no but (among the 1424356 other things on my list) i so need to write a book about medieval history for a popular audience, just because the reality would blow people’s minds

there are so many things you can learn from it, so many misconceptions to destroy, and such an interesting social and cultural study of people learning to do things in different ways after rome fell. they had a period of almost 1000 years where classical culture was NOT the automatic standard. that is why we have gothic architecture and script. why they invented new literary and artistic genres, why they developed new laws. where, unlike in the ancient world, women and slaves were not relegated to a position of utter inferiority – in fact, slavery was abolished throughout most of the middle ages, and only began returning in the 16th-17th century when people were determined to replicate the criteria and legal systems of antiquity. same with women. you can find records of women doctors, bookbinders, copyists, shopkeepers, traders etc throughout the high middle ages. women religious were HUGELY influential; the abbey of fontevrault in france was required to have an abbess, not an abbot, in charge. queens regularly ruled whenever the king wasn’t around. it was only in 1593 that france, for example, decided to outlaw them from public/professional life. the salic law, made by philip iv in the early 14th century, barred them from inheriting the throne and later spread throughout europe, but that was not the case beforehand.

don’t talk to me about how “feudal anarchy” was a thing. feudalism was the last thing from anarchy, and it wasn’t about a lord mistreating or killing his peasants however he pleased. it was a highly structured and regulated system of mutual obligations – not a desirable condition for the serf, but still the bedrock on which society functioned. serfs were not slaves. they had personhood, social mobility, could own property, marry, form families, and often obtain freedom once they were no longer in an economic condition to make serfhood a necessity. abbot suger of france (late 11th-early 12th century) was most likely a son of serfs. he was educated at the same monastery school as the later king louis vi, ran the kingdom while louis vii was on crusade, and became the foremost historian of the period and partially responsible for establishing the tradition of ecclesiastical chronicles.

don’t talk to me about how everyone was a fervent and uncritical religious fanatic. church attendance on the parish level was so low that in 1215, pope innocent III had to issue a bull ordering people to take communion at least once a year. the content of clerical grievances tells us that people behaved and thought exactly as we do today – they wanted to sleep in on sunday, they wanted to have sex when they pleased, they didn’t believe the guy mumbling bad latin at them, they openly questioned the institutional church’s legitimacy (especially in the 13th century – it was taking assaults on every side as splinter and spinoff sects of every nature grew, along with literacy and the ability of common people to access books and learning for themselves). in the 14th century, john wycliffe and the lollards blasted the rigidly hierarchical nature of medieval society (“when adam delved and eve span, who then was the gentleman?”) partly as a result, wat tyler, a fellow englishman, led the peasants’ revolt in 1381. yes, the catholic church had a social and institutional power which we can’t imagine, but it was fought and questioned and spoken back to every step of the way.

don’t talk to me about how they were scientifically ignorant. isidore of seville, in the frickin 7th century, wrote books and books on science and reason from his home at the center of the andalusian “golden age” in muslim spain. toledo in the 9th century was a hotbed of theology, mathematics, and writing; admiring western european observers called multicultural, educated iberia “the ornament of the world.” in the 8th century in the monastery of jarrow in northumbria (aka in the middle of FRICKING NOWHERE) the venerable bede was able to open his “ecclesiastical history of the english people” with a discussion on cultural, linguistic, demographic, historical, geographical, and astronomical details, and refers to britain’s location near the north pole as a reason for its days being long in summer and short in winter (“for the sun has then departed to the region of Africa”). while bede’s information is obviously imperfect by virtue of his social and chronological location, he is a trained scholar with a strong critical sensibility and the ability to turn a memorable phrase; discussing an attempted imperial coup by an illiterate roman soldier, he sniffs, “As soon as he had seized power he crossed over to Gaul. There he was often deluded by the barbarians into making doubtful treaties, and so inflicted great harm on the body politic.”

