Little Details

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Entries by tag: 1400-1499

A woman claiming sanctuary in a church in medieval Spain--possible or not?
Setting: Olvera, Spain, in 1410. It's historical fantasy, though, so the exact year and place are somewhat flexible.

My MC, a young poor woman, is accused of theft by a rich, well-respected person of the town. If she tries to claim sanctuary in a church, will that claim actually be respected by the local population and officials?

Googled: variations on "church sanctuary asylum Spain," "church sanctuary asylum women," (which only gave me wealthy women; my MC is poor), "Catholic sanctuary asylum Spain," "Catholic sanctuary asylum women," and "church sanctuary history law" but there's just so much clutter because sanctuary is such a common church word. I've found a lot about sanctuary in England, but almost nothing about it in Spain/Iberia.


Middle Ages: Names and Locations
I'm writing an AU fanfiction and the original characters have the names: Sarah, Adam, Josiah, and Hannah. My suspicion is that these are probably names would be too Jewish for characters in Europe in the Middle Ages (c. 1200s). The less I change the names, the better, so if they aren't problematic, I'll just keep them.

Also, does anyone know of a site that would give the years that names first began being used or when they became more popular? Also a site that provides common names for the Middle Ages by location? I don't want to give a German name to someone in Spain, for example?

Also, I am trying to place the origins for these characters and Josiah and Hannah need to run afoul of the Inquisition. Preferably known vicious inquisitors like Robert le Bougre. Were there other people known to be particularly cruel? Where would work and what would be the proper names? How much travel would be reasonable if I don't have their origins at the same place that they run into the inquisition?

Also, where might I research standards for attractiveness in medieval countries? For example, I thought I remembered learning somewhere that great height in the Mediterranean countries was seen as evidence of heritage from more barbaric nations and therefore would not have been seen as attractive. One of my characters would have to be considered attractive, in his place of origin, at over 6', with dark hair and blue eyes. I was going to put him in Italy, and then, realized that might not work. He would be in the 1400s or 1500s.

The majority of the story doesn't actually take place in the middle ages. Just some origin stuff for a few characters, so I just need enough to establish decent origin stories.

Thanks :D

Battle of Agincourt - English ships and medicine
I have two... rather unusual... questions about the Battle of Agincourt.

1) In what kind of ships did the English army cross the Channel, and what wood would they have been made from? Google has told me where and when they started from and landed, but nothing else. From the time period, I think it would have been sailing ships and/or galleys, but I don’t know which and can’t find what wood was typically used for those, either.

Search terms used: Combinations and variations of
battle of agincourt + crossing the channel + english troops + ships
14th/15th century + ships + wood + construction
galley + type of wood
sailing ship + type of wood (this did reveal that masts are usually conifer trunks - and that shockingly enough, ships are made of wood!)

2) What kind of medicines would the physicians have used? (I’m specifically interested in herbal remedies, but everything is useful!). The only even vaguely related things I’ve been able to find are lists of herbal remedies of the period, but they tend to be very much about everyday injuries and illnesses.

Search terms used: Combinations and variations of
battle of agincourt + physicians + remedies
14th/15th century + herbal remedies

Thank you so much for any help you can give!

Fatal poisoning or ideas
a heart in the sun
Terms searched for: various combinations of; poisonous plants, animal poison, Japan, organ failure, infection like symptoms, blood poisoning. Working my way through the '~medicine: poisoning' tag.
Setting: Warring States period (Sengoku) Japan. Our world.

I need a character to murder a healthy female in her mid-teens and to get away with it.
The female character is recovering from or newly recovered (I haven't decided on which yet) from two broken legs. Ideally I want her death to appear to be due to some complications connected to her injury, and for it to work quickly enough/be serious enough for her not to be able to tell anyone. 

I'm thinking of some kind of poisoning, but the girls' private doctor would intervene if he noticed any obvious tampering with the wound and I also haven't found a poison that would give symptoms similar to an infection.

Does anyone have any idea of what sort of poison I could use or is my scenario impossible?

I'm more than open for suggestions, thank you in advance for any help.

Questions about Renaissance torture and consummation of a marriage
Millais Ophelia
The setting is a somewhat fictionalized Renaissance Italy, within the general time frame of the last decade of the 15th century. My MC is an aristocratic man in his early 20s, previously able-bodied, though he has some hereditary emotional instability.

