Filed under crusades

Italian Legacy

The British are often blamed for a lot of the social and political mess today, in particular, the resentment against ‘Western’ civilisation. But the Italians messed things up long before this. This is from The Medieval World Europe 1100-1350 by Frederick Heer: “The Italians left one dangerous legacy to Western Europe as a whole. The … Continue reading

Medieval Trade & Slavery

Whilst trawling for information on foundlings, I stumbled upon this story, which I had heard of, but knew nothing about. This is from The Medieval World Europe 1100-1350 by Frederick Heer: “The great economic and political power of Italian finance would have been impossible without overseas trade. From the mid-eleventh century the Italian maritime cities … Continue reading

The Young need their Butterflies

It is often hard to make sense of how children fitted into society inthe past – we are told that teenagers were invented in the late 1950s, we are told that children were not valued or loved because they often died young, they are often depicted as little adults. But this story shows something else: … Continue reading

Thirsty Kid

Thirsty Kid

One of my favourite topics in history is water supply, as there was such a long battle to achieve safe supplies for us all. The London Drinking Fountain and Horse Trough Association built loads of fresh water fountains in British cities, in the 19th century, and many towns still have their granite horse troughs, often … Continue reading

Living Muses of Great Britain

Living Muses of Great Britain

Women have on the whole had a tough time throughout history, but in England in the mid to late 18th century, as the period between the two world wars, the shortage of men allowed women with talent to emerge into the public spotlight, albeit in socially acceptable fields. This engraving by Richard Samuel published in … Continue reading

A Quiet Hero

This is from an article by Matt Schudel, the Washington Post: “Ciro de Quadros, who has died of pancreatic cancer, helped eradicate smallpox in the 1970s and later led efforts that eliminated polio and measles in the Western hemisphere. Few people in the past 50 years did more than de Quadros to prevent the spread … Continue reading

A Politician to Admire

Yes, you read that right. Amongst the liars, low lifes and nincompoops that seem to form the bulk of the world’s leaders, there is one who seems to be doing some good. He is French, Jean Lassale, a centrist deputy who is spending his vacation going on long walks to try to persuade people he … Continue reading

The Origins of Fairs

I have been working through a book by Nigel Heard, ‘International fairs’. By focusing on trade, it shows how European history has been affected by commerce. Greek civilisation drove trade, similarly to that of Western Europe in the 19th century. When Rome expanded to the Levant, it gave them access to gold, and silver, so … Continue reading

Piracy and Trade of The English

Piracy and Trade of The English

The Portugese habit of enlisting foreigners to evict the infidels continued for many years, and raiding visits from the North European Crusaders became a regular occurence to the extent that some didn’t bother going any further than Portugal and Spain. As Rose Macaulay continues: “The sight of these large and odious armed men… sailing in fleets up … Continue reading

The English Abroad

The English Abroad

The denizens of these islands have long had an awkward relationship with mainland Europe, perhaps more so during the Crusades when they were often on the rampage away from home. This is from Rose Macaulay’s book ‘the Went to Portugal’,  after a suggestion from the Pope that they could break their journey in Portugal. This … Continue reading