We've collected some of or favorite academic articles to share with you! While these articles aren't attached to texts, they do contain a lot of fantastic ideas for you to use in your next game or novel!
Since these articles are easily accessible to all audiences, we will provide them below with a brief abstract:
Clark, Elaine. “City Orphans and Custody Laws in Medieval England.” The American Journal of Legal History, vol. 34, no. 2, 1990, pp. 168–87. Link.
Ever wanted to make your orphan PC’s backstory even more realistic? This article has you covered. Clark discusses the realities of life for well-to-do orphans in medieval England. From the legal rights and allowances an orphan could call upon, to the city and family’s duty to care for these children, to the abuses they could suffer from, no detail is left out.
Notable details: orphans had to ask the city for permission to marry, even to age 25. Childhood was seen as a distinct stage of life during the middle ages. The law was careful to protect the estates and inheritances of orphans until they came of age.
A great read for anyone interested in childhood in the middle ages, or seeking to learn how to make a unique backstory for a character.
Evans, E. P. "Bugs and Beasts Before the Law." The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals. Project Gutenberg, 2013. pp. 18-192. Link.
This article covers the strange occurrence of animal trials in ecclesiastical courts in the middle ages. From weevils eating crops to hogs committing manslaughter, this article dives into several cases where lawyers debated and argued quite seriously over the guilt of animals and their alleged misdeeds.
Notable details: while this appears like a farce, it’s important to note that these trials were not only logical, but grave matters of the church and community.
A fantastic read for those interested in medieval law, or just curious about what the hell an animal trial was. We also recommend the film The Advocate as a visual representation of an animal trial.
Hume, Kathryn. “From Saga to Romance: The Use of Monsters in Old Norse Literature.” Studies in Philology, vol. 77, no. 1, 1980, pp. 1–25. Link.
Hume’s article discusses the varied “types” of monster that can appear in Old Norse literature and the types of roles these monsters may have and discussing what makes them artistically effective in each case.
Notable details: the type of literature (family sags versus romantic saga) display monsters differently; while the family sagas are more cutthroat, the romance sagas reassure the reader that heroism is still possible.
A great read for those interested in understanding how to craft a compelling monster.
Jöchle, W. “Mensus-inducing drugs: their role in antique, medieval and renaissance gynecology and birth control.” Contraception. Vol. 10,4 (1974): 425-39. Link.
This article, while a bit old, does a fantastic job at outlining traditional medieval menses inductive and abortive medicines. The graphs involved are particularly helpful. The article outlines a variety of options and dangers available to medieval women.
Notable details: in addition to providing plant names and uses, this article also mentions to legality and “allowed” periods when women could use induction and abortive measures.
This article is a great read for anyone interested in women’s reproductive health through time or anyone who is interested in medieval medicine and botany.
Peters, Cherie N. “‘He Is Not Entitled to Butter’: The Diet of Peasants and Commoners in Early Medieval Ireland.” Food and Drink in Ireland, edited by Elizabeth FitzPatrick and James Kelly, Royal Irish Academy, 2016, pp. 79–110. Link.
A humorous and light article filled with details regarding the laws of hospitality in medieval Ireland, particularly regarding food law. Peters does a fantastic job outlining the law, its importance, and its substance - what could medieval Irish folk demand while being hosted? What sort of limitations did folks have?
Notable details: Peters ensures that these food laws apply only to the laws of hospitality; regular peasants were not limited by the food lists within during day-to-day life.
A great read for anyone interested in medieval mealtimes and food, or anyone seeking to learn more about the laws of hospitality.
Petry, Yvonne. ‘Many Things Surpass our Knowledge’: An Early Modern Surgeon on Magic, Witchcraft and Demonic Possession, Social History of Medicine, Vol. 25, Issue 1, February 2012, pp. 47–64. Link.
This article discuss the unique perspective of a medieval/early modern physician and his views on magic. Rather than dismissing magic entirely, as we might be wont to do, this physician works to dispel common superstition from real cases of magic and possession.
Notable details: the physician discusses fascinating cases of both real and false possession, including those who fake possession to gain alms from the church.
A wonderful read for anyone interested in both medicine or magic, or those seeking to create a unique character for their next campaign.
We do our best to accurately research, source, and cite the works we use, and make them available to you, too! Each episode has a corresponding blog post which includes further breakdowns of the big ideas in each text as well as cites our sources and references. We also have the Maniculum Library, which actively collects resources and recommendations for writers, scholars, and geeks alike! We update our collection of Master Lists after each new episode, so be sure subscribe and stay updated!