Cut for talk and descriptions of torture, psychological trauma, and sex.Collapse )

Planetary orbits in the early 15th century

Can anyone recommend sites which would show the orbits of all planets for 1420 or thereabouts?  (ETA: Comets would be nice, too.)

I've tried Stellarium, Solstation, and Astronomy Workshop. Search terms like “orbits of the planets” “historical planetary orbits” and “planetary orbits fifteenth century” result in the history of the solar system or the history of astronomy - but I just want to know which constellations the planets were in. A specific search using 1420 as a term came up with something way beyond my comprehension.

I've got a fairy slow connection and don't want to shell out for software!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ETA 2: it's for a Shakespeare fanfic, so I don't want to make any astrological howlers - but then again, Shakespearean time is kind of fluid, so I've got a wide choice of dates to work with.

Garter oath in the reign of Henry IV
Setting: England, early 15th century

I'm trying to find out the exact form of words of the oath for the Knights of the Garter. Searches I've done using the terms oath, garter, knights, order and combinations thereof tend to come up with sites saying 'and then the oath was administered' without saying exactly what it consisted of. I've found the website for the Chapel of St George, and they have a 'contact us' address, but I hardly like to bother such an august institution for a fanfic!

Also checked: Ian Mortimer The Fears of Henry IV
T B Pugh Henry V and the Southampton Plot

Any help gratefully received!

What language(s) did Edward V and his little brother (the Princes in the Tower) speak?
Hi, all. I'm writing a story about the Princes in the Tower (mid-to-late 1400s England), and I'm having trouble finding information about what language they would have spoken. I know the English royalty used to speak French but gradually transitioned to English. I've found several sources saying that by 1500 most nobles and royals spoke English, but I can't seem to find any more information that would narrow the transition period down. My gut says that they were born close enough to 1500 that they probably spoke English, but this time period isn't anywhere close to my area of expertise and I really want some confirmation of this. Also, if they spoke English, what kind of accent would they have? Would their English be similar enough to the English spoken by peasants that they'd be easy to understand, or would they have problems?

I've checked in several books, including The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages and The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy. I've also checked Wikipedia and tried Googling variations on "What languages did Edward V of England speak?" without finding the answer.

Thanks for any help you can provide--I've been trying to find the answer for months and I just can't seem to get anywhere.

Samarkand in the fifteenth century

I have two European travellers over-wintering in Samarkand in the 1420's.

Where could they go to socialise, get news, tell stories, play chess? Would it be a coffee-house, a tea-house, a caravanserai, an inn?

Did street life go on into the evening, or was there a curfew?

How about established Christianity in the city? I've found out a little bit about the Nestorians, but it's very vague.

What was the palace like?

I''ve read Ruy Gonzales de Clavijo's account of his journey to Samarkand in the early 1400's, tried to Google Ibn Battuta and his accounts of his travels in the 14th century, and read the Rubaiyat (way too early, I know.) This website gives a useful overview; and in desperation I re-watched Michael Wood's In the Footsteps of Alexander. Also I had a look at Fordham University's Medieval Sourcebook.

I can access the publications of the Hakluyt Society at the State Library next time I visit it, but there are oodles of them, and some guidance on which ones to look at would be very useful.

Any help will be much appreciated!

Gilles de Rais' estates, 15th century France
I know he was a great landholder, with estates concentrated mostly in north-west France. But apart from Tiffauges, Machecoul, Champocté and Ingrandes, I don't know exactly where they were. (I found one very fuzzy map, which I can't read properly.)

Can anyone help? I’m interested in his holdings at their greatest extent.

Googled: “Gilles de” Rais, Retz, castles, estates, properties, lands, holdings.

Thanks in advance!

Courtesans and undetectable poisons in Ren. Italy
Yep, me again with more questions for my Assassin's Creed fic (same one featured in the previous question I asked). I started working on it again which means more research.

Situation: My character due to unfortunate circumstances ends up becoming an assassin posing as a Courtesan and is taken under the wing of an assassin/Madame of a brothel. Her whole duty is to gather information, and if it be necessary, get close to the target and kill them with stealthy means. Most notably poisons.