don’t talk to me about how they were uneducated and illiterate. they were well versed in antiquity and classical authors through the high middle ages. they didn’t just suddenly discover them again when the 15th century started. the renaissance wasn’t about finding the texts, it was about deciding to apply them in a systematic way. beforehand, the 13th century saw the rediscovery of aristotle and the development of a new philosophical system to compete with the long-entrenched and studied works of plato. thomas aquinas and the dominicans were writing in this century. dante wrote the inferno in this century. i could go on.

don’t talk to me about the stereotype of the silent and oppressed woman – we already discussed that a bit above. i should also add, women usually had voting rights on the level of their community and this wasn’t regarded as odd. i already wrote a ranty post earlier on the myth that “it was just medieval times” and thus a rapey free-for-all.

we should also talk about how a form of gay marriage was legal for hundreds of years – two men could take wedding vows in a church and live together like any other married couple (though they called them “spiritual brotherhoods”). we should also talk about the cult of male bonds between knights in the 12th/13th century, and how it was idealized as the highest form of love. i also wrote a post a while ago about richard the lionheart and how sexuality worked. so.

we should talk about how all of this was happening in the time period that routinely gets written off as basically a wash between the fall of rome and the renaissance. we should remember that the renaissance was what led to modern structures of oppression for women, slaves, etc – everyone who had been worth nothing in antiquity. we should tear into the myth of historical progress and how it was invented to justify massive, wholesale colonization, genocide, and “civilization” in the supposedly enlightened 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries – because nothing we do now, apparently, can be as bad as what those bad ol’ bloodthirsty ignoramuses did back then.

we shouldn’t idealize the medieval era as a golden age either. that is never the right way to approach history. but we should take a long, long look at why we are so insistent on our simplistic, erroneous concepts of this time period, and how exactly they serve to justify our behaviors, mindsets, and practices today.

further reading to support any of these topics available on request.


Royal Birthdays for today, April 8th:

Peter I, King of Portugal, 1320

Philip IV, King of Spain, 1605

Marie Caroline of Austria, Crown Princess of Saxony, 1801

Christian IX, King of Denmark, 1818

Albert I, King of Belgium, 1875

Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma, 1930

Iskandar of Johor, Sultan of Johor, 1932

Lalla Amina, Princess of Morocco, 1954

Leah Isadora Behn, Daughter of Martha Louise of Norway, 2005


Knightfall trailer aesthetics (x)

“Maudits ! Maudits ! Tous maudits jusqu'à la treizième génération de vos races !” / (“Accursed! Accursed! You shall be accursed to the thirteenth generation of your lines!”) - Les Rois Maudits (The Accursed Kings) by Maurice Druon

