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Offa’s Dyke

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

In 780 AD, King Offa of Mercia was at the height of his authority.  Prior to his rule, in 750 AD, King Eliseg (immortalized by Eliseg’s Pillar near Llangollen) had swept the Saxons out of the plains of Powys.  Offa, in turn, attacked Powys in 778 and 784, and tradition states that he built the dyke, sometime (or throughout) his reign.  Prior to this, Aelthelbald, King of Mercia, had built ‘Wat’s Dyke’, which extends from the Severn Valley northwards towards the estuary of the Dee (A History of Wales, John Davies p. 62).

There is a quote from George Borrow, from Wild Wales, that “it was customary for the English to cut off the ears of every Welshman who was found to the east of the dyke, and for the Welsh to hang every Englishman whom they found to the west of it”.  This is potentially apocryphal, but indicates the significance of this man-made border between the two countries.

One of the biggest mysteries about Offa’s Dyke, in addition to when it was built, is why?  It was a huge undertaking to construct the earthwork, 150 miles in length, up to 65 feet wide and 8 feet high in places, along the entire length of the border between what is now England and Wales.  It clearly wasn’t made to keep the Welsh out of England, or to protect the Saxons in Mercia–since it was never defended.  Both English and Welsh kingdoms appeared to have a hand in determining where to build it, since it runs to the east of Wat’s Dyke when they are parallel, and in Gwent in particular, leaves lowlands to Wales to the east of natural features it might normally have followed.  It was dug, however, “with the displaced soil piled into a bank on the Mercian (eastern) side. Where the earthwork encounters hills, it goes to the west of them, constantly providing an open view from Mercia into Wales.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offa’s_Dyke  The prevailing opinion to date was that Offa built it as a sign of authority and power–as a means of saying, to a certain extent, ‘after this wall, here be dragons.’

I, personally, like the theory that Offa’s Dyke is a Roman construction:

The Roman historian Eutropius in his book, Historiae Romanae Breviarium, written around 369, mentions the Wall of Severus, a structure built by Septimius Severus who was Roman Emperor between 193 and 211:

Novissimum bellum in Britannia habuit, utque receptas provincias omni securitate muniret, vallum per CXXXIII passuum milia a mari ad mare deduxit. Decessit Eboraci admodum senex, imperii anno sexto decimo, mense tertio. Historiae Romanae Breviarium, viii 19.1

He had his most recent war in Britain, and to fortify the conquered provinces with all security, he built a wall for 133 miles from sea to sea. He died at York, a reasonably old man, in the sixteenth year and third month of his reign.

However, this site, http://www.cpat.org.uk/news/oldnews/offaro.htm explains why this is unlikely. “The evident dislocation of Offa’s Dyke from the currently recognised pattern of early 3rd century military sites in the Welsh borders. This includes the legionary fortresses at Chester in the north and Caerleon in the south, other forts such as those at Leintwardine, Caersws and Forden Gaer, and a road system of which some elements are still in use today as parts of the modern, A5, A39 and A41 routes. The alignment of Offa’s Dyke shows no tangible geographical association or functional integration with this network. Indeed, it is in any case very hard to see what possible purpose such an undertaking could have served in Roman occupied western Britain, especially when the surviving Dyke is actually not a 130 mile complete frontier but is only spread discontinuously over that approximate length with extensive unexplained gaps (80 miles of earthwork are known).”

Furthermore, Ian Bapty, Offa’s Dyke Archaeological Management Officer with CPAT states:  “the attribution of the Dyke to Offa by Asser in his late 9th century ‘Life of Alfred’, echoed by the tradition of the ‘Offa’s Dyke’ name itself which can be documented back as far as the 13th century, has been accepted as correct by Anglo-Saxon scholars. ‘Offa’s Dyke is an extraordinary survival from our Anglo-Saxon past’ says Ian Bapty ‘and extraordinary exactly because it is Anglo-Saxon and as such sheds crucial light on a key period of our history when the modern political geography of Britain was beginning to appear. While we can perhaps associate descriptions of the ‘missing’ wall of Severus with somewhat confused and secondarily derived later accounts of Hadrian’s Wall – which was much rebuilt in the time of Severus – we surely cannot backdate Offa’s Dyke to Roman times, and to do so would be to miss the real significance and historical impact of this amazing earthwork’.

