MDR uses drop-down lists to promote easier standardized cataloguing and searches, but these lists are not comprehensive. Additional subjects can be found by using the Search Term field at the top of the Search Form, or by combining search fields (for example, to find resources about the Hundred Years War, try choosing the Subject Heading of ‘War’, the Geopolitical Region of ’England’ and/or ‘France’ and the Coverage Dates of ‘1337 to 1453’).

  • Agriculture: Texts or images of agricultural matters, including agricultural treatises, manorial accounts, herbaria, and items relating to farming techniques, irrigation, gardens, and animal husbandry
  • Anglo-Saxons: Anything related to Anglo-Saxon people, objects, politics, society, etc…
  • Apocalypticism: Artistic, literary, theological, and historical works discussing or describing the end of the world, signs of the end-times, or events leading up to the end of the world.
  • Arabic
  • Archaeology: Archaeological excavations and reports of medieval sites. SEE ALSO: Types of Medieval Source Evidence field, under Material Evidence.
  • Art: Artistic styles (Romanesque, Gothic, etc.) can be entered in Subject Notes. SEE ALSO: Types of Medieval Source Evidence field, under Material Evidence.
  • Asiatic Nomads: Anything related to Asiatic nomads, such as Avars, Huns, Magyars, Hungarians, Mongols
  • Biblical studies
  • Byzantium: Anything related to the Byzantine Empire
  • Carolingians: Anything related to Charlemagne and his period (including whole dynasty).
  • Celtic
  • Chivalry: Having to do with knightly behavior, courtly love, chivalric orders
  • Church Fathers: Dealing with Greek and Latin Fathers (up to and including Gregory the Great)
  • Classics, Humanism: Late medieval humanistic texts or writings about classical authors/texts; late medieval texts following classical models; compilations of classical literature; medieval depictions of classical figures, events
  • Clergy
    • Anticlericalism: Critiques, satires or condemnations of the clergy; calls for clerical reform; opposing the power or morality of the clergy or the Church
    • Mendicants: Texts or art about Augustinians (Austin Friars), Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans, Mercederians, Poor Clares, etc…
    • Monks: Texts or art about monastic orders such as Benedictines (or Cluniacs), etc.
    • Nuns: Texts or art by or about nuns
    • Priests, Bishops, Canons: Texts or art by or about parish priests, bishops, canons
  • Confession, Penance: Dealing with confession of sins and penitential acts, including flagellants, extreme aestheticism. Confessional manuals, theological works discussing the value of penance, literary and historical works that describe people doing penance, etc… Music about or images of penitential acts, the act of confession.
  • Conversion: Dealing with conversion of barbarians, Christians, Jews, Muslims, or pagans; missionary activity; sermons and theological works discussing the importance of conversion
  • Cosmology: Works on the origin and fate of the universe. SEE ALSO Subject, under Science, Mathematics.
  • Courtly Love: Relating to the highly stylized code of behavior governing love between a knight and lady.  Includes troubadour poetry.
  • Crusades: Crusading chronicles, records of Crusader States, preaching on Crusades, treatises on Crusades, or images or music about Crusades.  SEE ALSO Subject: Military Orders
  • Death, Burial: Relating to process of dying and burial, including images, music, texts, and archaeological excavations of cemeteries
  • Diplomacy: Treaties, diplomatic correspondence, diplomats’ memoirs
  • Early Germanic Peoples: Anything relating to early Germanic peoples, such as Goths, Franks, Burgundians, Saxons, etc…
  • Economy
    • Crafts, Industry: Dealing with production and processing of raw materials (such as tin, silver, timber, hides) and their transformation into finished goods (such as pewter, houses, shoes).
