Early Wheat Recipes

I recently wrote about what ancient Greeks and Romans used to eat. But how about earlier people? If your fantasy takes place in a neolithic or even paleolithic setting, then you can spice it up (pun intended) with these early wheat recipes, courtesy of Alice Twain of...

Medieval Cistercian Numbers

If you’re looking to enrich your fantasy or Medieval fiction, why not mention Cistercian numbers — the forgotten ciphers of Medieval monks? As Tibi Puiu reports on ZME Science, people have employed all sorts of systems throughout history, most of which are now...

The Real Robinson Crusoe

Everyone has heard of Robinson Crusoe. But how many know the real-life inspiration behind the character? As Alex Turner explains on Quora, this would be Alexander Selkirk: Selkirk was a Scottish sailor, born in 1676. He was a rather hotheaded man, who tended to look...

The Real Witches

I kick off the new year with a matter close to anyone who’s ever flirted with fantasy writing: witches. I mean, what’s fantasy without witchcraft? Probably a rather boring Medieval existence, that’s what. Of course, there’s a big difference...

A Wizard’s Hat

Have you ever wondered where the pointy wizard hat stereotype stems from? Someone on Quora did and Wendy Carolan had the answer. Where Does the Idea of the Wizard’s Hat Come from? As you can well imagine, the question here refers to the stereotypical pointy blue...

Old Anglo-Saxon Character Names

As someone who knows how hard it can be to choose a character name for your fantasy novel, I came across some interesting discussions on Quora (here and here). They concerned the letter Æ and the evolution of old Anglo-Saxon names. I hope you find it as interesting as...

The Spread of English

Ivy Panda has created a World Map Timelapse of the spread of the English language from the 5th century to date. You can watch it in its entirety below or click on the links to jump to a specific time period: 0:00 Intro 0:09 5th-15th century 0:26 16th century 0:49 17th...

Bizarre Weapons: the Lantern Shield

Robert Arthurs reports on Quora first seeing this wonder of medieval over-specialization on display in Vienna, Austria: Doesn’t it look awesome? Well, looks can be deceiving. You see that small hole in the top region of the shield? That is where a soldier would...

Five Paintings That Disappeared Without a Trace

Art and art heists seem to go hand-in-hand. No wonder then that some of the rarest masterpieces of art have disappeared at different points in history under mysterious circumstances, leaving the cognoscenti speechless to date. Only reproductions exist today, thanks to...