Medieval Ages

A display of low-value coins from Greece helps illustrate how money became part of ordinary peoples' everyday lives during economic transformation in medieval Europe.

How Money Transformed Medieval Europe

A new exhibition explores the questions raised by economic revolution—and how familiar those questions remain today

Smithsonian's picks for the best history books of 2023 include King: A Life, The Sisterhood and The Wager.

The Ten Best History Books of 2023

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and illuminate how the United States ended up where it is today

Cimabue's Christ Mocked (circa 1280)

This Forgotten Masterpiece Was Hanging Above an Elderly French Woman's Hot Plate. Now, It's Heading to the Louvre

The French government gave the museum 30 months to raise the funds to purchase the Cimabue painting

A drawing of a musical lion from 14th-century France

Why Is Medieval Art So Weird?

Titled "Weird Medieval Guys," a new book examines illustrations of armless frogs, human-sized snails and more

This 15th-century medical manuscript shows different colors of urine alongside the ailments they signify.

Modern Medicine Traces Its Scientific Roots to the Middle Ages

Contrary to popular belief, early medieval doctors relied on rational deduction to understand and treat disease

A European depiction of Hasan Sabbah, an 11th-century leader of the Nizari Ismailis, and his followers in a garden paradise

The Medieval Sect That Inspired the Video Game 'Assassin's Creed'

The Order of Assassins is loosely based on the Nizari Ismailis, who formed a Shiite Muslim state that relied on political assassination to achieve its goal

The Cheddar brooch measures 9 centimeters (roughly 4.5 inches) in diameter and dates to between 800 and 900 C.E.

Rare 1,000-Year-Old Brooch Goes on Display in England

A metal detectorist unearthed the silver and copper artifact on a farm in Somerset in 2020

Erlend Bore poses with the trove that he found soon after buying his first metal detector.

Amateur Metal Detectorist Makes 'Gold Find of the Century' in Norway

Erlend Bore unearthed a trove of 1,500-year-old gold jewelry—just months after he picked up the hobby

A psalter owned by Henry VIII offers something that fans of the Tudors have craved for centuries: a window into the mind of the tyrannical English ruler.

Henry VIII’s Book of Psalms Reflects His Quest for Legitimacy—and His Fear of Death

Handwritten annotations in the Tudor king's psalter show how he looked to scripture to justify his break from Rome and the annulment of his first marriage

George Herbert’s pictures aren’t just decorative. They reinforce the meanings of his poems.

These 17th-Century Poems Painted Pictures on the Page—and Defied the Church of England's Rejection of Religious Images

George Herbert's shaped poetry subtly pushed back against the iconoclasm of the English Reformation

Researchers found parts of the original church beneath the cathedral's quire.

Archaeologists Discover 900-Year-Old English Cathedral's Hidden Medieval Crypt

The team also found the original foundations of Exeter Cathedral's high altar, Roman-era structures and empty graves

The Englishman’s life speaks to the interconnected nature of the medieval world, demonstrating how the rise of the Mongol Empire set travelers in motion, compelling them to cover great distances and explore lands and cultures beyond Europe’s borders.

How an English Exile Ended Up at the Court of Genghis Khan's Grandson

After leaving his home country in the early 13th century, the Englishman traveled to the Crusader states and served as an envoy of the Mongol Empire

A lightsheet used to reveal hidden text in a manuscript of William Camden's Annals. New research suggests the author reworked his biography of Elizabeth I to win the favor of her successor, James VI of Scotland and I of England.

Hidden for 400 Years, Censored Pages Reveal New Insights Into Elizabeth I's Reign

Scholars used advanced imaging to read crossed-out, pasted-over passages in the first official account of the Tudor queen's time on the English throne

Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon all owned a copy of the same Book of Hours.

Prayer Book Owned by Thomas Cromwell, Adviser to Henry VIII, Was Hidden in Plain Sight for Centuries

The Book of Hours appears in a famous painting of the Tudor statesman

Just because history is the most dangerous place to visit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. It’s also the most interesting. You just need a guide.

Could You Survive the Black Death, the Sack of Rome and Other Historical Catastrophes?

A new book advises readers how to successfully navigate deadly disasters of the past

In the Heege manuscript, an English tutor may have copied the text of a medieval minstrel’s repertoire book.

Medieval Manuscript Reveals 15th-Century Comedy Routine

Written to be performed live, a medieval minstrel's jokes poked fun at the powerful

Examples of classical influences include Heracles' assimilation with Vajrapani, one of the Buddha's most faithful attendants, and illuminated manuscripts created in the Byzantine style by Christian monks in Ethiopia.

The Myth of the 'Dark Ages' Ignores How Classical Traditions Flourished Around the World

The author of a sweeping re-examination of Western history reveals the global reach of Greek and Roman antiquity

Records of lunar eclipses that appeared unusually dark are telling scientists when volcanic eruptions might have occurred in the past.

Medieval Eclipse Records Help Scientists Understand Volcanic Eruptions

Descriptions of lunar eclipses from monks and poets can shed light on how volcanoes affect Earth's climate in a new study

Since its debut in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons has only grown in popularity. No longer a niche game, it’s been played by more than 50 million people to date.

14 Fun Facts About Dungeons & Dragons

Before watching the new movie adaptation, here's what you need to know about the history of the fantasy role-playing game

Richard’s life has long sparked debate, with two competing views of the last Yorkist king emerging in the centuries after his reign ended in 1485.

'The Lost King' Dramatizes the Search for Richard III's Remains. The Monarch's Life Was Even More Sensational

A new film offers a sympathetic portrait of the 15th-century ruler, who seized the crown from his nephew before dying on the battlefield

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