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Medieval Monday with Andrea R. Cooper!

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roses2Today’s Post highlights Andrea R. Cooper’s book, Viking Fire – a historical romance with a touch of magic

 

In 856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

Excerpt: 

“I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown.

“Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.”

“No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.

Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor.

“You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.

Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”

Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight.

Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of

Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.

“You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.

“So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”

“Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.”

Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”

“If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.

“Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.
Viking Fire Book Trailer:

Viking Fire Amazon: http://goo.gl/71VAsf

Viking Fire B & N: http://goo.gl/EvBxwf

Viking Fire iTunes: http://goo.gl/fQuKBd

Viking-Fire1_128

 

 

Andrea R. Cooper writes fantasy, paranormal, historical and contemporary romance.

Her favorBio Pic 300x400ite childhood memories revolved around creating vibrant characters for her friends, and then acting out their adventures. Inside her fantasy worlds of darkened forests, dragon-filled glades, and iced islands, nothing was banned. From the ethereal Elvin to the most maligned Vampires, all were welcome in her fictional realities, a stark contrast to her home, where the magical and mythical was forbidden.

Divorced and disillusioned of love and believing all the love songs and books exaggerated, she put aside her creativity for life. Many years past before characters, from the familiar to the freshly conceived, came to her again, but this time teasing at a new passion, the written word.

Gradually, her real life hero brought love and magic back into existence. During the time when her characters were getting reacquainted, the love of her life was showing her that true love never gives up and rekindles no matter how many times others attempt to extinguish it. Today, she is happily married with three children.

Andrea believes in the power of change and delighting in each moment. But most fervently, she believes in the magic of love and imagination again.

website: www.andreacooperbooks.com

twitter: @andreaRcooper

newsletter: www.andreaRcooper.com

Check every Monday for a new medieval author on this blog exchange and check this and their blogs weekly for more wonderful medieval novels:

Ashley YorkJenna JaxonLaura Strickland - Cathy McRaeMary MorganVijaya SchartzJill HugheySarah WoodburyLaurel O’Donnell

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Medieval Monday welcomes Laura Strickland!

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Categories: Research

MedMon

I’m participating in an exchange where authors of medieval fiction share books on our blog. Today, I get to welcome Laura Strickland, author of the The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy. Book three, Lord of Sherwood, is her latest release!

Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny.  With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman Tyranny.  But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.

Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding.  He wishes her to make a good marr

iage and settle down.  But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet.  She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.

Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago …

 

Excerpt:

Aye, Curlew thought ruefully, she could not be ruined more completely than at his hands last night. And if he sent her home with his child in her belly, what then? He realized, with a shock, he did not even know her given name.

A bit brusquely he said, “Gather up your clothing, lass. Cover yourself. You must go home.”

“Nay.”

“Do not be daft. Of course you must. Your father will be beside himself.”

“You promised.”

“Eh?”

Stubborn light flashed in her eyes. “You gave a vow last night that you would never send me away from you.”

Had he? Dismay crashed down upon Curlew like a hurled stone. But he had thought she was the Lady, asking from him a vow of devotion. He did not know he spoke words to a mortal woman.

He got to his feet, heedless of his nakedness, and began collecting her shed garments and thrusting them at her. “To be sure, you will go home.”

“Nottingham is not my home.” She tipped back her head to look at him. “I belong nowhere, except maybe here with you.”

Curlew shook his head violently. He turned from her and took up his own clothing, pulled his sark over his head even as she watched, donned his leather tunic, then slid into his leather leggings.

“Master Curlew?”

He turned back to her swiftly. She sat with her chemise clutched to those tantalizing breasts, her eyes wide with inquiry.

“Listen to me, Mistress Montfort. You are not for me, nor I for you.”

“But last night—”

“Despite last night.” In spite of the wonder and magic of it, the undeniable sense of rightness. “For I have a destiny before me, one I cannot escape, and would not if I could. I regret, but you have chosen the wrong man.”

She got to her feet, her clothing still caught against her. The autumn sun, filtering through the leaves, warmed her hair to amber-gold. “I do not believe that.”

“You must. Now dress yourself. I will see you safe to the edge of the forest.”

She did not move. Like a goddess she stood and looked at him with defiance.

Curlew felt an unexpected twinge of sympathy for Montfort. Who could fail to love this lass, or be driven beyond endurance by her? “Please,” he said.

The corners of her mouth twitched. “I regret, my lord, I would do most anything to please you. Anything but that.”

Buy and media links:

Available from:

All Amazon Stores  The Wild Rose Press  All Romance  KOBO  Googleplay

Author web page: www.laurastricklandbooks.com

Amazon author page  Facebook  Book Trailer for The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy

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It’s Medieval Monday!

