middle ages

Widukind of Corvey and his Saxon Chronicles

Approximately around 925, medieval Saxon chronicler Widukind of Corvey was born. His three-volume Res gestae saxonicae sive annalium libri tres is an important chronicle of 10th-century Germany during the rule of the Ottonian dynasty. Widukind’s Life Possibly Widukind was a descendant of the Saxon Duke Widukind, the opponent of Charlemagne, because of the similarity of names.[1] Widukind entered the Benedictine monastery Corvey before 942, still under Abbot Volkmar I. According to older…
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Life and Legend of Frederick Barbarossa

Life and Legend of Frederick Barbarossa

On June 10, 1190, Frederick I, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and better known as Frederick Barbarossa passed away. He died by drowning in the river Saleph during the Third Crusade. He got the name Barbarossa from the northern Italian cities he attempted to rule: Barbarossa means “red beard” in Italian; in German, he was known as ‘Kaiser Rotbart‘, which has the same meaning. There was a time, when every German…
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Saint Anselm of Canterbury – Father of Scholasticism

Saint Anselm of Canterbury – Father of Scholasticism

Probably on April 21, 1109, Benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher and theologian of the Catholic Church Anselm of Canterbury passed away. He was canonized, is often considered the founder of scholasticism and is the main representative of early scholasticism. Since 1720 he has carried the honorary title “Father of the Church”. “Ergo domine…credimus te esse aliquid quo nihil maius cogitari possit.” (Therefore, lord…we believe that you are something than which nothing greater can…
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The Encyclopaedia of Saint Isidore of Seville

The Encyclopaedia of Saint Isidore of Seville

On April 4, 636, Saint Isidore of Seville, Archbishop of Seville, passed away. He is referred to as “the last scholar of the ancient world. In his encyclopaedia Etymologiarum sive originum libri XX he compiled the knowledge of antiquity still existing in the west of the Mediterranean around 600, combined it with patristics and made it available to his time. Isidor was one of the most widely read authors of the Middle…
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Ulugh Beg – the Mongolian Astronomer Prince

Ulugh Beg – the Mongolian Astronomer Prince

On March 22, 1394, Mongolian astronomer, mathematician and sultan Mīrzā Muhammad Tāraghay bin Shāhrukh, better known as Ulugh Beg was (probably) born. Although the only important Mongol scientist, he was the greatest astronomer of his time. Pursuing this interest he built an observatory at Samarkand. In his observations he discovered a number of errors in the computations of the 2nd-century Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy, whose figures were still being used. “Religions scatter like…
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Ibn Battuta and the Marvels of Traveling the Medieval World

Ibn Battuta and the Marvels of Traveling the Medieval World

On 24 February 1304, Muslim Berber Moroccan scholar, and explorer Ibn Battuta was born. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the Islamic world and many non-Muslim lands, including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, India and China. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling. “I arrived at…
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The Encyclopaedia of Rabanus Maurus

The Encyclopaedia of Rabanus Maurus

On February 4, 856, Frankish Benedictine monk, theologian, poet, encyclopedist and military writer Rabanus Maurus Magnentius passed away. He was the author of the encyclopaedia De rerum naturis (“On the Natures of Things“). He also wrote treatises on education and grammar and commentaries on the Bible. He was one of the most prominent teachers and writers of the Carolingian age, and was called “Praeceptor Germaniae,” or “the teacher of Germany.” How Rabanus…
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Giotto di Bondone – Making a Decisive Brake with the prevalent Style

Giotto di Bondone – Making a Decisive Brake with the prevalent Style

On January 8, 1337, Italian painter and architect Giotto di Bondone passed away. He is regarded as the decisive pioneer of the Italian Renaissance (Rinascimento). Geniuses are Born as such Sources indicate that Giotto grew up in Florence as the son of the blacksmith Bondone. Most experts believe that Giotto was his real name. Others think that it is a short form of Ambrogio (Ambrogiotto) or Angelo (Angiolotto). His life is attested…
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Francois Villon –  Rogue, Vagrant and Poet

Francois Villon – Rogue, Vagrant and Poet

On January 5, 1463, the Death sentence to Francois Villon, best known French poet of the late Middle Ages, was remitted by a pardon from King Charles VII into 10 years of banishment. Villon is best known as a ne’er-do-well who was involved in criminal behavior and got into numerous scrapes with authorities. Nevertheless, Villon wrote about some of these experiences in his poems and became famous. Through wind, hail or frost…
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Giovanni Boccaccio and his Famous Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio and his Famous Decameron

On December 21, 1375, Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist Giovanni Boccaccio passed away. He is best known for his masterpiece ‘The Decameron‘ told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales. You haven’t heart about the ‘Decameron‘? You definitely should, simply because it is the masterpiece of European Renaissance literature. In its 100 stories it provides us with an intimate contemporary view into medieval and early Renaissance European…
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