11th century

Oh, woe us! A tale of two tied-up ladies

After a hiatus of several weeks, it is quite fun to be back writing a post. Not that today’s protagonists would label their experiences as particularly fun. Truth be told, our ladies of the day had an anything but pleasant experience—assuming what has made it down the centuries to us is true. After all, the […]

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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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Ælfgyva, The Mystery Lady of The Bayeux Tapestry

For many years the presence of a lady known as Ælfgyva on the Bayeux Tapestry has baffled historians. No one knows who she is or why she is depicted on the tapestry. Today’s guest, Paula Lofting, spends most of her free time researching the 11th century (and writing great books set in the period). She

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A very wicked woman

Not all medieval women were paragons of virtue. Not all that surprising as I’d hazard the paragons among us were as much of a minority back then as they are now, but still. Today’s protagonist falls in the category, mean, cruel and generally bad-ass, at least if we’re to believe her near-contemporary Orderic Vitalis, who

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What if? A speculative exercise

One of the more enjoyable pastimes a history buff can indulge in, is the “what if” game. What if Francisco Pizarro had been murdered by the Incas? What if Henri II of France had not had his eye penetrated by a lance? What if Julius Caesar had survived the plot to kill him? Or if

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Bringing God to the Vikings

In those faraway times when the Scandinavian region spawned bellicose Vikings at a horrifying rate, most of Europe was already adequately christened. Not so Norway, Denmark or Sweden, where the ancient religion honouring Odin, Thor and Frey was alive and kicking well into the second millennium. Adam of Bremen, writing in the 11th century, has

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This Matilda never waltzed

Today’s protagonist was small, determined, well-educated and pragmatic. And no, she never waltzed, seeing as she lived long before Richard Strauss set bow to strings – or Australia was “discovered”. (And if you don’t get that reference, I’m sorry. Me, I grew up with an Australian headmaster which is why I can sing about billabongs

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A king, a famine, an epithet

Back in the good old days, kings were elected rather than born to the ermine. Okay, so I’m talking the really, really good old days, well before our distant ancestors had left their pagan beliefs behind, a time in which being the king was not only a secular but also a religious role. Obviously, being

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