Find out about social history in the Middle Ages by exploring illuminated manuscripts and articles revealing the everyday lives of people across the social spectrum.

Articles

Literature, music and illuminated manuscripts

Literature, music and illuminated manuscripts

Art, music and literature blossomed in the Middle Ages, as evidenced by the wealth of sources in the British Library’s collections. Dr Alixe Bovey explores the evolution of art and culture in the Middle Ages.

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Death and the afterlife: how dying affected the living

Death and the afterlife: how dying affected the living

Images of the afterlife dominate illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sculptures and literature in the Middle Ages. Dr Alixe Bovey examines how ideas of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory impacted on everday life.

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Peasants and their role in rural life

Peasants and their role in rural life

By exploring illuminations depicting rural life, Dr Alixe Bovey examines the role of the peasant in medieval society, and discusses the changes sparked by the Black Death.

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Medieval monsters: from the mystical to the demonic

Medieval monsters

Men with dogs’ heads, creatures with giant feet, griffins, sirens and hellish demons can all be found in the illustrated pages of medieval manuscripts. Dr Alixe Bovey delves into the symbolic meaning of a variety of monsters to understand what they can teach us about life and belief in the Middle Ages.

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Women in medieval society

Women in medieval society

From attitudes to original sin to the roles of wives, mothers and nuns, Dr Alixe Bovey examines the role of women in medieval society.

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