The Lords Appellant Part 1: A Great and Continual council

 

Although the word appellant in modern terms refers to a petitioner appealing to a higher court, when we look at the fourteenth century the whole concept takes a left turn. First of all, you always see the words Lords Appellant capitalized, and it only seems to refer to those involved in the first legal crisis of Richard II’s reign. The Lords Appellant “appealed” (in essence, accused) Richard’s supporters of treason. Not only were their motives questionable, but the whole process had no legal basis from which to act, and the Appellants were forced to make up the rules as they went along, twisting the system to accommodate their self-serving objectives.

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Common Myths of the Wars of the Roses or All you thought you knew about the Wars of the Roses, but didn’t… Episode 2  

Two months ago we examined some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding Henry VI and the Wars of the Roses; we continue the series by looking at the man known as the Kingmaker.

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The Kings of England Who Never Were

whiteshipsinking

 

In the story of English history, across the centuries, there are first-born sons destined to be Kings of England who never were. It is widely held that when it came to inheritance the unwritten ‘rule’ was, heir and spare as so often, the eldest born male child pre-deceased the King leaving the throne to pass to his brother. Had the eldest son lived the events that shaped out the past may have played out quite differently to the history we know perhaps even with this article being written in French. This is the story of four of them.

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The Legend of the White Snake: A Chinese Mélusine Story

 

A husband ‘accidentally’ glimpses into his wife’s bedchamber only to discover that the lady whom he believed to be fair, noble, and undoubtedly human – is in fact a (partial) snake. This unfortunate discovery, though hushed for a short period, eventually leads to the lady’s departure. The husband, full of remorse, renounces the earthly world in hope of redemption.

More or less, this is the storyline of the legend of Mélusine, the most famous literary version of which is written by Jean d’Arras in 14th-century France. This is also the storyline of the legend of the White Snake, or ‘Madam White’, a centuries-old Chinese tale that has been passed down through oral tradition, writing, drama, opera, and modern media.

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The History of the Werewolf Legend

 

Werewolves, also known as lycanthropes, are legendary shape-shifting humans. As the name suggests, the shape these creatures take on is that of a wolf. The history of the werewolf legend has sprung up independently or spread to virtually every area of the Earth. It is also one of the oldest legends of human monsters in recorded history. Where the legend originated can only be guessed by what humans have taken care to record. Their other name, lycanthrope, may also be a hint at the origin of this myth.

Throughout history there are records of the trials of confessed or accused werewolves. In fact, they were hunted, questioned and executed in much the same way witches were, because often witches were accused of also being werewolves. These so-called “werewolf trials” give us a historical glimpse at rampant human belief in werewolves. Some of the accused were arrested because villagers needed someone to blame for dead livestock or some other explainable occurrence, but others were accused because of actions far more sinister and less likely to be contrived.

history of the werewolf

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The Original ‘Nightmare’ Was a Demon That Sat on Your Chest and Suffocated You

Maere, mara, mahr, mahrt, mårt—by any name, it was and still is a terrifying visitor.

<em>The Nightmare</em>, Henry Fuseli, 1781.
The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1781. JOHN HENRY FUSELI

NIGHTMARES, AS WE USE THE word today, are vivid, personal terrors whipped up by a person’s subconscious just for them—a giant snapping turtle, a car that starts backing away from home on its own, a rocket ship with two witches in the backseat eating a potato/voodoo doll that causes the front seat to disappear with every bite. But in centuries past a night “mare” was a very specific type of frightening nocturnal visitor, a spirit or demon that would sit on a person’s chest and suffocate them.

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When Tomatoes Were Blamed For Witchcraft and Werewolves

People have feared tomatoes for 600 years.

An illustration of tomatoes from an 1893 catalogue of seeds.
An illustration of tomatoes from an 1893 catalogue of seeds. BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY/CC BY 2.0

NO OTHER VEGETABLE HAS BEEN as maligned as the tomato (and it is a vegetable, by order of the United States Supreme Court). We call tomatoes killers. We call them rotten. We call them ugly. We call them sad. To find the reason why, you have to go back to the 1500s, when the humble fruit first reached European shores (and it is a fruit, by scientific consensus). Through no fault of its own, the tomato stepped into the middle of a continent-wide witchcraft panic, and a scientific community in tumult.

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