Note: the author, Terry Jones, is better-known for his work with the Monty Python British comedy troupe.
Was medieval England full of knights on horseback rescuing fainting damsels in distress? Were the Middle Ages mired in superstition and ignorance? Why does nobody ever mention King Louis the First and Last? And, of course, those key questions: which monks were forbidden the delights of donning underpants… and did outlaws never wear trousers?
Terry Jones and Alan Ereira are your guides to this most misrepresented and misunderstood period, and they point you to things that will surprise and provoke. Did you know, for example, that medieval people didn’t think the world was flat? That was a total fabrication by an American journalist in the 19th century. Did you know that they didn’t burn witches in the Middle Ages? That was a refinement of the so-called Renaissance. In fact, medieval kings weren’t necessarily merciless tyrants, and peasants entertained at home using French pottery and fine wine.
Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives reveals Medieval Britain as you have never seen it before – a vibrant society teeming with individuality, intrigue and innovation.
A time machine has just transported you back to the fourteenth century. What do you see? How do you dress? How do you earn a living and how much are you paid? What sort of food will you be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? And more important, where will you stay?
The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England is not your typical look at a historical period. This radical new approach shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. All facets of everyday life in this fascinating period are revealed, from the horrors of the plague and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and medieval haute couture.
Through the use of daily chronicles, letters, household accounts, and poems of the day, Morti-mer transports you back in time, providing answers to questions typically ignored by traditional historians. You will learn how to greet people on the street, what to use as toilet paper, why a physician might want to taste your blood, and how to know whether you are coming down with leprosy.
From the first step on the road to the medieval city of Exeter, through meals of roast beaver and puffin, Mortimer re-creates this strange and complex period of history. Here, the lives of serf, merchant, and aristocrat are illuminated with re-markable detail in this engaging literary journey. The result is the most astonishing social history book you’re ever likely to read: revolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance, and fear.
Our capital city has always been a thriving and colourful place, full of diverse and determined individuals developing trade and finance, exchanging gossip and doing business. Abandoned by the Romans, rebuilt by the Saxons, occupied by the Vikings and reconstructed by the Normans, London would become the largest trade and financial centre, dominating the world in later centuries.
London has always been a brilliant, vibrant and eclectic place Henry V was given a triumphal procession there after his return from Agincourt and the Lord Mayor’s river pageant was an annual medieval spectacular. William the Conqueror built the Tower, Thomas Becket was born in Cheapside, Wat Tyler led the peasants in revolt across London Bridge and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was the first book produced on Caxton’s new printing press in Westminster.
But beneath the colour and pageantry lay dirt, discomfort and disease, the daily grind for ordinary folk. Like us, they had family problems, work worries, health concerns and wondered about the weather.
This is not a book on how to write historical fiction. It is a book on how not to write historical fiction.
If you love history and you’re hard at work writing your first historical novel, but you’re wondering if your medieval Irishmen would live on potatoes, if your 17th-century pirate would use a revolver, or if your hero would be able to offer Marie-Antoinette a box of chocolate bonbons . . .
(The answer to all these is “Absolutely not!”)
. . . then Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders is the book for you.
Medieval Underpants will guide you through the factual mistakes that writers of historical fiction—both beginners and seasoned professionals—often make, and show you how to avoid them. From fictional characters crossing streets that wouldn’t exist for another sixty (or two thousand) years, to 1990s slang in the mouths of 1940s characters, to South American foods on ancient Roman plates, acclaimed historical novelist Susanne Alleyn exposes the often hilarious, always painful goofs that turn up most frequently in fiction set in the past.
Alleyn stresses the hazards to writers of assuming too much about details of life in past centuries, providing numerous examples of mistakes that could easily have been avoided. She also explores commonly-confused topics such as the important difference between pistols and revolvers, and between the British titles “Lord John Smith” and “John, Lord Smith” and why they’re not interchangeable, and provides simple guidelines for getting them right. In a wide assortment of chapters including Food and Plants; Travel; Guns; Money; Hygiene; Dialogue; Attitudes; Research; and, of course, Underpants, she offers tips on how to avoid errors and anachronisms while continually reminding writers of the necessity of meticulous historical research.
La moria grandissima began its terrible journey across the European and Asian continents in 1347, leaving unimaginable devastation in its wake.
Five years later, twenty-five million people were dead, felled by the scourge that would come to be called the Black Death.
The Great Mortality is the extraordinary epic account of the worst natural disaster in European history — a drama of courage, cowardice, misery, madness, and sacrifice that brilliantly illuminates humankind’s darkest days when an old world ended and a new world was born.
Barbara W. Tuchman—the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August—once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Barbara W. Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight—in all his valor and “furious follies,” a “terrible worm in an iron cocoon.”
“Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better.” —The New York Review of Books