Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

Duelleer Pistolen set 1550 replicatie.

Soms kom je wel eens iets tegen, waarvan je zeg: nee dat kan niet, dat pas totaal niet bij me. Maar ja, dan heb je weer je liefhebberij van The Musketiers.

De flintlock is in het jaar 1550 uitgevonden. Een scherp flintje, vast in de haan, slaat op een verhard staal en werpt een vonk uit die het poeder ontsteekt.

De mechanica van deze flintlock pistool is volledig flexibel, maar ze zijn niet functioneel. De pistolen zijn reproducties van meesters van de 18e eeuw.

De lente is c.a. 30 cm

Inmiddels hem ik een twee tal zwaarden en een geweer waarvan het mechanisme erg verdomd veel lijk als wat men toen gebruikte. Het geweer in overigens van rond de 1840, dus niet uit die tijd. En dan nu een pistool. En gelukkig werken deze niet, is het allemaal nep.

Ondanks ik een fan ben van de middeleeuwen, verafschuw ik het geweld. Met name geweren en al wat daar mee te maken heeft.

Maar ik ben vooral onder de indruk en de middeleeuwen om al dat mooie interieur. En daar horen ook wat zwaarden bij.

The Musketiers kwam in half in de jaren 70 van de vorige eeuw in contact. De middeleeuwen van in 1969 en 1970, met de series Floris en de zwart-wil serie uit 1958, Ivanhoe. Daardoor heb ik weet ik veel hoeveel films van de middeleeuwen en serie, van King Arthur, Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, Henry 8, The Musketeers en meer.

En dagelijks kijk ik wel naar een film of serie. Sommig al meer dan 100 keer gezien, geloof ik. Maar het blijf indrukwekkend voor me.

Geplaatst in Films / DVD / Blu-Ray, Middeleeuwen

The 300 Spartans

Het is een oude klassieker (uit 1967) die in 2006 op DVD verscheen

Het is een verhaal wat zich afspeelt in Griekenland, zo’n 480 jaar voor Christus. Met Richard Egan en Sir Ralph Richardson in de hoofdrollen.

Het is natuurlijk wel een film die me aanspreekt natuurlijk. Een middeleeuws achtig iets.

Voor de techniek hoef je film niet te zien of zeker niet te kopen. In 1967 namen ze bepaalde dingen niet zo serieus. Mensen waren nu niet eenmaal verwent, zoals men dat nu is. Bovendien in Zwart-Wit zie je bepaalde dingen niet.

Nou ja zwart-wit …….. Nou ja, kleur……

Maar maak het dan dat dit een slechte film is. In tegendeel. Men wist toen al verdomd goed hoe ze verhalen/gebeurtenissen moesten vastleggen op film. En ik heb van de eerste minuut tot de laatste minuut dan ook enorm genoten.

Het is een hele leuke film, en ik ben blij dat ik hem nu in mijn collectie te mogen hebben.

Aanrader, zou ik zeggen.

Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

During the English Civil War, Lady Mary

Bankes defended a castle from over 200 attackers with only five men under her initial command

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/08/14/priority-english-civil-war-lady-mary-bankes-defended-castle-200-attackers-five-men-initial-command/

Mary Hawtry was born in about 1598, the only daughter of Ralph Hawtry, Esquire of Ruislip, Middlesex, and Mary Altham. In about 1618, she married Sir John Bankes, who later became Attorney-General to King Charles I and Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. In 1635, Sir John purchased Corfe Castle in Dorset with all its manors, rights, and privileges from Lady Elizabeth Coke. Sir John died on 28 December 1644 at the age of 55.

