Found 700 Year Old Gold Ring

Archaeologists have found an ancient gold ring in the mud in Bjørvika, downtown Oslo. The ring has been hidden since Queen Eufemias era in the early 1300s.

The 23-karat gold ring decorated with garnet has been lying in the mud over 700 years. Recently, archaeologist Line Hovd at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) discovered it…

Source: Found 700 Year Old Gold Ring

In Search of Sir Lancelot

History... the interesting bits!

winchester wiki The Great Hall and Round Table in Winchester

I have always had a soft spot for the Arthurian Romances. I love the legend of King Arthur and really hope that there was a historical Arthur who inspired the original tales. His Knights of the Round Table are held up as models of chivalry throughout Europe.

And the recent discovery of some wonderful wall paintings of Lancelot du Lac in a Ducal Tower in Siedlęcin in Poland is simply incredible.

Rodengo, Schmalkalden and Siedlęcin: Where Did the Knights of the Round Table Go?

rodengo222 Castel Rodengo

King Arthur is mortally wounded and taken to the isle of Avalon, the cream of the crop – his best knights dead. With their passing the age of chivalric deeds and marvelous exploits is over.

Is it really? After all, what the king and his knights have left behind is an extensive body of literature…

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Lost London – The Great Conduit…

Exploring London

CheapsideLocated at the junction of Cheapside and Poultry, the Great Conduit, also known as the Cheapside Standard, was a famous medieval public fountain.

The Great Conduit (the word conduit refers to column fountains fitted with ‘cocks’ or taps for dispensing the water) gave access to water piped using gravity four kilometres from the Tyburn into the City largely via lead pipes.

It was constructed by the City Corporation from the mid-13th century after King Henry III approved the project in 1237. It was rectangular-shaped timber building with an elevated lead tank inside from which the water was drawn.

It took the name ‘Great’ after further conduits were built further west in Cheapside in the 1390s. There were at least 15 conduits or standards scattered about the City by the time of the Great Fire in 1666.

It was rebuilt several times over its life, notably in the reign of King Henry VI, but after being severely…

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The Old Lady and the Rebellion


(I meant to post this on June 15, but I was traveling and didn’t get to it. Here it is, a month late.)

What does this woman with a pot have to do with ending a rebellion?BajamonteTiepolo2

She is Giustina Rossi, and on June 15, 1310, she dropped her grinding mortar on the head of the rebellion’s flag bearer. This may not seem like a rebellious act. She may have been angered by the noisy ruffians outside her window on the Merceria behind the clock tower. “I’m trying to grind my cornmeal here! Quiet down, now!” I imagine her yelling. Or maybe not. But in any case, when she dropped her mortar on the flag carrier, he promptly keeled over and breathed his last. His compatriots panicked, scattered, and fled, as seen in Gabriel Bella’s painting of the scene. Notice the bleeding flag bearer on the ground, mortar by his…

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Medieval Letter-People


The human body is one of the most common objects encountered in art, whether in paintings, sculptures or other objects. Things have not changed much since medieval times, when artists loved to fill their work with human figures – commonly saints or individuals affiliated with biblical stories. Among the great diversity of depictions, there is one type that stands out in that the body is used (or rather, abused) to express something other than itself. These particularly fascinating and often amusing depictions are found on the medieval page. We see people bent and stretched into unnatural shapes in order to change them into something for which the book was created: letters (Fig. 1).

British Library, Add. MS 8887 (15th century) Fig. 1 – Letter G: British Library, Add. MS 8887 (15th century) – Source

Looking at these unfortunate victims of book decorators – in this case the letter G from the Macclesfield Alphabet Book – may bring a smile to…

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Isabella of Valois, Queen of England

The Freelance History Writer

The young Isabella of Valois meets her first husband, King Richard II of England The young Isabella of Valois meets her first husband, King Richard II of England

The Hundred Years War was started in 1337 by King Edward III of England, grandfather of King Richard II. The constant fighting was taking its toll on England and France. Both King Richard and the French King Charles VI were looking for a truce, if not a complete cessation of hostilities. Richard’s wife, Anne of Bohemia had died in 1394 and it made sense for him to marry a French princess to cement any agreement. Talks began shortly after Anne’s death of a marriage between Richard and Princess Isabella of Valois.