List of medieval European scientists
  • Anthemius of Tralles (ca. 474 – ca. 534): a professor of geometry and architecture, authored many influential works on mathematics and was one of the architects of the famed Hagia Sophia, the largest building in the world at its time. His works were among the most important source texts in the Arab world and Western Europe for centuries after.
  • John Philoponus (ca. 490–ca. 570): also known as John the Grammarian, a Christian Byzantine philosopher, launched a revolution in the understanding of physics by critiquing and correcting the earlier works of Aristotle. In the process he proposed important concepts such as a rudimentary notion of inertia and the invariant acceleration of falling objects. Although his works were repressed at various times in the Byzantine Empire, because of religious controversy, they would nevertheless become important to the understanding of physics throughout Europe and the Arab world.
  • Paul of Aegina (ca. 625–ca. 690): considered by some to be the greatest Christian Byzantine surgeon, developed many novel surgical techniques and authored the medical encyclopedia Medical Compendium in Seven Books. The book on surgery in particular was the definitive treatise in Europe and the Islamic world for hundreds of years.
  • The Venerable Bede (ca. 672–735): a Christian monk of the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow who wrote a work On the Nature of Things, several books on the mathematical / astronomical subject of computus, the most influential entitled On the Reckoning of Time. He made original discoveries concerning the nature of the tides and his works on computus became required elements of the training of clergy, and thus greatly influenced early medieval knowledge of the natural world.
  • Rabanus Maurus (c. 780 – 856): a Christian monk and teacher, later archbishop of Mainz, who wrote a treatise on Computus and the encyclopedic work De universo. His teaching earned him the accolade of "Praeceptor Germaniae," or "the teacher of Germany."
  • Abbas Ibn Firnas (810 – 887): a polymath and inventor in Muslim Spain, made contributions in a variety of fields and is most known for his contributions to glass-making and aviation. He developed novel ways of manufacturing and using glass. He broke his back at an unsuccessful attempt at flying a primitive hang glider in 875.
  • Pope Sylvester II (c. 946–1003): a Christian scholar, teacher, mathematician, and later pope, reintroduced the abacus and armillary sphere to Western Europe after they had been lost for centuries following the Greco-Roman era. He was also responsible in part for the spread of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system in Western Europe.
  • Maslamah al-Majriti (died 1008): a mathematician, astronomer, and chemist in Muslim Spain, made contributions in many areas, from new techniques for surveying to updating and improving the astronomical tables of al-Khwarizmi and inventing a process for producing mercury oxide.[citation needed] He is most famous, though, for having helped transmit knowledge of mathematics and astronomy to Muslim Spain and Christian Western Europe.
  • Abulcasis (936-1013): a physician and scientist in Muslim Spain, is considered to be the father of modern surgery. He wrote numerous medical texts, developed many innovative surgical instruments, and developed a variety of new surgical techniques and practices. His texts were considered the definitive works on surgery in Europe until the Renaissance.
  • Constantine the African (c. 1020&–1087): a Christian native of Carthage, is best known for his translating of ancient Greek and Roman medical texts from Arabic into Latin while working at the Schola Medica Salernitana in Salerno, Italy. Among the works he translated were those of Hippocrates and Galen.
  • Arzachel (1028–1087): the foremost astronomer of the early second millennium, lived in Muslim Spain and greatly expanded the understanding and accuracy of planetary models and terrestrial measurements used for navigation. He developed key technologies including the equatorium and universal latitude-independent astrolabe.
  • Avempace (died 1138): a famous physicist from Muslim Spain who had an important influence on later physicists such as Galileo. He was the first to theorize the concept of a reaction force for every force exerted.
  • Adelard of Bath (c. 1080 – c. 1152): was a 12th-century English scholar, known for his work in astronomy, astrology, philosophy and mathematics.
  • Avenzoar (1091–1161): from Muslim Spain, introduced an experimental method in surgery, employing animal testing in order to experiment with surgical procedures before applying them to human patients.[4] He also performed the earliest dissections and postmortem autopsies on both humans as well as animals.
  • Robert Grosseteste (1168–1253): Bishop of Lincoln, was the central character of the English intellectual movement in the first half of the 13th century and is considered the founder of scientific thought in Oxford. He had a great interest in the natural world and wrote texts on the mathematical sciences of optics, astronomy and geometry. In his commentaries on Aristotle's scientific works, he affirmed that experiments should be used in order to verify a theory, testing its consequences. Roger Bacon was influenced by his work on optics and astronomy.
  • Albert the Great (1193–1280): Doctor Universalis, was one of the most prominent representatives of the philosophical tradition emerging from the Dominican Order. He is one of the thirty-three Saints of the Roman Catholic Church honored with the title of Doctor of the Church. He became famous for his vast knowledge and for his defence of the pacific coexistence between science and religion. Albert was an essential figure in introducing Greek and Islamic science into the medieval universities, although not without hesitation with regard to particular Aristotelian theses. In one of his most famous sayings he asserted: "Science does not consist in ratifying what others say, but of searching for the causes of phenomena." Thomas Aquinas was his most famous pupil.
  • John of Sacrobosco (c. 1195 – c. 1256): was a scholar, monk, and astronomer (probably English, but possibly Irish or Scottish) who taught at the University of Paris and wrote an authoritative and influential mediaeval astronomy text, the Tractatus de Sphaera; the Algorismus, which introduced calculations with Hindu-Arabic numerals into the European university curriculum; the Compotus ecclesiasticis on Easter reckoning; and the Tractatus de quadrante on the construction and use of the astronomical quadrant.