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Categories: Research

MedMon

I’m participating in an exchange where authors of medieval fiction share books on our blog. Since this is my blog, I get to go first. I’m highlighting The Good Knight, the first Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mystery.

The Good Knight

An enthralling story, sympathetic characters and a visit to another time, another culture.  What more can you ask of an author? – Medieval Mysteries (medievalmysteries.com)

Intrigue, suspicion, and rivalry among the royal princes casts a shadow on the court of Owain, king of north Wales…

The year is 1143 and King Owain seeks to unite his daughter in marriage with an allied king.  But when the groom is murdered on the way to his wedding, the bride’s brother tasks his two best detectives—Gareth, a knight, and Gwen, the daughter of the court bard—with bringing the killer to justice.

And once blame for the murder falls on Gareth himself, Gwen must continue her search for the truth alone, finding unlikely allies in foreign lands, and ultimately uncovering a conspiracy that will shake the political foundations of Wales.

The Good Knight is free at all Amazon stores  Kobo  Smashwords  Apple iBookstore  Barnes and Noble  

Paperback at Amazon 

Paperback at Amazon UK

With two historian parents, Sarah couldn’t help but develop an interest in the past. She went on to get more than enough education herself (in anthropology) and began writing fiction when the stories in her head overflowed and demanded she let them out.  While her ancestry is Welsh, she only visited Wales for the first time while in college.  She has been in love with the country, language, and people ever since. She even convinced her husband to give all four of their children Welsh names.

With over 300,000 books sold, Sarah is the author of 17 novels and 2 novellas, all set in medieval Wales. She is currently working on the next Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mystery.

Sarah’s web page:  www.sarahwoodbury.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sarahwoodburybooks

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SarahWoodbury

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/SarahWoodburyBooks/

Excerpt:

The Good Knight

Chapter One

August, 1143 AD

Gwynedd (North Wales)

Look at you, girl.”

Gwen’s father, Meilyr, tsked under his breath and brought his borrowed horse closer to her side of the path. He’d been out of sorts since early morning when he’d found his horse lame and King Anarawd and his company of soldiers had left the castle without them, refusing to wait for Meilyr to find a replacement mount. Anarawd’s men-at-arms would have provided Meilyr with the fine escort he coveted.

“You’ll have no cause for complaint once we reach Owain Gwynedd’s court.” A breeze wafted over Gwen’s face and she closed her eyes, letting her pony find his own way for a moment. “I won’t embarrass you at the wedding.”

“If you cared more for your appearance, you would have been married yourself years ago and given me grandchildren long since.”

Gwen opened her eyes, her forehead wrinkling in annoyance. “And whose fault is it that I’m unmarried?” Her fingers flexed about the reins but she forced herself to relax. Her present appearance was her own doing, even if her father found it intolerable. In her bag, she had fine clothes and ribbons to weave through her hair, but saw no point in sullying any of them on the long journey to Aber Castle.

King Owain Gwynedd’s daughter was due to marry King Anarawd in three days’ time. Owain Gwynedd had invited Gwen, her father, and her almost twelve-year old brother, Gwalchmai, to furnish the entertainment for the event, provided King Owain and her father could bridge the six years of animosity and silence that separated them. Meilyr had sung for King Owain’s father, Gruffydd; he’d practically raised King Owain’s son, Hywel. But six years was six years. No wonder her father’s temper was short.

Even so, she couldn’t let her father’s comments go. Responsibility for the fact that she had no husband rested firmly on his shoulders. “Who refused the contract?”

“Rhys was a rapscallion and a laze-about,” Meilyr said.

And you weren’t about to give up your housekeeper, maidservant, cook, and child-minder to just anyone, were you?

But instead of speaking, Gwen bit her tongue and kept her thoughts to herself. She’d said it once and received a slap to her face. Many nights she’d lain quiet beside her younger brother, regretting that she hadn’t defied her father and stayed with Rhys. They could have eloped; in seven years, their marriage would have been as legal as any other. But her father was right and Gwen wasn’t too proud to admit it: Rhys had been a laze-about. She wouldn’t have been happy with him. Rhys’ father had almost cried when Meilyr had refused Rhys’ offer. It wasn’t only daughters who were sometimes hard to sell.

“Father!” Gwalchmai brought their cart to a halt. “Come look at this!”

“What now?” Meilyr said. “We’ll have to spend the night at Caerhun at present rate. You know how important it is not to keep King Owain waiting.”

“But Father!” Gwalchmai leapt from the cart and ran forward.

