An abbey cellarer testing his wine. Illumination from a copy of Li livres dou santé by Aldobrandino of Siena, late 13th century

When Monks Went Undercover to Steal Relics

Because relics were understood to be capable of working miracles, any relic that was stolen must have wanted to be.
Astrolabe

The San Zeno Astrolabe Tracked Time by the Stars

The astrolabe was a revolutionary tool for calculating celestial positions and local time. The device's design dates back to Islamic antiquity.
Monks in cloisters

When People Thought Charitable Donations Would Save Their Souls

As the middle ages progressed, monasteries became a major engine of economic activity in European communities.

Tibet and China 65 Years Later

Tibet was annexed by the Chinese 65 years ago. The struggle for Tibetan independence has continued ever since.