In 1643, when civil war broke out in England, she assumed control of Corfe Castle after John Bankes was ordered by the king to travel to York. She sent her sons away for safety and remained behind with her daughters, servants, and a force of five men. In May 1643, a force of Parliamentarians, comprising between 200 and 300 men under the command of Sir Walter Erle attacked the castle but never succeeded in capturing it. She asked for aid and a troop of 80 men under the command of Captain Robert Lawrence arrived to reinforce the garrison. In June, Commander Erle renewed his attack along with Captains Sydenham, Jarvis and Scott, a force of 500-600 men, and two siege engines. With Captain Lawrence’s troops protecting the Middle Ward and the better part of the garrison, Mary and her small group defended the Upper Ward and by heaving stones and hot embers from the  battlements, managed to repel the assailants, killing and wounding over 100 men. In 1646, one of her officers, Colonel Pitman, betrayed her by leading a party of Parliamentarians into the castle via a sally gate. The Parliamentarians under the command of a Colonel Bingham reversed their jackets and were mistaken for Royalists. As a result, she was forced to surrender the castle. However, because she showed such courage she was allowed to keep the keys of the castle, which are now held at Kingston Lacy near Wimborne Minster, Dorset. The castle was slighted the same year it was captured by the orders of the House of Commons.

It is recorded that her sons Ralph and Jerome bought the manor of Eastcourt on her behalf. Upon her death, the manor passed to her daughter Joanna Borlase, who in her turn passed it on to her daughters and co-heirs

Lady Mary died on 11 April 1661 and was buried in St Martin’s Church, Ruislip. On the south wall of the chancel inside the church there is a monument to Mary with this inscription:

To the memory of Lady Mary Bankes, the only daughter of Ralph Hawtery, of Riselip, in the county of Middlesex, esq., the wife and widow of Sir John Bankes, knight, late Lord Chief Justice of His Majesty’s court of Common Pleas, and of the Privy Council of His Majesty King Charles I of blessed memory, who having had the honour to have borne with a constancy and courage above her sex, a noble proportion of the late calamities, and the restitution of the government, with great peace of mind laid down her most desired life the 11th day of April 1661. Sir Ralph Bankes her son and heir hath dedicated this.

 

Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

Poisoned pottage and a man boiled to death

 

Posted By Claire on April 5, 2017

On this day in history, 5th April 1531, Richard Roose (Rouse) was boiled to death at Smithfield after being attainted of high treason.

Roose was the former cook of the household of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, and he’d been attainted after Parliament had passed a new bill, the “Acte for Poysoning”, which made it high treason to kill anyone with poison.

It was claimed that Roose had poisoned the pottage that had been served to the bishop and his guests on 18th February 1531. Two poor people, who’d been served leftovers as alms, died after eating it, and the bishop and his guests were taken ill but survived.

Read more…

Also on this day in history, 5th April 1533, Convocation gave its ruling on Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, stating that the Pope had no power to dispense in the case of a man marrying his brother’s widow, and that it was contrary to God’s law.

Read more…

https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/poisoned-pottage-man-boiled-death/

Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

24 March 1603 – Death of Elizabeth I

Posted By Claire on March 24, 2014

 

On this day in history, the 24th March 1603, Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, died at Richmond Palace.

Elizabeth I’s death was the end of an era in so many ways: the end of England’s Golden Age, the end of a long reign (over 44 years) and the end of the Tudor dynasty. The Tudor line died with the Virgin Queen and it was the son of Mary Queen of Scots, James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England and who began the House of Stuart in English history.

Here is a primary source account of Elizabeth I’s last days, written by Sir Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth, son of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and grandson of Mary Boleyn, in his memoirs:

I took my journey about the end of the year 1602. When I came to court, I found the Queen ill disposed, and she kept her inner lodging; yet she, hearing of my arrival, sent for me. I found her in one of her withdrawing chambers, sitting low upon her cushions. She called me to her; I kissed her hand, and told her it was by chiefest happiness to see her in safety, and in health, which I wished might long continue. She took me by the hand, and wrung it hard, and said, ‘No, Robin, I am not well,’ and then discoursed with me of her indisposition, and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten or twelve days; and in her discourse, she fetched not so few as forty or fifty great sighs. I was grieved at the first to see her in this plight; for in all my lifetime before, I never knew her fetch a sigh, but when the Queen of Scots was beheaded. Then, upon my knowledge, she shed many tears and sights, manifesting her innocence, that she never gave consent to the death of that Queen.