“He’s serious.” Gwen urged her pony after him, passing the cart, and then abruptly reined in beside her brother. “Mary, Mother of God…”

A slight rise and sudden dip in the path ahead had hidden the carnage until they were upon it. Twenty men and an equal number of horses lay dead in the road, their bodies contorted and their blood soaking the brown earth. Gwalchmai bent forward and retched into the grass beside the road. Gwen’s stomach threatened to undo her too, but she fought the bile down and dismounted to wrap her arms around her brother.

Meilyr reined in beside his children. “Stay back.”

Gwen glanced at her father and then back to the scene, noticing for the first time a man kneeling among the wreckage, one hand to a dead man’s chest and the other resting on the hilt of his sheathed sword. The man straightened and Gwen’s breath caught in her throat.

Gareth.

He’d cropped his dark brown hair shorter than when she’d known him, but his blue eyes still reached into the core of her. Her heart beat a little faster as she drank him in. Five years ago, Gareth had been a man-at-arms in the service of Prince Cadwaladr, King Owain Gwynedd’s brother. Gareth and Gwen had become friends, and then more than friends, but before he could ask her father for her hand, Gareth had a falling out with Prince Cadwaladr. In the end, Gareth hadn’t been able to persuade Meilyr that he could support her despite his lack of station.

Gwen was so focused on Gareth that she wasn’t aware of the other men among them—live ones—until they approached her family. A half dozen converged on them at the same time. One caught her upper arm in a tight grip. Another grabbed Meilyr’s bridle. “Who are you?” the soldier said.

Meilyr stood in the stirrups and pointed a finger at Gareth. “Tell them who I am!”

Gareth came forward, his eyes flicking from Meilyr to Gwalchmai to Gwen. He was broader in the shoulders, too, than she remembered.

“They are friends,” Gareth said. “Release them.”

And to Gwen’s astonishment, the man-at-arms who held her obeyed Gareth. Could it be that in the years since she’d last seen him, Gareth had regained something of what he’d lost?

Gareth halted by Meilyr’s horse. “I was sent from Aber to meet King Anarawd and escort him through Gwynedd. He wasn’t even due to arrive at Dolwyddelan Castle until today, but …” He gestured to the men on the ground. “Clearly, we were too late.”

Gwen looked past Gareth to the murdered men in the road.

“Turn away, Gwen,” Gareth said.

But Gwen couldn’t. The blood—on the dead men, on the ground, on the knees of Gareth’s breeches—mesmerized her. The men here had been slaughtered. Her skin twitched at the hate in the air. “You mean King Anarawd is—is—is among them?”

“The King is dead,” Gareth said.

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Did Cancer Exist in the Middle Ages?

Categories: Research, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001, a few months after my mom had a hysterectomy for uterine cancer.  In 2007, my dad was diagnosed with a second (unrelated) cancer–something horrible called lyposarcoma with a 15 pound tumor in his abdomen. A month after my father died in 2011, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, her second (unrelated) cancer.

How common was cancer in the past?  If cancer is more common now than before it could be because:

1)  we’ve polluted our environment

2)  we live longer than in the past, so we die from things we wouldn’t have had the chance to die from in the Middle Ages

3)  we’ve circumvented natural selection with our advances in medicine so we are frailer than in the past (my entire family might have died from appendicitis before reproducing, for example)

I can’t answer whether or not cancer is more common, but it was common enough in the past to be remarked upon and studied:

“Since the earliest medical records were kept, cancer as a disease has been described in the history of medicine. The earliest known descriptions of cancer appear in seven papyri, discovered and deciphered late in the 19th century. They provided the first direct knowledge of Egyptian medical practice. Two of them, known as the “Edwin Smith” and “George Ebers” papyri, contain descriptions of cancer written around 1600 B.C., and are believed to date from sources as early as 2500 B.C. The Smith papyrus describes surgery, while the Ebers’ papyrus outlines pharmacological, mechanical, and magical treatments.

Based on the information recorded on papyri and hieroglyphic inscriptions, ancient Egyptians were able to distinguish benign tumors from malignant tumors. They were also able to use different treatments, including surgery, and other various modes of medicine.”  http://training.seer.cancer.gov/disease/history/

A recent article reports on the discovery of a 2250 year old mummy who had prostate cancer: “It is the oldest known case of prostate cancer in ancient Egypt and the second-oldest case in history … The earliest diagnosis of metastasizing prostate carcinoma came in 2007, when researchers investigated the skeleton of a 2,700-year-old Scythian king who died, aged 40-50, in the steppe of Southern Siberia, Russia.”  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45126192/ns/technology_and_science-science/

No matter how slow and painful a cancer death might be, surgery didn’t sound like a great option:  “The Edwin Smith Papyrus, describes 8 cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast. The document acknowledged that there is no treatment for this condition and recommended cauterization (the fire drill) as a palliative measure. ”  http://medicineworld.org/cancer/history.html

“Hippocrates believed that the body had 4 humors (body fluids): blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. When the humors were balanced, a person was healthy. Too much or too little of any of the humors caused disease. An excess of black bile in various body sites was thought to cause cancer. This theory of cancer was passed on by the Romans and was embraced by the influential doctor Galen’s medical teaching, which remained the unchallenged standard through the Middle Ages for over 1,300 years. During this period, the study of the body, including autopsies, was prohibited for religious reasons, which limited progress of medical knowledge.”

