Middle ages

Lance encounters: a plate from The Book of Tournaments, Maximilian’s remarkable encyclopedia of jousting

The joy of jousting

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Chivalric spectacle, martial display, marriage market, medieval G8. Laura Freeman on why the Late Middle Ages were mad for jousting

Right, a page from the Hamzanama, c.1558-73, depicting Elijah rescuing Amir Hamza's drowning grandson. Left, 'The Raven addresses an assembly of animals', c.1590.

The true face of Islam won’t be found in mosques or Muslim schools, but at the British Museum

3 November 2018 9:00 am

In Britain today, Islam in its original essence is not to be found in mosques or Muslim schools, but on…

Eric Christiansen at New College in 1972

Geoffrey Wheatcroft remembers his close friend, the historian Eric Christiansen

19 November 2016 9:00 am

Geoffrey Wheatcroft remembers the idiosyncratic historian whose funny, sharp reviews were only bettered by his exquisitely entertaining letters

Embroidery: the great British art form

8 October 2016 9:00 am

For much of the Middle Ages, especially from 1250–1350, ‘English work’ was enormously prized around Europe from Spain to Iceland.…

The eighth-century Codex Amiatinus, executed at Jarrow, shows Christ in Majesty with angels and the Four Evangelists (English School)

Your best chance to see the world’s most beautiful manuscripts

17 September 2016 9:00 am

The world’s greatest illuminated manuscripts are now so fragile they are permanently locked away.Christopher de Hamel provides the next best thing to seeing them for ourselves, says Jonathan Sumption

Astonishing splashes of colour: historiated initial from a gradual, Entry into Jerusalem (c.1410–20), by Cristoforo Cortese

From purple goats to monkeys bottoms – the joy of medieval manuscripts

30 July 2016 9:00 am

From purple goats to monkeys’ bottoms, Laura Freeman on the delights of medieval manuscripts

A French illuminated manuscript shows supplies being loaded onto boats before departing for the Crusades

What it took to wage holy war, Medieval style

5 September 2015 9:00 am

For most of history, religion and war have been the most powerful social instincts of mankind and its chief collective…

Detail of St Christopher, 15th century, Church of St Botolph, Slapton, Northants

Wonders written on the wall

19 April 2014 9:00 am

‘Take away, utterly extinct and destroy all shrines … pictures, paintings and all other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry…

How different from us?

18 February 2009 12:00 am

The Ends of Life: Roads to Human Fulfilment in Early Modern England, by Keith Thomas