Isabella of Valois was born on November 9, 1389 at the Louvre in Paris. She was the eldest child of King Charles VI of France and Queen Isabeau of Bavaria. King Charles suffered from bouts of madness which may have been made for some frightful…

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Blonde cargoes: Finnish children in the slave markets of medieval Crimea

You think you know your history and then you come across this article from Blast from the Past about a slave trade involving the Crimea.

A Blast From The Past

Testing a female captive's teeth in an eastern slave market. Testing a female captive’s teeth in an eastern slave market.

The horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade have left an ineradicable mark on history. In the course of a little more than three and a half centuries, 12.5 million prisoners – at least two-thirds of them men destined for a life of labour in the fields – were shipped from holding pens along the African coast to destinations ranging from Argentina in the south all the way north to Canada. It was the largest forced migration in modern history.

When we think of slavery, we tend to think of this African traffic. Yet it was not the only such trade – nor was it, before 1700, even the largest. A second great market in slaves once sullied the world, this one less well-known, vastly longer-lasting, and centred on the Black Sea ports of the Crimea. It was a huge trade in its own right; in its great years, which lasted roughly from…

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Revolting times: Our ruling class needs to pay heed to its fed-up subjects now – History – Life and Style – The Independent

British life today has startling parallels with 1381 in the days leading up to the Peasants’ Revolt, argues the author of a new book on the bloody rebellion

A political class perceived as out of touch and self-serving. Punitive taxation frittered away on pointless foreign wars. Repressive labour legislation and wage control at home. A disaffected population feeling powerless, voiceless, angry and ripe for recruitment by radical preachers offering a vision of a new political and social order. Not to mention a deadly disease of apocalyptic proportions spreading uncontrollably across the world and threatening to invade our shores.

If that sounds like an accurate account of Britain today then you might be surprised to learn that it is also a description of England in the summer of 1381, an incredibly significant moment in history when the entire fabric of society was shaken to its foundations by the eruption of the first large-scale popular rebellion that the country had ever seen.

Thousands of ordinary men and women across the English shires, from Bridgwater in the South-west to Scarborough in the North-east, attacked corrupt local officials, burned government records and declared themselves free of the chains of serfdom that bound them. The men of Essex and Kent went further, marching on…

via Revolting times: Our ruling class needs to pay heed to its fed-up subjects now – History – Life and Style – The Independent

Revisited Myth # 31: Spices were used to mask the flavor and odors of rotting food.

History Myths Debunked

Francis C. writes: Please do post something about food myths – the one regarding medieval people heavily spicing their food to hide the fact that it was rotten is still around!


My pleasure, Francis. This is a myth that targets people of many era from medieval Europe to early America. But never mind my words–here is author Bill Bryson, trying to debunk this myth in his book, At Home: “The only people who could afford most spices were the ones least likely to have bad meat, and anyway spices were too valuable to be used as a mask. . . people used them carefully and sparingly, and not as a sort of flavorsome cover-up.”

Because they came from so far away–the aptly named Spice Islands, aka the East Indies–spices were very expensive and, for many centuries, only for the richest Westerners. Not the sort of people who ate rotten…

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It’s the plague sir……the plague ~ A guest post by Andrea McMillin

The Freelance History Writer


Andrea is Medievalist and artist with a BA degree in Medieval Studies. She is currently working as a writer, on art commissions and working on getting into film. She shows horses and enjoys reading. She joins us with a guest post about illness and medicine in the Middle Ages and how it’s portrayed in the television series “The White Queen”. You can follow her on Twitter @pinkiecat75 and on Facebook.

Medicine in the Middle Ages was a very different experience than what we know of today. Medicinal practices were still rather crude and primitive, and the harsh reality of dying from a simple ailment such as a cold was an actuality for many. The impact of illness and how drastically it could change ones fate in life was very significant when looking at the reign of King Edward IV of England, and its impact on other family members of…

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