‘Ultimately I’d be ready to wager my granny on the fact that Offa’s Dyke is Anglo-Saxon and not Roman!’ says Ian ‘although I’d also have to be say that I’d be keeping granny firmly out of the stakes when it comes to betting on most other aspects of our understanding of the Dyke, including key issues such as exactly why it was built, how it was built, and what it’s original appearance and total extent was. I think it is the process of trying to answer these questions which may throw up some real and lasting revelations concerning not just Offa’s Dyke itself, but the very origins of Welsh and English culture and society’.”  http://www.cpat.org.uk/news/oldnews/offaro.htm

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Medieval Monday with Cathy MacRae

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Categories: Research

MedMon

Every Monday, I’ve been co-hosting Medieval Mondays with other Medieval romance authors.  This means you can get a peek at new authors and find out about upcoming books from authors you already love.

Be sure to check in each Monday!

The lastest author is Cathy MacRae, author of The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride.

PictureThe setting is 1377 and King Robert II is on the throne of Scotland. Though relatively quiet at this point in his reign, the time is still fraught with peril from pirates roaming the western coastline and the English control of much of the Lothians and the border lands to the south. In the first book of the series, The Highlander’s Accidental Bride, King Robert demands the end of a feud between two Highland clans. Though he allows his southern earls to engage in activities to regain their lands from the English, he has less tolerance for Highland clan feuds- especially when they are continually brought to his notice. In The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride, the king responds to a plea for help against the pirates.

Book cover blurb, The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride:

Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter.

Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him.

Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a 4-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve?
* * *
Excerpt:

“So, the king forced Eaden to wed,” she murmured. Her gaze caught Ranald’s. “What will he do to me?”

Ranald noted Riona’s sudden pallor, her gray eyes widening until they were naught but huge silver orbs glowing against her skin. Now was as good a time as any to tell her what King Robert intended for her, but he could not force the words.

“Ye are a laird’s daughter,” he reminded her. “And an heiress. Yer mother’s dower lands north of here are of great value to the king.”

“And I am of little worth, aye?” Riona flared.

“Nae. Ye are of great worth.”

“But a pawn to the king.”

Ranald sighed. This was not going as he planned. “We are all pawns in one way or another, Ree. The king willnae let ye stay on yer own. Ye are a ward of the crown, now.”

“So, he’ll marry me off to some rebellious laird he wants to drag over to his side, using me and my lands to hold him?”

“Nae. No’ so bad as all that.”

“Mayhap to a wealthy laird who’s all but doddering in his cups, hoping I’ll no’ breed an heir before he dies, giving title of the land to the king and my next husband?”

Ranald lifted an eyebrow. The lass was getting worked up over nothing. “Marriage, yes. Doddering auld man, no.”

Riona snapped her head to one side, a glower on her face. “Then, who?”

Ranald swallowed and offered a crooked smile.

“Me.”
* * *

Amazon Buy Link: www.amzn.com/B00J1PNPPC/

Please visit with me on my website: www.cathymacraeauthor.com
or on facebook_ Cathy MacRae or Cathy MacRae Author
cathymacrae@cathymacraeauthor.com

I love to hear from readers!

Thanks for checking out this new series of posts! What is your favorite Medieval place/time?

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Medieval Monday with Mageela Troche!

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Categories: Research

Welcome to Mageela Troche, my guest for this week’s Medieval Monday!

