Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

MDT Ep. 39: To the Lists!

This episode we’re looking at lists: a list about list, a text akin to an early modern police blotter, and a catalogue of scholarly sessions from Kalamazoo, where I’ll be heading off to this week!

This Episode’s Texts:

MDT Ep. 38: Concerning Men Afflicted by Snakes and Some Serpent-Lore

This episode we slither into spring with several tales of serpent shenanigans as well as science (or it’s medieval equivalent).

This Episode’s Texts:

  • Isidore of Seville. The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville. Translated by Stephen A. Barney, W.J. Lewis, J.A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof with Muriel Hall, Cambridge UP, 2006.
  • The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written by Thomas of Monmouth and translated by Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James. Cambridge UP, 1896. [Available on Google Books.]
  • Richard de Fournival. Master Richard’s Bestiary of Love and Response. Translated by Jeanette Beer, U of California P, 1986.
  • Simeon of Durham. Simeon’s History of the Church of Durham, Church Historians of England, edited and translated by Joseph Stevenson, vol. 3, part 2, Seeley’s, 1855, pp. 619-711. Google Books.
  • Symeon of Durham. Libellus de exordio atque procursu istius, hoc est Dunhelmensis, ecclesie: Tract on the Origin and Progress of this the Church of Durham. Edited and translated by David Rollason, Oxford UP, 2000.
  • Steele, Robert, editor. Medieval Lore from Bartholomew Anglicus, translated by John Trevisa, Alexander Moring, 1893/1905. Project Gutenberghttp://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/6493/pg6493.txt.

Image: Snake encounter and world map from the Intellivision game Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.

MDT Ep. 37: Concerning a Prank, a King’s Death, Manslaughter, and a False Pregnancy

Drowned Man Royal MS 12 F XIII, f. 50rIn this episode, we look at some tragedies that afflicted the house of Alexander III, King of Scotland, including the deaths of almost all of his family and himself. Also, someone gets pushed in a river, and someone else gets clubbed in the head.

This Episode’s Text:

  • The Chronicle of Lanercost: 1272–1346. Translated by Sir Herbert Maxwell, James Maclehose and Sons, 1913. (Available at archive.org.)

Image: Detail from the Rochester Bestiary, British Library Royal MS 12 F XIII, f. 50r.

MDT Ep. 36: Concerning the Depredations of King John

Prince John via the Book of KellsThis episode we look at the less than stellar reputation of King John during the First Barons’ War, as recounted in the Melrose Chronicle, and consider the relationship of medieval texts to immediate politics.

This Episode’s Texts:

  • The Chronicle of Melrose. The Church Historians of England, edited and translated by Joseph Stevenson, vol. IV, part I, Seeley’s, 1856, pp. 79-242. Google Books.

References:

  • Malý, Jan. “The Invasion of Prince Louis of France to England, 1216-1217.” Prague Papers on the History of International Relations, Feb. 2016, pp. 7-20.
  • Turner, Ralph V. “King John’s Concept of Royal Authority.” History of Political Thought, vol. 18, no. 2, Summer 1997, pp. 157-178. Academia.eduhttps://www.academia.edu/11900839/King_Johns_Concept_of_Royal_Authority.

Image: Google Deep Dream medievalization of Prince John from Disney’s Robin Hood (1973).

MDT Ep. 35: Concerning Some Astronomical Anomalies and Meteorological Marvels

Johannes de Sacrobosco. Computus, Quadrans, De sphaera, Algorismus, CautelaeThis episode we celebrate the  winter’s solstice with a grab-bag of comets, eclipses, and meteors, as well as earthquakes, tempests, and plagues.

This Episode’s Texts:

  • The Chronicle of Holyrood. The Church Historians of England, edited and translated by Joseph Stevenson, vol. IV, part I, Seeley’s, 1856, pp. 61-75. Google Books.
  • The History of the Church of Hexham, by John the Prior. The Church Historians of England, edited and translated by Joseph Stevenson, vol. IV, part I, Seeley’s, 1856, pp. 3-32. Google Books.
  • The Chronicle of Melrose. The Church Historians of England, edited and translated by Joseph Stevenson, vol. IV, part I, Seeley’s, 1856, pp. 79-242. Google Books.

References:

  • Dall’Olmo, Umberto. “Meteors, Meteor Showers and Meteorites in the Middle Ages: From European Medieval Sources.” JHA, vol. 9, 1978, pp. 123-134.
  • Cesario, Marilina. “Fyrenne Dracan in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.” Textiles, Text, Intertext: Essays in Honour of Gale R. Owen-Crocker, edited by Maren Clegg Hyer and Jill Frederick, Boydell and Brewer, 2016, pp. 153-170.
  • Foote, Sarah. “Plenty, Portents, and Plague: Ecclesiastical Readings of the Natural World in Early Medieval Europe.” God’s Bounty?: The Churches and the Natural World, edited by Peter Clarke and Tony Claydon, Boydell Press, 2010, pp. 15-41.
  • “Canterbury Monks Witness Creation of Moon Crater.” Medieval Archives, 18 June 2011, http://www.medievalarchives.com/2011/06/18/canterbury-monks-witness-creation-of-moon-crater/

Image: Diagram of a lunar eclipse, from a manuscript of Johannes de Sacrobosco’s Computus, Quadrans, De sphaera, Algorismus, Cautelae, France, ca. 1260. In the collection of the New York Public Library.

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