Category Archives: history

Above the Salt: a Medieval History of a Vital Spice

During the Middle Ages, spices were often a marker of wealth.  Not everyone could afford them, and the idea of making a spice freely available on the table was purely extravagant–hence our term “above the salt,” meaning those people so … Continue reading

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The Beastly Tower: a Royal Menagerie

One of the most fascinating features of the Tower of London which has, alas, been lost to time is the Tower Menagerie, which makes an appearance in Elisha Rex.  How could I resist a setting like that? The menagerie began … Continue reading

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Guest Author Juliet McKenna, epic fantasy and more!

What do Syria, Wiccan practice and jiu-jitsu suffragettes have in common?  They all spark the imagination of my guest author, Juliet E. McKenna, whose latest epic fantasy novel, Southern Fire, will be available soon! 1. What was the inception of … Continue reading

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A Brief History of the Inquisition: The Original Thought Police

When I was playing more actively with the Society for Creative Anachronism, I had a Jewish friend with a Spanish persona, circa 1492.  He used to joke that, contrary to Monty Python’s claims, he *did*, expect the Spanish Inquisition. . … Continue reading

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Heretics, Witches, Homosexuals and Jews: A history, and a present, of persecution

One of the reasons I started writing my Dark Apostle series was the number of times that this list appeared during my research.  It is the historical equivalent of someone saying, “Round up the usual suspects,” whenever anything goes badly … Continue reading

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Skulls and Cross Bones: the Medieval Ossuary at Hythe

I’d like to introduce you to the beautiful Norman-era church of Saint Leonard’s at Hythe.  This small, seaside town is about midway between Hastings and Dover, just enough off the beaten track to get few visitors.  The church is also … Continue reading

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Goodreads review: Medieval Ghost Stories by Andrew Joynes

I discovered this book on the recommendation of a scholar who presented a paper about revenants (roaming dead) in Medieval England at this year’s Kalamazoo Medieval Congress. Since this is a topic near to my heart, in more ways than … Continue reading

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