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Canto XIX of the Inferno  


Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321) was a Florentine poet who bridged the artistic cultures of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance. Dante’s approach to his poetry foreshadowed the Renaissance ... More

The Chachnamah  


Composed in Arabic and translated into Persian in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Chachnama details the Arab conquest of the Sind (a province corresponding to northwest India and ... More

The Complete History  

Ibn al-Athir

Ibn al-Athir was a Muslim scholar whose most important work was al-Kamil fi at-tarikh (“The Complete History”), a history of the world. Born in Jazirat in 1160, he lived most of his life in ... More


Abd al-Hamid al-Ghazali

Originally from Persia (Iran), Abd al-Hamid al- Ghazali (1058-1111 CE) was an educated scholar living and working in Baghdad, the cosmopolitan center of the Muslim world at that time. ... More

The Decameron, “Putting the Devil Back in Hell”  

Giovanni Boccaccio

A Latin scholar, poet, and biographer, Boccaccio (1313–1375) is most famous today as the author of the Decameron. This compilation of 100 tales, by turns serious, bawdy, and irreverent, ... More

Description of Northern Africa  

‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Bakrī

Al-Bakrī was born in Spain, and it appears that he never left that country. However, he collected information from people he met who had traveled to the Sahara and the Sudan, and he ... More

The Fetha Nagast, Ethiopia  


In the medieval period Ethiopia became a multiethnic, multilingual, and multireligious state in which the kings limited the church’s conversion efforts. Nevertheless, the kings continued to ... More

Feudal Contracts and the Swearing of Fealty  


In the catastrophe brought on by the assaults on all their borders, some European midieval Christians were forced to devise new means of self-protection. Into this vacuum of governmental ... More

Flagellants attempt to ward off the Black Death in Germany and in England  

Robert of Avesbury

Although flagellation (beating oneself with a whip) had been practiced as a means of spiritual discipline by monks long before, it did not emerge as a public group activity until the ... More

The Glorious Victories of Amda Seyon, King of Ethiopia  


Amda Seyon was a fourteenth century king of the Solomonid Dynasty, which ruled Ethiopia from 1270 until 1974. The name of the dynasty, Solomonid, derives from the Ethiopian belief that the ... More

Haedong kosŭng chŏn, on Buddhism in Korea  


The Lives of Eminent Korean Monks is a compilation of biographies of Buddhist monks from the Three Kingdoms period of Korean history (first century BCE through the tenth century CE). It ... More

History Of The Franks  

Gregory Bishop of Tours

Over the course of the fifth century, the Franks became one of the most powerful of the Germanic successor kingdoms. While some other Germanic rulers converted to Arianism, a Christian ... More

“Inquiry on The Great Learning”  

Wang Yang-ming

By the era of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the prevailing orthodox philosophy was Neo-Confucianism, and its master was Chu Hsi (1130–1200). Neo-Confucianism held that there was an ... More

A Korean Foundation Myth  


Many foundation myths around the world link a dynasty or nation’s founder to the divine or magical. The foundation myth of Korea is no exception. Korean mythology dates Tangun to the year ... More

“Letter to Posterity”  


This letter, which Petrarca (1304–1374) never finished, represents something of an autobiographical obituary. In it he offers a summary of his life and achievements, which, interestingly, ... More

Memoirs Of Usama Ibn Mundiqh  

Usama Ibn Mundiqh

A scholar, a gentleman, and a warrior, Usama (1095–1187) had ample opportunity to meet Crusader forces in person on the battlefield and in civilian life. After a distinguished military ... More

Nihongi Shoki (Chronicles of Japan)  


The Nihon Shoki is the first official history of Japan. It draws on numerous sources, including Chinese histories, clan histories, and the accounts of religious authorities. While it ... More

Nihongi, Book XXV  


Around 500 CE, a wave of immigrants and cultural influence from the Korean kingdom of Paekche entered Japan from the southwest, bringing with it new technology for metal weapons. The influx ... More

On India  


Abu Raihan is often known in the West by his westernized name, Alberuni. Early in life, Alberuni gained a reputation as a scholar, writer, and scientist, and served as an advisor for local ... More

On Personal Piety  

Yi Kyu-bo

The author of this personal essay was Yi Kyu-bo (1168 – 1241), a poet, essayist, and critic in the Koryo kingdom of Korea. He was also a high-ranking civil servant, who passed the ... More