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Mageela Troche loves Scotland. Claiming the Highlander is her latest novel set in those rugged, misty lands and revisits characters from her other two novels. Here a little about the book:

Caelen MacKenzie married heiress Lady Brenna Grant in his youth for a large parcel of land and an earldom. Years later, Scotland trembles from the tales of the Viking Highlander yet Caelen must face his most challenging battled—returning home and to the past he ran from.

Lady Brenna loves her husband. As her loyalties are tested, the life she was reared to live is in jeopardy. She know no other life as the Countess and wife to Caelen. Snagged in the power plays of men, she will do anything to save that life and the man she loves.

From the rugged western highlands to the glittering Scottish court, they must battle the machinations of powerful men scheming against them.

ClaimingtheHighlander_MEDExcerpt from Claiming the Highlander:

1244, Scotland

 

His bride didn’t want to marry.

The King of Scotland wanted this wedding. Her holdings couldn’t fall into the hands of the Islemen, so they could not encroach into Scotland. His father, Laird MacKenzie, wanted this marriage to increase his holdings and bring an earldom to the family, raising their standing from barons. Laird Grant wanted this marriage to increase his ties to the powerful MacKenzies.

His bride wanted a berry tart.

The king, Alexander II, ambled to the aisle and stared at the little girl, tugging to free her arm from her nursemaid’s grip. Behind the king, lords and ladies scooted closer, stretching their necks for a glimpse of the wailing bride.

“After the ceremony, ye may have one.” Her nursemaid tugged on her arm to drag the wee lass to the altar.

“Nay.” Brenna Grant plopped down on her behind, falling in a mess of plaid that flopped her about and a lot of chestnut hair that covered her face.

Caelen wagered she wore a pout to match her crossed arms. The nursemaid lowered herself and wagged a finger at his bride. “Ye will be a proper lady and marry or ye shall not have any treats and shall be locked in the chamber.”

His bride pushed aside her nursemaid’s outstretched hand and ran toward the altar and beyond it. “I am running away!” She ducked under the altar.

The bishop sputtered. Spit flew from the corners. He goggled at the king. The nursemaid stomped her way to the altar and flipped up the frontal. “Get yeself out from under there. I na spare the rod, child.”

“Nay,” she screamed. She kicked the altar. The whole thing shook. Even the gold cross wavered, then righted.

“Ye wicked girl. Ye not be going to heaven and seeing yer mama.”

“Liar!”

Caelen snatched a tart from the table. He nudged aside the nursemaid and knelt down. “Here’s the treat if you come do this.”

Baby fine brown hair brushed her forehead. Her groomed brows furrowed over her narrowed eyes. Those brown eyes dominated her soft, full-cheeked face. Her lips were pressed into a stubborn line.

“She’ll get her dress dirty.”

“Enough. Take it and let’s wed.” He held out the treat. She stretched her neck out and chomped her teeth into the dough.

She climbed out on her hands and knees. Caelen took her dimpled hand. Caelen curled his hand carefully around hers. She held it so trustingly. He almost pulled away. This wedding would be done this day and two days hence, he would return to his foster home at Clan MacLean and return to training. He had to be a feared warrior like his grandfather and father so he could lead the clan one day.

He halted before the bishop and inclined his head. The bishop cleared his throat and watched Brenna eat her treat. She smacked her lips after each bite. Her nursemaid stretched out her neck and bore her black eyes into his happily eating bride. Brenna raised her nose high in the air and smacked her lips louder, even spitting out a chewed morsel. On her last bite, with fruit on the corners of her mouth, she was now his wife—the future Lairdess of the Clan MacKenzie and Countess of Wester Ross. She wiped her mouth with her sleeve, leaving a smeared red trail across the fine silk of her heather-hued gown.

“That was the easiest way to get a lass to the altar.” Laird MacKenzie laughed. The boom traveled through the great hall. Brenna threw back her head and let out some gruff ha-ha.

“He shall never have it that easy again,” the King added.