  • Jordanus de Nemore (late 12th, early 13th century): was one of the major pure mathematicians of the Middle Ages. He wrote treatises on mechanics ("the science of weights"), on basic and advanced arithmetic, on algebra, on geometry, and on the mathematics of stereographic projection.
  • Villard de Honnecourt (fl. 13th century): a French engineer and architect who made sketches of mechanical devices such as automatons and perhaps drew a picture of an early escapement mechanism for clockworks.
  • Roger Bacon (1214–94): Doctor Admirabilis, joined the Franciscan Order around 1240 where, influenced by Grosseteste, Alhacen and others, he dedicated himself to studies where he implemented the observation of nature and experimentation as the foundation of natural knowledge. Bacon wrote in such areas as mechanics, astronomy, geography and, most of all, optics. The optical research of Grosseteste and Bacon established optics as an area of study at the medieval university and formed the basis for a continuous tradition of research into optics that went all the way up to the beginning of the 17th century and the foundation of modern optics by Kepler.[8]
  • Ibn al-Baitar (died 1248): a botanist and pharmacist in Muslim Spain, researched over 1400 types of plants, foods, and drugs and compiled pharmaceutical and medical encyclopedias documenting his research. These were used in the Islamic world and Europe until the 19th century.
  • Theodoric Borgognoni (1205-1296): was an Italian Dominican friar and Bishop of Cervia who promoted the uses of both antiseptics and anaesthetics in surgery. His written work had a deep impact on Henri de Mondeville, who studied under him while living in Italy and later became the court physician for King Philip IV of France.
  • William of Saliceto (1210-1277): was an Italian surgeon of Lombardy who advanced medical knowledge and even challenged the work of the renowned Greco-Roman surgeon Galen (129-216 AD) by arguing that allowing pus to form in wounds was detrimental to the health of he patient.
  • Thomas Aquinas (1227–74): Doctor Angelicus, was an Italian theologian and friar in the Dominican Order. As his mentor Albert the Great, he is a Catholic Saint and Doctor of the Church. In addition to his extensive commentaries on Aristotle's scientific treatises, he was also said to have written an important alchemical treatise titled Aurora Consurgens. However, his most lasting contribution to the scientific development of the period was his role in the incorporation of Aristotelianism into the Scholastic tradition.
  • Arnaldus de Villa Nova (1235-1313): was an alchemist, astrologer, and physician from the Crown of Aragon who translated various Arabic medical texts, including those of Avicenna, and performed optical experiments with camera obscura.
  • John Duns Scotus (1266–1308): Doctor Subtilis, was a member of the Franciscan Order, philosopher and theologian. Emerging from the academic environment of the University of Oxford. where the presence of Grosseteste and Bacon was still palpable, he had a different view on the relationship between reason and faith as that of Thomas Aquinas. For Duns Scotus, the truths of faith could not be comprehended through the use of reason. Philosophy, hence, should not be a servant to theology, but act independently. He was the mentor of one of the greatest names of philosophy in the Middle Ages: William of Ockham.
  • Mondino de Liuzzi (c. 1270-1326): was an Italian physician, surgeon, and anatomist from Bologna who was one of the first in Medieval Europe to advocate for the public dissection of cadavers for advancing the field of anatomy. This followed a long-held Christian ban on dissections performed by the Alexandrian school in the late Roman Empire.
  • William of Ockham (1285–1350): Doctor Invincibilis, was an English Franciscan friar, philosopher, logician and theologian. Ockham defended the principle of parsimony, which could already be seen in the works of his mentor Duns Scotus. His principle later became known as Occam's Razor and states that if there are various equally valid explanations for a fact, then the simplest one should be chosen. This became a foundation of what would come to be known as the scientific method and one of the pillars of reductionism in science. Ockham probably died of the Black Plague. Jean Buridan and Nicole Oresme were his followers.
  • Jacopo Dondi dell'Orologio (1290-1359): was an Italian doctor, clockmaker, and astronomer from Padua who wrote on a number of scientific subjects such as pharmacology, surgery, astrology, and natural sciences. He also designed an astronomical clock.
  • Richard of Wallingford (1292-1336): an English abbot, mathematician, astronomer, and horologist who designed an astronomical clock as well as an equatorium to calculate the lunar, solar and planetary longitudes, as well as predict eclipses.
  • Jean Buridan (1300–58): was a French philosopher and priest. Although he was one of the most famous and influent philosophers of the late Middle Ages, his work today is not renowned by people other than philosophers and historians. One of his most significant contributions to science was the development of the theory of impetus, that explained the movement of projectiles and objects in free-fall. This theory gave way to the dynamics of Galileo Galilei and for Isaac Newton's famous principle of Inertia.
  • Guy de Chauliac (1300-1368): was a French physician and surgeon who wrote the Chirurgia magna, a widely read publication throughout medieval Europe that became one of the standard textbooks for medical knowledge for the next three centuries. During the Black Death he clearly distinguished Bubonic Plague and Pneumonic Plague as separate diseases, that they were contagious from person to person, and offered advice such as quarantine to avoid their spread in the population. He also served as the personal physician for three successive popes of the Avignon Papacy.
  • John Arderne (1307-1392): was an English physician and surgeon who invented his own anesthetic that combined hemlock, henbane, and opium. In his writings, he also described how to properly excise and remove the abscess caused by anal fistula.
  • Nicole Oresme (c. 1323–82): was one of the most original thinkers of the 14th century. A theologian and bishop of Lisieux, he wrote influential treatises in both Latin and French on mathematics, physics, astronomy, and economics. In addition to these contributions, Oresme strongly opposed astrology and speculated about the possibility of a plurality of worlds.
  • Giovanni Dondi dell'Orologio (c. 1330-1388): was a clockmaker from Padua, Italy who designed the astarium, an astronomical clock and planetarium that utilized the escapement mechanism that had been recently invented in Europe. He also attempted to describe the mechanics of the solar system with mathematical precision.

