Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

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MDT Ep. 41: Concerning the Examination of Cuthbert’s Body (1104)

Part of the Maniple of St. CuthbertIn Part II of our “Cuthbert’s Body” series, we hear Reginald of Durham’s description of what was found inside Cuthbert’s coffin in the investigation preceding the Cuthbert’s translation in 1104, and we consider what incorruptibility meant for a medieval audience.

This Episode’s Texts:

  • Selections from Reginald of Durham. Translated by James Raine, 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.
  • Bynum, Caroline Walker. Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion. Zone Books, 1992.

Image: Detail from Cuthbert’s maniple, recovered in 1827, depicting Peter the Deacon.

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 Gutenberg

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

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.


  • 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.edu

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

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