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A must-have for anyone interested in cartography: Theatre of the World

Posted on: 11/12/2018 with tags: christmas, history

Theatre of the World reignites our curiosity with the world both ancient and modern. It is beautifully illustrated and rich in detail. Before you could just scroll Google Maps, maps were being constructed from the ideas and questions of pioneering individuals. From visionary geographers to heroic explorers, from the mysterious symbols of the Stone Age to the familiar navigation of Google Earth, Thomas Reinertsen Berg examines the fascinating concepts of science and worldview, of art and technolo…

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Festive Tidbits from Karen Maitland

Posted on: 05/12/2017 with tags: boxing day, christmas, Holly, karen maitland, The Plague Charmer, tidbit, Yule Log, Christmas, Medieval, Middle Ages

Feast of Fools In the Middle Ages, on the eve of the Feast of Circumcision (31 December) when the Magnificat was read out in cathedrals and abbeys – He has put down the mighty – all the junior clergy would start chanting Deposuit! (Put down!). They’d drag senior clergy from their seats and take their places, appointing a fool precentor. For the next few days the ‘humble’ ruled. On 1 January, a donkey carrying a woman and baby was led into the church. At the end of the Mass, the priest brayed thr…

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Christmas with the Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

Posted on: 05/12/2016 with tags: alison weir, anne boleyn, christmas, English History, henry viii, katherine of aragon, Six Tudor Queens, six wives, tudors, Tudor

Christmas in Tudor England is always described as a season of great feasting and revelry, but, then as now, it was a time when sadness was more poignant. That was sometimes the reality of the festive season for the hapless wives of Henry VIII. Henry’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, came to England in 1501 to marry his older brother Arthur. She had been married little more than a month when she spent her first Christmas in England, and it was not observed in the traditional way, for the young c…

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The Conqueror’s Christmas by David Churchill

Posted on: 01/12/2016 with tags: Charlemagne, christmas, david churchill, devil, duke, william the conqueror, Medieval

Two great empire builders were crowned on Christmas Day. The first, in the year 800, was Charlemagne. He liked to claim that it had happened by accident. He’d popped into St Peter’s Basilica in Rome for Christmas Mass, knelt down at the altar to pray and the next thing he knew, Pope Leo II was placing the crown of the Roman Empire on his head and calling him Emperor. It seems less than entirely credible that one of the greatest rulers in all European history could have received his mightiest tit…

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