    • Guilds, Labor: Dealing with craft or merchant guilds as organizations, or documents or images specifically about occupations, work or wages. Includes images of sources on peasant labor too (such as court disputes on the Statute of Laborers in England)
    • Trade: Texts or images about commercial transactions, markets, fairs, port customs, tolls, merchants’ dealings
  • Education, Universities: Texts or images about students, teachers, schools, universities
  • Family, Children, Marriage: Anything dealing with the marital couple, the contracting of marriage, husbands and wives, fathers, mothers, and children, including letters (Pastons); personal memoirs (ricordi); family chronicles; genealogies, wills
  • Food and Drink: Relating to food and drink
  • Gender: Dealing with masculinity, femininity, gender debates (e.g., querelle des femmes)
  • General reference
  • Geography
  • Government: Dealing with the administration or government of villages, towns, regions, nations, etc., including parliamentary proceedings and tax records
  • Heresy: Anything relating to or depicting the Inquisition, trials for heresy, sermons and treatises about heresy, documents that define heretical ideas or define orthodox ideas specifically to counter heretical ideas; documents by or about people accused of heresy; includes Cathars, Waldensians,Lollards, etc.
  • History: Texts, images or music focused on communicating the history of events or individuals in a longer-term context, including chronicles, annals, memoirs, and any other historical writing
  • Iconography: Relating to the study of the content and meaning of visual symbols, especially in art and architecture
  • Jews, Judaism: Anything by or about Jews and Judaism
  • Landscape, Natural History: Depictions or discussions of natural features, landscapes
  • Law
    • Civil Law: Civil law: debt, minor trespasses, inheritance, contracts
    • Crime: Images, music, literature, records and texts dealing with felonies, assault, and theft and laws about them
    • Religious Law: Church courts; synods and councils; church legislation (canons); theoretical works on canon law (includes any text with rules promulgated by religious authorities)
  • Linguisitcs
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Magic, Witchcraft: Treatises about magic, trials of witches, literature or music with references to magic, images showing magical acts, the supernatural, or witches
  • Manuscript Studies: Modern study of medieval manuscripts, including codicology, paleography. SEE ALSO Types of Medieval Source Evidence, under Illuminated Manuscripts.
  • Maritime: Sea laws; admiralty courts; overseas or coastal accounts; naval battles; images or literature about the sea, mariners, ports, ships
  • Material Culture: Images, objects (such as medieval jewellery), texts relating to clothing, and other material possessions, such as noted in inventories, sumptuary laws, wills
  • Medicine: Texts or images about health ailments, disease, plague, cures, doctors, and medical procedures, theories, and recipes
  • Middle English
  • Military Orders: Relating to military orders such as the Hospitallers, Templars, Teutonic Knights, and others in the Baltic and Spain.
  • Monasticism: Anything relating to monastic life, monastic reform, the administration of monasteries, or the history of a particular monastery or monastic order, individual monks or nuns. SEE ALSO Subjects Clergy - Monks, Clergy - Nuns, and Women Religious
  • Music: Musical manuscripts, treatises about music, liturgical music
  • Muslims, Islam: Anything by or about Muslims or Islam
  • Nobility, Gentry: Anything dealing with the aristocracy, the landed elite, whether images of them (effigies of knights, paintings of titled nobility,etc..), or sources such as letters, family chronicles, seigniorial estates, feudal records by or about the noble or landed elite. SEE ALSO Subject: Royalty, monarchs
  • Papacy: Images and records about or by popes and papal institutions
  • Peasants: Images or texts about peasants, including manorial court rolls, account rolls, extents and surveys, literature about peasants, descriptions of peasant uprisings
  • Philology
  • Philosophy, Theology: Writings by or about philosophers and theologians; images depicting them. SEE ALSO Subject Theology
    • Aristotelian: Texts exploring and expounding Aristotelian themes and attempting to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with the Christian faith or more Platonic philosophical thought
    • Logic: Texts, usually philosophic, that discuss logic
    • Metaphysics: Texts focusing on metaphysical topics such as being itself, informed being, substance, form, existence, etc…
    • Platonic, Neo-Platonic: Texts (or images) which follow, discuss or expand Platonic and neo-Plantonic themes, such as realist forms, pre-existence of the soul, memory, etc..
