We're delighted you're interested in the Middle Ages

The world of the Middle Ages was far different from the one we know today and yet many of the things we take for granted, from the bound book to international banking, have their roots in those distant centuries.

Whether you are a student, a professor or a local, we invite you to join the Medieval Studies community and to take advantage of all it has to offer.

What to read during lockdown:

  • "Italy begins year of Dante anniversary events with virtual Uffizi exhibition" in the Guardian [link]
  • "Middle Ages for Educators website brings Princeton scholarship to an international audience" by Denise Valenti [link]
  • "Medieval Wisdom for Mental Health in COVID-19" by Jenna Phillips [link]
  • "Reading the Decameron through the Lens of COVID-19" by Millicent Marcus [link]
  • "Medieval Europeans didn't understand how the plague spread. Their response wasn't so different from ours now" in Washington Post [link]

This year, 2021, is the seven-hundredth anniversary of Dante's death.

Numerous celebrations of the great poet's life and works have been launched all over the world. To help you cut through the clutter, we'll keep you up date here.

Our latest suggestion: the BBC's Dante 2021, three 30-min podcasts in which Dante's Divine Comedy reveals its 21st-century meanings to Katya Adler as she travels through the afterlife with special guests.


New Additions to UMass' Special Collections and University Archives

In the fall of 2018, Special Collections and University Archives at Umass Amherst's Du Bois Library acquired two exciting medieval manuscripts. These manuscripts now join the over fifty manuscript facsimiles, manuscript leaves and early print volumes that make up the Medieval and Early Print Studies Collection.

The first (right) is a manuscript from ca. 1370. It is a high-quality copy of the Ordo ad consecrandum virginum that was once used by the Benedictine nuns of San Pier Maggiore in Florence, Italy. That church, once embellished with works by Orcagna, Botticelli and others, was destroyed in the 1700s.

You can find out more by reading the detailed description prepared by the library.

The second is a fifteenth-century book of hours that came from the Dominican Convent of Saint Gertrude in Cologne, Germany, which was also destroyed. You can read its full description as well.