I used the best words I could, to persuade her from this melancholy humour; but I found by her it was too deep-rooted in her heart, and hardly to be removed. This was upon a Saturday night, and she gave command, that the great closet should be prepared for her to go to chapel the next morning. The next day, all things being in readiness, we long expected her coming. After eleven o’clock, one of the grooms came out, and bade make ready for the private closet; she would not go to the great. There we stayed long for her coming, but at the last she had cushions laid for her in the privy chamber hard by the closet door, and there she heard service. From that day forwards, she grew worse and worse. She remained upon her cushions four days and nights at the least. All about her could not persuade her, either to take any sustenance, or go to bed. The Queen grew worse and worse, because she would be so, none about her being able to persuade her to go to bed. My Lord Admiral was sent for, (who, by reason of my sister’s death, that was his wife, had absented himself some fortnight from court;) what by fair means, what by force, he got her to bed. There was no hope of her recovery, because she refused all remedies.

On Wednesday, the 23d of March, she grew speechless. That afternoon, by signs, she called for her council, and by putting her hand to her head, when the king so Scots was named to succeed her, they all knew he was the man she desired should reign after her. About six at night she made signs for Archbishop Whitgift and her chaplains to come to her, at which time I went in with them, and sat upon my knees full of tears to see that heavy sight. Her Majesty lay upon her back, with one hand in the bed, and the other without. The bishop kneeled down by her, and examined her first of her faith; and she so punctually answered all his several questions, by lifting up her eyes, and holding up her hand, as it was a comfort to all the beholders. Then the good man told her plainly what she was, and what she was to come to; and though she had been long a great Queen here upon earth, yet shortly she was to yield an account of her stewardship to the King of kings. After this he began to pray, and all that were by did answer him. After he had continued long in prayer, till the old man’s knees were weary, he blessed her, and meant to rise and leave her. The Queen made a sign with her hand. My sister Scroop knowing her meaning, told the bishop the Queen desired he would pray still. He did so for a long half hour more, with earnest cries to God for her soul’s health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the Queen, to all our sight, much rejoiced thereat, and gave testimony to us all of her Christian and comfortable end. By this time it grew late, and every one departed, all but her women that attended her.

This that I heard with my ears, and did see with my eyes, I thought it my duty to set down, and to affirm it for a truth, upon the faith of a Christian; because I know there have been many false lies reported of the end and death of that good lady.”

After Carey had left, Elizabeth slipped into a deep sleep and died peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of the 24th March. Diarist John Manningham recorded her actual death:-

This morning, about three o’clock her Majesty departed from this life, mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from a tree… Dr Parry told me he was present, and sent his prayers before her soul; and I doubt not but she is amongst the royal saints in heaven in eternal joys.”

RIP Queen Elizabeth I.

Now, I could carry on being sad and morbid, but as I was reading the moving accounts of Elizabeth I’s death, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate her life, rather than just focus on her death. She was an incredible woman and there are many people around the world who admire her, but why?

For me, I must admit, that part of the attraction is that she was the daughter of Anne Boleyn and as I read more about Elizabeth I see glimpses of her mother in her. As I read her letters and speeches I am blown away by her way with words, her wit, her intelligence and her skills of diplomacy. When I look at the events of her life and reign, I am overawed by the challenges she faced and how she overcame them. When I consider the status of women in Tudor times, I am amazed by Elizabeth’s achievements, and when I read the words of her friends and advisers I am struck by the respect and love they had for a woman who could be incredibly spiteful at times. She was a formidable woman and queen and deserves to be remembered as such.

Originally posted on The Elizabeth Files.

Notes and Sources

  • Sir Robert Carey’s Memoirs, edited by John Boyle, 5th Earl of Cork, in 1759, and by Sir Walter Scott in 1808, quoted on Elfinspell.com

https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/24-march-1603-death-elizabeth/

Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

24 March 1603 – Death of Elizabeth I

Posted By Claire on March 24, 2014

 

On this day in history, the 24th March 1603, Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, died at Richmond Palace.

Elizabeth I’s death was the end of an era in so many ways: the end of England’s Golden Age, the end of a long reign (over 44 years) and the end of the Tudor dynasty. The Tudor line died with the Virgin Queen and it was the son of Mary Queen of Scots, James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England and who began the House of Stuart in English history.

