Welcome!

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!

One Year Old!

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!

Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Countess Matilda of Tuscany

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

Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Countess Marie of Champagne

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

Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Empress Matilda

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

Medieval Mold-Breaking Women: Eleanor of Aquitaine

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

A Future Emperor’s Early Victories, Part 2

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

A Future Emperor’s Early Victories, Part 1

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

Turn the Page Thursday: The Pope, the Spies, and the Plot

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