Quotulatiousness

February 22, 2018

Curse of the FRIDAY THE 13TH I IT’S HISTORY

Filed under: Europe, France, History, Middle East, Religion — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

IT’S HISTORY
Published on 21 Feb 2018

On today’s episode we are going to talk about the end of the Templar Order and the famous curse of Jacques de Molay.

February 15, 2018

The rise of the bourgeoisie

Filed under: Economics, Europe, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Ed West on the beginning of the end of military aristocracy in Europe and the rise of the merchant class:

The medieval system began with the Franks, whose mastery of cavalry made them the most powerful tribe in the former western empire. Later, the Normans used horses in far larger numbers and developed the cavalry charge, used to lethal effect at the Battle of Hastings. Cavalry underpinned the European social order because only those with a reasonable amount of land could afford the destrier warhorse, which cost 30 times as much as a regular farm animal and could carry up to 300lbs in weight, including 50lbs of iron armor — itself very costly.

The sons of the aristocracy were mostly schooled in warfare from a young age and despised learning and trade, which were viewed as dishonorable, leading to an excess of landless younger sons whose only skill was fighting, many of whom found their way to wars, or caused them, or made a living at absurdly dangerous tournaments. Cavalry developed certain rules — chivalry, which primarily concerned the treatment of aristocratic prisoners — as well as an idealization of the aristocratic warrior through the stories of Arthur, Lancelot, and Roland that singers recited at the courts of dukes and counts.

This order was first shaken in 1302 when France’s cavalry confidently marched north to suppress a revolt by the Flemish. Flanders is not naturally rich in resources — Vlaanderen means flooded — but its people had turned swamps into sheep pastures and towns, building a cloth industry that made it the wealthiest part of Europe, its GDP per capita 20 percent greater than France and 25 percent better than England. The wealth of Flanders’ merchants was such that when Queen Joan of France visited, she afterward wrote in horror that: “I thought I would be the only queen there, but I find myself surrounded by 600 other queens.”

The Flemish were traders, not knights, which is why the French were sure of victory. And yet, with enough money to pay for a large, well-drilled infantry, they were able, for the first time, to destroy the cavalry at the Battle of the Golden Spurs. It was the beginning of the end. No longer could the aristocracy simply push around the bourgeoisie, and as the latter grew in strength, it undermined the violence-obsessed culture of the nobility.

[…]

The aristocratic class that wished for glory in battle was in retreat, and yet, despite this, won the narrative. While in exile in Burgundy, King Edward had met a London merchant by the name of William Caxton who in his spare time transcribed books for aristocratic women. Exhausted at the toll of work, he learned through business contacts of a new technology in Germany, called movable type; when Caxton brought a printing press back home one of the most successful books he published was Thomas Malory’s The Death of Arthur.

It became the influential work in celebrating the Heroic Narrative of the Middle Ages, but the aristocratic ideals it harked back to were mostly a sham and ultimately rested on the rusty sword (and Malory was a convicted rapist). No account of any trader or banker could ever compete with these knights’ tales, of course, and yet you could argue that they were the real heroes who shaped our world.

February 3, 2018

Saladin – the Sword of Islam – IT’S HISTORY

Filed under: History, Middle East, Religion — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

IT’S HISTORY
Published on 2 Feb 2018

Saladin was the famous Muslim leader during the time of the Crusades.

How and why CASTLES were invented

Filed under: Britain, France, History, Military — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Shadiversity
Published on 21 Nov 2017

The Medieval castle is one of the most iconic fortresses ever built, so how and why were they invented?

December 30, 2017

The Dark Ages of Sex – All Pleasure is Sin! l THE HISTORY OF SEX

Filed under: Europe, History, Religion — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

IT’S HISTORY
Published on 21 Sep 2015

Sex became a sin in the Middle Ages. Following the promiscuous Ancient Rome and Greece, the Western World was indoctrinated with Medieval concepts of guilt and immorality. Adultery and sex for pleasure became unthinkable. Churches implemented strict rules, breaking them could result in public shaming. The severity of punishments would only increase after the Reformation.

