A Fantasy Tip from History: A Pox On You!

Two days ago, thieves broke into a chapel in my local parish. They left with a chalice, two candlesticks, and a Bible. When I heard about it, I wondered if the Bible’s publishers still followed the Medieval tradition of protecting books with curses. Which makes...

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds

If you are in London until November 27th, you have a great opportunity to visit “Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds” at the British Museum. The exhibition contains treasures excavated from the Mediterranean and, as the Economist points out, explains how the ancient...

A Fantasy Tip from History: Medieval Fonts and Posters

It was a slow day in 1450 and Herman Strepel, a scribe in Münster, Germany, was bored. With the last manuscript almost complete, he needed a new client. So, his eyes lit up when a passerby stepped into his store. His clothes spoke of a wealthy merchant. Perhaps even a...

The Art of Making a Book

Two lovely videos that explain first the traditional book-making process, then the modern one. I hope you find them as fascinating as I did! The Art of Making a BookPowered By the Tweet This PluginTweet...

Lady Margaret Cavendish, Sci-Fi Author of the 1600s

Born in 1623, Lady Margaret Cavendish was an outspoken aristocrat who traveled in circles of scientific thinkers and broke ground on proto-feminism, natural philosophy (the 17th-century term for science), and social politics. As far as I am concerned, however, she...

Jerusalem’s Medieval Pilgrim’s Tattoo Shop

Aleppo, Syria, has recently been in the news for all the wrong kinds of reasons. Back in 1697, however, on the day before Easter, Reverend Henry Maundrell, a chaplain for the English Levant Company’s office in Aleppo, witnessed the tattooing process in Jerusalem on a...

Broadsides: the Posts and Tweets of Renaissance England

When I moved to Edinburgh in 1995, I experienced something of a cultural shock. The language was different than anything I’d be taught at school (ach, hawd yer whisht, my good friend Mike might say to this). TV programs were delightful, compared to Greek ones....

Zibaldone: Blogging 14th-century-style

It was the end of a particularly taxing day, and Canal, a prominent 14th-century Venetian merchant, was baffled. A friend had posed him a simple-sounding mathematical problem, but he still couldn’t figure it out. The problem went like this: the distance between...

Cylon of Athens: The Real-life Teo Altman

One of my favorite Pearseus characters is Teo Altman; the power-hungry despot who lies and kills his way to the top. As most of my characters, he is based on a real-life person from ancient Greek history. Cylon of Athens is associated with the first reliably dated...