THE VISCOUNTESS AND THE TEMPLARS is now available.

templars_promo

My book is available from Kindle:
http://amzn.to/2dka9YN

It is also available in paperback:
http://amzn.to/2d1lJpi

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a medieval minute: Eleanor Crosses

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King Edward I of England lost his wife Eleanor of Castile in 1290 after 35 years of marriage. The couple was devoted, and the bereft Edward memorialized his wife in 12 crosses marking the places her body rested each night on its journey from the vicinity of Lincoln to London.

Three of the memorial crosses, pictured above, have survived. Edward and Eleanor are depicted on Lincoln Cathedral below.

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In all the times I visited London, it never occurred to me to wonder where the Underground stop named Charing Cross got its name. It was the site of one of the Eleanor Crosses. In the twentieth century, a sculptor made a new Eleanor Cross near its original location.
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To read more:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_cross
http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com/2014/02/for-loves-sake-edward-i-and-eleanor.html

My newest medieval novel is now available:
http://amzn.to/2cZhKZ0
https://www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Hall-Haislip/e/B001JS2WB2

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a medieval minute: San Juan de la Pena

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The raising of Lazarus depicted on a capital.

The raising of Lazarus depicted on a capital.


I love the look on the face of the fellow to the far right.

I love the look on the face of the fellow to the far right.

If I had to choose a favorite monastery, it would be San Juan de la Pena in the Pyrenees in Spain. Monks wished to withdraw from the world. And you couldn’t get much farther from the world than this isolated, dramatic location. The monastery is on a mountain top and the buildings are nestled beneath a huge outcropping of rock. The original monastery was built in 920 and in the 12th century, the cloister was added. The romanesque cloister is full of delightful capitals on its columns depicting biblical stories.

For more information:
http://www.hikepyrenees.co.uk/san-juan-de-la-pena.html

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Hall-Haislip/e/B001JS2WB2

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a medieval minute: gargoyles

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Gargoyles on medieval churches were ornamental water spouts. When monsters were not water spouts, and only decorative elements, they are called grotesques.

The gargoyles and the grotesques in the medieval world were symbols of evil. They generally adorned the outside of the churches where they were guardians, warding off evil by their presence. These monsters also served to contrast the evils of the world with the sanctity one would find within the churches.

Gargoyles have been made throughout history. In the nineteenth century, the gargoyle monkey below at Princeton Universiy has a camera to capture the pranks of students.

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To learn more about gargoyles:
http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-art/gargoyles.htm

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Hall-Haislip/e/B001JS2WB2

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a medieval minute: the knight of the swan

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Lohengrin was the son of Percival in the Arthurian legends of the Holy Grail. He was sent to rescue a damsel in distress and did so in a boat pulled by a swan. They married. The damsel was never allowed to ask Logengrin’s name and when she did, he left in a boat also pulled by a swan. Lohengrin is known as the knight of the swan.

To learn more about the knight of the swan.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lohengrin

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: brain surgery

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From prehistoric times, people have sought to cure epilepsy, migraines, loss of consciousness and behavioral changes by relieving the pressure on the brain. This was called trepanation or trepanning. Medieval medical practitioners often used a drill to relieve pressure on the brain. The medical term for trepanation is craniotomy and it is still performed today in cases of traumatic brain injury.
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To learn more about medieval trepanation:
https://neurophilosophy.wordpress.com/2007/06/13/an-illustrated-history-of-trepanation/
http://www.history.com/news/perforated-skulls-from
-middle-ages-found-in-spain

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: windmills

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Windmills came into use during the 12th century for the milling of grain into flour. Pope Celestine III issued a decree around 1191 mandating windmill owners should pay a tithe to the church because the wind belonged to God. There were other options for grinding grain. In early days, people used a quern-stone to grind grain by hand. Watermills and animal-powered mills were also used in the middle ages.

To learn more about medieval windmills:
http://www.historytoday.com/terence-paul-smith/english-medieval-windmill
http://www.castlesandmanorhouses.com/life_14_mills.htm
http://scholar.chem.nyu.edu/tekpages/windmills.html

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: Saint Catherine of Alexandria

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Saint Catherine was a fourth-century Christian martyr and popular medieval saint. Saints were identified by their attributes (symbols). Catherine’s attribute was the wheel because the emperor condemned Catherine to death on a spiked wheel. The wheel shattered at her touch. She was beheaded with a sword. Because of her great learning, she is the patron saint of scholars. In addition to the wheel, she is often shown with a book, a sword and the palm, the symbol of martyrdom.

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To learn more about St. Catherine:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Alexandria

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: cannons and castles

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Catapults (trebuchets) of various sorts called by differing names depending on their locations and specifications were important siege engines in the Middle Ages until cannons were introduced in the thirteenth century. By the fourteenth century, cannons were essential not only in the assault of castles but also in their defense.

