Category Archives: research

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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Guest Author, Gail Z. Martin: Days of the Dead tour!

The fantastic Gail Z. Martin is stopping in today, as part of her Days of the Dead tour, to share her thoughts on Addictive Research, and celebrate her latest releases, Vendetta, and Iron and Blood.   I love this article–she sounds … 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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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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Developing Fictional Worlds: The Nits are All you Have

As you may know, my most popular blog entry (still) is the one entitled Bilbo Baggins’ Bathrobe: A Example of Poor World-building.  Every month or two, someone new discovers this post and feels they must take me to task for … Continue reading

Posted in essays, fantasy, fiction, history, medieval technology, research, Uncategorized, worldbuilding, writing | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Hand-bound Book of Elisha

Some years ago, I did a research project on medieval bookbinding, complete with making my own (rather clumsy) examples. At a street fair in Providence, I found this amazing book offered by a graduate of the Rhode Island School of … Continue reading

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The Year of the (dead) Goat: astrology and inner Asian sports

Chinese Astrology follows a twelve-year cycle of animals who represent the character of the year ahead, and may have an influence over individuals, based on their own astrological animal, (and all kinds of other factors).  The Wall Street Journal welcomed … Continue reading

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