Caelen took her sticky hand and led her to the dais. He picked her up and set her in the chair. She climbed to her knees. “Thank you,” she said, her tongue peeking out from between the gap in her teeth. She rubbed her eyes and then sat back on her heels.

She squirmed to free her legs from under her. She tapped Caelen on his forearm. “I lost my shoe.” She lifted her foot and wiggled her toes at him. Caelen ducked under the table and spotted a crumpled fluff that must be her slipper. It was the softest, most girlish material he had ever seen. He hooked his thumb on the back and lifted it out. The thing barely filled his palm. Brenna propped her foot on the chair’s arm. Her little plump toes wiggled. He cupped her heel in his palm, sure he would break her. He stared at her foot, left and then right. How did he put it on without ripping the thing or crushing her toes? He slipped her toes in and then the rest of her foot.

She smiled before sitting back on her legs. She propped her chin on her dimpled hand. “What does a husband do?”

Caelen shrugged.

“My da tells my new mama what to do but you can’t do that. I don’t like that. You have to protect me and love me.” Her high-pitched voice held a thread of authority. “We can play but you can’t scare me. I don’t like that.”

“And a wife?” He threw out as she drew in air.

“Same thing.” She shrugged. “Don’t forget. You’re my husband and I love you.”

Laird Grant lifted his cup. “To the bond of MacKenzie and Grant. May we cut down our enemies and love our women.”

The revelry swirled around them. As the French wine flowed, the toasts from their future children to the great battles Caelen would fight bounced off the great hall’s beams. Only the feast of pheasant, deer, swan, and every sea creature in Scottish waters ceased their shouts. Halfway through the procession of delights, Brenna curled up in her chair and dozed off.

She was nothing more than brown hair, wide, brown eyes, and the pinkest lips he had ever seen. She was funny looking.

She was his wife.

He didn’t even have chest hair.

Buy Claiming the Highlander at http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=10&products_id=937or http://www.amazon.com/Claiming-Highlander-Mageela-Troche-ebook/dp/B00N70RHWO/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410414322&sr=1-3&keywords=mageela+troche

Mageela Troche loves to make new friends. You can find her athttps://www.facebook.com/mageela.troche  at her http://mageelatroche.com/or https://twitter.com/MageelaTroche

Mageela Troche is currently writing her next novel in the cramped corner of her Big Apple apartment.

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Warden of Time is available now!

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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 was released on October 19, 2014 and is available at Amazon US and all Amazon stores, a Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, and iBooks.

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Medieval Monday with Jill Hughey!

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Categories: Research

Today on Medieval Monday, I’m featuring Unbidden, Book One in Jill Hughey’s Evolution Series which will take you to the rarely explored medieval world of Charlemagne’s Empire where aristocrats, warriors, merchants and servants find love in the most unexpected places! If you like swoon-worthy yet mildly flawed heroes and independent not-too-perfect heroines, then step in to a Jill Hughey Romance.

BLURB

Rochelle of Alda, a feisty Frank noblewoman, expects to continue her industrious life managing her family’s estate. When her emperor summons her to the palace to meet the skilled soldier she is required to marry, Rochelle engages in a battle for independence from David of Bavaria. As her own deceptions multiply, she suspects another of also plotting against their marriage. To her surprise, and too late, David’s passion and patience begin to win her heart. Can their love survive the tangled web of her schemes and the secret adversary David refuses to see?

In this excerpt of David and Rochelle’s first meeting, David has arrived to take Rochelle to the palace for the betrothal, and is dismayed to learn her mother has told her nothing about it.

EXCERPT

David turned his head as the noise from the door escalated, unsure what he expected to enter his life. Given her mother’s shocking hair, he didn’t hold his hopes too high for the girl’s appearance, no matter what Theo said. The need for deception to even get her to Aix did not indicate a particularly biddable personality. Based on the increasingly violent rattling from the latch, she couldn’t even open doors for herself.

