13th century

The consequences of not keeping it in your pants – a medieval morality

Once upon a time there was a king named Valdemar. Okay, we might need to slow down as there have been quite a few kings named Valdemar, especially in Denmark. Not so much in Sweden, though, and this particular king was Swedish. Sweden in the 13th century was not Sweden as it is today. Huge […]

The consequences of not keeping it in your pants – a medieval morality Read More »

A slow march into permanent night – of a queen’s death

I have previously written about Eleanor of Castile, but in that post I focussed on the children she birthed. And lost. She lost most of them, unfortunate woman that she was. This post is about her last few years—mainly because that’s where I’ve been spending time with her, as my latest novel is set 1287-1290,

A slow march into permanent night – of a queen’s death Read More »

A softer approach – or when Edward I did his peace dove act

Edward I of England is one of those historical characters that tend to inspire a lot of ambivalence. This man, who chose to have “Hammer of the Scots” inscribed on his tomb was many things: dutiful son, loving husband, harsh conqueror, efficient ruler, capable warrior, devout Crusader, ruthless when he felt wronged—and once upon a

A softer approach – or when Edward I did his peace dove act Read More »

The second wife – of Yolande of Hungary, Queen of Aragon

Sometimes, I wonder if medieval people were more in a hurry to live their lives, seeing as so many of them died at ages we would consider to be relatively young. Death, it would seem, sent its icy breath along their nape from the moment those medieval peeps were born. Obviously, Death is as present

The second wife – of Yolande of Hungary, Queen of Aragon Read More »

The queen that never was

In 1269, Eleanor of Castile gave birth to a little girl, named after her mother. At the time, Eleanor was some years shy of thirty years, had been married to Edward of England for fifteen years and had, so far, been brought to bed of six children that we know of. Three of those were

The queen that never was Read More »

Mr Anonymous – the life of a medieval hero

Sometimes, my brain snags on the little things. Like when I am reading up on the Aragonese Crusade—an attempt by French king Philip III to claim Aragon for his younger son—and end up stuck on the fact that one of the protagonists in that ancient medieval mess is a nameless man. Obviously, our hero wasn’t

Mr Anonymous – the life of a medieval hero Read More »

The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege

There’s something about sieges, isn’t there? An encircled fortress—or city—and it is all one long waiting game as the cat outside wonders just how long the mouse will stay in its hole before lack of food and water forces it to venture beyond the safety of its walled haven. Mind you, I don’t think the

The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege Read More »

When the Welsh underdog bites

In 1283, the last true Prince of Wales, Dafydd ap Gruffud, was hauled up the gallows in Shrewsbury and subjected to the horrifying ordeal of being hanged, drawn and quartered. Whether he died bravely or not we do not know. Personally, I think it is unlikely any human being can be subjected to such cruelty

When the Welsh underdog bites Read More »

A murder unpunished -of having a friend in high places

In 1271 or so, Roger de Mortimer and his wife Joyce de la Zouche welcomed a son to their home. For those who know of my fascination with the Roger Mortimer, the man who ruled England for four years or so and was hanged in 1330, I must hasten to clarify that this namesake belonged

A murder unpunished -of having a friend in high places Read More »

The ultimate sacrifice – of a man, his honour and his son

Remember my recent post about Fernando IV? I began by describing just how tumultuous the reign of his father was, Sancho IV being plagued by one rebellion after the other. Why? Because very many felt Sancho had usurped the throne, thereby setting aside the rights of his little nephew, Alfonso de la Cerda. I bet

The ultimate sacrifice – of a man, his honour and his son Read More »