Friday, February 24, 2017

White Cargo - Story of Irish Slaves

Thousands of Irish people were subjected to years of abuse and cruelty after being sold as slaves during the 17th and 18th centuries. That is the claim made by London based historians and authors Don Jordan and Michael Walsh.

The two men have written a book, White Cargo, which says that one of the darkest periods in Irish history may have been swept under the carpet for centuries. The book details how thousands of Irish men, women and children were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean and America to work as labourers during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Read More Here @ Irish History

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rare Book Heist

Three thieves robbed a west London warehouse in late January by drilling holes in the building’s skylight, and then using rope to descend vertically into the space to avoid motion-detection alarms, George Sandeman at The Guardian reports. In total, the robbers made out with more than 160 books worth an estimated $2.5 million.

The rarity of the books would make them incredibly hard to unload on the open market, Cook notes, and investigators theorize that a wealthy collector known as “The Astronomer” may have hired the thieves to steal the books for him.

Read more here @ Smithsonian dot com

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Faded Page

is an archive of eBooks that are provided completely free to everyone. The books are produced by volunteers all over the world, and we believe they are amongst the highest quality eBooks anywhere. Every one has been scanned, run through OCR software, proofed, formatted and assembled extremely carefully, using hundreds of volunteer hours. These books are public domain in Canada (because we follow the Canadian copyright laws), but if you are in another country, you should satisfy yourself that you are not breaking the copyright laws of your own country by downloading them.

Access the library here @

A Lady Crowned with Fleurs-de-Lys

The story centers on Isabella, a princess from the German territory of Bavaria. The young royal is chosen to be the bride of Charles, the young king of France. Her idyllic life with her loving husband and doting children is left uninterrupted for many years until a series of unfortunate events leads to her downfall. After her death, she is no longer thought of as the princess who enchanted everyone on her wedding day. Rather, she is regarded as a corrupted woman whose name is associated with depravity and blind ambition.

Further Reading: 
  • The Life & Afterlife of Isabeau of Bavaria by Tracy Adams
  • The Role of Isabeau of Bavaria in the Government of France by Colleen Lily Mooney
  • The Active Queenship of Isabeau of Bavaria, 1392-1417: Voluptuary, Virago Or Villainess? by Rachel C. Gibbons

Death in Medieval Europe

The essays by Rollo-Koster and other scholars explore the cultural effects of death and how it influenced everyday life, from mourning practices to commemorations. URI chatted with her recently about her research.

“Images of death abounded in the later Middle Ages, especially in the period after the Black Death in the mid-14th century,’’ says Rollo-Koster, a renowned medieval scholar. “It was part of life, ritualized and choreographed, unlike today, where it is hidden and closeted.”

Read more here @ URI Today (University of Rhode Island)

Spinning a Historical Tale

For centuries, silk has been associated with wealth and royalty. Lesser known, though, is the fabric’s crucial role in French history — and how that reputation was cemented by women and immigrants.
In her book, “The Silk Industries of Medieval Paris: Artisanal Migration, Technological Innovation, and Gendered Experience” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), UC Santa Barbara historian Sharon Farmer races the roots of modern silk production in France back to medieval Paris, a bustling hub for luxury goods and fine textiles.
Read entire article here @ The Current (UC Santa Barbara)

Internet Sacred Text Archive

Internet Sacred Text Archive - the largest freely available archive of online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the Internet. The site is dedicated to religious tolerance and scholarship, and has the largest readership of any similar site on the web.

Princess Michael of Kent - Writing 'The Anjou Trilogy'

From Midnight Walks to Medieval Murders: Writing 'The Anjou Trilogy' | The Huffington Post

Princess Michael of Kent blogs about writing, research & her upcoming trilogy:

Research is rather like becoming a detective. Every clue, no matter how small, is exciting and can lead one on to the next, another piece in the jigsaw found and I continue trying to form a picture of a personality. This is the part of my journey as a writer which I enjoy the most — discovering the essence of a character through tiny little asides and titbits of no apparent significance but which can, on occasion, add something significant to their persona.
And then there are the locations. I never write about a place I have not visited, and therefore I do travel a great deal. 
I am a night-writer. It is the only time I am undisturbed and often at my laptop until three or four in the morning. 
Strangely enough, each one of my chosen subjects about whom I have written has led me to the next. 

Read complete article here @ Huffington Post
Read more about Princess Michael of Kent

Ermengarde of Narbonne - The Viscount's Daughter

In 12th century France, women were generally regarded as useful only in the home – meant to run the household and raise children. It was men's work to handle politics and warfare. There have been exceptions to this unwritten rule throughout history, and one such exception was Ermengarde, viscountess of Narbonne. Her exceptional role in France's history was what drew author Phyllis Hall Haislip to write her first novel for adults.

"The Viscount's Daughter," published in 2013, is the first volume in a planned trilogy following Ermengarde's life.

Few facts are known about Ermengarde. She inherited her title at approximately the age of five, after the death of her father. Because she was too young to lead, another nobleman, Alphonse I of Toulouse, assumed regency of Narbonne. When Ermengarde reached adolescence, he married her to add her lands to his own. Other local landowners objected to Toulouse's greed, and the conflict soon escalated to violence. Through all this, Ermengarde fought both against the dismantling of her father's legacy and the undesirable advances of her husband.

Haislip conducted extensive research for her novel, even traveling to visit the places Ermengarde and her contemporaries once lived to ensure accuracy in her descriptions.

Much of the work is based on the author's own imagination, because many details of Ermengarde's life have been lost over the centuries, but the book remains true to the culture and region of France in the mid-1100s.

Read More here @ Daily Press

From Amazon: The Viscount's Daughter, The Viscountess, The Viscountess & the Templars

Further Reading: Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours by Frederic Cheyette