Tag Archives: middle ages

From Columbus to celebrity chefs: How food helped shape history

Food: It feeds the soul, fuels the body, affects the environment, inspires artists, influences politics, and impacts just about every part of our lives. It has been a subject of fascination and entertainment for centuries, reflected in the beauty of a Dutch still life, the pageantry of a royal banquet, or even the latest episode of “Top Chef.” (more…)

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‘CSI: Middle Ages’: True-crime mystery by UCLA medievalist illuminates 15th-century Paris

UCLA English professor Eric Jager has never played Dungeons and Dragons. He is not a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. He doesn’t even understand the appeal of historically themed restaurants like Medieval Times.

“If you really want to reenact the Middle Ages, then you should drink contaminated water, contract the plague and die very quickly,” Jager quips. “It wasn’t a very pleasant time.” (more…)

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The Vikings: Yale Historian Looks at the Myths vs. the History

As a lead-up to the forthcoming History Channel series “Vikings,” Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s “On Point,” talked with a foremost authority on the subject — Yale’s Anders Winroth — to de-mystify the legendary raiders of the North.

Winroth is  professor and director of graduate studies in history. His most recently published book is “The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe” (Yale University Press, 2011). His forthcoming volume, “A New History of the Viking Age,” will be published by Princeton University Press in 2014. YaleNews spoke with Winroth recently about some of the issues raised in his “On Point” interview. The following is an edited transcript. (more…)

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Dark Ages Scourge Enlightens Modern Struggle between Man and Microbes

The plague-causing bacteria Yersinia pestis evades detection and establishes a stronghold without setting off the body’s early alarms. New discoveries reported today help explain how the stealthy agent of Black Death avoids tripping a self-destruct mechanism inside germ-destroying cells.

The authors of the study, appearing in the Dec. 13 issue of Cell Host & Microbe, are Dr. Christopher N. LaRock of the University of Washington Department of Microbiology and Dr. Brad Cookson, UW professor of microbiology and laboratory medicine. (more…)

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Making The Bones Speak

EAST LANSING, Mich. — In a narrow, modest laboratory in Michigan State University’s Giltner Hall, students pore over African skeletons from the Middle Ages in an effort to make the bones speak.

Little is known about these Nubians, meaning the information collected by graduate and undergraduate students in MSU’s Forensic Anthropology and Bioarchaeology Program will help shed light on this unexplored culture. (more…)

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MSU Scientists Crack Medieval Bone Code

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Two teams of Michigan State University researchers – one working at a medieval burial site in Albania, the other at a DNA lab in East Lansing – have shown how modern science can unlock the mysteries of the past.

The scientists are the first to confirm the existence of brucellosis, an infectious disease still prevalent today, in ancient skeletal remains.

The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, suggest brucellosis has been endemic to Albania since at least the Middle Ages. (more…)

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Gypsies: The Mystical Tribe

The International Roma, (Gypsy) Day was founded at the first World Gypsy Congress, which took place in London on April 8, 1971. The congress gathered representatives from 30 countries. The national symbols of the gypsies – the flag and the anthem – were approved at the congress. The gypsies of the whole world became one single nation.

There are six basic branches of gypsies in the world today: three western and three eastern branches. Roma, Sinti and Iberian gypsies are referred to the Western branch. The eastern group includes the Lom, the Dom and the Lyuli people. In addition, there are smaller groups of gypsies. There are several ethnographic groups of nomadic peoples in Europe. Their lifestyle is close to that of the gypsies, but their origin is different – the Irish Travellers, or the Yeniche people from Central Europe, for instance. Many specialists, who study nomadic nations, agree that the gypsy ethnos had been finally formed only by the 15th century, when the gypsies were traveling from Byzantium to Europe. (more…)

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