Monthly Archives: March 2015

Is the 21st Century the new 12th?

A writer for Financial Times contends that our modern world is interestingly similar to the Middle Ages, dubbing the 21st century “neo-medieval.” Parag Khanna compares the United States to the Byzantium, while the European Union is the Holy Roman Empire. This parallel drawn between the US and the Byzantium is supported by the idea that the US blends its western culture with eastern culture in a pretty similar way. Khanna also makes mention of the “state of relative decline” that the US is experiencing, just as its 12th century counterpart did.

I think that this very brief article is quite interesting, as I personally love historical parallels. Why else study history except to learn how the past applies to the present? While the idea of the US crumbling into ruin is by no means comforting, this article is careful to end on a positive note. Our “first” Middle Ages ended with a Renaissance… perhaps our “new” Middle Ages will lead to the same!


What Medieval Europe Did With Its Teenagers

This article, “What Medieval Europe Did With Its Teenagers” was posted on BBC news by William Kremer. It basically summarizes the apprenticeship system that was in place following the Black Plague in Europe in 1300– due to the disease that wiped out more than half of the working population, teenagers (and sometimes children as young as seven) provided cheap labor. Additionally, parents could send their children off and save money by taking in other children and feed them less.

What I personally found interesting about this article is the relatable qualities the medieval teenagers have to modern day teenagers. Boys had trouble policing their own sexuality, and many had contracts that would double the amount of time spent in apprenticeship if they were found participating in sexual behavior. Additionally, children in France, Germany, and Switzerland who disbanded their apprenticeships would form gangs known as the “abbeys of misrule” and rebel.

Overall, this article made medieval times incredibly interesting and relatable and I would recommend it– a great read!

“Richard III Excavation: Body Found at Site was a Woman”

A coffin found near the burial site of Richard III was opened this morning, revealing a second coffin within the coffin. The coffin was made out of lead, and found in a prominent spot in the yard, usually reserved for important individuals, which led archaeologists to believe that it contained an important knight or friar. They were surprised to find that the careful burial contained the body of an elderly woman, and there is speculation that she may have been an important donor, or possibly the founder of the church.