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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

What Is Your Medieval Profession?

Mon, 2014-03-24 14:45
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I got Stable Boy!
Categories: History, SCA news sites

Medieval Barbie!

Fri, 2014-03-21 11:00
Kickstarter Campaigns seem to be very popular for medievalists! The latest one has Jim Rodda trying to raise $5000 to develop a Medieval Barbie outfit. He has already raised about $4000 for his project, which you can read more about here.



The campaign has attracted a lot of media attention, including this video report:

Categories: History, SCA news sites

Jacques de Molay, Templar, died on this day in 1314

Tue, 2014-03-18 19:50
Today marks the 700th anniversary of the execution of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar. For many historians this day marks the unofficial end of the Templars, the military monastic order that for about two hundred years defended Jerusalem and the Holy Land for Roman Catholics. 

Dominic Selwood, the resident historian at The Telegraph, has penned a good account of the story of the fall of the Grand Master and his brethren. He writes:

To draw down the final curtain, on the 18th of March 1314 the four most senior living Templars were hauled to Paris. On a rostrum erected on the parvis before the great cathedral of Notre-Dame, they were publicly condemned to perpetual imprisonment. Hugues de Pairaud and Geoffroi de Gonneville accepted the sentences in silence. But Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney stunned the crowd by talking over the cardinals and professing their innocence and that of the Temple.

The electrifying news was rushed across the city to King Philip at the Louvre. Desperate to crush this dangerous new defiance, he abandoned all legal procedures and ordered the two old Templars to be burned without delay.
Click here to read his full article

While the Knights Templar was destroyed in the fourteenth-century, their notoriety and story would continue on to the present day. In his article, Your Conspiracy Theories Began 700 Years Ago Today, Paul Fain notes that their mantle would be taken up by many others. For example:
The early Freemasons claimed ties to the Templars, despite a gap of a few hundred years between their creation and de Molay’s death. A dubious link to the old-school warriors apparently gave them some street cred.He adds:
The Templars also made an appearance in the news last week. Mexican police killed Nazario Moreno, the leader of a drug cartel that used the name Knights Templar. According to Time, Moreno’s followers wore white robes and kept statues of him wearing medieval armor. It’s unclear where he hid the Holy Grail. You can find a lot of information on the Templars - books, video games, even cheesy documentaries like this one:


You can find some articles about the Knights Templar on Medievalists.net. Check out also these accounts about the founding of Templars from De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History.
Categories: History, SCA news sites