Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

Category: Episodes (page 1 of 12)

MDT Ep. 68: The Confession of St. Patrick (Part 1)

Detail of Harley MS 3244 f.45r.

This March, we’re going back to one of the earliest surviving St. Patrick texts, his own autobiographical Confessio. This episode we’ll hear the first half, which covers Patrick’s abduction from the coast of 5th-century Britain into slavery in Ireland and continues up to the start of his mission to convert the Irish some thirty years later

Today’s Text:

  • Patrick. Confession. St. Patrick: His Writings and Life, edited and translated by Newport J.D. White, Macmillan, 1920, pp. 31-51. Google Books.

References: 

  • Adams, J.N. An Anthology of Informal Latin, 200 BC – AD 900: Fifty Texts with Translations and Linguistic Commentary. Cambridge UP, 2016.
  • Bieler, Ludwig. “The Place of Saint Patrick in Latin Language and Literature.” Vigiliae Christianae, vol. 6, no. 2, Apr. 1952, pp. 65-98. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/1582579.
  • de Paor, Máire B. Patrick: The Pilgrim Apostle of Ireland. Regan Books–HarperCollins, 1998.
  • Gellrich, Jesse M. Discourse and Dominion in the Fourteenth Century: Oral Contexts of Writing, Politics, and Poetry. Princeton UP, 1995.
  • Hood, A.B.E, editor and translator. St. Patrick: His Writings and Muirchu’s Life. Phillimore, 1978.
  • Kelly, David. “St Patrick’s Writings: Confessio and Epistola.” Saint Patrick’s Confessio, Royal Irish Academy, 2011, www.confessio.ie/more/article_kelly#.
  • McCaffrey, Carmel, and Leo Eaton. In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish, from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English. New Amsterdam Books, 2002.
  • Olden, Thomas, translator. The Confession of St. Patrick. George Drought, 1853. Google Books.

Image: Detail of Harley MS 3244 f.45r.

MDT Ep. 67: Concerning a Maiden Seduced by an Incubus, or A Dunwich Horror

Poster for The Dunwich Horror (1970)

For Valentine’s Day, we have a tale not so much of love, but of supernatural seduction. This is the story of a chaste young woman of the town of Dunwich stalked by a devil, as reported in The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich by Thomas of Monmouth. We also take a look at real and fictional Dunwich (a town of the Lovecraft mythos featured in “The Dunwich Horror”), and examine what exactly (or inexactly) an incubus was thought to be.

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. Cambridge UP, 1896. [Available on Google Books.]

References:

  • Bryant B.L. “H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘Unnamable’ Middle Ages.”  Medieval Afterlives in Popular Culture, edited by Gail Ashton and Dan Kline, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 113-128.
  • 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.
  • van der Lugt, Maaike. “The Incubus in Scholastic Debate: Medicine, Theology, and Popular Belief.” Religion and Medicine in the Middle Ages, edited by Peter Biller and Joseph Ziegler, Boydell & Brewer, 2001, pp. 175-200.

Image: Poster for The Dunwich Horror (1970)

MDT Ep. 66: Concerning a Man Consumed by Mice and Other Plagues

Detail of an illustration of the plague of mice afflicting the Philistines (1 Samuel 5) from Morgan Library MS M.638 fol. 21v (13th cent.)

We kick our 2019 with a return to narrative history, hearing about a terrible way to die and how not to profit off the deaths of others during a plague from William of Malmesbury’s Gesta Regum Anglorum, and we also look all the way back to the first book of Samuel to learn how to rid oneself of some particularly uncomfortable plagues from God. We also discover how Raiders of the Lost Ark should have ended.

Today’s Texts:

  • William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Edited by J.A. Giles, translated by John Sharpe and J.A. Giles, George Bell & Sons, 1895. Google Books.
  • Wycliffe, John and John Purvey. Wycliffe’s Bible: A Modern-Spelling Version of the 14th-Century Middle English Translation. Edited and translated by Terence P. Noble, Createspace, 2012.

References:

Image: Detail of an illustration of the plague of mice afflicting the Philistines (1 Samuel 5) from Morgan Library MS M.638 fol. 21v (13th cent.)

MDT Ep. 65: Concerning Pawns and Politics

Morgan Library MS G.24, fols. 25vIn this final episode in our holiday chess series, we finish off the last pages in William Caxton’s The Game and Playe of the Chesse, looking at the pawn and the importance of the common people to the realm, and we consider the how to explain pawns becoming queens in a medieval context.