December 24, 2017

QotD: Religious and literary depictions of happiness

Filed under: Quotations, Randomness — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

It would seem that human beings are not able to describe, nor perhaps to imagine, happiness except in terms of contrast. That is why the conception of Heaven or Utopia varies from age to age. In pre-industrial society Heaven was described as a place of endless rest, and as being paved with gold, because the experience of the average human being was overwork and poverty. The houris of the Muslim Paradise reflected a polygamous society where most of the women disappeared into the harems of the rich. But these pictures of ‘eternal bliss’ always failed because as the bliss became eternal (eternity being thought of as endless time), the contrast ceased to operate. Some of the conventions embedded in our literature first arose from physical conditions which have now ceased to exist. The cult of spring is an example. In the Middle Ages spring did not primarily mean swallows and wild flowers. It meant green vegetables, milk and fresh meat after several months of living on salt pork in smoky windowless huts. The spring songs were gay Do nothing but eat and make good cheer, And thank Heaven for the merry year When flesh is cheap and females dear, And lusty lads roam here and there So merrily, And ever among so merrily! because there was something to be so gay about. The winter was over, that was the great thing. Christmas itself, a pre-Christian festival, probably started because there had to be an occasional outburst of overeating and drinking to make a break in the unbearable northern winter.

The inability of mankind to imagine happiness except in the form of relief, either from effort or pain, presents Socialists with a serious problem. Dickens can describe a poverty-stricken family tucking into a roast goose, and can make them appear happy; on the other hand, the inhabitants of perfect universes seem to have no spontaneous gaiety and are usually somewhat repulsive into the bargain. But clearly we are not aiming at the kind of world Dickens described, nor, probably, at any world he was capable of imagining. The Socialist objective is not a society where everything comes right in the end, because kind old gentlemen give away turkeys. What are we aiming at, if not a society in which ‘charity’ would be unnecessary? We want a world where Scrooge, with his dividends, and Tiny Tim, with his tuberculous leg, would both be unthinkable. But does that mean we are aiming at some painless, effortless Utopia? At the risk of saying something which the editors of Tribune may not endorse, I suggest that the real objective of Socialism is not happiness. Happiness hitherto has been a by-product, and for all we know it may always remain so. The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood. This is widely felt to be the case, though it is not usually said, or not said loudly enough. Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step. Where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue.

George Orwell (writing as “John Freeman”), “Can Socialists Be Happy?”, Tribune, 1943-12-20.

November 29, 2017

History of the Gun – Part 1: The Hand Cannon

Filed under: History, Military, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

RugerFirearms
Published on 10 Dec 2009

The “History of the Gun” online video series produced by Ruger is a unique look at the progression of firearms technology throughout the years, hosted by Senior Editor of Guns & Ammo Garry James. Part 1 examines the Hand Cannon.

November 26, 2017

The “fall” of the Roman Empire

Filed under: Europe, History — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

If you haven’t read much history, you may be aware that the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD. If you have read a bit more history, you’ll be fully aware that the Western Roman Empire fell then … the rest of it lasted nearly another thousand years. Richard Blake, who has a very readable series of novels set in the “blind spot” of history between the collapse of the West and the revival of the Eastern Empire, offers a quick thumbnail sketch of the historical background to his fiction:

In 395 AD, following a century of experiment, the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western administrative zones, with joint Emperors in Rome and in Constantinople. The purpose was to let each Emperor deal with the pressure on his own critical frontiers – the barbarians along the Rhine and Danube frontiers in the West, and the Persians along the Euphrates and desert frontiers in the East.

In theory, each Emperor was equal. In practice, the Eastern Emperor, ruling from Constantinople, was soon the senior partner. During the next two hundred years, becoming increasingly Greek in language in culture, the Eastern Empire flourished, and Constantinople became one of the largest and most opulent cities in the world.

The Western Empire went into immediate and rapid decline. In 406 AD, barbarians crossed the Rhine in large numbers, and broke into Italy. In 410 AD, they sacked Rome. By then, the Western Capital had been moved to Ravenna, a city in North Eastern Italy, impregnable behind marshes, and within easier reach of the frontiers – and within easier reach of Constantinople.

