Famous medieval artifacts

In medieval Europe, relics of dead martyrs were the ultimate must-have, venerated by princes and paupers alike. But where did they come from? Edmund, King of the East Angles, rode to meet them.

They clashed at Thetford, where Edmund was captured and, legend has it, given the chance to continue ruling as a Viking underking. Edmund refused, and so was tied to a tree, beaten and then murdered with a volley of arrows. His head was subsequently hacked off and tossed into a bramble brush. Edmund was soon venerated as a saint, and his remains relocated to the nearby town of Beodricesworth Bury St Edmunds.

But despite his veneration, his body was not to stay undisturbed. In either case, his remains next crop up in Toulouse, where a cult to Edmund arose after his apparent intercessions saved the town from a plague in the 17th century. Officials in Toulouse refused. The matter was referred to the highest authority — the Pope — who sided with the Archbishop.

Yet following doubt over the authenticity of the relics sent back, his remains were left in the care of the Duke of Norfolk, and so still remain in the private chapel at Arundel Castle. The medieval market for relics was big business — a huge industry with an infrastructure to match. From peasants to popes, all clamoured to see them — so much so that Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, ordered relic veneration to be an integral part of Frankish canon law, directing every altar to possess its own relics.

The bones or hair of martyrs, apostles and Christ were considered to have the greatest power, and were known as first-class relics. Second-class relics included garments or personal property, while third-class relics were objects that had been touched or located in the vicinity of a first- or second-class relic. Year upon year, faithful pilgrims travelled hundreds of miles, flocking to parish churches and cathedrals in droves to visit the most powerful relics, in the hope of healing power or a miracle.

The pilgrimage trade had an enormous impact on local economies, leading towns to go to extreme lengths in pursuit of the best relics, with the most desirable — the ones that would subsequently attract the most visitors — being the most difficult to come by. Acquiring prime relics required much time and money, so competition between sacred sites drove many churches to extreme, even inexplicable, lengths.

10 Expensive Relics Associated With Jesus Christ

Fragments of saints were trafficked around Europe, but far too often supply simply fell behind demand, resulting in an underground economy of trades, surreptitious purchases and even theft. Although high-ranking churchmen could technically place orders, churches often could not afford to pay the astronomical prices of the most prized choices. And so, they turned to a group of relic fixers.

Aided by his brothers, Lunisus and Theodorus, he gained an unenviable notoriety for selling at least five saints to the Benedictine monastery at Fulda.

But his most prominent acquisition was of saints Marcellinus and Peter martyred during the early Roman Empire for Einhard, a servant to both Charlemagne and his son, Louis the Pious, to endow a newly founded monastery at Mulinheim. They were not alone in the relic trade. In ADtwo Venetian merchants questioned the appropriateness of the body of St Mark remaining in the then Muslim-occupied city of Alexandria.

After stealing it, they cloaked the body in joints of pork to deter Muslims from searching their ship. Both men openly admitted to stealing said relics but were protected by their clerical customers, who aided their escape from the pursuing monastic communities from which the relics had been purloined. Robbery was not the only practice through which relics might abound.

Relics were easily transported, largely untraceable and difficult to verify as authentic unless they proved themselves through miracles. Canny merchants could sell the same relic twice over — or more — if they were talented or duplicitous enough.Thanks for connecting! You're almost done. Connect to your existing Cracked account if you have one or create a new Cracked username. I don't know about you, but I always thought the Middle Ages were strictly about dying at age 30 and giant birds posing as doctors.

But it turns out that Renaissance Fair jugglers were right -- people of medieval days were actually pretty funny. Like Spencer's novelty gifts funny. For proof, look no further than these hilarious artifacts they left us. Konrad Seusenhofer,Royal Armouries. Turkey drumstick in one hand, lady parts in the other -- that's how we like our H8. But Henry didn't start out as a house-shaped humping machine.

Before he lost the battle with tautness, Henry was as athletic and handsome as an NBA pool party. He wasn't just a monarch sitting on a throne; he ruled jousting tournaments and tennis courts and won Mr. Sexy Legs of Yet none of those endeavors explain this incredible Royal Armouries If the Urkelbot made a baby with a mentally challenged goat, this is what you'd get.

