It’s Greek to Me: Five Surprising Facts I’ve Learned So Far Researching the Ancient World

Ancient Greek men at a symposium (being entertained by a female musician) (painted mixing bowl, c. 420 BC)

It took me two whole years, which is at least a year and a half too long.

Ever since I decided my next writing project would be my first (incomplete, shelved) novel – a fantasy – rewritten as historical fiction and set in Ancient Greece, I knew I had to seriously beef up my knowledge of that period in history.

In many ways, this would be me starting from ground zero in my research.

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For the (Carnal, Courtly, and Hypocritical) Love of Books

Books I’ve stolen borrowed from others (and haven’t even read yet)

I almost never lend people books.  But I have no problem borrowing those that belong to others.

I fully acknowledge the hypocrisy, and perhaps even level of selfishness, that applies to this policy of mine.

I’m not even a particularly good borrower of other people’s books.  Or rather, good returner of them, I should say.

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Medieval (Forest) Law & Order (Medieval Mondays #6e)

No examination of medieval hunting would be complete without a more thorough discussion of forest law.

1225 reissue of England’s 1217 Charter of the Forest

To say nothing for the corresponding legend – one that lives on to this day – that grew up surrounding it.

As mentioned in my first post about medieval hunting, forest law stipulated such matters as who was permitted to hunt what and when, what the punishment for poachers would be, and even how many talons were permitted on dogs that lived in households and villages within a royal forest.

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All the Bells and Jesses: Falconry in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #6d)

In the medieval times, hunting with dogs was the most typical form of the sport.

It wasn’t, however, the only way to bring down prey – or even the most popular one, particularly among the noble class.

Neither were deer and boar – which were restricted to all but the king and his favourites – foxes, hares, squirrels, and other beasts of the warren the only quarry that was hunted during the Middle Ages.

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The Rest of the Story on Those Seven Honest Women (Medieval Mondays #5d redux)

They're not who you think they are

They’re not who you think they are

It remains to this day the most incredible piece of medieval research I’ve turned up, even if I’ve since learned it’s not completely true.

In previously Medieval Mondays posts, I’ve written at length about medieval marriage.  This in turn led me to write about medieval divorce.

Divorce (technically annulment of the marriage in its strictest sense) was a matter at the sole discretion of the Church, whose preference was almost always to keep marriages together.  As such, the Church generally only granted divorces for six specific reasons.

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Filing the Holes in Black History

african-roots

During my undergraduate degree in environmental studies, a particular course in the history department caught my eye.

This course was called History of Africa South of the Sahara.

I first I discovered this course during my first year while thumbing through the course catalogue planning for my upper years.

Ooh, this would be an interesting elective, I thought upon reading the course description:

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A-Hunting We Will Go in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #6c)

King John hunting deer

King John hunting deer

Hunting, in the medieval times, was a way of life.

This is the case in more ways than one.  On the one hand, hunting was an essential task for generating food for a noble household.  According to Joseph and Frances Gies, authors of Life in a Medieval Castle,

The deer and other quarry supplied a substantial share of the meat for the castle table, and the forest supplemented game with nuts, berries, mushrooms, and other edibles.  It also furnished the principal construction material and fuel for all classes. (p. 134)

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