He was about to climb the steps to offer assistance when the door finally wrenched open, releasing a storm of muttering about city workmanship and rotten carpentry carried in a whirlwind of deep blue linen. She all but flung herself onto the narrow staircase. Not exactly light of foot nor entirely graceful, she rushed down the stairs, noticing his presence in time to abruptly stop on the bottom step.

She stared at him.

From across the room he could feel the chill of cold caution. Even so, his concern about her looks evaporated. She stood taller than her mother, clear skinned, with eyes of a soft green. The gold circlet on her head held her veil neatly in place, covering what it was intended to cover. An unexpected desire to see the color of her hair shot through him. He could only approximate it from her eyebrows:  not quite brown, but certainly not red either. And her female attributes remained a mystery to him as well, hidden under layers of varying shades of blue, though a heavy gold girdle studded with aquamarines suggested narrow hips.

“Mother?” she queried.

David reluctantly turned to Marian, who, it appeared, had been watching him stare at her daughter. A small smile quirked her lips. Her tightly clasped hands now lay on her chest as if in prayer. She did not find her voice until David cleared his throat expectantly.

“Rochelle!” she said too loudly. “Theophilus, the gentleman who has helped us so much, sent this burly young man to escort ye to yer audience with the emperor. He is called David. A Bavarian, no less!”

David raised his brow at her rather obtuse explanation of his role in the upcoming event. Marian gave him a slight warning shake of her head. Well, if the woman hadn’t the courage to tell this girl the truth of the matter, he certainly did. He didn’t know much about getting along with women, but he guessed that starting his marriage with deception – and necessarily short-lived deception at that – could not be wise.

As he opened his mouth to explain exactly who he was, Rochelle spoke, “I do not see why I need an escort. I found the palace yesterday.”  She lowered herself off the last step and strode toward him with a confident swing of her arms. “But if Theophilus wants to share his guard, so be it.”

Marian bobbed her head. “It was quite thoughtful of him.”

David held up a hand. “I am not Theo’s guard. And did you just suggest you were wandering about the city yesterday, alone?”

Rochelle studied him assessingly. Yes, assessingly was the only word for it and, God help him, she was lovely up close. Her not brown, not red brows arched over green eyes flecked with hazel. A dusting of freckles decorated a thin nose that flared pertly at the nostrils. Her soft pink lips were slightly parted exposing straight teeth.

“Not alone. Our servant, Gilbert, was with me.”

“Gilbert, the bag of bones who opened the door?” David scoffed. “He could not keep a street rat away much less a pack of thieves. From this day forth, you will not leave here without an able-bodied man at your side.”  She smelled nice.

Rochelle placed her hands on her hips, pleasantly outlining a slim waist beneath her clothing. “What has given you the idea you can make pronouncements such as that to me?  I will go where I wish, when I wish, escorted or not, as I wish!”  Her chest heaved a bit and there were breasts under that tunic, he could tell, and damn it when was the last time he’d lain with a woman?  He mentally bridled himself. First, betrothal. Betrothal was the task set before him today. It was time to attend to that task.

He stepped forward, purposely crowding her and letting his hard gaze bore into her fiery eyes, daring her to challenge him. “I will tell you what gives me the right –“

Marian made a strangled sound before finding her words. “Ye should be going!  It will not do to be late to the palace.”

Rochelle eyed first him, then Marian, before backing away to grasp her mother’s hands. “Mother, I do wish you would reconsider. Certainly the nobles have forgotten your circumstances by now. Father would want you to have the honor of meeting Charlemagne’s son.”

Marian laughed a bit shrilly. “No, that is no place for me. Ye shall have the glory today, daughter. Here is your cloak.”  She kept babbling as she closed the gold and aquamarine clasp at the neckline of the pale blue garment. “David will keep you safe. Do as he says, my dear. He is in charge of you today. And possibly tomorrow.”

