Meet a Medieval Source Videos

A Life in the Black Death: The Inventory of Alayseta Paula (Marseille, 1348), by Dan Smail

Dan Smail, Harvard University

Further Reading. The theme of resilience addressed in the conclusion of this talk is developed at length in my article “Accommodating Plague.” I have also listed several recent contributions to the extensive literature on the Second Plague Pandemic that were referred to indirectly in the talk.

The inventory, transcribed and translated with questions for discussion, can also be downloaded, as well as the transcript of this video.

Geltner, Guy. “Getting Medieval on COVID? The Risks of Periodizing Public Health | History News Network.” Accessed March 31, 2020.

Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death. Published in The Medieval Globe, vol. 1, no. 1/. Accessed March 31, 2020.

Smail, Daniel Lord. “Accommodating Plague in Medieval Marseille.” Continuity and Change 11, no. 1 (1996): 11–41.

Spyrou, Maria A., Marcel Keller, Rezeda I. Tukhbatova, Christiana L. Scheib, Elizabeth A. Nelson, Aida Andrades Valtueña, Gunnar U. Neumann, et al. “Phylogeography of the Second Plague Pandemic Revealed through Analysis of Historical Yersinia Pestis Genomes.” Nature Communications 10, no. 1 (October 2, 2019): 1–13.

To Cite this Page

Smail, Daniel Lord. “A Life in the Black Death: The Inventory of Alayseta Paula (Marseille, 1348),” Middle Ages for Educators, April 1, 2020. Accessed [date].

Meet a Medieval Source Videos

Abelard and Heloise, by Sara McDougall

Sara McDougall John Jay College and CUNY Graduate Center

A translated version of the letter can be found here. See also the Epistolae website for the text of the original letter.

Further Reading:

Griffiths, Fiona J. “‘Men’s Duty to Provide for Women’s Needs’: Abelard, Heloise, and Their Negotiation of the Cura Monialium.” Journal of Medieval History, vol. 30, no. 1, Mar.
2004, pp. 1–24.

Luscombe, David and Betty Radice eds. and trans. The Letter Collection of Peter Abelard and Heloise. First edition, Clarendon Press, 2013.

McNamer, Elizabeth Mary. The Education of Heloise: Methods, Content, and Purpose of Learning in the Twelfth Century. E. Mellen Press, 1991.

Mews, C. J., and Neville Chiavaroli. The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard: Perceptions of Dialogue in Twelfth-Century France. 1st ed, St. Martin’s Press, 1999.

Morton, Vera and Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, trans. Guidance for Women in Twelfth-Century Convents, Boydell & Brewer, 2003.

Seale, Yvonne, “Teaching Abélard and Héloïse,” Making Women Matter, One Medieval Manuscript at a Time, November 25, 2018,


Abelard and Heloise, by Melvyn Bragg

To Cite this Page

McDougall, Sara. “Abelard and Heloise” Middle Ages for Educators, April 1, 2020. Accessed [date],


The Justinianic Plague, by Merle Eisenberg

Merle Eisenberg, National socio-Environmental synthesis center (sesync), University of Maryland

Primary sources along with reading questions for each of them can be found here in a PDF document.

Primary Sources

The complete passage on Procopius and the Plague in Constantinople can be found online at the Fordham Source Book on Plague.

The datasets in the above PDF are from Mordechai et al (see further reading for full citation) and can be found there under Figures and Supplementary Information. If you want to dig into the underlying sources, that be found at the bottom of the same page.

Further Reading

Lee Mordechai & Merle Eisenberg “Rejecting Catastrophe: the case of the Justinianic Plague,” Past & Present (2019), 3-50.

Lee Mordechai, Merle Eisenberg, Timothy P. Newfield, Adam Izdebski, Janet E. Kay, and Hendrik Poinar, “The Justinianic Plague: An inconsequential pandemic?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Dec 2019, 116 (51) 25546-25554.

Merle Eisenberg and Lee Mordechai. “The Justinianic Plague: An Interdisciplinary Review.” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 43, no. 2 (2019): 156–80.

Michel Keller et al. “Ancient Yersinia pestis genomes from across Western Europe reveal early diversification during the First Pandemic (541–750),” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jun 2019, 116 (25), 12363-12372

To Cite this Page

Eisenberg, Merle. “The Justinianic Plague,” Middle Ages for Educators, March 30, 2020. Accessed [date].

Meet a Medieval Source Videos

Civic Chronicles from Medieval Italy, by Carrie Beneš and Laura Morreale

Jacopo da Varagine, Chronicle of Genoa, trans. C. Beneš (Manchester, 2020). Parts 1 and 5, Full text at Manchester Hive.

Martin da Canal, Les Estoires De Venise, trans. Laura K. Morreale (UNIPRESS, 2009). Book II, Chapters 112-134.

Giovanni Villani, Excerpts from Book III. From Villani’s Chronicle: Being Selections from the First Nine Books of the Croniche Fiorentine by Giovanni Villani, trans. R. Selfe and P. Wicksteed (2nd ed., London, 1906; repr. online, Project Gutenberg, 2010).

Discussion questions:

How does the chronicler characterize his town? Who populates the history of this town? Which kinds of events are included in the narrative (and by extension, which are excluded)?

For Further Reading:

Katherine Jansen, Joanna Drell, and Frances Andrews (eds.), Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation. (Penn, 2009). Not online.

Dino Compagni, Chronicle of Florence, trans. D. Bornstein (Penn, 1980). Book on JSTOR.

Trevor Dean, The Towns of Italy in the Later Middle Ages (Manchester, 2000). Manchester Hive.

To cite this page:

Beneš, Carrie and Morreale, Laura. “Medieval Italian Civic Chronicles, Part 1,” Middle Ages for Educators, March 27, 2020. Accessed [date].

Asynchronous Digital Activities Course Materials

Tips for Teaching Medieval Studies Online, by Ken Mondschein

To cite this page:

Mondschein, Kenneth. “Tips for Teaching Medieval Studies Online” Middle Ages for Educators, March 24, 2020. Accessed [date].‎(opens in a new tab)

Asynchronous Digital Activities

Chaucer and Material Culture, by Emily Steiner

UPenn professor Emily Steiner suggested the following online activity for a class on Chaucer and material culture:

In a follow up tweet, she explained: “I suggested three websites [for them to consult]: @metmuseum, Walters, Victoria and Albert. They first watched a powerpoint I made about medieval purses to get the idea, but that’s not necessary to do the assignment.”

Great idea! Thanks Professor Steiner!