  • Piety
    • Lay: Confraternity records, devotional tracts, religious guild records, play cycles, and other documents that demonstrate or relate to the piety of laypeople; also images of depicting the piety of lay peole
    • Mysticism: Images, music and writings by or about specific mystics, descriptions of mystical visions, treatises about mystical experiences
  • Plague, Disease: Black Death or other plagues, descriptions or images of diseases and the results of diseases, documents or images about treatment or containment of diseases
  • Political Thought: Treatises about how governments should function, mirrors for princes
  • Poverty, Charity: Images, texts and music dealing with beggars, vagrants and poverty and its alleviation through charitable works. Includes sermons and theological works about poverty, anything dealing with monastic poverty, wills or accounts with charitable donations
  • Prosopography: Data that builds a collective biography of particular social, occupational, or political groups in the middle ages, or discussion of the methodology. SEE ALSO Subject Social Groups
  • Recreation, Entertainment: Images, texts, music dealing with games, tournaments, sports, descriptions of recreational activities, building accounts for recreational spaces
  • Reform: Complaint literature and other calls for reform of the Church, secular government, or other institutions and ways of life; images meant to depict these themes
  • Religion - Institutional Church: Documents and literature about the Church and its administration and hierarchy. Can include images meant to depict ecclesiastical administration. SEE ALSO Subjects for Clergy,Heresy, Piety and Types of Medieval Source Evidence under Religious Texts.
  • Revolt: Descriptions and images of revolts
  • Royalty, Monarchs: Anything relating to kings and queens, including royal chronicles, letters, memoirs; biographies; literature about and images of monarchs
  • Saints: Hagiography, miracle stories, anything else relating to saints, such as relics, churches or shrines dedicated to a specific saint, or other manifestations of devotion to saints. SEE ALSO Subject Theology - Mariology
  • Science, Mathematics: Treatises and texts on scientific topics, including astronomy, mathematics, technology. SEE ALSO Subject Cosmology.
  • Scriptural Exegesis: Interpretations of and commentaries on Scripture (mostly texts), often with a view towards revealing the Divine’s fuller meaning, the fourfold senses of Scripture
  • Seals: Seals themselves; or texts discussing seals, images of medieval seals
  • Sex, Sexuality: Dealing with sexual acts or sexuality, including texts (such as penitentials forbidding certain sexual acts), medical or other treatises about sexual differences of men and women; images or texts about sexual acts, homosexuality
  • Slavery: Dealing with slaves and the institution of slavery
  • Syriac
  • Theology: SEE ALSO Subject Philosophy, Theology
    • Christology: Texts or images that focus on person of Christ, the Incarnation, etc..
    • Ecclesiology: Texts or images which focus on the Church itself, its mission, structure, importance, authority. SEE ALSO Subject Religion - Institutional Church
    • Eschatology: Texts or images which focus on the Eschaton, Last Judgement, Wedding Feast of the Lamb, Eternity
    • Heretical: Texts which promote heretical notions, speculations, or declaration (not texts about heretics or inquisitions). SEE ALSO Subject Heresy
    • History: Texts which investigate history from point of view of soteriology; universal histories focused on salvation history; theological speculations on history (such as in Bonaventure’s Brevoloquium), heptamerons
    • Mariology: Texts or images about the Virgin Mary, e.g., discussing or depicting the Immaculate Conception, or the life, importance, deeds, intercession, purity and/or role of Mary.
    • Moral, Ethics: Moral, ethics. Theological works that focus on moral issues or ethical dilemmas, including questions about vice and virtue, sin, and sexuality.
    • Sacramental: Texts listing and explaining the sacraments, including disputations on sacraments, or discussions of sacramental theology. Also images representing sacraments
    • Trinitarian: Texts explaining and discussing (or images depicting) the Trinity, its quality as a Mystery, the three persons and/or their relationships
  • Towns, Cities: About towns, cities, boroughs: relating to town  administration, descriptions or depictions of events in towns such as plays and processions, descriptions of towns or cities, histories of particular towns or cities
  • Travel, Pilgrimage: Texts (including fiction) or images about exploration, travel, and voyages including pilgrimage
  • Vikings: Anything relating to Vikings, Viking raids
  • War: Documents about or images of castles or towns under siege, battles, raids, military indentures, armor, knights as fighters, chronicles specifically about wars, such as that by Froissart or the crusade chronicles. SEE ALSO Subjects Chivalry, and Crusades.
  • Women: Images of or documents and music by or about women, works on women rulers. SEE ALSO Subjects Clergy - Nuns, Sex/Sexuality, and Women Religious
  • Women Religious: Works about or by anchoresses, beguines, female mystics.  SEE ALSO Subject Clergy--Nuns