Premodern isn’t a time period, because there were so many eras going on in different places in the world at various temporal instants. You can’t limit it to “the West”, either, because the whole concept of Western Christendom only arose in opposition to Islam, and the ideas and ways of life that I mean were bouncing back and forth1. Let’s consider it something like “the Middle Ages and their antecedents” to be expressive, acknowledging “the Middle Ages” are hardly more conceptually precise.
future : past :: cutting-edge technologist : ?
They say that when you’re talking about the future or the past, you’re really talking about the present. So let’s pretend that’s all transitive: what can it mean to think of the past with the same creative spirit we acknowledge in thinking about the future?
This obviously points to the Society of Creative Anachronism, but it’s not quite what I’m exploring2. The LARPing element is fun, but not essential to what I mean, and a proper commitment to accuracy is only sometimes more interesting than a future imagined only in terms of what seems most probable.
One of the most impressive directories ever assembled, to my mind, though I’m not quite sure “directory” is the right term when one also archives emails from mailservs. I miss the old
<frame> look of the page, but I’m sure there are good reasons for the change.
other premodern pages
dr. eleanor janega's the middle ages: a graphic history
st. hildegard of bingen
the voynich manuscript
romans and authority
a thirteenth century letter argued for religious life saying marriage was a raw deal for women
in the middle ages they thought about kissing very, very differently
the goat is an enemy of the vine
cool series of posts on premodern agriculture
medieval images of death
medieval pilgrims: to protect against disease, wear a pin of a winged penis
an alternative to twitter for those who plan to work with traitors, courtesy of ancient greece
eleanor janega tears a bad COVID take apart via the medieval view of advent
rich people fighting with rich people: the magna carta and covid-19
romans gave little metal skeletons out as party favors
plague doctors didn't wear that cool outfit
Black Death, COVID, and Why We Keep Telling the Myth of a Renaissance Golden Age and Bad Middle Ages