Hello there! Could you perhaps refer to me any other sca or renfaire tumblrs similar to yours? Sorry if you already have a page for this but i’m on mobile atm.


Detail from Leiden University Library, 1610, by Jan Cornelis Woudanus [Link]

Goodness! That’s tough… How about some people/organizations that I follow and adore? Will that work?

(If someone knows about a tumblr similar to mine, please let me know! Because that is awesome. 😀 )


If I missed a nifty one, reblog and let me know!

My Current ILL Queue

The Artifice of Beauty: a History and Practical Guide to Perfumes and Cosmetics
by Sally Pointer
Stroud: Sutton, 2005

The Essence of Beauty: a History of Perfume and Cosmetics
by Aytoun Ellis
New York: Macmillan, 1960

The Artificial Face: A History of Cosmetics
Fenja Gunn
Newton Abbot, David and Charles, 1973

History of Beauty
by Umberto Eco and Alastair McEwen
New York: Rizzoli, 2004

Beauty and Cosmetics, 1550-1950
by Sarah Jane Downing
Oxford: Shire, 2012

The Trotula: an English translation of the medieval compendium of women’s medicine.
by M. H. Green
Philadelphia: University if Pennsylvania Press, 2002

The Finishing Touch: Cosmetics Through the Ages
by Julian Walker
London: The British Library, 2014

This question came via Facebook, re: a medieval floor tile pattern found on Pinterest. The originally Pin’s description is: “This pattern is from a floor grate in the Frankfurt Cathedral (built in the 14th and 15th centuries).” Kate wanted to use this pattern on her painted pavilion floor, but wanted some more info first. Go you, Kate!

I was able to find some additional images of the Frankfurt grate, as well as some other resources for period floor tiles.

The Medieval Tiles of Wales [link]J. M. Lewis
National Museum Wales, 1999
The second half of this book includes illustrations.

Exeter Cathedral Tiles

Winchester Cathedral Tiles [and 2]

Hi! Me again! :D I was wondering if you’d seen any really good 11th century Russian illumination? At April coronation, it’s one of competition categories, so I’m starting early.

No, but I can find some. I’m a librarian! 😀

(Sorry – I just did a binge-watch of all The Librarian movies to gear myself up for the TV show. Every time he announced, “I’m The Librarian,” I giggled.)


To start, how about the The Codex Assemanianus?

It was probably 10th century, but it’s still cool. You can read more about it here [link], and there are two pages of scans from it [link] [link]. Quite a few of these pages would be really easy to translate into SCA awards. I might do a few blanks myself for our current blank drive… Here are a couple of my favorites:

f. 157v


f. 10r

</p></But if we want to be firmly in the 11th Century, how about the Ostromir Gospels? These date to 1056-7. You can find more info at the National Library of Russia [link]. I’ve known scribes who have used this. That is, looking at it, I’m going “OH HEY. This is what so-and-so used!” Have a sample:


f. 2r

Lastly, there is the Arkhangelsk Gospel, also know as the Archangel Gospel, which dates to 1092, making it the fourth oldest Slavic manuscript we have. You can view the whole thing online at the Russia State Library [link].

Have fun browsing!

The Dialogus Creaturarum

Incunabula are books that were printed in the early days of the printing press in Europe, from the 1450s to the end of the 15th century. Because this technological advancement came when books were still hand-copied and decorated (manuscripts) the typography and decoration was designed to mimic their more time-intensive predecessors. Because that’s what books looked like, you know?

The Dialogus creaturarum optime moralizatus (or, Dyalogus creaturarum moralizatus) is a collection of 122 fables in Latin and conversations of creatures. It was the first book ever printed in Sweden, in 1483 by Johann Snell. Five copies of the original printing survive today.

From WikipediaThe fables are organised in sections according to the different kinds of protagonists: first the astronomical, then the elements, followed by living things. The fables tell of the interactions of various anthropomorphized animals and ends with a moral explanation. Common human problems are solved according to the teachings of the Bible, church fathers or classical Greek or Roman philosophy. The author is unknown, but surviving manuscripts suggest the fables may have been gathered and edited by either Mayno de Mayneri (Magninus Mediolanensis) or Nicolaus Pergamenus, both active in the 14th century. A number of the fables are from Aesop, such as The Lion’s Share, The Frog and the Ox and The Wolf and the Lamb.

The first English edition of Dialogus creaturarum was published in 1530.

Color digitization, from the Ghent University Library, Belguim: [Link]

English Translation: The dialoges of creatures moralysed: a critical edition, by G. C. Kratzmann and Elizabeth Gee (1988): [Worldcat] [AbeBooks]

Excerpts from English translation with original illustrations: [Wayback Machine]

And, because of the ones I have found in English so far, this is my favorite:

About the Monkey who wrote Books: Dialogue 97


Symea, a monkey, used to write the most beautiful of books; but he was never completely whole-hearted about what he was doing. He would rather talk with other people, or listen to what they were saying, and because of that he used to spoil his books by writing in them what he was saying, or what he heard the others say. But since he refused to improve himself, no-one would offer him any work, and from his poverty he said:

Nichil scriptor
corde si non meditatur

– “Nothing the scribe writes will have its effect if it is not meditated in the heart.”


Me in my self-made medieval dress (Spanish 13th century).

Camisa margomada (embroidered chemise), brial (laced dress), and pellote (sideless surcoat)!

