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Updated: 1 day 23 hours ago

An interview with Deborah Harkness, author of The Book of Life

Wed, 2014-07-23 13:31
Deborah Harkness, professor of history at the University of Southern California, has just published the final novel in her All Souls Trilogy. It follows the story of Diana Bishop, a historian and modern-day witch, Matthew Clairmont, a 1500-year-old vampire, and an enchanted manuscript at Oxford University's Bodleian Library.

Click here to read DuJour’s executive editor, Nancy Bilyeau, interview Deborah about The Book of Life

See also Deborah reading an excerpt from her novel:

Categories: History, SCA news sites

Vikings: Lives Beyond the Legends - exhibition now underway at Royal BC Museum

Thu, 2014-07-17 16:17
For those living in North America who were envious of the British Museum's recent exhibition on Vikings, there is now an exhibition under way at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. Vikings: Lives Beyond the Legends features over 500 artifacts. It will be on display until November 11th.

You can see this preview of the exhibition:



 For more details, please visit the Royal BC Museum website


Categories: History, SCA news sites

Is this how the Bayeux Tapestry would have ended?

Tue, 2014-07-01 15:09
The Alderney Bayeux Tapestry
The famous Bayeux Tapestry ends with the defeat of King Harold's army and the flight of the Anglo-Saxon soldiers. However, most scholars believe that the original tapestry would have ended with the coronation of William the Conqueror. 
Now, a community project from the British island of Alderney has recreated the missing piece of the Bayeux Tapestry. It depicts several scenes that they believe would have been in the original tapestry, including a scene where William is crowned on Christmas Day, 1066. 
Professor Robert Bartlett of the University of St.Andrews tells the BBC: "It has often been pointed out that the opening of the tapestry has a figure of King Edward the Confessor enthroned, and that around the middle point of the tapestry there is an image of William's enemy Harold enthroned.
"It would be a neat symmetry and make perfect sense of the story if the end of the tapestry had showed the victorious William enthroned, which is what the Alderney team have chosen to do. The other 'new' scenes are more speculative, but they are modelled on scenes earlier in the tapestry so look convincing."
The recreation is now being displayed next to the original at the Bayeux Tapestry Museum in France - the exhibition will run until August 31st.
For the full story, please visit the BBC or the Daily Mail.
Click here to visit the Alderney Bayeux Tapestry Project website
Click here to see more photos of the Bayeux Tapestry recreation
Here is a video report about the project from last year:
Categories: History, SCA news sites

Norse Power! Deodorant that makes you smell like a Viking

Thu, 2014-05-22 14:01
"A team of scent scientists" have developed a new body spray deodorant that promises to give you that medieval warrior smell! Norse Power is an actual product, created by Visit York and the Jorvik Viking Centre and it helps recreate what a Viking probably smelled like.

Photo courtesy Visit YorkWhat do you get in a bottle of Norse Power Deodorant For Men?

  • Mead (imbibed generously by Viking warriors after a hard day’s raiding)
  • Blood and gore (spilled on the battlefields as the marauding Vikings conquered all in their path)
  • Smoke (from the settlements razed by Vikings during raids)
  • Seawater (From the journey by longship to British shores)
  • Mud (Vikings often travelled by foot over the sodden terrain)
  • Human sweat (which would have been deep soaked into a warrior’s clothes after a hard day’s raiding)
  • Animal meat, fruits and nuts (the essential ingredients of a hearty Viking feast)
  • Fresh pine (from traversing the many forests of Britain in search of places to conquer)

Michelle Brown, Marketing Manager of Visit York, explains, "Historical research indicates that the Vikings were quite particular about personal hygiene, especially when compared to the Anglo Saxons. But even so, this only meant washing once a week, which by today’s standards isn’t exactly the height of cleanliness! And for a Viking raider, who’d travelled hundreds of miles over land and sea, and spent their days fighting bloody skirmishes, it’s fair to say they wouldn’t always have carried the most alluring aromas around with them.

"With Norse Power we wanted to try and capture the sort of smells that would have been part and parcel of the lives of Viking warriors around the time that York was the Norse capital of England. But more than that, with all of the bath products, deodorants, perfumes and aftershaves available today, we wanted to give male visitors to York the unique chance to cast aside their allegiance to modern aromas and instead embrace the smells from an era of true warriors!"

There might be a few bottles of Norse Power still left at the Visit York Visitor Centre - go to http://www.visityork.org/ for more information.
Categories: History, SCA news sites

Watch How European Borders Changed since the Middle Ages

Fri, 2014-05-16 09:16
This very cool video was found by @BeautifulMaps. It shows how the rise and fall of various states in Europe since the mid-twelfth century

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change (timelapse map) from Nick Mironenko on Vimeo.

Categories: History, SCA news sites

Medieval Combat World Championships

Tue, 2014-05-06 09:58
Poland's Marcin Waszkielis and Suzanne Elleraas of the United States took first prize in the male and female divisions of the Medieval Combat World Championships, which was held this week in Belmonte Castle in Spain.

The four-day event began on May 1st, with dozens of men and women competing in combat with the medieval longsword.

"The sport is based on the traditional 14th and 15th century tournaments, mostly the rules have been developed from a book by a guy called King René of Anjou and he wrote the seminal book of the tournament in the early 1400s," Martin Cazey explained to the NTD.TV.

Both the BBC and Ukraine News One were on hand to report on the tournament:





You can also see this slideshow of pictures from the Medieval Combat World Championships from Reuters.
Categories: History, SCA news sites

What does a medieval literature scholar see in 'Game of Thrones?'

Fri, 2014-04-11 01:00


From PBS Newshour: Brantley Bryant, associate professor of medieval literature at Sonoma State University, shares what he sees of The Canterbury Tales, the Morte d'Arthur and Beowulf in HBO's "Game of Thrones."
Categories: History, SCA news sites

Bruce Holsinger and Nancy Bilyeau talk about historical fiction

Wed, 2014-04-02 22:53

Bruce Holsinger and Nancy Bilyeau, two of the leading medieval novelists, had the chance to meet up in New York City and have a conversation about writing historical fiction, how they went about researching their novels, and what stories and styles influenced their writing.

For example, Bruce says to Nancy "you flesh out those aspects of daily life with remarkable skill, without a lot of hand waving or showing off of historical details. I actually struggled a bit with this at first. I knew the medieval period in terms of its literary history, but in terms of the details of everyday life, that was a brand new learning experience. I had to go back and relearn a lot of what I thought I knew. There are so many passages in the literature that will tell you about, say, the food at a feast, but I never really paid attention to those until I had to figure out what people ate in a scene I was writing."

Nancy replies, "Exactly! I was never happier than when a curator at the Tower of London scanned in a diet sheet of an aristocratic prisoner in the 1540s and sent me a PDF. I had every detail down to how many pigeons eaten a week."

You can read their conversation from The Daily Beast.

Nancy Bilyeau's latest book is called The Chalice - we will have a review about it on Medievalists.net very soon! Bruce Holsinger's novel is called A Burnable Book.
Categories: History, SCA news sites