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Eleanor’s Lovers September 26, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Eleanor's Lovers

Eleanor of Aquitaine (obit 1204) was a powerful and self confident woman living in an age when women were supposed to be anything but. Her home in the south of what is today France gave greater property rights to daughters and wives, property rights that Eleanor knew how to manipulate. She had some wild male […]

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 […]

Frederick to Saladin: Roman Fantasies March 16, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Frederick to Saladin: Roman Fantasies

  Politics is supposedly the art of the possible, but, in medieval times,  politics was more often the art of the barely believable. Beachcombing has long loved the particularly incredible tones that the Middle Ages throw up and had a particularly pleasant memory – recently refreshed by Ostrich – of a letter exchange between Frederick I and Saladin  around […]