Hippocrates was also the person to coin the term ‘cancer’ from “the Greek words, carcinos and carcinoma  . . . thus calling cancer “karkinos.” The Greek terms actually were words to describe a crab, which Hippocrates thought a tumor resembled.”  http://cancer.about.com/od/historyofcancer/a/cancerhistory.htm

“The oldest available specimen of a human cancer is found in the remains of skull of a female who lived during the Bronze Age (1900-1600 BC) The tumor in the womens skull was suggestive of head and neck cancer. The mummified skeletal remains of Peruvian Incas, dating back 2400 years ago, contained abnormalities suggestive of involvement with malignant melanoma. Cancer was also found in fossilized bones recovered from ancient Egypt. Louis Leakey found the oldest possible hominid malignant tumor in 1932 from the remains of a body, which could be either that of Homo erectus or an Australopithecus. This tumor had features suggestive of a Burkitts lymphoma.”  http://medicineworld.org/cancer/history.html

Throughout, doctors have tried to get a handle on it:

“Zacutus Lusitani (1575-1642) and Nicholas Tulp (1593-1674), 2 doctors in Holland, concluded at almost the same time that cancer was contagious. They made this conclusion based on their experiences with breast cancer in members of the same household. Lusitani and Tulp publicized the contagion theory in 1649 and 1652, respectively. They proposed that cancer patients should be isolated, preferably outside of cities and towns, in order to prevent the spread of cancer.”   http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerBasics/TheHistoryofCancer/the-history-of-cancer-cancer-causes-theories-throughout-history

There were treatments too, not that they necessarily worked:

“Paul of Aegina (~625 – 690 AD)
Paul of Aegina was a most prominent Byzantine physician who believed cancer of the breast and uterus were most common, and he wrote that surgery of uterine cancer was useless. He recommended removal of breast cancer instead of cauterization.

Moses Maimonides (1135 – 1204 AD)
The treatment of large tumors suggested by Moses Maimonides involves ‘excis[ing] the tumor and uproots the entire tumor and its surroundings up to the point of healthy tissue, except if the tumor contains large vessels…[or] the tumor happens to be situated in close proximity to any major organ, excision is dangerous.'”  http://knol.google.com/k/history-of-cancer-treatment#

 

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Poet Lloyd Jones

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Categories: Research

I wanted to announce the publication of a book of poetry by Lloyd Jones, The Secret Life of a Postman. 

I have read many of them and enjoyed them greatly.

Lloyd Jones is an award-winning novelist in English and Welsh. He lives on the North Wales coast near Bangor.

His first novel, Mr Vogel, (Seren 2005) won the McKitterick first novel award and was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction. His second novel, Mr Cassini (Seren 2006) won the Wales Book of the Year prize. In 2009, he published his first collection of short stories, My First Colouring Book (Seren). He was chosen to contribute to Seren Books’ acclaimed series reimagining the Mabinogion, the original source of the legendary King Arthur story cycle, with See How They Run (New Stories from the Mabinogion Seren 2012), a retelling of “Manawydan, Son of Llyr”. He published his first Welsh language novel, Y Dwr (Y Lolfa 2010) to critical acclaim. and followed that with Y Daith (Seren 2011). He translated Y Dwr into English as Water (Y Lolfa 2014).

For more information and to purchase a copy see:

http://www.welsh-american-bookstore.com/News/lloyd-jones-secret-life-of-a-postman.html

Size matters

For instance we can’t imagine what it’s like
To be Russian, we’ll never know
What it’s like to live in a country
With an unassailable language
And a monumental culture spreading
Across nine time zones,
So much space it drives men mad.
We’ve just the one field in Wales,
Small and green, with a copse of myths
And a boggy bit in the middle;
An apple tree and a pig,
A church and twelve chapels, also
A hut which is home to three anchorites,
Two of them devising the country’s history
Always a little faster than the third can read it;
And there’s always a gang
Drilling for something by the gate,
Forever a promise of gold or maybe
Yet more mud.