Sometime aroundthe Holy Roman Emperor commissioned master armor craftsman Konrad Seusenhofer to create this steampunk amalgamation of fear and awesome as a gift for young King Henry. This is real. You are not dreaming. King Henry VIII once wore the mask above in all seriousness, probably at court pageants and as a way to shock a male heir out of his wife's womb. It eventually worked. Probably because of those baby tombstones posing as teeth.

Imagine if you came across a guy whose smile revealed a tiny privacy fence where his teeth should be.

Nothing is in its natural toothlike position, all the teeth have a Bobby Brownish gap between them, and they're uniformly distributed across a mouth that looks like it's been pinned open by invisible fat aunts on each side.

That's who modeled for this mask.

famous medieval artifacts

Or even worse, the artist was a blind man who never actually saw a real person in his life -- this is the closest facsimile to "human" he could come up with. Kind of like whoever made Lionel Richie's head in "Hello.

famous medieval artifacts

She'd later go on to be the lead designer of Chia Pets. If you're not looking at the Chiclet teeth or the dookie horns, you're looking at those yellow glasses.

Historians think that Henry was actually nearsighted, a theory supplemented by the fact that there were dozens of glasses in his possession after his death.A lot of history took place during this time, but textbooks often fail to reconnect the living with the past as much as artifacts do.

Some items prove that certain things never change—people cheated at games, carried deadly weapons, and were addicted to cheese. When it comes to medieval munchies, the diets of the English nobility are well-known. The menu of the peasantry, however, was so poorly recorded that researchers were not sure what people ate. Their mainstay was probably pottages and stews, but there was no direct evidence to prove this. In73 cooking pots underwent chemical analysis to test for food residues.

The year-old vessels came from a medieval village called West Cotton. Fat showed up in many of the jars, confirming that ceramics were important in the medieval kitchen and that peasants did rely on stews and pottages as a staple.

Ingredients included meat like mutton and beef. There were also traces of leafy vegetables such as cabbage and leek. The meat-cabbage stew was an important find. Nothing similar had shown up in elite kitchens. Almost a quarter of all the pots were used for milk-derived products. The oldest Scottish manuscript is believed to be the Book of Deer. Written by monks during the 10th century, the illuminated book contains the earliest Gaelic writing from Scotland. It was fittingly called the Monastery of Deer and was located somewhere in Aberdeenshire.

Ina team were excavating newly discovered ruins when they found a gaming board. In itself, the artifact was a scarce find. It was shaped from stone to resemble a disk, and its motifs suggested that it was used to play a range of games popular in medieval Ireland and Scandinavia. What got archaeologists excited were the layers beneath the artifact. They dated to the seventh and eighth centuries, the same as pieces of charcoal found at the site.

This proved that at least some of the ruins were in use—with people playing a game—during that time. In recent times, historians riffled through the Registers of the Archbishops of York. The tomes recorded the dealings of archbishops from to A new project aimed to create an online version of the registers, and during the process, researchers encountered a letter. Apparently, a nun named Joan had escaped her convent.

Not only did she run, but she tried to fake her own death. Apparently, she created a body double to take her place at a funeral.

Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Since people were buried in shrouds back then, Joan might have stuffed a shroud and shaped it like a corpse. The letter was addressed to the Dean of Beverley, who was stationed in Yorkshire about 64 kilometers 40 mi away from York. The dean was asked to find and return the wayward nun to her convent in York. Thus far, there is no clue about whether Joan managed to dodge the dean.A number of attractions relating to this period bear testimony to the significant changes that took place during these or so years — a period that lies at the margins between legend and historical documentation.

Originally, the metaphor was used as a criticism of the quality of Latin literature, a comment on the supposed intellectual darkness of the period.

Later on the term was expanded to reflect the lack of historical documentation. The archaeology of Early Medieval England shows that this is neither a time of intellectual darkness, nor a period we know nothing about as a consequence of a lack of written records. And here is the evidence, for England at least. While there are many more sites one could visit, the sites listed below have been chosen for both their importance and their collective diversity.

