Written and compiled by Lia Markey, Suzanne Karr Schmidt, and Stephanie Reitzig as a companion to the 2020 Newberry exhibition and book (Northwestern University Press) by the same title. Entries here have been adapted from texts by James R. Akerman, Ikumi Croccol, Olivia Dill, Christopher Fletcher, Marisa Guo, Elisa J. Jones, Suzanne Karr Schmidt, Stephanie Lee, Risa Puleo, Sandra Racek, and John Sullivan.
How were spices used by medieval Europeans, and why were spices so valuable in medieval Europe?
What did the rise and expansion of the Ottoman Empire look like in the eyes of European observers? How did the Ottomans shape the political and religious history of early modern Europe?
How did handwritten documents shape life in the early modern period? What can these documents tell us about the experiences of early modern people?
What did medieval Christians believe about women’s nature and social roles? How did they express these beliefs in illustrations, poetry, and religious writings?