People of Color in the Middle Ages: A Primer to Promote Diversity in Fantasy

On February 6, 2017, I published the following post on Book Riot.

People of Color in the Middle Ages: A Primer to Promote Diversity in Fantasy

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St. Maurice

A recurring topic of debate within the SFF community is the issue of historical accuracy in medieval fantasy fiction. Claims are repeatedly made that there were no people of color in medieval Europe. Therefore, the argument goes, medieval fantasy fiction with all white, Christian characters is historically accurate. Any inclusion of people of color or other religions is a distortion of history in the name of political correctness.

In actual fact, medieval Europe was a complex society where several different cultures, religions, and linguistic groups coexisted under the umbrella of the omnipresent Catholic Church.

As Jonathan Hsy shows in his book…

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Quirky History: Fantastical Beasts in Medieval Bestiaries

On November 18, 2016, I published the following post at Quirk Books.

Quirky History: Fantastical Beasts in Medieval Bestiaries

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The fictional universe of J.K. Rowling is filled with fantastical creatures, and no other movie takes better advantage of this than Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, which opens in theaters today.

When creating her magical world, Rowling is tapping into a literary tradition that goes all the way back to the Middle Ages and the literary genre of the bestiary.

Bestiaries are books of animals, both real and fantastical, accompanied by a description and a Christian parable. Even though bestiaries peaked in popularity in the 13th century, they continue to influence us today. Especially when it comes to fantasy fiction.

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

10 Things You Should Know about the Crusader Bible

On March 23, 2016, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Should Know about the Crusader Bible

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Imagine a book that tells the stories of the Old Testament in pictures and ends up being one of the most important sources in understanding how people spoke and wrote centuries ago.

Imagine a book that is commissioned by a Christian saint who participated in two Crusades and ends up as the prized possession of the enemy he sought to defeat.

Imagine a book that set out to tell the stories of the ancient civilizations of the Bible and instead tells a detailed story of its own contemporary society.

There is such a book. It is commonly known as the Crusader Bible.

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

10 Things You Should Know about the Book of Kells

On November 5, 2015, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Should Know about the Book of Kells

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Arguably the most famous artifact on display in Dublin is the Book of Kells at Trinity College. You simply can’t travel to the capital of Ireland without the Book of Kells being mentioned. And rightfully so. Together with the Gospels of Lindisfarne and the Book of Durrow, I would say that the Book of Kells is one of the greatest contributions to medieval art ever to come out of the British Isles.

Here are ten things you should know about the Book of Kells.

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

10 Things You Should Know about the Lindisfarne Gospels

On February 3, 2016, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Should Know about the Lindisfarne Gospels.

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The time period between the years 500 and 900 is sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages. The idea behind this name is that after the collapse of the Roman Empire in Europe, people were left to fend for themselves in an unsophisticated and savage society.

This view is, however, inaccurate. Rather, the period referred to as the Dark Ages was a period of cross-cultural encounters which gave rise to incredible works of art, the finest of which were created in monasteries at remote locations in the British Isles.

One of the most astounding works of art from this period is the Lindisfarne Gospels, created at the Lindisfarne Priory off the coast of Northumbria, northeast England. Predating the Book of Kells by nearly a century, the Lindisfarne Gospels is an illuminated manuscript the likes of which are rarely seen.

Here are ten things you should know about the Lindisfarne Gospels.

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