The Templar have always caught the imagination of many due to the mythology that has been built up behind them. Did they know the location of the holy grail? Were they an evil/corrupt organization as portrayed in the Assassin Creed game franchise? Or were they noble holy warriors as portrayed in Knightfall (the new show from History)? I don’t know if any of the mythology behind the secret missions of the Templar is true, but their origins may surprise you.
When one thinks of the Knight’s Templar one would think of an extremely large organization with great wealth and power. One would imagine them as the most talented knights and also influential politicians. Yet, their origins are more humble than that. Originally, the purpose of the Templar was to protect Christian pilgrims on the long and perilous road to the holy land of Jerusalem. Continue reading “The Origin Story of the Knights Templar”
This week in history marks the anniversary of Edward VIII’s abdication of the English throne in favor of marrying the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson, which took place in 1936. Edward had met Simpson in 1931 and they became an item by 1934. This relationship caused a great scandal because Simpson was already married to Ernest Aldrich Simpson…her second husband. She was an American, she had already been divorced once, and was now planning to divorce again to marry Prince Edward. This was unacceptable at the time for a future royal, let alone the future queen. Society was very different then and divorce was not approved by the Church of England of which the monarchy is still the head of (thanks to Henry VIII…who ironically gained a divorce!). Since Edward was the eldest son of George V; he was subject to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.
In 1772, George III created this act as a reaction to his brothers both marrying “commoners” which was some kind of disgrace to the crown (though maybe it was just because George III was jealous that he could not have married for choice). This act states that any descendant of George II could not marry without the currently reigning sovereigns consent. This consent had to be documented and any marriages that did not have this consent were considered null and void. Continue reading “The Royal Marriage Act of 1772”
I had to put this as a seperate post, but I find the journey of this particular medieval gift to be very interesting. This gift illustrates many of the different occasions to give gifts (which I discussed in my previous post) and how these gifts get re-circulated.
This piece is commonly known as the Eleanor of Aquitaine vase. It was crafted in a pear shaped and was made of rock crystal with a mount made of silver. The gems and gold adornments seen in the featured image were added later by the abbot Suger.
In the 12th century this vase was gifted to William IX of Aquitaine (Eleanor’s grandfather) and is believed to have been gifted to him by Imad al-Dwala abd al-Malik Ibn Hud, the last Muslim leader of Saragossa. Continue reading “Tis the Season for Gift Giving! (Part 2)”
Now that Thanksgiving has finished it is time to begin the crazy ritual of shopping for that perfect gift. Rushing out early on Black Friday and grabbing that last Xbox on sale! It can be crazy, but you can bet I was out there and, as a result, came back with my gift list completely finished. These are some of our gift giving customs of today, but during the medieval era there was a lot more that went into it.
The ritual of gift giving has always been a part of society and many of these gifts have become pieces of artwork that we know today. During the middle ages, among the upper classes, there was a strict ritual surrounding gift giving. “To give, to receive, to reciprocate,” to quote from Buettner’s article, was the formula. Continue reading “Tis the Season for Gift Giving! (Part 1)”
Remember that weird ritual we did back in elementary/middle school in order to scare ourselves? If we would go in front of a mirror at night, or exactly at midnight, or whenever they told you and say bloody Mary three times in the dark she would appear in the mirror before you (and apparently curse you or something). When I was in elementary school that used to scare the crap out of me and I refused to even partake. I wouldn’t even look into a mirror at night for a brief period (I know I was a wimp!), but then I grew up and wondered…why are we so scared of Mary Tudor? If I could get this “ritual” to work I would do it to ask her questions about history and what life was like in her time (because I am a nerd)! But, anyway, I wanted to write a post about how she got her name and, well, why I feel bad that she has been remembered this way in a child’s game. Continue reading “The Tale of Bloody Mary”
It’s almost Halloween so let’s talk about magic in history! I’ve always wanted to learn more about the Celts and especially the druids. Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about the druids except through outside Roman sources, which are naturally biased. There were no written records coming directly from the druids or the Celtic civilizations. There are a lot of misconceptions about the druids due to Roman influence, but also many things that I personally did not know before.
The druids were considered extremely powerful in Celtic society and were basically untouchable. They were society’s religious leaders, people of wisdom and essentially their own separate entity which could overrule most others in society. Being the highest members in society it was stated that they were exempt from taxes, from military service, and almost above the law. They were able to, in a way, to excommunicate people Continue reading “The Power of the Druids”
“Like men, do women not have a rational soul? Why then shall they not enjoy the privilege of the enlightenment of letters? Is a woman’s soul not as receptive to God’s grace and glory as a man’s? Then why is she not able to receive learning and knowledge, which are lesser gifts? What divine revelation, what regulation of the Church, what rule of reason framed for us such a severe law?”– From a Spiritual Self Defense, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
I have recently been watching the Netflix show titled Juana Ines. It is a very enjoyable historical drama and I thought all the actors were very good. I love these types of shows because they always inspire me to look into the real events and people. I never knew about the genius nun, Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz, from Mexico (then New Spain) during the 17th century. Sor Juana loved to learn and study, yet she was constantly in conflict with the restrictions for women during her time. I admire her because she continued to fight to follow her dreams. In her writings she fought for a woman’s right to learn and questioned the norms of society at the time. She was much ahead of her time in that respect. How had I not been taught her incredible story before? She was a genius, a brilliant writer, and a fighter for the rights of women.
Continue reading “Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz”