Tag Archives: France

Nostradamus: The Renaissance man

Nostradamus: The Renaissance man


History remembers Nostradamus mostly for his uncanny gift of prophecy. This famous talent never dominated his attention. Along with being a noted doctor, capable of curing entire cities of plague, Nostradamus was a consummate gourmet and creator of fruit preservatives. His recipe for quince jelly earned him the praise of the Papal legate of Avignon for its nearly heavenly sweetness.

The coming of the French Revolution

The coming of the French Revolution

Although it was the American revolution that set the French Revolution vibrating, no two countries could have been less alike than the United States and France in 1789. The one was vast, undeveloped land that offered boundless opportunities to a free and democratically-minded people; the other an ancient, monarchical state shackled by traditions and privileges.

Sweet and incomparable Josephine

Sweet and incomparable Josephine

The love of Bonaparte’s life was an enchanting Creole – the term then used for all white West indians – with a shady past. Born in 1763 to a minor aristocrat and sugar planter on Martinique, Marie-Joséphe-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie had arrived in France at the age of seventeen to enter an arranged marriage with Alexandre de Beauharnais.

The Political Transformation of Medieval France

The Political Transformation of Medieval France

The first three decades of the 15th century were a time of civil war, military defeat, and political humiliation in France. The enfeebled monarchy, caught in a vise between England’s Henry V and Henry’s Burgundian ally Philip, went so far as to renounce the dauphin, the heir to the throne, and to bequeath the kingdom to Henry.

Napoleon in caricature

Napoleon in caricature

The turn of the 19th century was a golden age of caricature across much of the northern Europe – from Russia in the east through Prussia and the Rhineland to France and Britain to the west. London, boasting artists like James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson, soon became the unofficial capital of European caricature.