- See more at: http://www.welsh-american-bookstore.com/News/lloyd-jones-secret-life-of-a-postman.html#sthash.e0itRkGF.dpuf

 

 

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Castell y Bere

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Categories: Research, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

My daughter says that Castell y Bere is in ‘the freaking middle of nowhere’ which is why King Edward couldn’t convince any English settlers to live there after he conquered Wales.  Plus ‘it’s really, really windy.’

Potentially, that is all you need to know about Castell y Bere, but if that turned you away from visiting, that would be unfortunate.  Historically, Castell y Bere was also one of the most important castles of the Welsh Princes–certainly it is one of the largest and most elaborate.  It sits on elongated plateau of rock in the Upper Dysynni Valley.  Because of its central location (at the time), it helped Llywelyn Fawr, who built it, control the territory along the old mountain road from Cadair Idris to Dolgellau.  It also guards the territory between the Dyfi and Mawddach estuaries (see above mentioned ‘freaking middle of nowhere’).  Llywelyn built it with luxuries in mind, and included stained glass windows, inlaid tile, and stone carvings (Paul Davis, Castles of the Welsh Princes).

Llywelyn Fawr began the castle after a dispute with his son, Gruffydd in 1221 AD.  Llywelyn took these territories for himself, and began work on Castell y Bere.  His grandson, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, added onto the structures, eventually creating a sprawling complex of buildings, surrounded by a system of walls and ditches that made the castle virtually impossible to assault.  It was the last castle to be taken in 1283, after the fall of Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, surrendering to King Edward’s forces without a fight.

King Edward maintained the castle (to the tune of 265 pounds) from 1286 to 1290, but Adrian Pettifer states in his book Welsh Castles, ‘the castle proved too remote to be supplied in times of siege.’  It was burned during Madog ap Llywelyn’s uprising in 1294 and never restored.

Links:  http://www.castlewales.com/cybere.html

http://www.castlexplorer.co.uk/wales/bere/bere.php

 

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Ynys Mon (Anglesey) in the Dark and Middle Ages

Categories: Research, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Of all the places in north Wales/Gwynedd, the name for Ynys Mon was deliberately changed by the English/Norman invaders, but it belies the fact that Ynys Mon remains resolutely Welsh, with 7 out of 10 residents speaking Welsh.  Because of its location, the populace suffered greatly over the millenia from foreign invaders, culminating with the wars of 1277 and 1282, when it was conquered as a stepping stone to Eryri, the stronghold of the Welsh princes.  After this last war, Edward deliberately razed much that was Welsh to the ground, including Llanfaes Abbey, the gravesite of Princesses Joanna and Elinor and built Beaumaris over the top of it.  In the process, hundreds of Welsh were ‘resettled’ elsewhere and English people brought in.

“Ethnic cleansing is not a new concept. When Edward I reached Llanfaes, he forced all the Welsh people to move to a new village called Newborough. However, the worst effects were felt in the towns of Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris. No Welsh people were permitted in the towns and they were mostly inhabited by the English with a few people from Ireland, Gascony and Savoy. 1,500 hectares around those towns was also cleared of Welsh people in order that the colonists had fields for crops and livestock. The villages of Aberystwyth and Lleweni were similarly cleared of Welsh people.”  http://www.princesofgwynedd.com/drivingtour.asp?pid=3

The name ‘Anglesey’ is in fact a Viking word from the 10th century, indicating that the Vikings were successful enough in their sacking of the island for a place-name to stick, and be adopted later by the English/Normans.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/whatsinaname/sites/videoexplorer/pages/?jumpTo=anglesey

Anglesey has some of the best farmland in Wales, is one of the flatter areas, and is also the driest region of Wales.  Thus, settlement has existed on Anglesey as long as people have lived in Wales.  Prehistoric megaliths scatter the island:  http://www.megalithia.com/overview/anglesey.html

Knowing a good thing when they saw it, the Romans conquered Anglesey in 61 AD but only after defeating Boudica elsewhere:  “The Romans vehemently opposed the Celtic druids, whom they did not see as pious priests, but as ferocious freedom fighters – terrorists. The druids continuously tried to rally the local population to take up the arms against the Romans. The Roman invasion of Britain had set these men on the run, with the centre of the druid cult becoming, or possibly always being Anglesey, which thus, in the first century AD, was the centre of the Celtic religion in Britain.

This situation is confirmed by the Roman historian Tacitus and Emperor Nero, who specifically identified Anglesey as an island that needed to be conquered. Many troops were relocated from other British locations towards Wales in an effort to do so. However, this power vacuum elsewhere resulted in certain insurrections, such as that of Queen Boudica.

