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Best of 2012

The Most Popular Subjects of the Year at the Medieval History Site


At the end of 2011, I put together a list of the ten subjects at the Medieval History site that drew the most visitors during the year. This year I thought I'd do that again. But when I compared the statistics of 2012 traffic to that of last year, I was floored. Last year's "Top Ten" is virtually no different than this year's. The order of some of the subjects has changed, but the same topics that made it into the list last year are on this year's list, as well.

Does this signify stagnation? Or does it hint at the timelessness of historical study? Either way, putting up a new list seemed, well, redundant.

So instead I'm putting up this simple update. If you haven't read last year's list, do that now, then come back here to see the new order of things (there's a link back here at the end of the 2011 list).

10. Medieval Children

Coming in at number 10 again is this ever-relevant look at how children got along in the past. As in last year's list, part two was the most popular; but this year, part three came in ahead of part five.

9. Medieval Clip Art

Our clip art has always been popular. This year the popularity declined strikingly, dropping all the way from number 3 to number 9. But hey, I made them myself -- back in the last century. That alone makes them historical! Enjoy our original Medieval Clip Art and our Clip Art Castles.

8. Renaissance Love Poems

If it's true that all the world loves a lover, that could explain the increased popularity of these poems, up one spot from last year. Come live with me and be my Love... Or read the whole poem yourself.

7. Medieval Clothing and Fabrics

Learning about material culture is always a fine way to understand the past. Though down one spot from last year, our medieval clothing resources are still showing lots of visitors what was stylin' back in the Middle Ages.

6. The Book of Kells

Up two spots from last year, our Book of Kells resources are irresistible. No, really, try not to check out our Image Gallery.

5. Defining the Middle Ages

This useful explanation of when the Middle Ages began, when it ended, and how it can be defined has grown more popular in 2012, coming in three spots higher than last year. How do you define the Middle Ages? Come to forum and tell us!

4. A Medieval Atlas

Our map resource is down one spot from last year, but that's really only counting the most popular of its pages. There are dozens, and I add to it when I can. Not long ago, this Political Map of Europe in 476 C.E. became part of the resource. (That's right. I made it myself!)

3. The Crusades

Jumping from number 5 to number 3 is this much-misunderstood, much-misused and much-misrepresented topic. I hope this means more people are interested in understanding, using, and representing the facts of this complex subject.

2. Beowulf

Once again this Old English epic poem comes in at number 2 on our list. And once again, I'm thrilled. I think I'll crack open Seamus Heaney's translation again... right after I try my hand at the The Beowulf Quiz.

1. The Black Death

Just as in the 2011 list, the horrific plague is more popular than any other subject. I guess gross trumps material culture, love poems and kids. But as unpleasant as the subject may be, I can't deny its fascination. And, of course, every time I think of it, I can't help but be glad I live in the 21st century. And have access to modern medicine.

That's it for 2012. Perhaps 2013 will bring a new topic or two.

Also, be sure to visit our Best in Who's Who of 2012 -- which, unlike this list, looks quite different from last year's!

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