medieval poc








Informative Ancient Egypt Comics: BROS

Our 1st place contest winner requested a Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep comic as their prize.

I took a class about Ancient Egypt last semester and we had a whole lecture dedicated to talking about how gay Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were.
Their tomb walls were decorated with scenes of them ignoring their wives in favor of embracing each other. In one scene, the couple is seated at a banquet table that is usually reserved for a husband and wife. There’s an entire motif of Khnumhotep holding lotus flowers which in ancient Egyptian tradition symbolizes femininity. Khnumhotep offers the lotus flower to Niankhkhnum, something that only wives were ever depicted as doing for their husbands. In fact, Khnumhotep is repeatedly depicted as uniquely feminine, being shown smaller and shorter than his partner Niankhkhnum and being placed in the role of a woman. Size is a big deal in Egyptian art, husbands are almost always shown as being larger and taller than their wives. So for two men of equal status to be shown in once again, a marital fashion, is pretty telling. Not to mention they were literally buried together which is the strongest bond two people could share in ancient Egypt, as it would mean sharing the journey to the afterlife together.
And yet 90% of the academic text about these two talks about these clues in vague terms and analyze the great “brotherhood” they shared, and the enigma of Khnumhotep being depicted as feminine. Apparently it’s too hard for archaeologists to accept homosexuality in the ancient world, as well as the possibility of trans individuals.

On the last note, I was walking around the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and there is a mummy on exhibit. It caught my attention because the panel that was describing it was talking about how it was a woman’s body in a male coffin and wow, the Egyptian working that day really screwed that up. My summary, not actual words, sorry I can’t remember verbatim but it basically said that someone screwed up.

They claimed that the Egyptians screwed up a burial.

The Egyptians. Screwed up. A burial.

Now I’m not an expert in Ancient Egypt but from what I know, and what the exhibit was telling me, burials and the afterlife and all that jazz DEFINED the Egyptian religion and culture. They don’t just ‘screw up’. So instead of thinking outside the box for two seconds and wonder why else a genetically female body was in a male coffin, the ‘researchers’ blatantly disregard the rest of their research and decided to call it a screw up. Instead of, you know, admitting that maybe this mummy presented as male during his life and was therefore honorably buried as he was identified. But it would be too much of a stretch to admit that a transgender person could have existed back then.

(Sorry I can’t find any sources online and it’s been like 2 years but it stuck in my mind)

There’s a lot of bigoted historian dragging on my dash these days and it makes me happy.

Once again, more proof that we queers have ALWAYS been here, and it’s a CHOSEN narrative to erase them.


I am reblogging this for the lols as well as a very accessible and engaging reminder that every historical narrative is created by human beings interpreting existing evidence and will necessarily reflect their biases, experiences, cultural norms and taboos.

Human objectivity is a myth, and until we have diversity present and speaking out in and across all disciplines, the truth will remain obscured.


Nikolaus Glockendon I

Armorial Bearings of the Cardinal

Germany (1524)

Illumination on Parchment (full page), 385 x 280 mm.

Missal of Cardinal Albrecht von Brandenburg (572 ff.). Folio 7 sup v .
Full page: Armorial bearings of the Cardinal with Saint Maurice and
Saint Mary Magdalene.

The Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University

I know that she’s got a halo, but it REALLY looks like a spaceman helmet and i LOVE IT


Hans Memling

Triptych of Jan Floreins (detail)

Germany/Flanders (1479)

Oil on oak panel, 46,3 x 57,4 cm (central panel), 48 x 25 cm (each wing)

Groeninge Museum at Saint John’s Hospital, Bruges

[source], [source], [entire work]

One of the cool things about this particular painting is that it was painted for Saint John’s hospital, and is still there. Jan Floreins is the patron who ordered this painting made, and he as well as several other figures in this work are represented in it.

Whoa, chalice guy is on fleek! Saluting with his hat like “yes you’re right I do have the best outfit at this party, you’re welcome Saint John’s Hospital”

Love him, love his gorgeous houppelande(?), wish I knew who he had been. Stay awesome, chalice guy.


Anonymous French Artist (formerly att. Luca della Robia)

Portrait Bust

France (1400-1600)

Glazed polychromed faïence, 48 cm.

The Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University


Apparently, there’s a fair amount of confusion over the dating of this image, but It’s definitely pre-1600s. did a brief article on this amazing portrait bust:

As early as the 15th century, black people were imported from Africa to Europe. Their fate there was considerably different from that of the multitudes of slaves brought to the New World to perform agricultural labor. Often, blacks in Europe were at least nominally free and were considered to be servants rather than slaves.

The woman represented in the bust here is usually described as a servant. In this case her elegant attire would distinguish her as a member of an aristocratic Italian household. Many servants possessed skills and talents very valuable to their employers. This woman could have served as a cook or as an attendant to the lady of the household. Her blue skin has a technical explanation, since the color black could not be rendered in glazed terra-cotta.

Oh man, I just love this one! Look at that expressive face, captured in such an uncommon medium. Between her expressive eyes and the set of her cheeks and mouth, I feel like I can imagine not only how this woman would have looked, but also her personality…

Most PoC in these paintings are slaves/servants. Why would you be proud of that? People of color will never be European.


Wowww. I mean, I get messages like this all the time, but this says so much about YOU and your worldview, and basically nothing about anyone else. Much less whoever you intended to insult with this.

I mean, is “being European” some kind of accomplishment? It’s obvious you seem to think that, so much so that you imagine that people who aren’t must somehow secretly long to be. There’s little to no logical consistency between any statement you’ve made here.

All I see is regurgitated racist lies that are obviously false, and demonstrate with embarrassing clarity that your identity is an empty construct based entirely on what it is not, and who it excludes. The smallness of your worldview would be pitiful if it didn’t have so much violence behind it.

You can cover your eyes and throw a tantrum, but the truth stays true, and European history still includes a fascinating, complex, and mind-blowingly diverse cast of human beings throughout all aspects of society.

from medieval European imaginings of Jesus

To the Virgin Mary

to the Gondoliers of Medieval and Renaissance Venice

The serfs in Russia

The entourage of the Holy Roman Emperor

The holiest embodiments of virtue

Studies in beauty and grace

From champions of military might

to diplomatic negotiators of peace

From the most sacred

to the debauched and profane

History is beautiful, and diverse, and full of so much immense possibility that I never really stop being in awe of it. If you can’t see the beauty in that, that’s your problem.

Aside from the importance of the point being made here, I wanna say I am *absolutely in love* with some of these paintings (I could look at #4, #7 and #9 all day)