Writing

The Sicilian affair – a lesson in 13th century politics

In 1262, a very young princess named Constanza was wed to Pedro of Aragón. He was twenty-three, she was thirteen. He was a proven soldier and leader of men, having spent many of his formative years riding side by side with his father, Jaime I of Aragón, as the latter spearheaded the Reconquista. (The Reconquista …

The Sicilian affair – a lesson in 13th century politicsRead More »

The Norman Excuse For Conquest… a little matter of an oath.

I am so excited today! As we approach the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings (this weekend. I will toast Harold and cry a bit) Helen Hollick has popped by with a post about Harold Godwinson’s supposed oath of fealty to Duke William of Normandy (Bill, in the below). Personally, I am stuck on the …

The Norman Excuse For Conquest… a little matter of an oath.Read More »

When all you want is a soap-bubble or two

We all have days when the “to do” list in our life is seemingly endless, when the chores pile up and life is far more grey than anything else. I guess all of us have different methods for coping with these days. Personally, I recommend some escapism: like living inside a glittering soap-bubble for some …

When all you want is a soap-bubble or twoRead More »

…so dies the youth…

Say hello to John, today’s protagonist. This medieval gentleman had the misfortune to die young—which may be why he is mostly remembered for being a good and loyal brother. One of the (few) benefits of dying young is that generally you have not developed those less-than-stellar qualities that go under the label vices. Instead, a …

…so dies the youth…Read More »

Of Mondays and Fridays, bishops and axes

As I was out walking earlier this week, I found myself considering the names of the weekdays – as one does. (What? You don’t? Does this mean you don’t mull over the origins of words like “axe” either? ) Mainly, I was reflecting on the fact that the names in Swedish, German and English are …

Of Mondays and Fridays, bishops and axesRead More »

A field unploughed – the complicated story of a medieval land dispute

Admit it: one doesn’t really expect medieval ladies to have names like Felicia or Joyce. They sound way too modern, don’t they? And yet today we will spend some time with two ladies with these names. Joyce was the mother of Felicia, but due to events I think we can safely say that there was …

A field unploughed – the complicated story of a medieval land disputeRead More »

Venturing into the unknown

So I’ve just published the first book in a new trilogy. By now, with thirteen books under my belt, one would think publication day would be no big thing. Wrong. It is always a big thing. Every book an author releases into the world is pretty much like severing an umbilical cord, that baby you’ve …

Venturing into the unknownRead More »

No pain, no gain

Several years ago, I saw a stage version of Franz Kafka’s short story Metamorphosis. I’d read it before—my mother kept a steady stream of classics coming my way, and rated Kafka highly. The story left me itching all over, a disturbing mix of black humour and despair—most apt when telling the story of the young …

No pain, no gainRead More »

He had it all – and lost it

Some weeks ago I wrote about the very tragic life of Elisabeth de Ferrers who lost husband and all her children in the aftermath of Edward I’s conquest of Wales. In passing, I mentioned that Elizabeth had a rather unsavoury brother, and today’s post is about him, the brother. Should one write a short epitaph …

He had it all – and lost itRead More »