Realising the Roman troops could not maintain order and attack Anglesey at the same time, the Empire forsook a final attack on Anglesey – the conquest of Anglesey was insignificant against the loss of London and the rest of Britain. Hence, it is claimed that the Roman general Paulinus tore up Nero’s orders, returned to London via the newly constructed Watling Street, to meet the army that had been scrambled by Queen Boudica, which had left London, in search of a Roman army they could fight. In the end, the battle occurred in Atherstone, Warwickshire, where the Romans attained an easy victory. Enthusiasm lost against well-oiled organisation.

The fact that “druid terrorists” lived in Anglesey meant that in 61 AD, Suetonius Paulinus managed to get his army across the Menai Strait and massacred the druids and burnt their sacred groves. The Romans remained aware, however, that the druids might continue to pose a problem and hence they constructed the fortress of Segontium, present Caernarfon, on the edge of the Menai Strait, to make sure that what little remained of an intact Celtic culture remained on Anglesey – and did not try to seed dissent in “Roman Britain”.

Tacitus wrote how the battle occurred on the coastline of the Menai Strait: “On the coastline, a line of warriors of the opposition was stationed, mainly made up of armed men, amongst them women, with their hair blowing in the wind, while they were carrying torches. Druids were amongst them, shouting terrifying spells, their hands raised towards the heavens, which scared our soldiers so much that their limbs became paralysed. As a result, they remained stationary and were injured. At the end of the battle, the Romans were victorious, and the holy oaks of the druids were destroyed.””

http://www.philipcoppens.com/anglesey.html

After the Romans, came the Irish, the Vikings, the Scots, and the Danes (briefly), but it was strong enough defensibly for the Kings of Gwynedd to seat their court on the west coast at Aberffraw from c.860 AD until c.1170 AD.  No trace remains of that court as the llys was dismantled for the building and maintenance of Edward I’s castle at Beaumaris.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberffraw

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On the use of the word ‘gotten’

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Categories: Research

tgk cover blog

Several UK readers have wondered about the use of the word ‘gotten’ in my medieval mysteries. Since the word is not in common usage in England right now, it seems odd to them to read it at all, and a glaring ‘Americanism’ in a book set in the medieval period. At first glance, this might appear to be yet another instance of ‘two countries separated by a common language,’ but as it turns out, the history of the word ‘gotten’ is a lot more interesting than that.

tgk cover blog‘Gotten’ is, in fact, an ancient English word that was in use in England at the time America was colonized by the English. Over the centuries, the Americans kept on using it and the English did not.

Origin:  1150-1200(v.) Middle English geten < Old Norse geta to obtain, beget; cognate with Old English –gietan (> Middle English yeten), German-gessen, in vergessen to forget; (noun) Middle English: something gotten, offspring, derivative of the v.  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gotten

“British English discontinued the use of “have gotten” as a form of the past participle for “get” over 300 years ago. The British Colonies on the other hand continued to use it. As a result American English continued the use of “have gotten” while British English relegated the word to obsolescence. It is now rarely used in the British version of the English language. American English continues to use “have gotten” to emphasis the action performed. In American English language “has got” implies possession. It is assumed that if “has got” is used that it is referencing what the person has in their possession. On the other hand, “has gotten” implies that the person acquired, received or obtained an item.”  http://www.reference.com/motif/reference/is-gotten-grammatically-correct  also: http://www.pbs.org/speak/ahead/change/ruining/

“Just seeing the word is enough to set the hair of some British English speakers on end. Yet, despite the many claims that it is an Americanism, it is most definitely of British origin and the Oxford English Dictionary traces its first use to the 4th century.

Since then, it has been used by many notable British English writers, including Shakespeare, Bacon and Pope and it was one of a number of words that were transported across the Atlantic with the settlers. But then it slipped out of use in British English, along with such words as fall for “autumn” (British English having opted to adopt the French word) and guess in the sense of “think”.” http://www.miketodd.net/encyc/gotten.htm

‘Got’ is used in Welsh–or at least as much of it as I have so far managed to learn. ‘I have got’ (mae gen i) is a common phrase in modern Welsh and even has its own system of conjugation (you have got, he has got). Of course, my medieval characters aren’t speaking English anyway, so whether they might have used ‘gotten’ as well as ‘got’, like their English counterparts, is something I don’t know! However, if my medieval characters were speaking English (which they generally are not), they would have used, ‘gotten’!

