Today in Medieval History —> On this day January 13, 1128, Pope Honorius II declared the Knights Templar to be an army of God.
Led by the Frenchman Hughes de Payens, the Knights Templar organization was founded in 1118. Its self-imposed mission was to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land during the Crusades. The Templars took their name from the location of their headquarters, at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
During the High Middle Ages, the practice of dissecting corpses and embalming their remains was popular for royalty and other high ranking members of society. When King Richard I was killed during a siege in 1199, his body was opened up and had its internal organs removed and buried in a coffin near the site he died. Meanwhile, his heart was taken separately and sent to a church in Normandy, and the rest of his body was transported to Fontevraud Abbey to be buried close to his father Henry II.
It was on this day, 25th October in 1415 when one of the most significant battles of the Hundred Years War took place, the Battle of the Agincourt.The English had renewed their war effort in 1415 following several decades of relative peace and had marched 260 miles in two and a half weeks only to face a considerably larger French army.
The English were unable to withdraw to Calais as the French blocked their path, so instead they fought and even their King, Henry V, participated in hand-to-hand fighting.The English numbered around 8,000 knights, but around 80% were archers armed with English longbows.The French outnumbered the English considerably, but they were weighed down by heavy armour and their cavalry were slowed down by the heavy clay soil on the battlefield that day.
The English army won the battle, largely due to the military superiority of the longbow.It is estimated that around 6,000- 8,000 French soldiers were killed, and only around six-hundred English soldiers died.The Battle of Agincourt is one England’s greatest military victories.
Blarney Castle’s “Poison Garden” Cork Ireland — built in 1446 the castle still boasts its original “poison garden” which contains poisonous plants, including Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Ricin and Opium — all are labelled with information about toxicity, their medieval medical uses as well as modern uses.
On this day in 1066 the Norman conquest of England begins with the Battle of Hastings.
Here’s the Battle of Hastings as depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry, supposedly embroidered only a few years after the battle. This bit is supposed to depict the death of Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. He was supposedly done in by an arrow in the eye, and the Latin above him says, “Harold the King has been killed”.
Today in Execution History —> On this day in 1283 Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, is the first nobleman to be executed by hanging, drawing and quartering
On 30 September 1283, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, was condemned to death, the first person known to have been tried and executed for what from that time onwards would be described as high treason against the King.
Edward ensured that Dafydd’s death was to be slow and agonising, and also historic; he became the first prominent person in recorded history to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, preceded by a number of minor knights earlier in the thirteenth century.
Dafydd was dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury attached to a horse’s tail then hanged alive, revived, then disembowelled and his entrails burned before him for “his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ’s passion”, and then his body cut into four-quarters for plotting the king’s death. Geoffrey of Shrewsbury was paid 20 shillings for carrying out the gruesome act on 3 October 1283.
Stages of courtly love
(Adapted from Barbara Tuchman)
• Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance
• Worship of the lady from afar
• Declaration of passionate devotion
• Virtuous rejection by the lady
• Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty
• Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness)
• Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady’s heart
• Consummation of the secret love
• Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection