renaissance

Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall, (c)BBC

PBS is currently airing the six-part drama Wolf Hall, originally created for BBC2.  It’s set during the reign of the Tudor king Henry VIII, a popular topic of British historical dramas, but with a unique focus.  Rather than focusing on Henry himself, the focus is on Thomas Cromwell, a middle-classContinue Reading

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Roman bathroom habits

There’s talk of late of where transgender people should go to the bathroom.  If you’re physically male, but you consider yourself female, do you use the men’s room or the ladies’ room?  What if you have gender reassignment surgery, so you’re physically a different gender than you were at birth?Continue Reading

Every semester a student asks me this question: how long did people live in ancient times? Was it really only 35 years? General life expectancy across the world for most of history was, indeed 35. However, “life expectancy” is a terribly imprecise term, giving the impression that any particular personContinue Reading

When the CW announced it was going to do a historical drama in the form of Reign, I knew it was going to be bad. Maybe not Noah bad, but bad. First hint? While the show is clearly about a royal character, the advertisements never said which royal character…as ifContinue Reading

DangerousMinds.net has provided this little gem: a college student has transcribed the musical notes painted on the butt of one of the characters in Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, which is arguably the most bat-shit crazy painting of the Renaissance. So…is this best played on an ass trumpet?Continue Reading

Lindesfarne Gospel Page

I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with this blog when I started it.  Honestly, my first thought was steampunk.  I’m sure I will eventually get around to it, but it clearly hasn’t been my focus. I am a medievalist.  I am greatly enjoying writing about thatContinue Reading