Middle Ages

Peter Lombard

Last week on Five Minutes in Church History we looked at the Abbey at St. Victor and I mentioned one of the famous Medieval figures who studied there, Peter Lombard. Well, on this week we’ll just focus on Peter Lombard. He’s not to be confused with the Italian sculptor Pietro Lombardo. Pietro, he designed, among…

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The Abbey of St. Victor, Paris

The Abbey of St. Victor in Paris was founded around 1108. It began as an Augustinian community, and a number of very famous medieval people made their way through the abbey. Thomas Becket studied there. He was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, so that’s a fascinating story. Peter Lombard spent some time there. He would come…

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Trending in the 14th Century

In the past, we have looked at what would be the big events of a century, the events that, if there had been a social media buzz, would have been “trending” in that century. So, in the fourteenth century, what would the buzz be about? Let’s begin with three honorable mentions. The first—and I’m just…

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The $14 Million Book

A $14 million book sounds expensive, right? Believe it or not, that’s not the most expensive book of all time. That honor goes to Leonardo Da Vinci’s codex, a seventy-two-page notebook that sold for $30.8 million at auction; it was purchased by Bill Gates. There are other books that are pretty expensive too. In 1987,…

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Dear Khan,

In the 1230s and 1240s, the Mongol armies were raiding Russian towns and cities. These armies even made their way into modern-day Poland and Hungary. They did more raiding than occupying territory—they would come and take what they could and leave a lot of death and carnage in their wake, and then they’d move on….

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Joan of Arc

With some figures in church history, you know exactly where they stand. You could put a white hat on them—they’re the good guys. With other figures in church history, you again know exactly where they stand: on the other side. You could put a black hat on them—they’re the bad guys. And then there are…

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Cruce, Libro, et Atro

If there were bumper stickers in the Middle Ages, the phrase Cruce, libro, et atro may well have been a popular one. In many ways, it was the motto of monasticism. Monasticism is an institution with a long history in the church. There were early monks in the 200s known as the Egyptian fathers or…

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The Ghent Alterpiece

It was very common in medieval cathedrals to have what is called a triptych. A triptych is a trifold painting. It has three panels: a rather large panel in the center and two panels on the sides that fold in so that the triptych can be closed. And artists usually even painted the outside so…

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The Song of Roland

The medieval era was the era of epic poems. The English have Beowulf and the Spanish have The Poem of the Cid. In France, there is The Song of Roland. This poem has all the elements of a great story. It’s got betrayal—Roland, the main character, is betrayed by his stepfather, Ganelon. It has plenty…

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Trending in the 12th Century

What was trending in the twelfth century? If you were alive during the 1100s, it would have been very hard to miss it. It was not the church’s brightest hour—it is the Crusades. The First Crusade was launched just before the beginning of the twelfth century. It occurred from 1096 to 1099. Pope Urban II…

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