Tag Archives: 13th century

Putting “Christ” back in Christmas, 13th cent.

Christmas was always a somewhat troubling holiday for really devout believers. Its syncretist roots were quite plain from the start and in the beginning some of the newly-converted might have been aware of things like the religious meaning of mistletoe … Continue reading

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Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle, on the western seacoast of Wales, is the Platonic ideal of a castle. It’s that castle you think of when you hear the word. It’s the castle that toy companies copy, the castle 11 year olds try to … Continue reading

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Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan was the home of the Prince of Wales at one time, that is, the independent ruler of Wales, not the titled son of the British king. Its location guards an approach to the mountain heartland of Wales. There have … Continue reading

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Mont Orgueil: defending the Channel

It isn’t hard to see why they sited the castle on this rock. The site is a textbook case of what the Crusaders had learned about engineering. The castle is almost impossible to approach from any angle with land-based siege … Continue reading

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Chateau de Tancarville

The castle was built at the estuary of the Seine River, where it narrows into a river rather than a bay inlet. One side fronted the river, elevated by a cliff. The defenses were focused on the other sides. This … Continue reading

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European 13th century wars and castles

The main “front” in the Middle Ages was always considered to be the Holy Land, but by the mid 1200s, the Christian kingdoms there were a lost cause. By 1300, they had no more holdings in the Middle East, apart … Continue reading

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13th to 15th centuries: ladies’ hair and hats

Until the 13th century, Northern European ladies’ hair had been styled fairly simply, usually in a long braid. By the middle of the 1200s, this was changing, and by the mid-1300s, upper-class hair was styled in fiendishly complicated ways. It … Continue reading

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13th Century: Coif, Barbette and Wimple

As the Cyclas made its way into women’s fashion too, head coverings were changing very much from the 12th century’s hoods. While hoods were still much worn among many social classes (and continued to be worn for several centuries), men … Continue reading

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13th Century: Cyclas and Gardcorp

In the 12th century, men had mostly covered their basic tunics with cloaks that were some variant of a circle: semi-circle, 3/4 circle, or oval. It draped around their shoulders in grand idleness, made of heavy, rich fabric. But in … Continue reading

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13th century: peliçon and Persian coat

The basic notion of what it means to clothe oneself is far more conservative than fashions that come and go. Take the extreme example of how little has changed in the notion of a man getting dressed to go work … Continue reading

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