Leopold I and his first wife, Margarita Teresa of Spain, were both Uncle/Niece AND first cousins.

Leopold’s older sister, Mariana of Austria, was Margarita Teresa’s mother.

Leopold’s mother was Maria Anna of Spain, who was the younger sister of of Margarita’s father, Philip IV.


20th May 1303: Treaty of Paris Concluded between Edward I of England and Philip IV of France

The Treaty of Paris was signed on 20 May 1303 between Philip IV of France and Edward I of England. Under the terms of the treaty, Gascony was restored to England and a diplomatic marriage was arranged between Edward’s son (the future Edward II) and Philip IV’s daughter (the future Queen Isabella of England).

Gascony had first become a possession of England when the Angevin King Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. Gascony was part of Eleanor’s vast inheritance of lands. The duchy was under the vassalage of the French King.

On his diplomatic mission in 1286, Edward had paid homage to the new king, Philip IV in 1286, but in 1294 Philip declared Gascony forfeit when Edward refused to appear before him in Paris to discuss the recent conflict between English, Gascon, and French sailors (that had resulted in several French ships being captured, along with the sacking of the French port of La Rochelle).

War would follow, but troubles back in England with the Welsh and Scots meant that Edward had to sue for peace. War continued though when the French made a secret pact with the Scots to undermine Edward I.

The treaty and betrothal restored Gascony, but the Duchy (among other things) would continue to cause hostilities, leading into the Hundred Years War.

