Medieval times

A Portuguese princess in the Castilian court – or how an exiled wife put horns on her hubby

Some time ago, I wrote about the misfortunes of Blanca of Navarra, a young woman who was to be betrayed by almost everyone who should have her back—including her hubby, Enrique IV of Castile. Now, as those of you who read about Blanca may remember, Enrique had their marriage annulled after 13 years, citing non-consummation …

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Penda of Mercia – or how a writer develops an affection for a long-dead man!

Today, I have invited Annie Whitehead over. Now Annie, she writes books set in Anglo-Saxon England, and I find myself very intrigued by how much flesh she manages to put on the bones of these very distant peeps. Which is why I asked her to write about one of her protagonists, Penda of Mercia. And …

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The fine art of compensation – or how a medieval king decided to go a-conquering for new land!

Today, dear peeps, we’re going to be spending some quality time with Jaime I of Aragon. He snorts at my use of the Spanish version of his name, which is Jaume in Catalan – and Jaume was a major advocate of Catalan. (Although in his native occitan, his name was Jacme, but let’s not confuse …

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The Castilian Pomegranate by Anna Belfrage

Twenty and counting…

Today, dear peeps, is the release date for my twentieth book. Sheez! I have to sit down and fan myself a bit, I think. It feels like a very long time since I released my first book, but it is only nine years ago, and if anyone had told me back then that one day …

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Serving their kings – meet the de Warenne earls!

The first time I came into contact with Sharon Bennett Connolly was when I discovered her excellent blog, History—the interesting bits. Turns out Ms Bennett Connolly and I tend to agree on what is interesting, so I became a regular visitor. Since then, Ms Bennett Connolly has gone on to publish several books about—primarily—medieval women …

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The royal slave – a story of faith in Moorish Spain

Sometimes, I stumble upon my protagonists by chance. Like when I came upon the fate of Teresa while researching my post from last week, about García Fernandez and his beautiful hands. Now, when talking about Spanish history, there is one Teresa that towers over all the others, namely St Teresa, this charming and erudite holy …

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Having drool-worthy hands does not keep you safe from false wives…

Today, I am dragging you all the way back to the tenth century, a time when Castile was ruled by a count, when more than half of the Iberian Peninsula was controlled by the Moors. This was the time of the great Muslim caliphate, of the splendour of Córdoba, Zaragoza and Sevilla under Muslim rule. …

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Siblings, sieges and assassinations – nothing unusual in medieval Spain

Today, we are going to be spending some time with Sancho II of Castile. Not that his time will be all that long—at times, life (or in this case, siblings) conspire against you. Mind you, Sancho had himself to blame. Sancho’s story starts in Zamora, a fortified town on the river Duero that has been …

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For the love of his queen – how a medieval king set his wife first

Sometimes, those medieval kings surprise you. Take, for example Sancho IV of Castile. Now, he has a few black marks against him, principally the fact that he usurped the throne, thereby stealing the crown from his young nephew, Alfonso de la Cerda. Sancho, of course, did not feel he had a choice: Castile needed an …

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From queen to duchess – the life of a medieval princess

In 1283, little Isabel saw the light of the day. This the latest fruit of the proud House of Ivrea was the first of seven siblings. At the time of her birth, her daddy, the future Sancho IV, was at loggerheads with his daddy, Alfonso X. Why? Because Sancho wanted to become king once Alfonso …

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