Medieval & Renaissance

Medieval & Renaissance Period.

Haunted Castles and Their Ghostly Residents

By Ancient Origins - September, 26 2023

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Travel to any city in the world and you’re likely to find haunted landmarks and the ghost tours to go with them. Whether or not you’re a believer, the history behind the ghostly sightings at the following three castles may give you chills.

Queen Elizabeth I: Iconic Fashion and Dangerous Beauty Choices

By Ancient Origins - July, 18 2023

Queen Elizabeth I was one of the most successful and celebrated queens in British history. The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she came to the throne on November 17, 1558, following the death of her older half-sister, Mary I. While Elizabeth's reign is widely recognized for ushering in a golden age, she herself has also been remembered for her iconic fashion choices and style.

Zheng He: China’s Maritime Marvel

By Dhwty - May, 16 2023

Zheng He (also known as Cheng Ho) is one of the most famous admirals in Chinese history and is best known for his treasure voyages. These voyages served to showcase the power and the wealth of the Ming Dynasty to the known world and were commissioned by the Ming Dynasty’s Yongle Emperor himself.

A Daring Attempt to Steal the Crown Jewels

By Dhwty - March, 15 2023

Thomas Blood is an infamous Irishman known as the ‘Man Who Stole the Crown Jewels.’ The self-styled colonel lived during the 17th century and established his reputation as a rogue and trickster during the time when England was embroiled in a civil war. Blood cemented his place in history with his audacious attempt to steal the Crown Jewels. But what are the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom?

King Arthur: A Very British Messiah?

By Ancient Origins - February, 13 2023

King Arthur is undoubtedly one of the most enduringly popular heroes to come out of the medieval era, and he has meant many things to many people for hundreds of years. Over time, the mythology of Arthur grew as new stories were added to the existing ones and his fame spread throughout Britain and beyond.

The True Story of Joan of Arc

By Ancient Origins - February, 13 2023

Joan of Arc was a young peasant woman who lived during the last phase of the Hundred Years’ War. This war was a series of military conflicts between France and England which began in 1337 due to an inheritance dispute over the French throne. It ended in 1453. The 116 years of the war saw the rise and fall of several kings and nobles, many of whom are noteworthy in their own right.

Bubbling Brews and Broomsticks: How Alewives Became the Stereotypical Witch

By Ancient Origins - April, 17 2022

"Brewing", "herbs," "broomsticks," "woman." When one hears these words together, most often the assumption is that the person in question is a witch. Yet brewing has another meaning - one that revolves around the avarice of alcohol. Alewives were women in the Middle Ages through the early modern period who brewed and sold alcohol. Due to the alewives' skills in the kitchen, fashion sense, and the eventual rise of urban guilds, however, the alewife soon became a term synonymous with "witch."

Medieval Chastity Belts are a Myth

By Ancient Origins - February, 16 2022

Chastity belts are items that titillate and fascinate in equal measure, inspiring the image of a medieval knight locking up his loved one’s private parts to ensure her abstinence during his absence. While exceptionally unhygienic, the belief that a padlock could protect a woman’s virtue has been ridiculed on countless occasions.

The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day

By M R Reese - February, 14 2022

On February 14, couples from around the world recognize Valentine’s Day. For most, Valentine’s Day is a day of love, a day to shower a beloved with gifts and tokens of appreciation, to enjoy a romantic meal, and perhaps to share moments of intimacy. Cynics consider it to be a Hallmark greeting-card holiday, created by the retail business in order to get people to spend money on flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, jewelry, travel, meals, and other luxuries.

Soul Cakes – Snacks that Honor the Dead and Treat the Living

By Alicia McDermott - August, 26 2020

A soul cake is a small, round, lightly-sweetened treat which has been made by Christians since the eighth century to commemorate the dead on All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, or All Souls’ Day. However, scholars suggest that the idea emerged from earlier pre-Christian practices.

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