The entries are ordered chronologically, as best as possible. Reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village.

famous medieval artifacts

Built on the site of an original fifth-to-seventh century settlement near the town of West Stow in SuffolkWest Stow Anglo-Saxon village is a fully reconstructed Early Medieval community.

The open air museum opened in and has since offered visitors the chance to witness experimental archaeology in action and learn more about daily life in Anglo-Saxon England.

Besides the outdoor village, there are also extensive galleries in the onsite Anglo-Saxon Museum. Also in the county of Suffolkthe great ship burial at Sutton Hoo is one of the most famous sites of Early Medieval Britain. The cemeteries were first excavated in the s, and today the archaeological site is now managed by the National Trust. Visitors can follow a number of trails that take in the earthen mounds and learn more about the period in the Visitor Centre.

Most of the artefacts from the first excavations are in the British Museum, London. A typical house gives an idea what everyday life was like in Anglo-Saxon London. Within a sequence of galleries that set out the history of London from early prehistory to the recent past, the early Medieval exhibits at the Museum of London tell the story of this great city following the withdrawal of the Roman Administration in AD. Although associated with the Mercian King Offa who ruled from torecent archaeological investigation has revealed that much of the earthwork was erected by earlier Mercian rulers, between the fifth and seventh centuries.

First established in the seventeenth century, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford houses a number of treasures from the era of the Anglo-Saxons, including the fine Late Anglo-Saxon Abingdon Sword and the unique Alfred Jewelknown for its links to the famed King Alfred the Great.

The acre site also boasts a farm home to rare-breed and rescued animals, alongside a number of reconstruction Anglo-Saxon settlements.

famous medieval artifacts

Entrance to the Jorvik Viking Centre. From the late eighth century, Britain fell victim to the often violent incursions of Vikings, raiders from Scandinavia who later settled in the the north of the island en masscoming to greatly influenced its culture and language. The Vikings were acclaimed seafarers who travelled from their Scandinavian homelands aboard great wooden longships. Although Anglo-Saxon England embraced Christianity, most of the churches built in this period would come to be heavily altered or replaced in subsequent centuries.There are undoubtedly millions of amazing artifacts from the ancient world that have served to shed light on the lives of our ancestors from many millennia ago.

But some stand out for their uniqueness, their intrigue, or their ability to expand our knowledge about previously unknown aspects of our history. Here we feature ten such artifacts. We have intentionally chosen not to feature well-known artifacts such as the Antikythera Mechanism, Baghdad Battery, Viking Sunstone and many other famous relics. Rather, we wished to highlight some lesser known but equally incredible artifacts from the ancient world.

The discovery of a 10th century Viking artifact resembling the Hammer of Thor has solved a long-running mystery surrounding more than 1, ancient amulets found across Northern Europe. However, this could not be concluded with certainty as their shapes were not conclusive, and none of them contained inscriptions revealing their identity.

According to Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. The Sacred City of Caral is a 5,year-old metropolis which represents the oldest known civilization in the Americas, known as the Norte Chico.

Among the many incredible artifacts recovered at the site, archaeologists found a segment of knotted strings known as a quipu. It is known that by the time of the Inca, the system aided in collecting data and keeping records, ranging from monitoring tax obligations, properly collecting census records, calendrical information, and military organization. The cords contained numeric and other values encoded by knots in a base ten positional system.

Together, the type of wool, the colours, the knots and the joins held both statistical and narrative information that was once readable by several South American societies. In some villages, quipus were important items for the local community, and took on ritual rather than recording use. Until the discovery of the quipu in Caral, no other examples had been found that dated back earlier than AD.

So the significance of this finding was that it was now apparent that inhabitants of Andean South America were using this complex recording system thousands of years earlier than they initially thought.

The unique artefact is one of several rare objects found last in Manduria, when construction work exposed a Messapian tomb. The relic is known as a guttus, which is a vessel with a narrow mouth or neck from which liquids were poured. They were used for wine and other drinks, but in this case, the guttus was used for feeding a baby or young child.