 

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King Stephen

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King Stephen’s reign was full of turmoil because of the conflict between him and King Henry’s daughter, Maud (Matilda).  Both claimed the throne of England and tore the country apart trying to get it.  Maud was supported by her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester (the employer of Geoffrey of Monmouth, see:  http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/?p=341), who couldn’t claim the throne because he was a bastard.  Otherwise, he was the richest and most powerful man in England behind Stephen.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has a very lengthy entry on the time of King Stephen, and (in fact) ends with his death in 1154.  The Chronicle describes the brutality of events and reads, in part: “When King Stephen came to England, he held his council at Oxford; where he seized the Bishop Roger of Sarum, and Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, and the chancellor Roger, his nephew; and threw all into prison till they gave up their castles. When the traitors understood that he was a mild man, and soft, and good, and no justice executed, then did they all wonder. They had done him homage, and sworn oaths, but they no truth maintained. They were all forsworn, and forgetful of their troth; for every rich man built his castles, which they held against him: and they filled the land full of castles. They cruelly oppressed the wretched men of the land with castle-works; and when the castles were made, they filled them with devils and evil men. . . . I neither can, nor may I tell all the wounds and all the pains which they inflicted on wretched men in this land. This lasted the nineteen winters while Stephen was king; and it grew continually worse and worse. . . . To till the ground was to plough the sea: the earth bare no corn, for the land was all laid waste by such deeds; and they said openly, that Christ slept, and his saints.” (James Ingram translation)

“Stephen was the grandson of William the Conqueror and about half-dozen years older than his cousin and rival for the throne, Matilda (daughter of Henry I). After his father’s death in 1102, Stephen was raised by his uncle, Henry I. Henry was genuinely fond of Stephen, and granted his nephew estates on both sides of the English Channel. By 1130, Stephen was the richest man in England and Normandy.

. . . Stephen had promised to recognize his cousin Matilda as lawful heir, but like many of the English/Norman nobles, was unwilling to yield the crown to a woman. He received recognition as king by the papacy through the machinations of his brother Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, and gathered support from the barons. Matilda was in Anjou at the time of Henry’s death and Stephen, in a rare exhibition of resolve, crossed the Channel and was crowned king by the citizens of London on December 22, 1135.

Stephen’s first few years as king were relatively calm but his character flaws were quickly revealed. Soon after his coronation, two barons each seized a royal castle in different parts of the country; unlike his hot-tempered and vengeful Norman predecessors, Stephen failed to act against the errant barons. Thus began the slow erosion of Stephen’s authority as increasing numbers of barons did little more than honor their basic feudal obligations to the king. Stephen failed to keep law and order as headstrong barons increasingly seized property illegally. He granted huge tracts of land to the Scottish king to end Scottish and Welsh attacks on the frontiers. He succumbed to an unfavorable treaty with Geoffrey of Anjou to end hostilities in Normandy. Stephen’s relationship with the Church also deteriorated: he allowed the Church much judicial latitude (at the cost of royal authority) but alienated the Church by his persecution of Roger, Bishop of Salisbury in 1139. Stephen’s jealous tirade against Roger and his fellow officials seriously disrupted the administration of the realm.

Matilda, biding her time on the continent, decided the time was right to assert her hereditary rights.” With her half-brother Robert, Earl of Gloucester, Matilda invaded England in the fall of 1139. Betwen them, they dominated western England by 1141. “Robert captured Stephen in battle at Lincoln; Stephen’s government collapsed and Matilda was recognized as Queen. The contentious and arrogant Matilda quickly angered the citizens of London and was expelled from the city. Stephen’s forces rallied, captured Robert, and exchanged the Earl for the King. Matilda had been defeated but the succession remained in dispute: Stephen wanted his son Eustace to be named heir, and Matilda wanted her son Henry fitzEmpress to succeed to the crown. Civil war continued until Matilda departed for France in1148. The succession dispute remained an issue, as the virtually independent barons were reluctant to choose sides from fear of losing personal power. The problem of succession was resolved in 1153 when Eustace died and Henry came to England to battle for both his own rights and those of his mother. The two sides finally reached a compromise with the Treaty of Wallingford – Stephen would rule unopposed until his death but the throne would pass to Henry of Anjou.”  http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon25.html

For Wales, Stephen’s reign allowed some measure of rewnewed sovereignty, most notably under the rule of Owain Gwynedd

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Warden of Time available for preorder!

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Categories: Research

Warden of Time

warden of-time-frontAs both modern man and medieval king, David is committed to transforming medieval England into his own version of Avalon. Not everyone supports his ideals, however, and having offended the pope by welcoming Jews and heretics into England, David is summoned to Canterbury to explain himself.

But when information comes to light that reveals the accusations against him have less to do with religion than with power and wealth, David finds himself on familiar ground—and at the center of conspiracy that stretches from Ireland to Italy. Facing excommunication, a fickle populace, and a rebellion even by his fellow time travelers, he must decide what his throne is worth, and what he’s willing to sacrifice to keep it.