Here is a primary source account of Elizabeth I’s last days, written by Sir Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth, son of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and grandson of Mary Boleyn, in his memoirs:

I took my journey about the end of the year 1602. When I came to court, I found the Queen ill disposed, and she kept her inner lodging; yet she, hearing of my arrival, sent for me. I found her in one of her withdrawing chambers, sitting low upon her cushions. She called me to her; I kissed her hand, and told her it was by chiefest happiness to see her in safety, and in health, which I wished might long continue. She took me by the hand, and wrung it hard, and said, ‘No, Robin, I am not well,’ and then discoursed with me of her indisposition, and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten or twelve days; and in her discourse, she fetched not so few as forty or fifty great sighs. I was grieved at the first to see her in this plight; for in all my lifetime before, I never knew her fetch a sigh, but when the Queen of Scots was beheaded. Then, upon my knowledge, she shed many tears and sights, manifesting her innocence, that she never gave consent to the death of that Queen.

I used the best words I could, to persuade her from this melancholy humour; but I found by her it was too deep-rooted in her heart, and hardly to be removed. This was upon a Saturday night, and she gave command, that the great closet should be prepared for her to go to chapel the next morning. The next day, all things being in readiness, we long expected her coming. After eleven o’clock, one of the grooms came out, and bade make ready for the private closet; she would not go to the great. There we stayed long for her coming, but at the last she had cushions laid for her in the privy chamber hard by the closet door, and there she heard service. From that day forwards, she grew worse and worse. She remained upon her cushions four days and nights at the least. All about her could not persuade her, either to take any sustenance, or go to bed. The Queen grew worse and worse, because she would be so, none about her being able to persuade her to go to bed. My Lord Admiral was sent for, (who, by reason of my sister’s death, that was his wife, had absented himself some fortnight from court;) what by fair means, what by force, he got her to bed. There was no hope of her recovery, because she refused all remedies.

On Wednesday, the 23d of March, she grew speechless. That afternoon, by signs, she called for her council, and by putting her hand to her head, when the king so Scots was named to succeed her, they all knew he was the man she desired should reign after her. About six at night she made signs for Archbishop Whitgift and her chaplains to come to her, at which time I went in with them, and sat upon my knees full of tears to see that heavy sight. Her Majesty lay upon her back, with one hand in the bed, and the other without. The bishop kneeled down by her, and examined her first of her faith; and she so punctually answered all his several questions, by lifting up her eyes, and holding up her hand, as it was a comfort to all the beholders. Then the good man told her plainly what she was, and what she was to come to; and though she had been long a great Queen here upon earth, yet shortly she was to yield an account of her stewardship to the King of kings. After this he began to pray, and all that were by did answer him. After he had continued long in prayer, till the old man’s knees were weary, he blessed her, and meant to rise and leave her. The Queen made a sign with her hand. My sister Scroop knowing her meaning, told the bishop the Queen desired he would pray still. He did so for a long half hour more, with earnest cries to God for her soul’s health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the Queen, to all our sight, much rejoiced thereat, and gave testimony to us all of her Christian and comfortable end. By this time it grew late, and every one departed, all but her women that attended her.

This that I heard with my ears, and did see with my eyes, I thought it my duty to set down, and to affirm it for a truth, upon the faith of a Christian; because I know there have been many false lies reported of the end and death of that good lady.”

After Carey had left, Elizabeth slipped into a deep sleep and died peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of the 24th March. Diarist John Manningham recorded her actual death:-

This morning, about three o’clock her Majesty departed from this life, mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from a tree… Dr Parry told me he was present, and sent his prayers before her soul; and I doubt not but she is amongst the royal saints in heaven in eternal joys.”

RIP Queen Elizabeth I.

Now, I could carry on being sad and morbid, but as I was reading the moving accounts of Elizabeth I’s death, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate her life, rather than just focus on her death. She was an incredible woman and there are many people around the world who admire her, but why?

For me, I must admit, that part of the attraction is that she was the daughter of Anne Boleyn and as I read more about Elizabeth I see glimpses of her mother in her. As I read her letters and speeches I am blown away by her way with words, her wit, her intelligence and her skills of diplomacy. When I look at the events of her life and reign, I am overawed by the challenges she faced and how she overcame them. When I consider the status of women in Tudor times, I am amazed by Elizabeth’s achievements, and when I read the words of her friends and advisers I am struck by the respect and love they had for a woman who could be incredibly spiteful at times. She was a formidable woman and queen and deserves to be remembered as such.

