Joan of England was betrothed to Peter of Castile, son of Alfonso XI of Castile in 1345, and left England to journey to Castile in the summer of 1348. She stayed at the city of Bordeaux, in southern France. En-route, there was a severe outbreak of the plague and members of her entourage began to fall sick and die. Joan was moved, probably to the small village of Loremo, where she too succumbed to the Black Death on September 2, 1348. Edward wrote mournfully to Alphonso XI of Castille:

“We are sure that your Magnificence knows how, after much complicated negotiation about the intended marriage of the renowned Prince Pedro, your eldest son, and our most beloved daughter Joan, which was designed to nurture perpetual peace and create an indissoluble union between our Royal Houses, we sent our said daughter to Bordeaux, en route for your territories in Spain. But see, with what intense bitterness of heart we have to tell you this, destructive Death (who seizes young and old alike, sparing no one and reducing rich and poor to the same level) has lamentably snatched from both of us our dearest daughter, whom we loved best of all, as her virtues demanded. No fellow human being could be surprised if we were inwardly desolated by the sting of this bitter grief, for we are humans too. But we, who have placed our trust in God and our Life between his hands, where he has held it closely through many great dangers, we give thanks to him that one of our own family, free of all stain, whom we have loved with our life, has been sent ahead to Heaven to reign among the choirs of virgins, where she can gladly intercede for our offenses before God Himself” [x]


West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, Suffolk, England

via Amethinah on Flickr

“West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village is both an archaeological site and an open-air museum. Evidence for intermittent human habitation at the site stretches from the Mesolithic through the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Romano-British period, but it is best known for the small village that existed on the site between the mid-5th century and the early 7th century CE, during the early Anglo-Saxon period. During this time, around 70 sunken-featured buildings were constructed on the site.”

I truly enjoy learning about sites such as these. I find them to be a pleasant and eye-opening way to show how life was in some corner of our past. I particularly enjoy discovering about such a site because it truly gives a small window - although not a perfect one - on the ways of life from before our time.

Could Traumatic Brain Injury Explain Henry VIII's Irrational Behavior?

Could King Henry VIII have suffered from the same brain injuries affecting some modern-day football players? That’s the question at the center of a new study looking at traumatic brain injury.

If you know anything about Henry VIII it’s probably this: he had a lot of wives. Six to be exact, two of whom he put to death. But the historical record also preserves something else about the mid-16th century English monarch: his nasty, impulsive temper, which is enshrined today in countless dramas like Showtime's The Tudors.

Arash Salardini, a behavioral neurologist at Yale University, said Henry VIII wasn’t born as an erratic, cruel monarch – instead, he thinks Henry’s impulsiveness developed thanks to repeated traumatic brain injuries encountered while hunting and jousting.

“In 1524 he was unseated and he was hit in the head with a jousting stick,” said Salardini. “It was actually through the visor, because he didn’t have the visor down.”

The following year, Henry VIII had an accident while hawking. Salardini said the King was vaulting, he fell, hit is head, and “he almost drowns,” Salardini said. “He was, at least, dazed during that episode.”

“[The year] 1536 is the big event. Where he’s unhorsed, and the horse falls on top of him and he’s described as being ‘without’ speech for two hours,” said Salardini. “So he probably had repeated head injuries, not only the three episodes, which are major, but other minor ones throughout his life.”

(Above: An 18-year-old King Henry, left, at his coronation in 1509. As a youth, Yale University’s Arash Salardini described the king as “vigorous, generous and intelligent.” On the right, Henry VIII in 1542, the same year he executed his fifth wife, Catherine Howard. By then, Salardini said the Tudor monarch was in failing health, suffering from headaches, depression, and marked changes to his personality.)

To reach the brain-injury conclusion, Salardini and his team reviewed volumes of letters and records from Henry and his court – pairing those up with medical histories to track how Henry’s injuries matched up with more and more instances of erratic behavior.

“He’s given to fits of anger – often with quite trivial instigation and he has little empathy with people who used to be his, essentially, 'chums,’” Salardini said. “Members of the aristocracy that he grew up with and he becomes almost sociopathic in the way he chops off their heads at the smallest instigation,” he continued. “There is also a cognitive aspect to all of this. His memory is terrible. He gives orders and doesn’t remember them.”

As a neurologist, Salardini said he came into the project thinking the Tudor king had a personality disorder, but his team’s review of the literature changed that opinion.

He now supports a theory first put forward by a historian in 1931 arguing Henry’s behavior was in fact due to head injury. “I’m now confident they’re right. And the psychiatric explanation, which I thought was the explanation is actually not the case,” he said.

The research was published in Journal of Clinical Neuroscience.

(Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons)


Ira’s Shakespeare Dream    

By Glenda Armand
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Ira Aldridge dreamed of being on stage one day performing the great works of William Shakespeare. He spent every chance he got at the local theaters, memorizing each actor’s lines for all of Shakespeare’s plays. Ira just knew he could be a great Shakespearean actor if only given the chance. But in the early 1800s, only white actors were allowed to perform Shakespeare. Ira’s only option was to perform musical numbers at the all-black theater in New York city.

Despite being discouraged by his teacher and father, Ira determinedly pursued his dream and set off to England, the land of Shakespeare. There, Ira honed his acting skills and eventually performed at the acclaimed Theatre Royal Haymarket. Through perseverance and determination, Ira became one of the most celebrated Shakespearean actors throughout Europe.

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream at Lee & Low books: https://www.leeandlow.com/books/2885

[Ira Aldridge; portrait by William Mulready c. 1840]

MedievalPoC posts about Ira Aldridge, Shakespearean Actor in Victorian London


Click Here To Watch Now || Full Movie 1080p HD Quality

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Synopsis : Brian Helgeland (Payback) wrote and directed this crime drama about the rise and fall of two of the most notorious gangsters in England’s history: the Kray twins. Tom Hardy stars as both Ronald and Reginald Kray, identical twins who rose to prominence in London’s underworld in the 1950s and ‘60s, using gruesome, unhinged tactics and savvy business acumen to seize control of the city. The film is adapted from John Pearson’s nonfiction tome The Profession of Violence. Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Taron Egerton, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri, and Paul Bettany co-star.
Release Date : 2015-09-09
Casts : Colin Morgan, Jane Wood, Christopher Eccleston, Mel Raido, Adam Fogerty, Martin McCreadie, Sam Spruell, Bob Cryer, Nicholas Farrell, David Thewlis, Charley Palmer Rothwell, Lorraine Stanley, Taron Egerton, Tom Hardy, Samantha Pearl, Tara Fitzgerald, Paul Bettany, Kevin McNally, Shane Attwooll, Emily Browning, John Sessions, Duffy, Millie Brady, Chazz Palminteri, Paul Anderson, Chris Mason, Stephen Lord, Aneurin Barnard
Duration : 131 minutes runtime
Rating : 6.4

One of York's Headless Romans was Middle Eastern in Origin
“This is the first refined genomic evidence for far-reaching ancient mobility and also the first snapshot of British genomes in the early centuries AD, indicating continuity with an Iron Age sample before the migrations of the Anglo-Saxon period.”

“Whichever the identity of the enigmatic headless Romans from York, our sample of the genomes of seven of them, when combined with isotopic evidence, indicate six to be of British origin and one to have origins in the Middle East. It confirms the cosmopolitan character of the Roman Empire even at its most northerly extent.

I like that this analysis was done by a multidisciplinary team. :) Ivory Bangle Lady, a wealthy woman of African origin, was also found in Roman era York.