Meet a Historian: Robin S. Reich on Making Sense of Medieval Medicine: Humors, Weird Animal Parts, and Experiential Knowledge

Note from the Editor: I'm excited that I have our first (hopefully of many!) guest post to share with you and it is a fascinating topic to start with. The history of medicine (and the history of science more generally) is a captivating and important sub-field and a frequent reader-request, but also a place where … Continue reading Meet a Historian: Robin S. Reich on Making Sense of Medieval Medicine: Humors, Weird Animal Parts, and Experiential Knowledge

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part III: Spin Me Right Round…

This is the third part of our four part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb) look at the production of textiles, particularly wool and linen, in the pre-modern world. Last time, we processed our raw fibers, removing extraneous material and getting them ready to be turned into thread. Today we're going to continue with that next … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part III: Spin Me Right Round…

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part I: High Fiber

This week we are starting the first of a four (I, II, III, IVa, IVb) part look at pre-modern textile production. As with our series on farming and iron, we are going to follow the sequence of production from the growing of fibers all the way to the finished object, with a focus not merely … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part I: High Fiber

Collections: Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and the Unfortunate Implications

We're going to be a bit silly this week (in part because the ending of this compressed semester has left me with little time) and talk about the recently released historical action-RPG computer (and console) game, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, set in 9th century Norway and England. And, as with the last time we did this, … Continue reading Collections: Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and the Unfortunate Implications

Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining

This week we are starting a four-part look (I, II, III, IVa, IVb, addendum) at pre-modern iron and steel production. As with our series on farming, we are going to follow the train of iron production from the mine to a finished object, be that a tool, a piece of armor, a simple nail, a … Continue reading Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining

Collections: Bread, How Did they Make it? Part III: Actually Farming

As the third part (I, II, III, IV, A) of our look at the basic structure of food production in the pre-modern world (particularly farming grain to make bread) we're going to finally look at how one actually farms grain to make bread. Now that we have all of our farmers in place, both the … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did they Make it? Part III: Actually Farming

Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part II: Big Farms

This is the second part (I, II, III, IV, A) of our look at the basic structure of food production (particularly grains to make bread) in the pre-modern world. Last week, we began by looking at the great majority of our rural population, the little farmers. Now I know everyone is eager to get to … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part II: Big Farms

Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part I: Farmers!

This essay will hopefully be the first post in a series (II, III, IV, A) covering some of the basics of how things in the past, particularly in the ancient world, were made. This isn't a how-to guide (we're not going to go into that much depth) but instead intended as a window into the … Continue reading Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part I: Farmers!

Collections: The Battle of Helm’s Deep, Part VI: Is This a Good Sword?

This is the sixth part of a series taking a historian’s look at the Battle of Helm’s Deep (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII. VIII) from both J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers (1954) and Peter Jackson’s 2002 film of the same name. Last time, we looked at Saruman's siege tactics and found them badly … Continue reading Collections: The Battle of Helm’s Deep, Part VI: Is This a Good Sword?

Collections: The Battle of Helm’s Deep, Part V: Ladders are Chaos

This is the fifth part of a series taking a historian's look at the Battle of Helm’s Deep (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII. VIII) from both J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers (1954) and Peter Jackson’s 2002 film of the same name. In our last two parts, we looked at the organization of the … Continue reading Collections: The Battle of Helm’s Deep, Part V: Ladders are Chaos