Rochelle chortled. “Mother, do not be ridiculous. This will be over in an hour or two and then we are going home!  Home, where I also do not require an escort!”  She fixed David with a significant look before she walked to the door, wrenched it open with relative ease, and stepped onto the street without him.

 END OF EXCERPT

Amazon – http://viewbook.at/unbidden

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unbidden-jill-hughey/1107878247?ean=2940032876090

Apple https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/unbidden-evolution-series-1/id669962780?mt=11

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/105365

Kobo   http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Unbidden/book-LvUJeKW6xU-dmJWy3DSCxg/page1.html?s=ggcrfh25QUuM-OPlj27aRA&r=1

In Print at CreateSpace https://www.createspace.com/3733078

Audio books

Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Unbidden-Audiobook/B00HR735OM

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Unbidden-The-Evolution-Series/dp/B00HSR6WNC

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/unbidden-evolution-series/id803456753?uo=4? target=”itunes_store”>

For more about Jill Hughey visit her website at www.jillhughey.com. Subscribe to her occasional newsletter at www.jillhughey.com/contact.
MedMon

 

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Caer Fawr (Iron Age Hill Fort)

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

tpq cover blogCaer Fawr, or ‘The Great Fort’, is the scene of the final battle in The Pendragon’s Quest.  It is an iron age hill fort with extensive fortifications, most of which are hidden now by vegetation.  The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales did a study of Caer Fawr and if you’re interested in the topic, it’s worth downloading:  http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk/LO/ENG/Publications/Electronic+Publications/Gaer+Fawr/

It “occupies a prominent hill 1.4 kilometres to the north of Guilsfield (Cegidfa) and 5.4 kilometres north of Welshpool in the old county of Montgomeryshire, now Powys. The topography of this area is dominated by the River Severn, 4.7 kilometres to the east (Fig. 2). The hills flanking its wide river plain rise gently to the west and more steeply to the east and are cut by the tributary rivers which feed the Severn. A series of prominent hills rises above the general topography, most distinctively the Breidden, at 403 metres above sea level . . .

The site lies in the northern half of a dense band of large?and medium?sized hillforts extending along the border between England and Wales: from the Wye Valley and tributaries of the Severn into the central Marches, and on by way of the Clwydian Range to the North Wales coast . . .

“‘The construction covered at least two main phases. The original hillfort, enclosing about 3 acres, was probably univallate with entrances at the NW and SW ends. The second phase consisted of enlarging the original fort by enclosing a further 3½ acres to the NW side at a lower level. The new outer defences were bivallate and included very complicated entrances on the NE and SW, probably on the sites of the original entrances’ (NMRW: OS 495 Card SJ 21 SW 1). . . .

“The most likely date for this phase of construction is the early Iron Age, between the sixth and fifth centuries BC, the period in which hillfort building took off in the Marches . . . The ‘developed’ form of Gaer Fawr is likely to belong to the middle Iron Age, 400-150  BC. . . .

“One of the most noticeable features of Gaer Fawr is its defences; the scale is huge in contrast to the size of the area enclosed. Useable space totals just over 2 hectares, whereas the hillfort as a whole encompasses just over 6 hectares. As defensive features these would certainly have been imposing and would have been visible for miles, with entrance arrangements clearly designed to control the movement of people, managing both how and who approached.”  In short, Caer Fawr provided the perfect place for Cade, Rhiann, andn their friends to defend Wales against a Saxon advance!

For more about the fort, see the report (again):  http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk/LO/ENG/Publications/Electronic+Publications/Gaer+Fawr/

For a cool video from the BBC:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/history/sites/localhistory/hidden_histories/episode_2_hillfort.shtml

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Medieval Monday with Vijayah Schartz!

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Categories: Research

Every Monday look for a new medieval author on this blog exchange and check this and their blogs weekly for more wonderful medieval novels:
Ashley YorkJenna JaxonLaura StricklandCathy McRaeMary Morgan -Andrea CooperJill HugheySarah WoodburyLaurel O’DonnellVijaya Schartz

 

Welcome to Vijayah Schartz, author of The Curse of the Lost Isle series, beginning with book one, Princess of Bretagne!