Warden of Time will be released on October 19, 2014 and is now available for preorder at Amazon US and all Amazon stores, and the Apple iBookstore. Coming soon to Kobo and Barnes and Noble.

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The Welsh Longbow

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Bows and arrows have been around since Paleolithic times, with evidence of them as early as 8000-9000 BC in Germany.   http://www.newarchaeology.com/articles/history_bow_and_arrows.php

Kennewick man, the controversial skeleton found in the banks of the Columbia River inKennewick,Washington dates to roughly 7500 BC. A CT scan revealed a stone, projectile point embedded in his hip.

Oetzi the Iceman was found with a quiver of arrows with flint heads and an unfinished yew longbow–taller than he was–in his pack.  He dates to 3300 BC.

A new find in Norway revealed 4500 year old bows and arrows that are very similar in form and function to those found in the Yukon dating to the same time period.TLP blogThe confirmed first use of the longbow was in 633 AD, in a battle between the Welsh, led by Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd, against the Northumbrians.   http://www.themiddleages.net/longbow.html

The shot killed Ofrid (or Osric?), son of Edwin of Northumbria, who just happened to be Cadwallon’s foster-uncle.  Cadwallon had allied himself with Penda of Mercia in an attempt to drive the Northumbrians from Gwynedd, after Edwin had defeated his father and taken over the country.  Cadwallon was successful.   http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/cadwagd.html

Saxons, as a rule, were not archers.  It is another five centuries before there is any recorded use of a longbow in England.  The men of Wales used longbows against the Normans, from the moment they arrived to conquer England and Wales, up through the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.  One of the greatest victories for Llywelyn was in 1257 before the Battle of Cymerau where the Normans lost 3000 men (http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/cymerau/).  At Llandeilo Fawr, they cowered for two days under a hail of arrows from the Welsh.

Starting 1252 in England, the longbow was finally accepted as a formal military weapon.  “In 1252 the Assize of Arms required that all landowning yeomen with an annual income between 40 to a 100 shillings were to be armed and trained with a longbow (war bow) and the more wealthy yeomen were also required to possess a sword, buckler, dagger and to be trained in their use.”   http://robinhode.webs.com/yeomen.htm

“C.1280: Longbow adopted by Edward I during the Welsh campaigns after seeing how effectively the Welsh used the bow.

1331-1333: Longbow used by Edward III during the Scottish Campaign.

1337-1453b: The hundred years war with France:During this time, the English and Welsh longbowmen were the most prominent part of the English army, sometimes outnumbering the Men-at-Arms by as much as 10:1. The average was a ratio of about 3:1.”   http://www.archers.org/default.asp?section=History&page=longbow

What is it about the longbow that is both effective and also prevented its earlier adaptation?  This has to do with 1)  it’s size, and 2) the length of time required to learn its use.

The standard yew longbow was over 6 feet long (6 ft. 6 inches), with a yard long arrow.  They are powerful weapons that require enormous strength to draw.   In general, the draw weight is 120-150 pounds, with a range between 200 and 300 yards.  “In battle, longbow formations fired 10-12 volleys per minute. Each archer was provided 60-72 arrows. A force of 4,000 longbowmen could loose 240,000 arrows within the space of five minutes.”   http://www.militaryhistory.teamultimedia.com/History%20of%20Weapons/Welsh%20and%20English%20Longbow.html

Thus, in order to master its use, a man must practice.   A lot.  Once King Edward of Englandrealized the longbow’s full potential, he adopted it from the Welsh, such that “To ensure a steady stream of bowmen for his army, Edward I banned all sports except archery on Sundays. Shooting ranges were set up on or near church property so parishioners would follow worship services with archery practice.”    http://www.militaryhistory.teamultimedia.com/History%20of%20Weapons/Welsh%20and%20English%20Longbow.html

Edward III used the long bow to great effect during the Hundred Years War, filling his ranks with Welsh and English longbowmen that decimated the French ranks, particularly at the Battles of Crecy and Agincourt.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_longbow

 

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The Unlikely Spy available now!

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The fifth Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery, The Unlikely Spy, is available now in both ebook and paperback!

The Unlikely Spy

TUS ebookAugust 1146. Prince Hywel has called all the bards of Wales to him for a music festival to mark the third anniversary of his rule over Ceredigion. He has invited all the lords of Wales too, including his father, his uncle, and his neighbor to the south, King Cadell. But with the highborn also come the low: thieves, spies, and other hangers-on. And when a murderer strikes as the festival starts, Gareth and Gwen are charged with discovering his identity—before the death of a peasant shakes the throne of a king.

The Unlikely Spy, the fifth Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery was released on 17 June 2014. It is available at Amazon US and all Amazon stores, the Apple iBookstoreBarnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.

 

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