Today’s Texts:

  • Caxton, William. The Game and Playe of the Chesse. Edited by Jenny Adams, TEAMS Middle English Text Series, U of Rochester, 2009.
  • Axon, William E.A. Introduction. Caxton’s Game and Play of the Chesse, Elliot Stock, 1883, pp. ix-lxxii. Google Books.
  • Murray, H.J.R. A History of Chess. Clarendon Press, 1913.

References:

  • Crist, Walter, et al. “Facilitating Interaction: Board Games as Social Lubricants in the Ancient Near East.” Oxford Journal of Archaeology, vol. 35, no. 2, May 2016, pp. 179–196. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/ojoa.12084.
  • Eales, Richard. “Changing Cultures: The Reception of Chess into Western Europe in the Middle Ages.” Ancient Board Games in Perspective: Papers from the 1990 British Museum Colloquium, With Additional Contributions, edited by I.L. Finkel, British Museum Press, 2007, pp. 162-168.
  • Finkel, Irving L. “Board Games in Perspective: An Introduction,” Ancient Board Games in Perspective: Papers from the 1990 British Museum Colloquium, With Additional Contributions, edited by I.L. Finkel, British Museum Press, 2007, pp. 1-4.

Image: Detail from Vows of the Peacock, Morgan Library MS G.24, fols. 25v

MDT Ep. 64: Concerning the Bishop, Knight, and Rook

12th-century abstract rook and bishopThis fourth installment of our holiday chess series finishes off the back rank of pieces: the bishop (or alphyn), the knight, and the rook. We also explore a long-standing Wikipedia beef over rook terminology, and recommend a modern board game that plunges you into the paranoid world of zombie survival.

Today’s Text:

References:

  • Eales, Richard. “Changing Cultures: The Reception of Chess into Western Europe in the Middle Ages.” Ancient Board Games in Perspective: Papers from the 1990 British Museum Colloquium, With Additional Contributions, edited by I.L. Finkel, British Museum Press, 2007, pp. 162-168.
  • Murray, H.J.R. A History of Chess. Clarendon Press, 1913.

Image: Abstract 12th-century rook (left) and bishop/al-fin (right) from Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World Auction (20 April 2016), Lot 101.

 

Sources for embedded chapter images:

  • Early bishops, knight, and rook: Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World Auction (20 April 2016), Lots 100 and 101. http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2016/arts-islamic-world-l16220.html
  • Later bishop: http://ancientchess.com/page/play-courier-chess.htm & https://www.zafiyashop.xyz/vintage-chess-c-1_204_205_298/antique-vintage-wooden-st-george-black-bishop-chess-piece-spare-p-3500.html
  • Later bishop/rook comparison: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41694919?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
  • Dowel pieces: http://www.chess-museum.com/regency-chess-sets.html
  • Staunton pieces: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staunton_chess_set#/media/File:JaquesCookStaunton.jpg

MDT Ep. 63: Concerning the Moves of the Chess King and Queen

Royal Game of Ur board in the British MuseumIn the third episode of our holiday series of excerpts from William Caxton’s The Game and Playe of the Chesse, we learn about how the king and queen move, which was a bit different in the 15th century than it is today. We also consider the difficulty of working out the rules of an ancient game, even when you have the remarkable fortune to find them written down, as seen in the case of the Royal Game of Ur.

Today’s Text

  • Caxton, William. The Game and Playe of the Chesse. Edited by Jenny Adams, TEAMS Middle English Text Series, U of Rochester, 2009, http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/publication/adams-caxton-game-and-playe-of-the-chesse.
  • Finkel, Irving L. “On the Rules for the Royal Game of Ur.” Ancient Board Games in Perspective: Papers from the 1990 British Museum Colloquium, With Additional Contributions, edited by I.L. Finkel, British Museum Press, 2007, pp. 16-32.

References

  • Becker, Andrea. “The Royal Game of Ur.” Ancient Board Games in Perspective: Papers from the 1990 British Museum Colloquium, With Additional Contributions, edited by I.L. Finkel, British Museum Press, 2007, pp. 11-15.
  • Eales, Richard. “Changing Cultures: The Reception of Chess into Western Europe in the Middle Ages.”  Ancient Board Games in Perspective: Papers from the 1990 British Museum Colloquium, With Additional Contributions, edited by I.L. Finkel, British Museum Press, 2007, pp. 162-168.
  • Murray, H.J.R. A History of Chess. Clarendon Press, 1913.
  • Murray, H.J.R. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Clarendon Press, 1952.

Image: Board and pieces for the Royal Game of Ur, displayed at the British Museum (via Wikimedia Commons)

« Older posts

© 2019 Medieval Death Trip

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