If there’s anything I’ve learned during my historical research, it is that our age is really pretty prudish and uptight. Today’s illustration: the Romans. Thanks to the Vesuvius, we have some pretty good idea of Roman graffiti… and that really is something.
20 Medieval insults: From bedswerver to yaldson
A few days ago I realized that my characters were being woefully unimaginative with their insults – nothing more creative than “bastard” and “fool”. A shame, because Medieval insults can get a lot more creative! So for educative purposes (okay, okay, and for my own amusement too): here’s a helpful list on how to offend people […]
Medieval dances: from couples to caroles
It’s one of the strange paradoxes of history that the most common things are often the things we know least about. After all, the more familiar something was to people in history, the less they wrote about it! Medieval dances are one of those things that have become largely obscure to us.
The history of letters: why is “X” a symbol for kisses?
A quick and short fun fact in today’s blog! The use of X as a symbol for kisses looks very modern, but it’s a lot older than you might think. Already in the Middle Ages people were signing letters with an X – and not only love letters.
Fainting and poisons: the Regency beauty ideal
Beauty is pain, they say. Regency women, unfortunately, were expected to take that saying very literally… Even though a “natural” look was theoretically all the rage, most women decided to help nature a hand. And in order to satisfy the Regency beauty ideal, pain or even slow poisoning were considered rather acceptable costs.
Medieval terms of endearment: from culver to tickling
Some medieval terms of endearment are still in use today – honey and darling, for example, were already used affectionately around the 14th century. Others, however, didn’t stand the test of time. For anyone who wants to address their beloved in a historically accurate way (or who writes about historical characters), here’s a list!
“Matrimonial peacemaker”: penis names in history
Throughout history, people have been uncomfortable with naming genitalia. The word “penis” itself is an example – that used to mean “tail” in Latin! But many more euphemisms have been invented over the centuries… In this blog, I collected some of my favourite penis names in history. And boy, that’s a list.
“Penis investigators”: Erectile dysfunction in the Middle Ages
Magic and sex were closely linked in the Middle Ages. Earlier we saw, for example, the love charms written by Vikings. But magic could also have the opposite effect. People considered an erectile dysfunction the result of a curse – one that could have dire consequences for the afflicted men.
Literal fashion police: the sumptuary laws of Renaissance Florence
These days an unfashionable outift may cause some shame and embarrassment – but at least you won’t get fined for it. In Renaissance Florence and Venice, the wrong dress could cost you a considerable amount of money, thanks to sumptuary laws and the literal fashion police roaming the streets.
Wife sales: how to get a divorce in Regency England
In Regency England, divorce was complex, time-consuming and expensive. Luckily, if you didn’t have the money, there was another way to get out of an unhappy marriage: wife sales!