To learn about cannons and castles:
http://www.medievality.com/decline-of-castles.html
http://www.themcs.org/weaponry/cannon/cannon.htm

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: the Battle of Crécy

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The Battle of Crécy in 1346 between England and France during the Hundred Years War was a decisive victory for England. The longbow was responsible for winning the battle. Longbow men could reload much father than the crossbow men. The longbow decimated the heavily armed French cavalry.

To learn more about the battle of Crécy:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/battle-of-crecy

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: women writing

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Not only did women read in the middle ages, but also there were many women writers. There were so many writers of note that a number of colleges and universities offer courses such as the one at Rice University called Medieval Women Writers.

For a comprehensive list of books by medieval women writers:
http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/halsall/med/womenbib.asp

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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medieval minute: women reading

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Though overall literacy in the middle ages was low by modern standards, there is considerable evidence that some women could read. Pictures of the Annunciation usually show Mary reading when she receives the news that she’d be the mother of the Savior. Many nuns could read, and Books of Hours (prayer books) for secular women are still extant. During the Protestant Reformation when all the faithful should read the Bible literacy grew for both men and women.

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

To learn more about female literacy:
http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/659649?seq=3#page_scan_tab_contents

Reading Women, and Reading Women

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a medieval minute: the damned

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Medieval people had vivid ideas about the sufferings of sinners in hell. Medieval artists did not hesitate to put monks, nuns, bishops, and sometimes even popes in hell. People in hell usually were naked, and often they burn in eternal fires. I am struck by the fact that in the pictures I’ve viewed not a single one of the damned is overweight.

To learn more about medieval ideas of hell:
https://gratefultothedead.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/medieval-images-and-doctrines-of-hell/
My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: harrowing

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Every time I fly somewhere I find the occasion to use the word harrowing to describe the interminable lines at the TSA, the delays for equipment failures, or the turbulence in the flight itself. But to medieval people, the harrowing was something they did after plowing with a heavy plow. The harrow was a piece of farming equipment that broke up the clods of earth produced by the plow and helped to extract grass and weeds from the newly plowed field.

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: plowing

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Note the horse collar.

Note the horse collar.

Scholars pretty much agree that the development of the heavy plow (mouldboard plow) was essential to the economic rise of Medieval Europe. It replaced the scratch plow (ard plow) used widely in Southern Europe. The heavy plow became common in Northern Europe between 900 and 1300. Increased cultivation led to the growth of population, cities, and trade. The development of padded horse collars made horses more practical for plowing.

To learn more about the heavy plow:
http://sciencenordic.com/how-heavy-plough-changed-world

To learn about horse collars:
http://www.angelfire.com/tx6/gans/gans04.pdf

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: nuns

A nun praying.

A nun praying.


a saint teaching or preaching to other nuns.

A saint teaching or preaching to other nuns.


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A nun working on a manuscript. A nun working on a manuscript.

The main occupation of nuns during the middle ages was praying. But their duties included traditional woman’s work such as spinning and embroidery. Some nuns illuminated manuscripts, composed music, or taught. The life of the nun wasn’t all work though, as the illustration of nuns and monks playing ball illustrates.

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To learn more about medieval nuns:
http://www.lordsandladies.org/medieval-nuns.htm

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: chess

Kings playing chess.

Kings playing chess.

Bibliothèque municipale de Boulogne-sur-Mer_MS 0142

Bibliothèque municipale de Boulogne-sur-Mer_MS 0142

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Women playing chess.

A man and woman playing chess.


Many depictions of medieval chess games appear in manuscript illuminations. Initially, the game recreated military strategy and kings, nobles, and knights commonly played it. Increasingly, however, women enjoyed the game as a recreational pastime. It was only toward the end of the fifteenth century that the queen became the most powerful figure on the chessboard.

The role of the queen:
https://www.chess.com/blog/kiwi_overtherainbow/chess-history–the

For an essay on the medieval origins of chess:
http://www.markland.org/docs/chess.pdf

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: past tents

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Tents were widely used in the middle ages for military campaigns. Crusaders and their Arab counterparts both used tents during the crusades. Tents were also used when people assembled for tournaments or other occasions. The tents were made of canvas, duck, wool, linen and even leather. Painting the tents might have provided some degree of waterproofing. Tents often were brightly colored and nobles often displayed their arms on tents. Inside there could be silk or wool hangings.

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: harvesting fruit

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Medieval fruit harvesting entailed actually climbing into a tree. I don’t recall ever seeing an illustration of someone harvesting from a ladder. I have scoured the net for an explanation of this practice, and I didn’t find anything. Ladders are not included in lists of medieval farming tools.

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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a medieval minute: wonderful wings

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Since no one knew what angels’ wings looked like, there could be wonderful imaginative variations. Most wings seemed to have feathers, but the colors and variations were left to the artists who drew medieval illuminations.

To learn more about medieval angels:
http://www.medievalists.net/2015/06/14/angels-in-art-angels-through-the-ages/

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Daughter-Narbonne-Inheritance/dp/1492113301

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