History

Not every Christmas is a good Christmas – a story of treachery, vengeance and death

So, it is Christmas. Well, not quite, we are still some days away, but all the same, the holiday season is upon us. A season of love and peace, of happy family reunions and the joyful sound of children laughing in the snow. Ha! Sometimes, Christmas is much, much grimmer. Like in the year 1317, …

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Of ancient sprites and how to bribe them

Midvinternattens köld är hård Stjärnorna gnistra och glimma Alla sova i enslig gård Djupt under midnattstimma Månen vandrar sin tysta ban Snön lyser vit på fur och gran Snön ligger vit på taken Endast tomten är vaken Right: How many readers are still with me after that opening, hey? Now and then, though, I must …

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A bad, bad man and his fiery exit

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a colourful if unsavoury gentleman. Well: gentleman he was not, no matter he was born under the fleur de lys on both sides, i.e. both his mother and his father were close relatives to the French king. Just goes to show that there is no correlation between royal …

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The mysterious death of a summoned king

In early September of 1312, Fernando IV of Castile died alone. Medieval kings were rarely alone. Even when they slept, there tended to be someone close at hand, sleeping on a pallet or standing guard. Not so in the case of our Fernando. Even more suspiciously, Fernando was a young man in his prime. All …

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An Interesting Lady About Other Interesting Ladies

Today, I’ve invited Sharon Bennett Connolly to visit. For those of you who have as yet to make Sharon’s acquaintance, I suggest you pop over ASAP to her blog to read her interesting posts about medieval ladies – or read one of her books. Sharon writes non-fiction and is a fount of knowledge on all …

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…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 …

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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 …

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La Dame Sans Merci – oops, la Dame de Coucy

We tend to believe that medieval rulers had a lot of time for their sons, not so much for their daughters. Leaving aside the fact that medieval kings (and queens) did not exactly sit around and act the doting parents – little princes and princesses were often set up in their own household albeit frequently …

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In pursuit of the Early American Dream

I have something of a fascination with those intrepid ancestors of ours who decided to uproot themselves from everything they knew and start over, in lands they had never seen. Okay, so I must admit to these not being my ancestors – my ancestors remained very rooted to their few acres of land, complementing that …

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A baby, a baby, a kingdom for a baby – or when the bishop did his duty

In 1134, Alfonso I of Aragón died, without heirs to his body. Regular readers of this blog may remember Alfonso from a previous post about Queen Urraca—or you may not, seeing as Iberian history is infested with kings named Alfonso and it is quite difficult to keep track of all of them. Anyway: Alfonso’s marriage …

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