Author Archives: medievalphyllis

About medievalphyllis

I love history and I love writing. I've been working on an historical novel about a medieval viscountess, Ermengarde of Narbonne since 2009. It has been quite a journey and the journey isn't over. Previously I written 6 historical novels for kids, but this is a new challenge.

A Medieval Minute: The Medieval World is still with us.

Today in church we sang a hymn from the fifth century written St. Patrick.  It’s called “I Bind Unto Myself Today.” Check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH4ToVxtn9A     Advertisements

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a medieval minute: taming uncouth knights

The idea of courtly or romantic love became important in the twelfth century. Early patronesses of the cultural movement were Eleanor of Aquitaine, Marie of France and Ermengarde, Viscountess of Narbonne.(the heroine of my historical novels set in the middle … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: Beguines, an early women’s movement

Beguines were women who lived in religious communities without vows or retiring from the world. They could leave and even marry. They lived in poverty and worked with the sick and the poor.They were popular in Northern Europe from the … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: an asteroid named in her honor

873 Mechthild is an asteroid orbiting the Sun named after the celebrated Christian medieval mystic Mechthild of Magdeburg c. 1207 – c. 1282/1294). Machtild of Magdeburg’s The Flowing Light of Divinity described her visions of God. Her criticism of church … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: those lovely castles

James of St.George(1230-1309) was an architect famous for building the castles of Edward the I of England. When we think of castles, the idea in our minds are the castles created by James of St. George. He was the architect … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: modest he was NOT

Gislebertus was a twelfth-century Romanesque sculptor. You may have learned in history class that medieval artists didn’t sign their work, but that isn’t true. Not all sculptors placed their name where everyone could see it like Gislebertus did. However, since … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: Sweetheart Abbey

In 1275 Dervoguila of Galloway (c.1210-1290) founded Sweetheart Abbey, a Cistercian monastery, in Scotland in memory of her beloved husband John de Balliol (c.1208-1268). After his death, she kept his embalmed heart in a silver and ivory chest that she … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: the principality of Andorra

The medieval world is still with us in Andorra. Andorra is an independent principality in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. It is ruled jointly by a Spanish bishop and the President of France. Feudal tenure involved such complications, … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: bastides

Important nobles built as many as 700 new fortified towns called bastides in Languedoc, Gascony, and Aquitaine in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Town planners laid out the towns in grid patterns as seen in the photograph above. These fortified … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: the green man

< The green man was a popular grotesque often seen on churches and other buildings in the medieval world. The green man is a symbol of rebirth and representations of him exist in many cultures. There are about 70 depictions … Continue reading

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THE VISCOUNTESS AND THE TEMPLARS is now available.

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

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 … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: San Juan de la Pena

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, … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: gargoyles

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 … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: the knight of the swan

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 … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: brain surgery

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 … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: windmills

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 … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: Saint Catherine of Alexandria

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. … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: cannons and castles

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 … Continue reading

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a medieval minute: the Battle of Crécy

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 … Continue reading

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