Category Archives: history

Automata of the Middle Ages

This topic is one of the interesting intersections between my medieval research and my current research into Chinese technology. Some of the earliest known automated figures are clock jacks–figures that come out and do something when a clock strikes a … Continue reading

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King Edward and the Jews

One of the characters in my books who has been very well-received is Mordecai, a surgeon who begins as an antagonist and turns into Elisha’s mentor. But his presence in this world at all needs a little explanation. . .you … Continue reading

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Stretching things out: Hanged, Drawn and Quartered

During the Middle Ages, execution was a big deal–usually a very public big deal, with citizens gathering from all around to witness the event, both as a celebration of justice (the king’s and therefore, the Lord’s) and a warning to … Continue reading

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The Uses of History: Inaccuracy and Injustice

One of my commenters on another post included the following: Kenneth Chase cites a book called “Teppo denrai” by Takehisa Udagawa who states: “If historical inaccuracy is ignored for the sake of the message then it is not clear what … Continue reading

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The “Bloody” Blog

There is an urban legend that the British slang term “bloody” is derived from the phrase “by our Lady” which is blasphemous and therefore ought not to be said, or perhaps the oath “‘s Blood,” as being short for “God’s … Continue reading

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The Ancient Dead: A Brief History of Barrows in England

One of the things I love about Ordnance Survey Maps is all the little details of history that pop out when you examine them. England features a high concentration of man-made structures, spanning thousands of years, and Ordnance Survey strives … Continue reading

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Little House in the City–London, that is

One of the best parts of my job is claiming tax deductions on trips to England for research. The first time I went, I specifically needed to know what it felt like in a 14th century house. I wanted to … Continue reading

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Of Popes and Saints

This week, in Catholic news, two former popes will be declared saints, after (mostly) passing through the canonization process. I say “mostly” because Pope John XXIII is being hustled through with only a single miracle to his name, when he … Continue reading

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Consciousness, the Grail, and the Writing Process

On Monday evening, I had the chance to attend a presentation entitled “Grail Mania,” by Diana Durham, which included a scene from her play about  Perceval’s meeting with the Fisher King and his vision of the grail.  Maybe you’re a … Continue reading

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Deleted Settings: The Traitors’ Gate

The Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror to dominate his new capital, has a long and fascinating history well worth reading up on. As I approached The Dark Apostle series, and especially the second book, Elisha Magus, it … Continue reading

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