Series: Medieval Death Trip

On Medieval Death Trip, we feature a selected medieval text (often historical, occasionally literary) that touches on the odd, the gruesome, the unexpected, and similarly curious incidents, images, or ideas. In addition to presenting the text itself, each episode features commentary and musings upon that text.

MDT Ep. 84: Medieval True Crime I – Concerning Miraculous Justice for a Mutilated Priest

For our sixth anniversary episode, we kick off a miniseries on medieval true crime, with the account of a particularly brutal assault on a parish priest, with an additional look at medieval treatments for eye wounds, and also learn how a dead man managed to kill the warrior who slayed him. Today’s Text: Knox, Ronald,…

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MDT Ep. 83: Concerning Island Kingdoms, Bloodsuckers, and Flesh-Eaters

This episode, we check in once again with 14th-century traveler Odoric of Pordenone as he takes in the many lands between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, including Sri Lanka, Java, Borneo, Vietnam, and some that remain rather mysterious. Today’s Texts: Odoric of Pordenone. “The Eastern Parts of the World, Described.” Cathay and…

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MDT Ep. 82: Concerning Plague Persecutions

This episode, we examine the persecution of Jews that occurred during the plague years of 1348-1350, including the record of well-poisoning interrogations, the pope’s attempt to quell the violence, and a Jewish account of the persecutions and resistance. Today’s Texts * “Appendix 2: Examination of the Jews Accused of Poisoning the Wells.” The Epidemics of…

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MDT Ep. 81: Concerning More Descriptions of the Plague

As life under quarantine begins to enter a new phase, we continue our survey of plague texts, with a grab-bag of selections ranging from Petrarch baring his soul to a surgeon listing failed remedies to some Paris professors issuing pandemic guidelines to keep the country safe, which include by no means consuming olive oil. Today’s…

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MDT Ep. 80: Concerning Boccaccio’s Description of the Plague

We return at last for our first episode of 2020 in the midst of the covid-19 global pandemic. As such, our text for today is the famous description of the bubonic plague as it appeared in Florence in 1348 with which Boccaccio frames his tale collection, the Decameron. Today’s Text Boccaccio, Giovanni. Stories of Boccaccio…

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MDT Ep. 79: Concerning Cursed Christmas Carolers and an Unlikely Bishop

This Christmas Eve episode, we return to the Gesta Regum Anglorum of William of Malmesbury, to learn hear some legends of Saxony, including some overly boisterous Christmas revelers cursed to continue their revels for a whole year without rest. Today’s Text: William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Edited by J.A. Giles, translated…

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MDT Ep. 78: Concerning the Character of William Rufus and Some Scandalous Shoes

This episode, we explore a character analysis of an unpopular leader, as William of Malmesbury explains how the virtues of William Rufus transformed into his greatest vices. Along the way, we also learn why pointy shoes are indicators of moral degradation. Today’s Texts: William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Edited by J.A….

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MDT Ep. 77: Concerning Some Demons of the Lanercost Chronicle (and a Revenant)

This Halloween, we celebrate our fifth anniversary with five terrifying tales of demonic activity from the Lanercost Chronicle. Today’s Text: The Chronicle of Lanercost: 1272–1346. Translated by Herbert Maxwell, James Maclehose and Sons, 1913.

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MDT Ep. 76: Concerning a Glimpse into 15th-Century School Life

We return from our hiatus with an exploration of life in Tudor grammar school classroom, as described in a compilation of translation exercises composed for his students by a master of the Magdalen School, Oxford. Today’s Text: Nelson, William, editor. A Fifteenth Century Schoolbook: From a Manuscript in the British Museum (MS. Arundel 249). Oxford,…

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MDT Vacation Bonus: Dragonslayer Film Commentary

As a treat to all of our listeners while the regular show is on vacation for July, here’s the commentary track I made for the 1981 film Dragonslayer. This was originally released this past winter just to our Patreon supporters, but now everyone can get have chance to enjoy it. Note that this includes a…

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