(Church) Life in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #9a)

In the medieval world, the influence of the Church was ubiquitous.

The average modern inhabitant of the western world, even a religious one, might struggle to conceive of how much this was the case.

Continue reading

Advertisements

War and Peace (and War and Peace) in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #8c)

If there’s one aspect of medieval knights that tends to be grossly exaggerated in mainstream media, it’s the amount of time they spent in open warfare.

To begin with, as previously discussed in my post on the feudal system, a “knight’s fee”—that is, the assorted obligations a vassal owed his lord in exchange for the land he lived upon—was both passive and active in nature.

Continue reading

Chivalry Was Already Dying in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #8b)

Few aspects of medieval history capture the imagination quite like the medieval knight.

The chivalric ideal

At the same time, few aspects of 13th century medieval history are as grossly misrepresented in mainstream entertainment as the medieval knight.

My previous post about knights in the Middle Ages touched on how the process of becoming a knight involved training in manners, music, and poetry when a young boy was a page, and sacred vigil and dedication of his sword when a squire was elevated to knighthood.

Continue reading

Living the Knight Life in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #8a)

Few aspects of medieval history capture the imagination quite like the medieval knight.

In many ways, it is the knight who seems to embody the spirit of the Middle Ages.

With his horse and sword, his armour, and the perception that he fought with honour and for good, the knight seems to harken back to a simpler time of when the forces of evil had a singular face and could be vanquished with a noble heart and a strong forearm.

Continue reading

A (Holi)day in the Life in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #7)

The medieval year during the 13th century in England was noticeably different than in modern life.

To begin with, the four seasons – marked in accordance with the medieval agricultural calendar – were observed at different times of the year than we recognize then today.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading