Category Archives: Medieval History

#281 – The Goliards

The Goliards enjoyed wine, women, song and complaining about the Catholic hierarchy. Their poems and pranks caused scandal and brought down upon them the wrath of the Church authorities. Links: The Confession of Golias Other Goliardic poetry Poems from the Carmina Burana Youtube – Goliardic poem Meum est Propositum in Taberna Mori Youtube – O […]

#251 – Medieval Books

Books were the livelihood of the medieval monk but they were rare and expensive. Not surprisingly this meant various and create ways to protect them. Links: The Evolution of the Medieval Book The Art of the Book in the Middle Ages Medieval Books of Hours “Anathema! Medieval Scribes and the History of Book Curses” by […]

Today in Catholic History – The Defeat of Kerbogha of Mosul

On 28 June 1098, the armies of the First Crusade defeated Kerbogha/Curbara of Mosul outside of the city of Antioch. Kerbogha was one of the best Muslim generals and he led a force of 30,000 troops. Kerbogha and his armies had hoped to lift the Crusader siege of Antioch but his force was weakened by […]

#238 – Dancing Mania

Throughout the Middle Ages, Catholics saw friends and neighbors afflicted with what they believed was the irresistible desire to dance. The cure for this strange ailment, they believed, was to be found in the intercession of the saints…and more dancing. Links: An article on the Dancing Plague from the Discovery Channel “Rethinking the Dancing Mania” […]

Today in Catholic History – The completion and dedication of the Basilica of Saint Denis

On 11 June 1144, the Basilica of Saint Denis was completed and dedicated by Abbot Sugar in an area now part of Paris. The Basilica would become an important place of pilgrimage, the burial place of the French kings and the model of Gothic architecture in Northern Europe. Saint Denis is the patron saint of […]

Today in Catholic History – Frederick I drowns while on the Third Crusade

On 10 June 1190, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa drowned in the Saleph [also known as the Calycadnus] River near Antioch. Some accounts claim that he drowned while bathing. Other accounts state that after Frederick fell from his horse while crossing the river, his head hit some rocks and drowned. Frederick, along with French […]

#235 – The Philosopher’s Game

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Rithmomachia was one of the most popular games played in the universities and theological schools and promoted by Roger Bacon and Thomas More. Today, it has fallen into obscurity. Links: Wikipedia has a good simple presentation of the basics of rithmomachia Here is a Renaissance presentation of rithmomachia […]

Today in Catholic History – The First Recorded Batch of Scotch Whisky

On 1 June 1494, Monk John Cor of Lindores Abbey recorded the first known reference to Scotch Whisky – “To Friar John Cor, by order of the King, eight bolls of malt wherewith to make aqua vitae .” “Aqua Vitae” or “Water of Life” was the name given to the local spirit. In Gaelic “aqua […]

Today in Catholic History – Robert Guiscard enters Rome

On 27 May 1084, after an appeal from Pope Gregory VII, Norman duke Robert Guiscard entered Rome to defend Gregory from the forces of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and his anti-pope Clement III. The roots of the conflict between Gregory and Henry lay in what was known as the Investiture Controversy, whether the secular […]

Today in Catholic History – The Foundation of Sapienza – Università di Roma

On 20 April 1303, Pope Boniface VIII issued the bull In Supremae Praeminentia Dignitatis establishing the Studium Urbis, in 1660 to become known as as La Sapienza, or Wisdom, and today known as Sapienza – Università di Roma. Which today, although no longer under the control of the Pope, is the largest university in Europe […]


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