at]

Image: Portrait of James Raine by William Walker (National Portrait Gallery, London – via Wikimedia Commons).

« Older posts

© 2017 Medieval Death Trip

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