Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

Tag: Life and Miracles of William of Norwich

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 Episode 28: Concerning the Terrible Crimes of Philip de Bella Arbore

Detail from of French bible. Moulins BM, MS 0001 f. 316On this episode, we’re back with Thomas of Monmouth’s The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich to hear a tale of fire, fratricide, and fetters.

Today’s Text:

  • The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written by Thomas of Monmouth and translated by Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James. London: Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1896. [Available on Google Books.]

Credits:

  • This episode features original music by Chris Lane and a modified version of a recording by John Sayles.

Image:

Detail from of French bible, ca. 1200. Moulins BM, MS 0001 f. 316.

MDT Episode 11: How a Blood Libel Takes Root

Natural Teasel

[Editor’s note: Apologies for the late episode — recording was completed a bit overschedule last week (and has last week’s date), but editing ended up taking even longer. Your patience is appreciated!]

In this episode we finally cut to the core of the story Thomas of Monmouth tells about the murder of William of Norwich. While Thomas thinks he’s telling the story of how William was murdered by Jewish citizens of Norwich, his actual text reveals quite plainly how mass hysteria and xenophobia drove such accusations.

This episode’s text:

  • The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written by Thomas of Monmouth and translated by Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James. London: Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1896. [Available on Google Books.]

References:

  • Bennet, Gillian. “Towards a Revaluation of the Legend of ‘Saint’ William of Norwich and its Place in the Blood Libel Legend.” Folklore 116.2 (Aug. 2005): 119-139.
  • Cohen, Jeffery Jerome. “The Flow of Blood in Medieval Norwich.” Speculum 79.1 (Jan. 2004): 26-65.
  • Langmuir, Gavin I. “Thomas of Monmouth: Detector of Ritual Murder.” Speculum 59.4 (Oct. 1984): 820-846.
  • McCulloh, John M. “Jewish Ritual Murder: William of Norwich, Thomas of Monmouth, and the Early Dissemination of the Myth.” Speculum 72.3 (July 1997): 698-740.

Images:

Artificial Teasel (Victorian)

MDT Episode 08: Concerning a Devil Pig, a Death Prophecy, and St. William’s Candles

Today, we continue with Thomas of Monmouth’s tales from the shrine of William of Norwich. This time, instead of miracle cures, we get an example of a miracle injury — in other words, a good old-fashioned smiting. On the way we get a visit from a sinister pig and learn that candles might be valued more than a life.

This episode’s texts:

  • The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written by Thomas of Monmouth and translated by Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James. London: Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1896. [Available on Google Books.]
  • Blick, Sarah. “Votives, Images, Interaction and Pilgrimage to the Tomb and Shrine of St. Thomas Becket, Canterbury Cathedral.” [Available at academia.edu]

Image: British Library MS Stowe 17 (The Maastricht Hours), f. 82r.

BL MS Stowe 17 f.82r

MDT Episode 07: Concerning Some Divine Dentistry

BL MS Royal 6 E.vi f.509vThis episode we return to the The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich to look at three cases of cures for toothache, followed by a glance at some actual medieval dental treatments. Get those worms out of your teeth!

This episode’s texts:

  • The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written by Thomas of Monmouth and translated by Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James. London: Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1896. [Available on Google Books.]
  • “Dental Treatment in Medieval England,” by T. Anderson (2004). Online at the British Dental Journal.
  • The Anglo-Saxon Leech Book, as presented in a facing-page translation in Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England, Vol. II. Edited by Oswald Cockayne. London: Longman, Green, Roberts, Longman, and Green, 1865. [Available on Google Books.]

Image: British Library MS Royal 6 E.VI, f. 503v.

MDT Episode 01: Concerning Poisoning By Toad

Welcome to the first full and proper episode of Medieval Death Trip. This episode examines a tale of pirates, prisons, and poisonous toads, and the gruesome aftermath of combining those three elements together.

The text for this episode is taken from The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written by Thomas of Monmouth in the late 12th century. This translation is from the edition by Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James [London: Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1896], which is available on Google Books.

Yates Thompson MS 13 f.145r

Image from the British Library: Yates Thompson MS 13 f.145r

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