Originally posted on The Elizabeth Files.

Notes and Sources

  • Sir Robert Carey’s Memoirs, edited by John Boyle, 5th Earl of Cork, in 1759, and by Sir Walter Scott in 1808, quoted on Elfinspell.com

https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/24-march-1603-death-elizabeth/

Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

Stunning 700-year-old giant cave used by Knights Templar found behind a rabbit hole in the British countryside

 

The cave, beneath a farmer’s field in Shropshire, was used by the medieval religious order that fought in the Crusades and these stunning images were captured by photographer Michael Scott

 

 

 

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gallery/stunning-700-year-old-giant-9981913#ICID=sharebar_facebook

Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

Wapens

 

http://de-middeleeuwen.nl/wapens.html

De eerste ridders in de Middeleeuwen vochten in een maliënkolder, dit was een pak van allemaal kleine ringetjes. Het was erg handig want het was buigzaam en het dekte het lichaam af voor een groot deel af.

Helaas was het niet genoeg, een pijl zou er gemakkelijk doorheen kunnen komen. Bovendien zou met een beetje kracht ook een zwaard er ook zo doorheen schieten. Vanaf het einde van de 13e eeuw kwamen er harnassen, dit waren grote stalen platen die zo ongeveer de hele ridder van top tot teen bedekten. Harnassen waren in de Middeleeuwen erg duur en waren meestal alleen weggelegd voor de allerrijksten.

In heel Europa werden wapenuitrustingen gemaakt, de beste wapenuitrustingen kwamen uit Milaan (Italië) en uit Augsburg (Duitsland). Het was daar namelijk gemakkelijker om aan de grondstof voor de wapenuitrusting (ijzererts) te komen dan hier. Een harnas maken was niet eenvoudig, allereerst had men ijzer nodig, dit werd verhit en plat geslagen zodat er een soort platen ontstaan, die werden in een bepaald model geknipt zodat het perfect om de ridder heen pastte. Het harnas was erg zwaar, dat was een groot nadeel, de ridder kon zelf niet eens op zijn paard komen, dit werd met een soort schommel gedaan waar de ridder op ging zitten om zo op zijn paard gezwiept te worden. Net als de ridder krijgt het paard ook een harnas, om ook het paard tijdens de riddergevechten te beschermen. Een ridder in de middeleeuwen begon zijn gevecht meestal met een lans, deze groeide in de loop der tijd wel uit tot drie meter! Een lans is een soort lange stalen buis met aan het eind een punt en aan het begin een handvat.

De ridder hield dit vast om zo zijn tegenstander van het paard af te gooien of te spiesen aan zijn lans. Verder had de ridder ook nog een zeer persoonlijk wapen, namelijk zijn zwaard. Het zwaard was aan twee kanten scherp geslepen en had ook een handvat. Om de slagen en stoten van de lans af te weren droeg de ridder ook een schild. In het begin van de 12e eeuw was het nog maar een simpel driehoekig stuk hout dat met leer was bedekt. Later kwam het metalen schild, met een grote metalen knop in het midden, het hing aan een band om de hals van de ridder. Aan de achterkant waren riemen bevestigd. In de loop van de 14e eeuw werden de schilden steeds kleiner, sterker, en makkelijker hanteerbaar.

Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

The Celts: unpicking the mystery

 

http://www.historyextra.com/article/bbc-history-magazine/celts-unpicking-mystery

Swathed in myths and legends, the Celts – far from being a singular mass of ‘barbarians’ – were made up of diverse, distinct groups who battled numerous threats, from the Romans to the Normans.Here, historian Martin Wall unpicks who the Celtic peoples were and introduces some of the key individuals who led the battle for Celtic Britain…

When Greek explorer Pytheas of Massalia made a voyage of exploration to Britain over 300 years before Christ, he called the native peoples Pretanike or ‘the people of the designs’ because of the crazy patterns that warriors painted on their skin. Pretanike or Pretani morphed into ‘Britannia’ or Britain.