Uniquely, this guttus was also shaped like a pig with pointy ears and human-like eyes. It also featured terracotta rattles in its tummy. The vessel dates back about 2, years when the southeast area of Italy was inhabited by the Messapian people, a tribal group who migrated from Illyria a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula around B.

The Messapians died out after the Roman Republic conquered the region and assimilated the inhabitants. The Nebra Sky Disc is a 3,year-old bronze disc which is such an extraordinary piece that it was initially believed to be an archaeological forgery. It had been ritually buried in a prehistoric enclosure atop a hill the Mittelbergalong with two precious swords, two axes, two spiral arm-rings and one bronze chisel. The disc measures approximately 30 cm in diameter, weighs 2. These are interpreted generally as a sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and stars including a cluster interpreted as the Pleiades.

Two golden arcs along the sides were added later. While much older earthworks and megalithic astronomical complexes such as the Goseck circle or Stonehenge had already been used to mark the solstices, the disc is the oldest known "portable instrument" to allow such measurements. InWilliam Cunnington, one of Britain's earliest professional archaeologists, discovered what has become known as the crown jewels of the 'King of Stonehenge'. Within the 4,year-old barrow, Cunnington found ornate jewellery, a gold lozenge that fastened his cloak, and an intricately decorated dagger.

The dagger was originally adorned with up totiny gold studs just a third of a millimetre wide. To create the studs, the craftsman had to first create an extremely fine gold wire, just a little thicker than a human hair. The end of the wire was then flattened to create a stud-head, and cut with a very sharp flint or obsidian razor, just a millimetre below the head.

This delicate procedure was then repeated literarily tens of thousands of times. Thousands of tiny holes were then made in the dagger handle and a thin layer of tree resin was rubbed over the surface as an adhesive to keep the studs in place.The Museum has temporarily closed its three locations. Learn more. The Museum's collection of medieval and Byzantine art is among the most comprehensive in the world.

Displayed in both The Met Fifth Avenue and in the Museum's branch in northern Manhattan, The Met Cloistersthe collection encompasses the art of the Mediterranean and Europe from the fall of Rome in the fourth century to the beginning of the Renaissance in the early sixteenth century.

It also includes pre-medieval European works of art created during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Although the fledgling Metropolitan Museum acquired its first medieval object inthe core of the collection in the Main Building was not formed until nearly fifty years later, inwhen the son of the financier and collector J.

Pierpont Morgan donated some two thousand medieval objects that had belonged to his father. The collection has continued to grow through purchases, gifts, and bequests.

Ten Must See Early Medieval Sites & Museums in England

More than medieval objects came to the Museum from the banker and prodigious collector George Blumenthal in Much of the sculpture at The Cloisters was acquired by George Grey Barnard, a prominent American sculptor and avid collector of medieval art.

While working in rural France before World War I, Barnard supplemented his income by locating and selling medieval sculpture and architectural fragments that had made their way into the hands of local landowners over several centuries of political and religious upheaval.

Barnard also served as a middleman between major Paris dealers and American clients. However, he kept many pieces for himself and, upon returning to the United States, opened to the public a churchlike brick structure on Fort Washington Avenue filled with his collection—the first installation of medieval art of its kind in America.

Father, son and holy goat? The dark side of medieval relics

In the American philanthropist and collector John D. Rockefeller Jr. Rockefeller donated seven hundred acres to establish additional parkland along the New Jersey Palisades, ensuring that the view from across the Hudson River from The Cloisters remain unsullied. The Cloisters building, designed by Charles Collens, the architect of New York City's Riverside Church, in a simplified medieval style, was formally dedicated on May 10, In recent years, galleries in both locations have undergone dramatic renovations.

Most recent at The Cloisters is the renovation of the Late Gothic Hall, completed inwhich included the conservation of windows from the Dominican monastery in Sens and the return to public view of a monumental tapestry from Burgos Cathedral. Both collections continue to acquire works of art. A Carolingian ivory, The Jaharis Lectionary, a Limoges plaque with angels, and a painted glass paten are among the masterworks added to the collection since The Met Cloistersthe Museum's branch dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, is located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park.

