Medieval Forensics

People murdered each other in the Middle Ages.  How did a medieval detective go about finding the murderer?  Many authors have written medieval murder mysteries and if the Brother Cadfael mysteries are anything to go by, medieval forensics were a primitive, but burgeoning science. Some things that a medieval detective could determine: Time of death:  “Rigor mortis—literally, “death stiffness,” happens very methodically—from the face downward about 2 hours after death. It takes another 8-12 hours for the body to become completely stiff and fixed into position. Fixed for another 18 Read More…

December 11, 1282

Today is the 735th anniversary the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native Welsh Prince of Wales.  He was ambushed and cut down by Englishmen, somewhere in the vicinity of Builth Wells (Buellt in Welsh), Wales, late on the afternoon on 11 December 1282.  It was a Friday. And then Llywelyn ap Gruffudd left Dafydd, his brother, guarding Gwynedd; and he himself and his host went to gain possession of Powys and Buellt. And he gained possession as far as Llanganten. And thereupon he sent his men and his steward to receive Read More…

Medieval Diseases

In the Middle Ages, the range of types of diseases was similar to what we experience today, with some exceptions (HIV/AIDS).   Viruses, of course, are no easier to combat now than then, but without vaccines and if the infected person was living in unclean or freezing conditions, or suffering from a poor diet, the disease was made that much worse.  Antibiotics help with some diseases, but then again, more have sprung up in response to them (C-diff). That said, these are some of the most common diseases people experienced in Read More…

The Senghenydd Mine Disaster

Today marks the 100th anniversary of one of the worst mining disasters ever, and certainly the worst in Wales. “Britain’s worst ever mining disaster has been remembered a century after 439 miners and one rescuer lost their lives in an explosion at Senghenydd in South Wales. A new monument has been unveiled on the site of the old mine and a memorial garden opened to remember more than 5,000 miners killed in accidents across Wales since the 18th century.”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24516312 The explosion killed almost the entire male population of the Read More…

The History of Chicken Pox

Sadly, this post is relevant because my youngest son, who is eight, came down with chicken pox two days ago.  I have no idea where he got it and even worse, he has had it before, though as a five month old child, which seems to be why he was able to get it again.  I’d hoped that having it a second time might mean a milder infection, but it’s not looking good right now.  He has spots in some VERY uncomfortable places. Chicken Pox, so named, has been around Read More…