I’m working on research for this kind of outfit from 13th century Spain for my Epic Timey-Wimey Garb Project. So seeing this this morning made me squee. 😀


The Trotula are three texts on women’s medicine written during the 12th century in Salerno, Italy. The name derives from a female physician and medical writer, Trota of Salerno, who was associated with one of the texts.

Some hot contraception tips from Trotula Texts:

1. Carry the womb of a goat which has never had offspring against your naked flesh.

2. Remove the testicles from a male weasel, carry the testicles in your bosom tied in a goose skin.

Sources: 1. 2.

Reblogging this because I JUST blogged about this book. 🙂

Medieval Cosmetics – Resources

Green, M. H. (2002). The Trotula: an English translation of the medieval compendium of women’s medicine. Philadelphia: University if Pennsylvania Press.
Worldcat: [Link]Summary: The Trotula was the most influential compendium of women’s medicine in medieval Europe. Scholarly debate has long focused on the traditional attribution of the work to the mysterious Trotula, said to have been the first female professor of medicine in eleventh- or twelfth-century Salerno, just south of Naples, then the leading center of medical learning in Europe. Yet as Monica H. Green reveals in her introduction to the first English translation ever based upon a medieval form of the text, the Trotula is not a single treatise but an ensemble of three independent works, each by a different author. To varying degrees, these three works reflect the synthesis of indigenous practices of southern Italians with the new theories, practices, and medicinal substances coming out of the Arabic world.

Green here presents a complete English translation of the so-called standardized Trotula ensemble, a composite form of the texts that was produced in the midthirteenth century and circulated widely in learned circles. The work is now accessible to a broad audience of readers interested in medieval history, women’s studies, and premodern systems of medical thought and practice.
Notes from Leah: Assuming this has the De Ornatu Mulierum, this looks to be invaluable for research on medieval cosmetics.

Cavallo, P., Proto, M. C., Patruno, C., Sorbo, A. D. and Bifulco, M. (2008). The first cosmetic treatise of history. A female point of view. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 30: 79–86. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2007.00414.x
Full Text:
The Schola Medica Salernitana was an early medieval medical school in the south Italian city of Salerno and the most important native source of medical knowledge in Europe at the time. The school achieved its splendour between the 10th and 13th centuries, during the final decades of Longobard kingdom. In the school, women were involved as both teachers and students for medical learning. Among these women, there was Trotula de Ruggiero (11th century), a teacher whose main interest was to alleviate suffering of women. She was the author of many medical works, the most notable being De Passionibus Mulierum Curandarum (about women’s diseases), also known as Trotula Major. Another important work she wrote was De Ornatu Mulierum (about women’s cosmetics), also known as Trotula Minor, in which she teaches women to conserve and improve their beauty and treat skin diseases through a series of precepts, advices and natural remedies. She gives lessons about make-up, suggests the way to be unwrinkled, remove puffiness from face and eyes, remove unwanted hair from the body, lighten the skin, hide blemishes and freckles, wash teeth and take away bad breath, dying hair, wax, treat lips and gums chaps.
Notes from Leah: This appears to be just an overview of Trotula de Ruggiero’s work. Still, without this, I wouldn’t have found the book listed above!

Da Soller, C. (2005). The beautiful woman in medieval Iberia: rhetoric, cosmetics, and evolution.Retrieved from MOspace.
Citation: [Link]Full Text: [Link]Abstract: Literary portraits of the beautiful woman in medieval Iberia tend to emphasize several physical features, such as long, blond hair, or light-colored and hairless skin. This study examines the specific features of the beautiful woman in several major works and genres from medieval Iberia. It also traces the rhetorical sources of these portraits to the Classical and medieval Latin traditions, whose influence is evident in other early vernacular literatures of Europe. It then analyzes several medieval cosmetic treatises in Latin and in vernacular languages that attest to medieval women’s beautifying practices, such as the use of hair-dyes, depilatories, and skin-whitening creams. The comparison of the literary and cosmetic evidence shows a canonical view of feminine beauty that encompasses different cultural areas in medieval Iberia. This view is also consistent with ancient as well as with twenty-first century conceptions of beauty. The findings suggest that the ideal of feminine beauty in medieval Iberia is not unique, but rather a manifestation of near-universal male preferences shaped by sexual selection in the course of human evolution.
Notes from Leah: Chapter 4 has what would appear to be an overview of women’s use of cosmetics from ancient times into the middle ages. Worth a read, and following up with the sources Da Soller cites.

Caballero-Navas, C. (2008). Medicine and pharmacy for women. The encounter of Jewish thinking and practices with the Arabic and Christian medical traditions. European Review, 16, pp 249-259. doi:10.1017/S1062798708000197. 
Citation: [Link]Abstract: This article presents a brief analysis of the ways in which women’s healthcare was understood by medieval Jews, as well as how this sphere of medical activity was learned, practised and disseminated among western Jewish communities during the Middle Ages. It examines the paths of transmission and reception of theories and notions of female physiology, health and disease within the Hebrew medical corpus, and it analyses the influence of the Arabic and Latin traditions in this process. In connection with the understanding of women’s healthcare, it pays some attention to adornment and decoration of the body, as part of the technology that focused on intervening in the functioning of the body. It also discusses succinctly the process through which medical ideas and concepts, as well as healing practices, were received, and integrated or refused, by Jews.
Notes from Leah
: This is one you’ll have to ask your librarian for – or try looking for it in a database. I don’t see it in JSTOR. But the abstract sounds promising for the section on adornment and decoration.