Three of the cloisters Cuxa, "Bonnefont," and Trie feature gardens —planted according to horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents, and herbals. The overall effect is not a copy of any specific medieval structure but rather a harmonious and evocative setting for approximately 2, works of art, a rich selection of objects and architectural elements from the medieval west largely dating from the twelfth through the fifteenth-century.

The Treasury contains small-scale works of exceptional splendor. On display is a richly carved English ivory cross of the twelfth century, as well as the Hours of Jeanne d'Evreuxa masterpiece in miniature by the illuminator Jean Pucelle, and a book of hours created for the great medieval book collector, Jean of France, Duke of Berry. A gallery devoted to late medieval private devotion presents the celebrated Merode Triptych by the Netherlandish master Robert Campin. The Late Gothic Hall exhibits many of the finest fifteenth- and sixteenth-century works in the collection, including sculptures by Tilman Riemenschneider and altarpieces from Spain.

Particularly beloved is the gallery that features the seven tapestries showing The Hunt of the Unicorn. Throughout The Met Cloisters are exceptional examples of stained-glass windows, including those from the castle chapel at Ebreichsdorf, Austria, and the Carmelite church at Boppard-am-Rhein.

More than 1, objects on view in The Met Fifth Avenue allow visitors to trace the history of medieval and Byzantine Art, from their roots in Celtic and late Roman art to the sumptuous objects of late medieval courts and the ecclesiastical riches of Late Byzantium and its eastern neighbors.

The collection boasts an abundance of works from Late Antiquity and the Early Byzantine periods. The renowned Second Cyprus Treasure, with its plates representing the life of the biblical King David, is one of several silver and gold treasures on view. Byzantine Egypt is particularly well represented by an impressive collection of textiles as well as architectural fragments and tomb monuments from the Museum's early twentieth century excavations at Bawit and Saqqara.

An extensive collection of early medieval art, which comprises the jewelry of Anglo-Saxons, Franks, and Visigoths, among other peoples, highlights the artistic achievements of western Europe at the same moment. An evocation of a Byzantine church sanctuary, replete with icons and a lectionary from the church of Hagia Sophia, makes plain the Museum's rich collection of art from the Greek East from to The same period in the Latin West saw the emergence of the Church as the most important patron of the arts, and several galleries testify to the splendid holdings of Western monasteries and churches.

Relic containers, book covers, and a tabernacle are among the many noteworthy objects from the Museum's collection of enamels by Limoges goldsmiths. A set of works from eleventh and twelfth-century Spain includes ivory carvings and leaves from a Beatus manuscript. Masterworks of sculpture and stained glass from such key monuments as the royal abbey of Saint-Denis outside Paris, Notre-Dame in Paris, and the cathedral of Amiens evoke the great age of church building.This time out, her character has been put through the wringer more than usual, and her emotional performance of love, loss and longing may prove hard to ignore.

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The premium cable comedy offers an idiosyncratic take on single motherhood. In its second life, though, that all could change. Nommed last year, Ansari deserves another shot for the second season, which saw him show off his culinary skills as well as his fluency in Italian. The HFPA may want to use a nomination to thank him for that return. And breaks into song. With the show coming to an end, voters will want to take advantage of all opportunities to recognize her.

After digging deep to explore the grief of losing her husband, this season finds her more hopeful and playful in exploring new love and a blossoming career. This season sees Rainbow Johnson facing real-life issues as she grapples with postpartum depression following the birth of her fifth baby. Featuring rare small-screen appearances by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, the multiple Emmy winning limited series tackles hot-button topics such as domestic abuse.

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That is almost impossible to overlook. Sarandon delivered a striking and intimate performance as a woman known for being over-the-top. When it comes to voting for television series and stars at the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Variety and the Flying V logos are trademarks of Variety Media, LLC. Subscribe to Variety Today.

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Famous medieval artifacts