These early Britons and their neighbours in Ireland all spoke some form of Celtic language by the fifth century BC. Their religious beliefs, their gods and goddesses, laws and military methods, technology and art were common to all Celtic peoples, whose settlements extended from Galatia in modern Turkey, through central and Western Europe and the British Isles, all the way to Celt-Iberia constituting Spain and Portugal. But the Celts were intensely independent and tribal. Even within Britain, a host of separate and distinct tribes zealously guarded their ancestral territories, ruled by kings whose ultimate legitimacy was based on divine descent. The priest-magicians who guided these kings and their tribal peoples, the Druids, were described by Julius Caesar as having originated in Britain.

Not all Britons lived in ‘Britain’, however. Britons occupied territories in an arc from central Scotland all the way to the Loire Valley in France. As a result of the Anglo-Saxon invasions in the fifth century AD, many Britons were forced to emigrate, some to Armorica (modern Brittany), which is still named after them; others went to Britonia in north-west Spain.

What made a Celt?

The matter of how each wave of Celts was united and divided by both language and religion is one of lively debate.

Celtic peoples throughout Europe and Asia Minor shared common cultural, technological, legal and spiritual characteristics, and their languages were broadly similar. But no ‘Briton’ thought of themselves as ‘Celtic’ or ‘British’. Their loyalty and kinship connections were to the clan, the tribe – so they were of the Iceni tribe, or the Cornovii or the Catuvellauni, first and foremost. In recent years, revisionist historians have sought to dismiss the traditional account of Celtic settlement, and indeed to ‘dis-invest’ the Celts as an authentic ethnicity with its own distinctive culture.

Though I take note of current fashionable theories regarding each ‘wave’ of Celtic arrivals in Britain, I have not strayed very far from the traditional view, which was that three waves of Celtic immigrants from the continent arrived, commencing around 900 BC. The first wave, were called Goidels or Gaels. They pronounced the letter ‘Q’ as ‘qu’ or ‘cu’, whereas a secondary wave of Britons pronounced it as ‘p’ or ‘b’. This linguistic difference has long been cited by philologists as the best evidence for distinct waves of immigration, some centuries apart. Finally, about 50 years before the Roman invasions, a tribe called the Belgae or ‘boastful ones’ arrived, and established control over much of the south-east. They had been displaced in their turn by movements among Germanic tribes and by the onset of a much more dangerous threat: Rome.

The Celts at war

The first, very formidable threat was Rome. The Roman seizure of the Carthaginian colonies in Celt-Iberia (modern day Spain and Portugal) and Caesar’s wars in Gaul, brought them to the threshold of Britain. Two brief but lively incursions by Caesar in 55 and 54 BC had forced the southern tribes to capitulate, but it was to be almost a century before a permanent Roman presence was established in 43 AD. The campaign to subdue and colonise Britain was savage and prolonged.

The first great hero of the British Celts, Caratacus, fought an epic war for nine years between 43 and 52 AD against the full might of the empire. A few years later between 60 and 61 AD, Boudica, queen of the Iceni tribe, led a spectacular and brutal revolt which came within an ace of dislodging the Romans from Britain and wiping out the colony.

The Romans gradually established control over what is now England and Wales, and pushed into the Scottish Highlands, but could never establish firm control even over the lowlands there. Even in northern Britain within the empire, there was a separate military administration based at York. Eventually, as the imperial system began to collapse, the unconquered Celtic tribes along with their Irish cousins, as well as Germanic pirates, burst in upon the undefended areas.

The Anglo-Saxons established their own kingdoms in the eastern part of the island, and epic wars took place between the small Celtic kingdoms and Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex. As these kingdoms constellated into England, desperate wars and political manoeuvring took place for centuries and Wales and Scotland emerged as nation states. These contests provided the material for the legend of King Arthur, ‘Old King Cole’ and many pseudo-historical or actual Celtic heroes. Viking raiding and settlement affected Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall and Brittany in much the same way as in the rest of Europe. Finally, the most formidable threat of all, the nemesis of the British Celts, arrived in the shape of the Norman invasion of England. Once they had established firm control of England, their wars of expansion against the Celtic nations commenced.

Barbarian’ peoples?

Much of what we know about the Celts is derived from classical and especially Roman sources. While we should be naturally suspicious about accepting these portrayals, they were at least contemporary, or derived from eyewitness reports. The Romans had contempt for all ‘barbarian’ peoples, of which the Celts were one.