During the next seventy years, the Barbarians took France and Spain and North Africa from the Empire. Britain remained in the Empire, but its people were told to look to their own defence. In 476 AD, the last Western Emperor was deposed. By 500 AD, the whole of the Western Empire had been replaced by a patchwork of barbarian kingdoms.

After 527 AD, the Emperor Justinian began to reach out from Constantinople to reconquer the lost Western provinces. He recovered North Africa and Italy and part of Spain. However, the effort was exhausting. After his death in 568, the Empire lost much of Italy to the Lombard barbarians, and Rome itself fell under papal domination. Slavic and Avar barbarians crossed the Danube and conquered and burned all the way to Athens and the walls of Constantinople. After 602, the Persians began a war of destruction against the Empire. Though they ultimately lost, they did briefly take Egypt and Syria.

Fire-arrows!

Filed under: History, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Lindybeige
Published on 10 Jun 2016

Fire-arrows – did archers really use them in battles? We see them in the movies, so presumably not.

This is the most-anticipated video of all for this channel, which naturally makes me a bit nervous. Will people be hideously disappointed? I mentioned two and a half years ago that I would make a video on this topic, and this video shows that I am as good as my word, and not over-hasty either.

My thanks to the three people who pointed out quite correctly that when I said ‘Francis Bacon’ (1561-1626) I meant Roger Bacon (1219-1292).

November 14, 2017

Why the Vikings Disappeared

Filed under: Europe, History, Religion — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

KnowledgeHub
Published on 17 Feb 2017

The Vikings were infamous in the Middle Ages for their raids against the coasts of Northern Europe. Their age however was quite brief in the span of time, only 300 years. What caused the end of the Vikings?

November 6, 2017

Chainmail – some points about

Filed under: Europe, History, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Lindybeige
Published on 16 May 2009

In which I ramble for a bit making a series of near-random points about chainmail, or mail, or whatever you prefer to call it.

There is much on mail on my website. Please check there first before writing to me asking questions on this topic.

www.LloydianAspects.co.uk

October 26, 2017

How A Man Shall Be Armed: 15th Century

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Royal Armouries
Published on 20 Feb 2017

The 15th Century was the highpoint of the armourers craft, with knights across Europe taking to the field of battle in elaborate and almost impregnable suits of plate armour. Discover how a knight of the 15th Century would arm themselves for combat.

October 25, 2017

Crusader helmets

Filed under: History, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Lindybeige
Published on 4 Sep 2014

Here I show you three common styles of crusader helmet, and I comment upon them.

Thanks to Dr David Tetard for the loan of his helmets. These particular ones were bought here:

www.getdressedforbattle.co.uk
http://www.kovexars.cz/index.php (HL 007 and 103)

Lindybeige: a channel of archaeology, ancient and medieval warfare, rants, swing dance, travelogues, evolution, and whatever else occurs to me to make.

October 21, 2017

Can You Move in Armour?

Filed under: History — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Medievalists
Published on 30 Jun 2016

“Moving in harness”, a short film by Daniel Jaquet, realised by Vincent Deluz. On display at the exhibition “Armatus Corpus” at the Military Museum, Castle of Morges, Switzerland – The issue of mobility in armour is addressed there with striking images of actual armour pieces to demonstrate the range of movement allowed when worn. Today, our contribution follows the same goals, but with other technological means and approach. In this video we have put in images the deeds of the famous knight Jean le Maingre, known as Boucicaut, which were put in writing in the early 15th century. It includes a well-known passage where his training in armour is described in some details, outlining what you could actually do in a late medieval armour.

Learn more at http://www.medievalists.net/2016/07/can-you-move-in-armour-an-experiment-in-mythbusting/

October 9, 2017

The Centuries-Old Debt That’s Still Paying Interest

Filed under: Economics, Europe, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Tom Scott
Published on 25 Sep 2017

In the archives of Yale University, there’s a 367-year-old bond from the water authority of Lekdijk Bovendams, in the Netherlands. And it’s still paying interest.

Thanks to:
Prof. Geert Rouwenhorst for his time and explanation
All the team at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin) for editing the interview
and Leendert van Egmond for telling me about the bond!

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