Peasants on Crusade

When we think about the Crusades, our normal thought is of armoured Christian knights fighting on horseback against the Muslim Turks. It is often forgotten that there were masses of ordinary people, including women and children, who went on these journeys and fought alongside the soldiers and upper classes. In the First Crusade, the military … More Peasants on Crusade

Early Modern Discovery

Looking back at this day in 1493 the Portuguese-born discoverer Christopher Columbus mistook manatees for mermaids when he sailed near the Dominican Republic. He reports seeing three “mermaids” and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.” In the history of the discovery of new lands, there can be seen a pattern … More Early Modern Discovery

“Henry VIII is actually one of my heroes”

I overheard these words from a senior gentleman. Now, this topic is a very controversial one as the ‘Henry’ and ‘hero’ haven’t exactly met eye-to-eye in Tudor historiography. This Tudor has traditionally been remembered for being the perpetrator of an obstructive reign. But I like to view things from a more revisionist standpoint. The characteristics … More “Henry VIII is actually one of my heroes”

The Invisible Contributors and Maintainers of Society

Until recently, history consisted only of men. The writers of history were mainly men, portraying history as being created and maintained by their fellow gender. Men always carried out the most important roles: they formed the armies, were preferred as the monarchs and took up the roles in government. It’s this disallowing of women to … More The Invisible Contributors and Maintainers of Society

An analytical perspective on the ‘Armada Portrait’

Painted in 1588, the magnificent Armada Portrait is illustrative of the devastating or triumphant events of the same year, depending on the side you were on. Queen Elizabeth I was victorious in fighting off the Spanish Catholic threat. A threat that was openly supported by Pope Sixtus V and led by the powerful King of Spain, … More An analytical perspective on the ‘Armada Portrait’