Medieval Europe

Road Trip Through History: 871 +/-2

August 21, 2015

In 2001, an Icelandic construction crew was excavating a basement for a new hotel in the historic district of Reykjavik when they made a major archaeological discovery which included not only the oldest relics of human habitation in the area, which date from before the “official” settlement day of 871CE, plus or minus a year […]

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The Birth of the West

March 5, 2013

Several weeks ago I mentioned a Big Fat History Book that had me gasping at my own ignorance. I left you dangling, but now that the review has appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers, I can share the details with you. The Birth of the West: Rome, Germany, France, and the Creation of Europe in […]

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Road Trip Through History: The Battle of Hastings

November 8, 2012

On October 13, thousands of history enthusiasts from around the world arrived at the British town of Battle to re-enact the Battle of Hastings. (You know, William the Conqueror, 1066, and all that.) My Own True Love and I weren’t there.* Just as well. The weather was cold and wet. The battlefield conditions were so […]

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Road Trip Through History: Canterbury*

October 23, 2012

My Own True Love and I began our two weeks in England with a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral. We did not find a bawdy Wife of Bath**, but there were plenty of tales. The most famous Canterbury tale is the murder of Thomas Beckett, archbishop of Canterbury. Beckett was a hard partying buddy of King […]

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Isidore, Patron Saint of the Internet

August 10, 2012

In a recent discussion on Facebook, a friend of a friend mentioned that St. Isidore of Seville is the patron saint of the Internet. Luckily I had already swallowed or there would have been iced tea all over the computer and the cat. Isidore the encyclopediast looking over computers and the Internet? Who knew the […]

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Prince Henry, the So-Called Navigator

March 7, 2012

I’ve been thinking about Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal today, and re-reading bits of Peter Russell’s excellent biography,  Prince Henry “the Navigator”: A Life You remember Prince Henry.  He’s the first in a series of names that you learned in grade school:  Prince Henry the Navigator, Columbus, Dias, Magellan–maybe Henry Hudson if your teacher […]

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The Fourth Crusade Takes a Detour

December 17, 2011

At first the Fourth Crusade looked like all the other Crusades. In 1198, Pope Innocent III called for Christian knights to sail to the Holy Lands and re-capture Jerusalem, which Saladin had taken back from crusaders in 1187. In response to his call, thousands signed up, eager to fight Muslims in the Holy Lands and […]

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A Crusade by Any Other Name….

September 8, 2011

Sometimes the name you give to an historical event says a lot about where you stand in relation to that event.  Is it the Civil War, or the War of Northern Aggression?   The Sepoy Rebellion, the first Indian war of independence, or (my personal choice) the violence of 1857? Other times, what you call an […]

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Charlemagne: The Education Emperor

August 23, 2011

My Own True Love and I were standing outside the cathedral at Aachen when the memory stirred in both our brains.  Aachen=Charlemagne.* It was the end of the day.  Thanks to my usual case of vacation/holiday bronchitis, I had no voice.  One of our Turkish/Belgian hosts was observing Ramadan and was tired from his fast.  […]

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