Janet Stephens is a real-life Indiana Jones: by day, she’s a hairdresser, but by night, she’s a hair archaeologist. Her interest isn’t just casual: she’s been published in academic journals, she presents regularly at conferences, and she is the first person to take studying and recreating ancient hairstyles seriously. Welcome, Janet Stephens!
Was Robin Hood real? Most evidence (it’s lack) suggests no. He seemed real enough to medieval people. And stories about Robin may have been based on three real medieval outlaws: Hereward the Wake, Eustace the Monk, and Fulk Fitzwarin.
As a historian, as a former SCAdian (medieval re-enactor), as someone who likes neomedieval fiction, the question I’ve seen pop up the most is: What did people in the past do about issues like menstruation? Most SCAdians use modern products under their historical clothing, and fictional series can ignore it. But obviously real people didn’t […]
The Mughal Empire was founded in 1529 and at its height reached from Kabul (Afghanistan) to Kanyakumari (in the state of Tamil Nadu, in southernmost India). The Mughals were Persian and their cooks borrowed from Persian and Indian cuisine, leaving us with such beloved dishes as pulau, paneer, and biryani. This bread recipe is from […]
It is utterly classic for me to get extraordinarily enthusiastic about a project and then, slowly and inevitably, get dragged down in to the muck and the mire of the details of getting it going. For instance: as a child, I spent hours sculpting the characters for the stories I was of course going to […]
I’m not religious, but I love celebrations. Instead of Christmas, I dedicate my tree to Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne.
The holidays are a time for family, friends, fun, and. . . hazy traditions. Wassail is a drink or a time to party or something right? Dating back to Ye Olden Days? Or is it something more?
I am making cranberry sauce for the first time ever. Because I am a historian, I decided to read up on cranberries. Did they appear at the first Thanksgiving? Is there a reason we eat them as a sauce or (shudder) jelly from a can? Let’s find out!
While I teach writing for a living, I’m not the doom-and-gloom “Texting is ruining English!” type. Language changes. It’s pretty neat to be witnessing such profound changes. But I do love apostrophes, and I am sad that they seem to be on the way out.
Medieval gingerbread is one of my specialties. It’s very easy to make and produces a lot of end product to share with family and friends. It’s a sweet or confection, not a cookie/cake like modern gingerbread. And sticky. You can also shape it, so it can be an especially pretty dessert. Pictures and recipe after the […]
Medieval Spanish Queen Urraca’s marriage led to rebellion and war.
Guys. Guys. Guess what?! Last month, I got to have lunch with my very favorite romance writer!
Drift, Rachel Maddow’s book on the state of the American military, was first released last year. Despite being a huge fan of Maddow, I didn’t get a chance to read the book until just a few months ago. I was massively interested in her thesis statement – namely, that the American process of war has […]
When he heard his noble father had been executed, he gathered his followers and publicly renounced his allegiance to the king. Later, his army was slaughtered by the king’s allies after agreeing to an allegiance. This notorious bloodbath become known as…
Not too long ago I participated in a discussion about IQ and it opened my eyes to the different relationships people have with it. Several people knew their scores, although many raised doubts as to the validity of this number that is theoretically supposed to tell you how intelligent you are.