Tag Archives: Medieval history

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.

Shop till you drop in Tudor’s time

Shop till you drop in Tudor’s time

Elizabethans witnessed many improvements in daily life. One of those is the stockings knitting machine invented in 1589 by William Lee, vicar of Calverton. The Victorian legend says he was madly in love with a young woman, but she was continually put him off because she was always knitting; so he designed and built a machine to do the knitting so that he could have her to himself. Another story is that he loved his wife dearly, and wanted to release her from the drudgery of knitting his socks.

Magyars, Saracens and Vikings in 9th and 10th century Europe

Magyars, Saracens and Vikings in 9th and 10th century Europe

Three main groups – Magyars, Saracens and Vikings – launched raids on Europe in the 9th and 10th centuries, as well as being involved in trade. It was the Vikings who proved the most adaptable colonists. Settlements established by them in the north Atlantic and North Sea, Russia and the Mediterranean developed into strong independent states.

Fighting for love: Ulrich von Lichtenstein

Fighting for love: Ulrich von Lichtenstein

A name made famous by Hollywood, there was a real Ulrich von Lichtenstein. Born of a noble family in the Duchy of Styria (in what is now central Austria) some time around 1200, he was knighted along with 249 others at the betrothal of the daughter of the Duke of Austria. He served as an administrator in his native duchy, married and had children; his son, also named Ulrich, married a daughter of Conrad von Goldegg, a powerful vassal and administrator of the Archbishop of Salzburg. He died at the age of 78 and was buried in Sekau, the site of a Benedictine monastery.

The King Richard II’s Tomb

The King Richard II’s Tomb

When Richard II’s first consort, Anne of Bohemia, died in June 1394, his grief knew no bounds. He decided that unlike any previous king and queen of England, they should both be buried in the same tomb, and that on it their gilded effigies should lie (in the words of the contract with the coppersmiths) “crowned, side by side and clasping their right hands and holding sceptres in their left hands”.