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Category Archives: medievalia

the crusading legacy and Y-DNA in Lebanon

A new genetic study (Pierre A. Zalloua et al., “Y-Chromosomal Diversity in Lebanon Is Structured by Recent Historical Events,” American Journal of Human Genetics [2008] 01.020) shows a small proportion of WES1, a Western-European haplotype within the R1b haplogroup of DNA signatures of the Y-chromosome, present among the modern Christian population of Lebanon. The study, […]

English ‘title’ offered as TV promo

I haven’t actually seen the cable TV serial “The Tudors” but I can understand heavy marketing for its new season to cash in on the recent theatrical release of the unrelated Boleyn film (which owes much to the work of genealogist Tony Hoskins, a probable Henry VIII descendant via one of Mary Boleyn’s ‘Carey’ children). […]


A query forwarded to me by a friend got me interested in the ‘Quaternionenadler‘: a German imperial eagle with the coats of arms of the estates of the empire superimposed on it, a Hapsburg emblem popularized around 1510. Here it is, in a beautiful painted two-page print by Augsburg artist David de Necker: While it’s […]

1st Crusade should not have succeeded…

“Why did the first Crusade succeed, and why should it not have?” I often pose this question, or one substantially like it, in exams on the Crusades, or Church history, or medieval military or political history generally. It is interesting to me how few students take the second phrase as an invitation to a moral […]

Owre Kyng went forthe to Normandy: the Agincourt carol

Trolling through hymns while recently masquerading as a substitute organist, I noticed an interesting setting of the melody of the Agincourt carol in the Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal Church(*), which sent me scurrying back to the edition in William Chappell’s Early English Popular Music (1893). And that sent me to MS Arch. Selden B.26 […]

King of Man? Uh, right.

This corpulent—and presumably tailless—Manx pretender gives American interest in premodern genealogy a bad name. Michael Andrews-Reading on his dedicated website, and other posters on the Usenet group rec.heraldry, have already reviewed the pretensions of David Howe. Much of what has been unearthed—even from Howe’s own pen—suggests that a profit motive may lie behind the patently […]

The palace of Diego Gómez (2: Diego Gómez frieze)

[Part of a series of posts and pages dedicated to Sancha de Ayala] Here we continue to look at the palace of the parents of Sancha de Ayala, which has since become the Franciscan convent of Santa Isabel de los Reyes, Toledo. The convent’s ‘sala capitular’ (chapter, or meeting room) was once a formal room […]

The palace of Diego Gómez (1: Tomb of Fernán Gómez)

[Part of a series of posts and pages dedicated to Sancha de Ayala] The palace of Diego Gómez, one of the magnificent Mudejar-Gothic palaces in the old heart of the city of Toledo, long ago became the Franciscan convent of Santa Isabel de los Reyes; but it has only recently (2005) become a “convent-museum” with […]

Merovingians among us?

I recently noticed a fresh hereditary society here in the United States, whose membership requirement is proof of descent from Merovech, the legendary founder of the Frankish royal dynasty, who would have lived in the mid fifth century if he were real: the Order of the Merovingian Dynasty. The website states that it was “conceived […]

medieval scroll: genealogy of jesus

For those interested in what genealogies looked like in the middle ages, I just noticed that one of the rare scroll-format versions of Peter of Poitiers’ Historical compendium in the [form of the] genealogy of Christ (Compendium historiae in genealogia Christi) is online. It is Harvard University, Houghton Library MS Typ 216.