Images: 1) Erected at Westminster Abbey sometime during reign of Edward I, thought to be an image of the King c. 1272- 1307 (source) 2) Hommage of Edward I (King of England, here acting as the Duke of Gascony) to Philippe le Bel (Philip IV, King of France) “Les Grandes Chroniques de France”, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Jean Fouquet c. 15th century (source).


history meme (french edition)  →   6 couples (1/6) Philip IV the Fair & Joan I of Navarre

Philip’s love for Joan was noted by many contemporaries who claimed that the king ’always wanted to be near his wife’. Joan had a gentle and sympathetic character; she gave Philip the affection that had so long been denied to him. They functioned very well as a personal and political partnership in many ways, and contemporary evidence appears to indicate that they had a close, harmonious and healthy personal relationship. The balance of power seems to have varied in each of their different roles: Joan was an active and overpopular consort, fulfilling all expectations in her roles of wife, mother, patroness and mistress of the court. (…) Only 37 at the time of her death in 1305, Philip never considered remarrying, though he could have gained considerable financial and political advantages through a second marriage. E. Woodacre, The Queens Regnant of Navarre: Succession, Politics, and Partnership, 1274-1512 //  J. R. Strayer, The Reign of Philip the Fair.


Top 10 Cruel Monarchs (or with Black legend)


Prognathism is well recorded as a trait of several historical individuals. The most famous case is that of the House of Habsburg, among whom mandibular prognathism was a family trait; indeed, the condition is frequently called “Habsburg Jaw” as a result of its centuries-long association with the family. Among the Habsburgs, the most prominent case of mandibular prognathism is that of Charles II of Spain, who had prognathism so pronounced he could neither speak clearly nor chew as a result of generations of politically motivated inbreeding.


March 18th 1314: Jacques de Molay killed

On this day in 1314, Jacques de Molay, the twenty-third and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake. The Templar knights were a major fighting unit of the Crusades, aiming to preserve Christendom and regain control of the Holy Land. After control the Holy Land was lost to Muslim forces, support for the Knights Templar started to fade. King Philip IV of France began to mistrust the group and wanted to free himself of his debts to the Templar; he thus had many leading Knights burned at the stake. Pope Clement V disbanded the group in 1312, and the hunt continued for remaining members. The Knights were tortured until they confessed to a range of crimes, including heresy, obscene rituals, and idolatry. De Molay had been forced to make such a confession, and despite retracting the confession, he was charged with heresy and burned at the stake. Pope Clement died a month later and King Philip died that year. With their leader gone, the remaining Templars were arrested or removed from the group and the Knights Templar were no more.

“God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death"
- De Molay’s words from the stake

On the day of the birth, not a bench nor a table was left unbroken in the palace, nor a single pastry-cook’s nor tavern that was not sacked. Tomorrow [December 6] they say that his Majesty will go on horseback to the Atocha to give thanks to the Mother of God… They say the prince is a pretty little chap, and that the King wishes him to be baptized at once, before the extreme cold comes on… There are to be masquerades, bull-fights and cane-tourneys as soon as the Queen stands up to see them, as well as plays with machinery invented by an engineer, a servant of the Nuncio, to be represented at the theatre of Retiro, and the saloon of the palace… The municipality, following the lead of the Councils, have gone to congratulate the King… and no gentleman, great or small, has failed to do the like.

can we just discuss the resemblance of maria theresa of spain and mariana of austria???

 maria theresa


like holy crap

they were cousins but later on mariana became maria theresa’s stepmommy because that’s how the habsburgs rolled

imagine being philip of spain (maria theresa’s daddy and mariana’s uncle/husband)

“which is my wife and which is my daughter???”


“am i allowed to ask???”

“no she’ll get mad”

“idk man”

Picture this: Mean Girls except Philip IV of France is Regina, Clement V is Gretchen, Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor is Karen, Edward II is Cady, and Janice Ian is the entire Knights Templar