People who lived in the great forests of central Europe and Britain were considered ‘savages’, from the Latin silva (‘a wood’). All that was dark, shadowy and sinister was projected onto these ‘primitive’ peoples, and prurient, lurid stories propagated about their inhuman practices. The classical world of ancient Greece and Rome had been shocked to their core when Celtic hordes had sacked Delphi and then Rome itself. Greek philosopher Strabo said that “the whole race is madly fond of war, high-spirited and quick for battle”, and there is no reason to discount this opinion, especially in light of the abundant evidence of subsequent history.

In fact, the Celts were exuberant and extremist in all matters – their passion for war was no different from their passion for feasting, religious devotions, poetry and art. The Celts liked to show-off their wealth and status, and war gave the opportunity to display their fine horses, chariots, swords, golden torques and similar accoutrements. If they were not actually at war with external enemies or among themselves, then they would be composing bardic poetry about it, celebrating the ancestral heroes of the tribe. It may be true to say that there is a traditional martial eagerness in the Celtic temperament, but ultimately their military traditions were founded upon necessity. They had to either fight or be overwhelmed or exterminated.

The ‘island of the mighty’

While it is true that few peoples have become so romanticised and mythologised as the British Celts, I believe that the attempt to denigrate and marginalise their history is in danger of doing great violence to a body of knowledge which consists of far more than mere history or archaeology: the mythical lore which has become known as ‘the matter of Britain’.

The sovereignty of the British race within the ‘island of the mighty’ was exemplified by leaders whose chief attribute was their alleged descent from gods, or their personification of gods or goddesses. The Christianisation of this ancient mythical lore was the template for ‘the Quest for the Holy Grail’ and the Arthurian romances. These themes, reworked for the Anglo-Norman aristocracy, and encrusted around the Tudor dynasty which was of Welsh origins, became the legitimising propaganda for ‘the British Empire’.

Caratacus ‘the beloved one’ is perhaps the first of these, but Boudicca too was considered to be a personification of the goddess Andrasta. Arthur, the supreme hero of the British Celts, distils much of this into complex myth, which may or may not be based on an actual historical personage. Whether he existed or not, the fact of his existence in the imagination cannot be denied, but there are plenty of real-life Celtic heroes to make up for that: Urien of Rheged and his son, Owain; ‘King’ Cole or Coel; Maelgwn of Gwynedd; Cadwallon who almost reconquered the ‘Lost Lands’; Gruffydd ap Llywelyn and many more. The extraordinary, sad and glorious stories of the last years of Celtic resistance are reserved for Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales and also called ‘the last’; Scotland’s hero, William Wallace (who had other Celtic connections); and ‘the son of prophesy’ himself, Owain Glyndwr.

A legacy of this long battle for Celtic Britain was that it preserved a tradition, a pseudo-history or reinterpretation of history, which alleged continuity with ancient Rome, and legendary connections to ‘Brutus the Trojan’, the supposed first king of the Britons. These traditions, bowdlerised from the Brythonic originals, became a corpus of literature called ‘Bruts’ which encapsulated not only history and legend, but also, crucially, prophesy.

The so-called ‘matter of Britain’ was not conventional history, but magical. At first, the pure forms of these legends were confined to the Celts themselves, and inspired them to defend their lands, or rebel against foreign occupation. The ‘prophesies of Merlin’ promised that one day the Britons would be restored to the sovereignty of Britain. It was this desperate hope which kept alive a fanatical resistance for so many centuries. That struggle was ultimately doomed, but by an incredible twist of fate, the matter of Britain was taken up by the Tudor monarchs, to be reinvented as the British Empire.

The consequences of that were to be world-changing, but for the British Celts themselves, the irony was that they were the first victims of this ‘empire’.

Martin Wall is the author of Warriors and Kings: The 1,500-Year Battle for Celtic Britain (Amberley Publishing, 2017)

Geplaatst in Middeleeuwen

Het Kasteel

 

http://de-middeleeuwen.nl/kasteel.html

Een kasteel in de Middeleeuwen was een soort dorp, maar dan in het klein. Het brood werd zelf gebakken en ook het vee werd zelf geslacht. Het naaien van kleren werd ook allemaal zelf gedaan.

