Dry academics are one of the reasons why we hated the eighth grade. I’m going to explore history and literature (and other books—no need to be picky!) with as little of that as possible. Posts can be found below, and they cover topics from any era and genre. History is a story. Names and dates are important,… More Welcome!
By leaving this blog inactive for over three months, I’ve already broken one of the rules I set for myself when I started this project, and, by writing a “personal” post, I’m about to break another. Writers get to cheat every once in a while, I suppose. I want to apologize for the inactivity,… More One Year Old!
While I was going through some old family books the other day, a group of papers fell out of one of the newer ones. They were mostly letters, poems, and postcards written by my ancestors (too private to share here), but among them was the newspaper clipping pictured above. After some brief research, I learned… More They “Attempted a Revolution”
Matilda di Canossa lived in a tumultuous era, but she proved she was a capable leader. As the daughter of Boniface III, Margrave of Tuscany, and Beatrice of Lorraine, she eventually inherited a considerable portion of northern Italy after the deaths of her brothers. During the 1070s, she ruled Tuscany in tandem with her mother;… More Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Countess Matilda of Tuscany
Countess Marie wasn’t exactly a mold-breaker, but her influence on society—both medieval and later—makes her a remarkable woman. Rather than defy the culture of her day, she was instrumental in defining culture for centuries to come. She was a member of France’s royal family, the eldest daughter of King Louis VII and Eleanor, Duchess of… More Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Countess Marie of Champagne
Empress Matilda is an often-overlooked medieval noble, but her life certainly warrants attention. She was the daughter of a king, Henry I of England, and her dynastic birthright would become the nation’s focus during her middle years. In A.D./C.E. 1114 she became the wife of an emperor, Henry V of the Holy Roman Empire, and… More Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Empress Matilda
Eleanor of Aquitaine has become synonymous with the image of a powerful medieval woman. Volumes have been written about her extraordinary political influence, with the oldest dating as far back as when she was alive. Though historians continue to debate the nature of her rule, it’s clear that she was one of the most influential… More Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Princess Anna Komnene had a remarkable life and career. In 1083, she was born in the purple to Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Empress Eirene Doukaina of Byzantium. The nature and circumstances of her birth made her an esteemed and prominent member of the royal family. She was raised in the Byzantine court and, by… More Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Anna Komnene
Gaining custody of the traitorous mercenary Roussel Balliol proved to be only half the task for Alexios Komnenos, the commander-in-chief of the Byzantine forces in Anatolia. The Seljuk Turks had agreed to give over the captive Balliol to Alexios, but it wasn’t a goodwill gesture. Alexios had promised Toutakh, the local Turkish leader, that he… More A Future Emperor’s Early Victories, Part 2
Alexios I Komnenos has been immortalized as the Byzantine emperor who returned strength and stability to the foundering empire. Ruling from A.D./C.E. 1081 to 1118, he wielded considerable martial and diplomatic prowess that made him a formidable influence in both European and Asian politics. Yet his imperial achievements often overshadow his other endeavors, for it… More A Future Emperor’s Early Victories, Part 1
Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War against Hitler, by Mark Riebling A priest works from the shadows to stop a tyrant. It’s not the premise of the latest spy novel. It’s the true story told in Church of Spies, and in this case, the priest is the pope and the tyrant is Adolf… More Turn the Page Thursday: The Pope, the Spies, and the Plot