Archive for December, 2010

John Wycliffe (c. 1328 – 31 December 1384)

John Wycliffe was an English theologian, lay preacher, translator,reformist and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers are known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached anticlerical and biblically-centered reforms.

He is considered the founder of the Lollard movement, a precursor to the Protestant Reformation (for this reason, he is sometimes called “The Morning Star of the Reformation”). He was one of the earliest opponents of papal authority influencing secular power.

Wycliffe was also an early advocate for translation of the Bible into the common tongue. He completed his translation directly from the Vulgate into vernacular English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe’s Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. Wycliffe’s Bible appears to have been completed by 1384.

Incidentally, One of the earliest references to the word “bollocks” is John Wycliffe bible (1382), Leviticus xxii, 24: “Al beeste, that … kitt and taken a wey the ballokes is, ye shulen not offre to the Lord…” (any beast that is cut and taken away the bollocks, you shall not offer to the Lord, i.e. castrated animals are not suitable as religious sacrifices).



Bibliotheca Corviniana

Matthias Corvinus (Hungarian: Hunyadi Mátyás or Corvin Mátyás) (23 February 1443 – 6 April 1490), also called the Just, was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1458, at the age of 14 until his death. After conducting several military campaigns he became also King of Bohemia, (1469–1490) and Duke of Austria

His library in Buda, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, wins just admiration even to-day by virtue of the remnants of it scattered over Europe. During his reign the first printing press in Hungary was established, that at Buda, the first known production of which is the “Chronicle of Buda”, printed in 1473.

Virtual reconstruction of King Matthias’ Library

For 🙂

Past Presents: New Year’s Gifts at the Valois Courts, ca. 1400

Focusing on the ceremonial exchange of gifts on New Year’s Day (the “étrenne”) at the Valois courts, this essay examines gift giving in late medieval court society. Based on visual clues culled from a few surviving objects and book presentation scenes as well as on information from inventories and household accounts, the performative context of the “étrennes” and a typology of gifts are reconstructed. Central to the argument is the notion that objects and images brought a key ingredient to rituals of gift giving – a “surplus of visibility.”

The Battle of Wakefield December 30, 1460

Following the capture of Henry VI, Queen Margaret raised an army in Yorkshire numbering some 15,000 men. The Duke of York and the Earl of Salisbury, with an army of about 6,000 men, marched out of London in early December and headed north. At Worksop they brushed aside a Lancastrian advance guard commanded by the captain Andrew Trollope and arrived at Sandal castle in Yorkshire.   Unbeknown to York, the Lancastrians had concentrated their forces at nearby Pontefract castle.

On 29th December a Yorkist foraging party blundered into the main body of the Lancastrian army and was pursued back to Wakefield. The following morning a force of about 6,000 men commanded by the Duke of Somerset and Lord Clifford deployed for battle in full view of the Yorkist army in and around Sandal castle. On seeing this, the Duke of York and the Earl of Salisbury marched their army down from the castle onto level ground near the River Calder. They did not realise that the Lancastrians had laid a trap. As soon as York and Somerset became embroiled in a melee, two large forces of the Lancastrian army, commanded by the Earl of Wiltshire and Lord Roos, emerged from nearby woods surrounding the Yorkist army. Around 3,000 Yorkists were killed including the Duke of York. His son the Earl of Rutland was killed escaping from the battlefield and the Earl of Salisbury was captured that evening and executed the next day

Horrible Histories – Medieval War

Archaeologists to probe Sherwood Forest’s ‘Thing’

A team of experts hope to shed new light on one of Nottinghamshire’s most mysterious ancient monuments.

A ‘Thing’, or open-air meeting place where Vikings gathered to discuss the law, was discovered in the Birklands, Sherwood Forest, five years ago.

Manchester Middle English manuscripts

The John Rylands University Library’s Middle English manuscripts are of paramount importance to key subject areas, including literature, history, theology, linguistics and art history.

In response to demand for improved access, the Library has received funding from JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee) to digitise all 41 manuscripts (c 12,000 images) and to make them publicly available via a dedicated project website. This is the cornerstone of a more ambitious project for a Manchester Medieval Digital Library, which will contain manuscripts in other languages and incunabula (books printed before 1501).

The manuscripts include key works of medieval literature, such as the Canterbury Tales and John Lydgate’s two major poems, the Troy Book and Fall of Princes. There are also numerous copies of the New Testament, translated into English by John Wycliffe, the fourteenth-century radical and church reformer. Other notable works include several copies of the Brut, the medieval history of England, meditations on the life of Christ, a legal commonplace book and medical recipes.