Op een kasteel woonden ook allerlei soorten mensen. Ten eerste natuurlijk de kasteelheer zelf, samen met zijn gezin. Verder vond je binnen de muren van het kasteel ook: dienstmeisjes (voor het schoonmaken), bedienden (om de gasten te bedienen), stalknechten (zodat de stallen schoon bleven en de paarden goed verzorgd werden), koks (voor het eten van de familie en de gasten), torenwachters (om op de uitkijk te staan of er geen gevaar dreigde), soldaten (voor verdediging of aanval), jagers (om voor het dierlijk voedsel te zorgen). Ook waren er metselaars en timmerlieden voor het bijhouden van het kasteel. Tevens vond men ook schoenmakers, een zadelmaker, een smid, een bakker, een houthakker en een schrijver op het kasteel. Tot slot was er ook een kapper, deze was tevens ook vaak de heelmeester. De zieke mensen werden bij de heelmeester gebracht, hij zorgde ervoor dat mensen weer beter werden. Ook verzorgde hij de mensen terwijl ze ziek waren. De heelmeester gebruikte hiervoor vaak kruiden, hier werden drankjes en zalfjes van gemaakt. De heelmeester was dus een soort dokter.

Er was ook een kapelaan, hij zorgde voor de kerkdiensten in het kasteel. Ook gaf de kapelaan les aan de kinderen van de heer. De heer van een kasteel met zo veel bewoners was een zeer belangrijke man met veel aanzien. Hij was zeker geen gewone ridder. De heer kon ook graaf, hertog of baron zijn. Hij was dan een edelman.

Het normale leven op een kasteel was vrij rustig, misschien zelfs wel saai. Je moest heel vroeg op staan, vier uur was vrij gewoon. De kasteelheer ging met zijn mannen praten over hoe het ging met de zaken in het land. Ook zorgde hij ervoor dat al het werk binnen de kasteelmuren goed gedaan werd. In de avond ging iedereen vroeg naar bed. Soms kwam er bezoek op het kasteel, bijvoorbeeld een rondtrekkende zanger, een minstreel. Een minstreel was een soort verhalenverteller en zong tevens ook liederen. Een minstreel reisde erg veel, onderweg hoorde hij allerlei nieuwtjes die hij op zijn volgende stoppunt weer zingend kon vertellen. Soms kwamen er ook postselaars langs, dit waren soort goochelaars die allerlei truckjes deden, potselaars werden ookwel nar genoemd.

Een ridder moest goed in beweging blijven, daarom werd er veel gejaagd. Bovendien was dat gunstig, want dan kwam er meer vlees op tafel. Om fit te blijven en te oefenen deed de ridder soms mee aan een steekspel. Dit was erg ruw en er gebeurde dan ook vaak ongelukken. Bij een steekspel moesten de ridders elkaar van het paard proberen te steken met lange houten lansen. De kasteelvrouw, de vrouw van de heer, hield toezicht op de dienstboden, ze lette ook op het werk in de keuken. Ze was zeker geen sprookjesprinses, ze kon meestal goed overweg met een paard en ging vaak mee op jacht. Als de heer, haar man, weg was moest ze voor alles zorgen, haar man kon soms wel dagenlang weg blijven. Ze vochten dan bijvoorbeeld mee in een oorlog, of ze gingen op reis naar een ander gebied.

Kastelen horen natuurlijk bij de Middeleeuwen. Grote zware bouwwerken, goed verdedigd tegen vijanden. Kastelen worden ook wel burchten genoemd. Helemaal in het begin waren er nog geen kastelen, de edelman bouwde een soort toren met een schutting, hij bouwde dit van zware balken en boomstammen. Het liefst natuurlijk bouwde hij dit natuurlijk op een heuveltje met een gracht eromheen, dit was veel veiliger aangezien de manschappen van de vijand dan niet zomaar naar binnen konden komen. De allereerste kastelen waren meestal van hout. Later werden de edelen steeds machtiger. Er werden grotere kastelen gebouwd, meestal rond en van steen. Deze ronde vorm ging later steeds meer verdwijnen, er kwamen nu rechthoekige kastelen met zware hoektorens. Een goed voorbeeld van een rechthoekig kasteel is het Muiderslot.