Chateau des Baux

Chateau des Baux is a medieval fortress located on the Les Baux plateau in the South of France. The first mention of the castle is in the 10th century (900s) when it was ruled by a lord called Pons de Jeune, though evidence indicates the plateau has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The legend says that the original ruler was descended from Balthazar, of the Three Magi who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. The Wars of Les Baux began in the 12th century when the Lords of Baux resisted their incorporation into the Kingdom of Catalan. By the 14th century, Les Baux came under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of France, which the lords also resisted, to the point of burning and pillaging the surrounding area between 1386 and 1398. During the 12th century, the castle was largely reconstructed Read more…

Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne is an island off the northeastern coast of Britain, and accessibly only when the tidal flats are exposed. The island started out, as all of England once did, as a British settlement. But by the 6th century, the Angles had taken it over, and the Historia Brittonum recounts the last attempt of the British, led by Urien of Rheged, to retake the island. The British were defeated, and the Saxons maintained control of the island ever since. As we talked about in the introduction to Saxon religion, the initial conversion to Christianity of the Saxons of northern England and Scotland was led by Christian missionaries from Ireland, having been converted earlier by the British Saint Patrick. The monastery at Lindisfarne was actually founded by the Irish saint, Aiden, and became the seat of Christian evangelism stretching all the way Read more…

The Welsh Longbow

The Welsh employed the longbow long before any of their conquerors and used to great effect against their enemies for centuries. 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. The confirmed first use of the longbow was in 633 AD, in a Read more…

Dark Age and Medieval Armor

The Arthurian knight in plate mail, jousting on his horse, is the classic image of a medieval knight, but is totally inaccurate.  Armor has evolved over time and that plate mailed knight was a relatively late development in the evolution of warfare. Dark Age warriors wore a range of leather and chain mail armor, properly referred to as simply ‘mail’.  This was standard for the next five hundred years, until the gradual shift to plate mail during the fourteenth century, particularly for high status warriors. From: http://historymedren.about.com/library/weekly/aa041500a.htm “The construction of mail was begun by hammering a sheet of metal very thin and flat. The sheet would then be cut into narrow strips, and each strip would be wound around an iron mandrel or rod. (Later, when the technique of drawing wire was developed, soft iron wire would be used instead.) The wound wire or strips Read more…