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A French Crusader and A Chinese Sword? February 3, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A French Crusader and A Chinese Sword?

Little is known of Jean d’Alluye’s life. He belonged to the nobility of central France and he travelled to the Holy Land as a crusader in 1241 coming home three years later, 1244. Given that it will have taken him many months to get to Outremer and many months to return this was a relatively […]

Hostage Taking in Ancient and Medieval Times September 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Hostage Taking in Ancient and Medieval Times

When we think of hostages today we tend to think of men with pistols using some poor innocent as a human shield. But in the ancient and medieval world hostage-taking was formalised. Conquered territories would give up children of notables who would be conveyed to an enemy capital or castle and who would then be […]

Earliest Flying messengers September 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval
Earliest Flying messengers

Beachcombing has a few bizarre carrier pigeon stories in a mauve file under the staircase: I mean are pigeon stories ever going to be normal? He thought though that he’d start his pigeon campaign with a simple even tedious question. When were pigeons first used as messengers? Their role carrying messages in the two world […]

Blondie at Cresson October 6, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Blondie at Cresson

A weird war post today, recommending a twelfth-century act of crusader stupidity to the widest possible audience. 1 May, 1187 one of Saladin’s raiding parties, passed into Christian lands near Nazareth and a party of knights – Templars, Hospitallers and local nobles – were sent out to meet the enemy. In the ‘best’ sources we […]

King of the Tramps June 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
King of the Tramps

Beachcombing has neglected both Forgotten Kingdoms recently and an earlier enthusiasm for the Crusades. He thought that he would correct both these errors with a short post on the King of Tafur and his Tafurs – the einsatzgruppen of the Holy Wars. The source is Guibert of Nogent (obit 1124). There was another kind of […]

The Leper Prince May 9, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Leper Prince

Monarchies are not perhaps the worst systems of government. But they suffer from one serious drawback. Even the best dynasties – with immaculate DNA and good schooling – throw up an idiot or a weakling once a century and if that idiot/weakling coincides with a famine or a plague or a spot of class warfare […]