Book Review for International Network for Theory of History

I have published my first book review for the International Network for Theory of History, based at Ghent University in Belgium. With this book review, I am taking yet another step in my endeavor to branch out into the sub-discipline of historiography, while at the same time continuing as an interdisciplinary historian with an interest in archaeology.

Enjoy!

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

 

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The Disintegration of the Swedish Academy: Is This the End for the Nobel Prize in Literature?

On April 10, 2018, I published the following post on Book Riot.

The Disintegration of the Swedish Academy: Is This the End for the Nobel Prize in Literature?

Stortorget_2

The Swedish Academy is disintegrating. In the wake of the #metoo movement having reached Sweden in the fall of 2017, the Swedish Academy has been shaken to its core, jeopardizing the continued existence of the 232 year-old institution.

Internationally, the Swedish Academy is mostly known for awarding the Noble Prize in Literature every year. But if the Swedish Academy falls apart, what will happen to one of the world’s most famous and prestigious literary awards?

If you wish to read the post in its entirety, click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sarajevo Haggadah

Passover is just around the corner, so on March 26, 2018, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sarajevo Haggadah

Sarajevo Haggadah_Wikipedia

Page from the Sarajevo Haggadah. Notice the wine stains and handwritten doodles, which indicate that this haggadah has been in extensive use throughout the years. (Source: Wikipedia)

Every year on Passover Jewish families all over the world gather ’round to celebrate and commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. At the center of this annual celebration is taking turns reading from a book called a haggadah. The word haggadah comes from the Hebrew root HGD, which means “to tell,” which is exactly the purpose of the Passover celebration–to tell the story of the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt, also known as the Exodus.

Because haggadot are not considered holy texts, but rather instruction materials, over time they have developed into beautiful artifacts of book art. And nowhere were such beautiful haggadots made as in the Spanish city of Barcelona during the Middle Ages. And of these Barcelona haggadots, few can compare to the wonder and splendor of a book today known as the Sarajevo Haggadah.

Here are ten things you need to know about the Sarajevo Haggadah.

If you wish to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about Megilat Ester

On February 26, 2018 I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about Megillat Ester.

Megilat Ester_BL Or 1047

Megilat Ester (BL Or. 1047)

Happy Purim!

Purim is a Jewish holiday based on the events in the biblical Book of Esther, which tells the story of how the Jewish woman Esther saved her people from extinction in the ancient Persian Empire. The exact age of this particular holiday is not known, but Purim has been celebrated since at least the second century C.E.

The Book of Esther is also known as Megilat Ester, which is Hebrew for the Scroll of Esther. Because of the importance of Esther’s story in the celebrations of Purim, the Book of Esther is written on a separate scroll which is read out loud as part of the Purim celebrations. The tradition to write the Book of Esther on a scroll dates back to c. 500 C.E.

If you wish to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Yonah Pentateuch

On February 6, 2018, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Yonah Pentateuch

The Yonah Pentateuch is an elaborately decorated Jewish manuscript from northern Europe, using the art form of micrography.

Micrography are images that you can read.

Knight approaching a castle_Yonah Pentateuch_BL Add MS 21160_f 201 v

If you wish to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

100 Must-Read Books about the Middle Ages

On January 4, 2018, I published the following post on Book Riot.

100 Must-Read Books about the Middle Ages

The ideas we tend to have about the Middle Ages are mostly based on how the time period has been interpreted through fantasy fiction and games, and the romanticizing of the era by intellectuals, scholars, politicians, and artists in the nineteenth century.

These interpretations have given rise to of a view of the Middle Ages as an entirely Christian society in western Europe, populated only by white people, and with few influences coming from outside.

This view is inaccurate.

If you want to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

Catherine Jagiellon, Queen of Sweden

This is the portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, daughter of Sigismund I of Poland-Lithuania, born in 1526 in Kraków, Poland.

Katarina Jagellonica

Catherine Jagiellon (1526–1583). Source: Wikipedia.

Catherine Jagiellon married Duke Johan of Sweden in 1562. She a Catholic, he a Lutheran, and son of Gustav I Vasa (r. 1523–1560) who brought the Reformation to Sweden. In 1568, Catherine became queen of Sweden after Duke Johan ousted his brother, Erik XIV (r. 1560–1568), and took power for himself as Johan III.

Together, Catherine and Johan had three children–Elisabeth (1564–1566), Sigismund (1566–1632), and Anna (1568–1625). Sigismund became the legitimate Catholic heir to both Sweden and Poland-Lithuania. Needless to say, the complicated situation in the Baltic involving Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, and Muscovy became even more entangled because of this.

In the end, Sigismund was ousted from the Swedish throne by his Protestant uncle, Charles IX (1599/1604–1611). He never gave up his claim as king of Sweden. The schism within the Vasa-Jagiellon dynasty wasn’t solved until the death of Sigismund in 1632, incidentally the same year as his cousin, Gustavus Adolfus (r. 1611–1632).

Catherine Jagiellon died in 1583. She lies buried in Uppsala, Sweden.

Katarina Jagellonica

The tomb of Catherine Jagiellon, the Uppsala Dome, Sweden. Photo: E.H. Kern.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.