THE CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE series:

From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies, who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse… but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.

PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE
Curse of the Lost Isle – Book One
http://amzn.com/B007K1EGAM

806 AD – Alba (Ancient Scotland)
As the Vikings raid the coast of Alba, Pressine of Bretagne sets out to seduce King Elinas of Dumfries, chosen by the Goddess to unite the tribes against the foreign invader. Elinas, still mourning his departed queen, has no intention to remarry. Head strong and independent, Pressine does not expect to fall for the very attractive, wise and noble ruler… Furthermore, her Pagan nature clashes with the religious fanaticism of the king’s Christian heir, who suspects her unholy ancestry and will stop at nothing to get rid of her.

 Excerpt:

Without waiting for an invitation, Elinas stormed into the bedchamber.

Pressine shuddered at the loathing in his dark brown eyes.

“Whatever made you think you could violate the apartments of my beloved queen?” Stopping short in the middle of the room, Elinas glanced around, eyes wide with disbelief.

Pressine struggled to sound casual. “Surely your gracious queen would have wanted these rooms light, warm and clean, even alive with laughter, rather than dark, sealed, and stinking of decay.”

The king’s jaw tightened under the short black beard as he towered over her. His hands balled into fists at his sides. “I alone decide in my castle.” The low voice turned to a raucous whisper, more threatening than the shouts of any battlefield. “I shall not tolerate defiance of any kind under my roof. Restore these rooms to their previous state and leave.”

Barely able to slow her heartbeat, Pressine feigned distraction, dusting her blue riding dress. “It simply cannot be done.”

“You dare challenge me?” His surprise would have been comical, if not for the menacing tone.

“The old linens were burned,” Pressine said with a calm she did not feel, as if lecturing a child. She rose to fetch the bundle wrapped in blue silk and handed it to him.

Elinas looked at it suspiciously. “What is it?”

“Her comb, mirror, distaff, spindle, and other keepsakes.” Pressine waved her hand, encompassing the room. “The apartments themselves will never look the way they did before.” She had made certain of that.

The king’s eyes, velvety brown and soft this morning at the spring, now burned with the fiery amber of a wild cat’s glare. Elinas looked ready to pounce. He snatched the bundle from her arm. “Out!”

Pressine showed none of the apprehension gripping her. The king’s heart, beneath the leather gear, had more mettle than she anticipated.

“Remember that I have your sword.” She paused, observing the sobering effect of her words. “Only this morning, you gave it to me, swearing you would honor your oath of keeping me safe in your halls. Does a king’s word count for so little in Strathclyde?”

“I curse the ill fortune that made me hear you sing, lady.” Eyes tightly shut, Elinas tensed, fists at his side, obviously struggling for emotional control. “I should have known that a princess who refuses to bow to the will of men can only bring strife.”

Encouraged by the spark of reason returning to the distraught Elinas, Pressine hoped he could now face his grief. “I am sorry if I offended you. I meant no disrespect.”

“I have enough Vikings, Angles, Picts and Scots to give me trouble. The gods know I do not want feuds in my home.” Stillness made his stare frightening.

Pressine refused to be intimidated. “Will you honor your word and protect me, then?”

“I should throw you to the wolves!” His voice boomed.

“Wolves?” Pressine repressed a chuckle. She loved wolves. “What would your people think of a king who throws a defenseless princess to the wolves?”

“Defenseless?” The king’s face reddened.

“Everyone in the castle expects to see me at your side at the Beltane feast. If I do not attend, there will be questions. The rules of hospitality state that…”

“Let them ask,” Elinas snapped. “The rules of hospitality do not apply to princesses who misbehave!”

HAPPY READING!
Vijaya Schartz
Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com

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Medieval Monday with Andrea R. Cooper!

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Categories: Research

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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