Strategies of War in Westeros

Introduction: George R.R. Martin’s Westeros seems to have an unreasonably large number of battles compared to the real Middle Ages. In A Clash of Kings there are no less than five field actions during the course of Robb Stark’s one-year campaign in the South (the Green Fork, the Whispering Woods, the Battle of the Camps, Oxcross, and the Crag). In our world, though, these sorts of encounters were quite rare: Robb’s annus mirabilis was quite intense compared to the mere three battles in the entire real-life career of Edward the Black Prince, who was arguably the greatest English commander of the fourteenth century.westeros

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Game of Thrones: medieval inspiration

With the premiere of the newest season of Game of Thrones  a repost a look at the inspirations for the show.

From warrior eunuchs to shadowy assassins, Carolyne Larrington introduces some of the remarkable medieval people whose lives are reflected in the all-conquering fantasy drama…

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How to dress in the Middle Ages

Ever wonder what went into dressing in the Middle Ages?  These helpful videos will show you how men and women dressed for all occasions.

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King John and the French invasion of England


The French besiege Chateau-Gaillard in Normandy, 1204 © Bridgeman Art Library


“The whole land was covered with these limbs of the devil like locusts, who assembled to blot out everything from the face of the earth; for, running about with drawn swords and knives, they ransacked towns, houses, cemeteries, and churches, robbing everyone, sparing neither women nor children.”

Thus wrote the contemporary chronicler Roger of Wendover, describing events in England during the winter of 1215–16. “These limbs of the devil” were the troops of King John, engaged in a bitter civil war at the very end of the monarch’s reign. This war witnessed the emergence of Magna Carta; the death of John; a French invasion of England that was almost a second Norman Conquest; ‘King’ Louis I ruling one-third of England for a year; an English naval victory that ranks with the defeat of the Spanish Armada; and a major formative period in the emergence of English national identity. Oh, and it may even provide the prototype for Robin Hood. Despite all this, until now there has been no book dedicated to this dramatic course of events.

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Were the English Sweating Sickness and the Picardy Sweat Caused by Hantaviruses?

The English sweating sickness caused five devastating epidemics between 1485 and 1551, England was hit hardest, but on one occasion also mainland Europe, with mortality rates between 30% and 50%. The Picardy sweat emerged about 150 years after the English sweat disappeared, in 1718, in France. It caused 196 localized outbreaks and apparently in its turn disappeared in 1861. Both diseases have been the subject of numerous attempts to define their origin, but so far all efforts were in vain. Although both diseases occurred in different time frames and were geographically not overlapping, a common denominator could be what we know today as hantavirus infections. This review aims to shed light on the characteristics of both diseases from contemporary as well as current knowledge and suggests hantavirus infection as the most likely cause for the English sweating sickness as well as for the Picardy sweat.

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The English Sweating Sickness

In doing some research on Mary Boleyn for an article, I learned that Mary’s first husband William Carey died of the “sweating sickness” or the “English Sweate” in England in the summer of 1528. Thought I would look into this deadly and quick killing disease.

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The Lost Coronation Of King Richard III

The coronation that took place on Sunday 6th July 1483 was, only a fortnight earlier, unplanned. London was prepared for a coronation, that of King Edward V on 22nd June but that was fated not to take place. Edward had been declared illegitimate and his Protector asked to take the throne. Therein lies another story.


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