Question 1: While keeping up the facade of a Courtesan, what sort of mannerisms would she use, like flirting methods and advertising her wares so to speak, what sort of clothing would she wear?

Question 2: What kind of poisons would have been used in Renaissance Italy that would act quickly and quietly? Preferably something that could be slipped into food or drink.

I googled 'Life of a Courtesan in Renaissance Italy',  'Renaissance Italy Courtesan clothing'. I can't remember all the terms I used while doing poison research.

Women's rights and education in Renaissance Italy and other misc. questions
Well this officially marks the 3rd time I've tired to post something here. I always seem to do something wrong :| Anyways, even though this doesn't really come up largely in my Assassin's Creed fic its still there and I'd like to make sure it's historically correct as possible.  The history dork in me is compelled to find out.

Situation: My character Nerezza Corvi starts out in my story as a rebellious 15-year-old noblewoman who tries to go against  what's expected of her, has a friendship of sorts with Ezio Auditore (the main character for Assassin's Creed 2 for those who don't know), and later becomes an assassin. Based late 1400's and early 1500's.

Question 1: What sort of rights would a girl her age have? Like would she be allowed to be friends with a member of the opposite sex in a completely platonic way, or would it be something her parents would try to prevent? Would she be allowed to wander out by herself (I assume not and she normally sneaks out anyhow), or would she constantly have some sort of chaperon following her at all times? Would she even be allowed to really voice her opinions?

Question 2:  What kind of an education would she have as a young female? I know they would have a tutor but what exactly would they learn beyond normal domestic things?

Misc. Questions:

Question 1: What sorts of food would an upper class family eat?

Question 2: What was the typical set up for a Ren. Italian home? Was it sort of typical as other homes at this time?

Resources checked: I've tried google searches on numerous occasions. "Women's education in Renaissance Italy", "Rights for women in Renaissance Italy", "Food in Renaissance Italy", "Renaissance homes".  I've found a few things but more would be better :)

EDIT: I'm an idiot and for got to mention that she's Florentine.

Fifteenth-century England; hunting, and probable reactions to the Northern Lights
Setting: Westminster

Question 1: What would be an educated person's reaction to seeing the Northern Lights? Would the English reaction be different from that of the Scots or Scandinavians?

Question 2: I'm sending a king out on a day's hunting from Westminster Palace. Would there be enough suitable land nearby to allow a full-scale hunt? St James', Green and Hyde Park areas might do at a pinch... I'm thinking of hart or buck; it's got to be a fairly impressive quarry. If necessary I can send him out further than a half-day's ride; but where might be suitable? Surrey? Epping?

Books: Encyclopaedia of Magic and Superstition
Cummings: The Hound and the Hawk
Mortimer: The Time-Traveller's Guide to Medieval England
Myers: Chaucer's London

Search terms: various permutations of Northern Lights, reactions, medieval, portents
“royal forests” england medieval chase

Thanks in advance!

PS I'm on dial-up, and in country Australia that's... kind of slow, so Google Books and anything image-heavy are not really possible.

ETA: To clarify: About twenty years ago the Northern Lights were visible on the South Coast. IIRC it made the national news. I knew someone who saw them; I was so envious.

ETA 2: Epping! Thank-you!

Fiftennth-century Burgundy
A couple of small questions.

1) What would the correct style and form of address be for a daughter of a Duke of Burgundy, single but of marriageable age?
2) Would the language spoken in Dijon have been easily understandable by someone who spoke the French of Paris?

John the Fearless Richard Vaughan
Phoenix frustrated Christopher Cope
The Golden Age of Burgundy Joseph Calmette
Encyclopaedia of Languages of Europe

Search terms: style “form of address” “duke of burgundy” “langues d'oil”

Any help is much appreciated!

ETA: Having followed up your links, I've decided to go for 'Lady Jeanne' since 'Princess' seems to be aiming a little high; but I'm sure the Duke would want to emphasise his daughter's noble birth.
My MC is an aristocrat so should be able to understand the Duke and his family no prob, while noticing the difference in the Common People's speech; pretty much as I'd hoped.
Thank-you, everyone! Quick and very helpful replies, as always.

ETA 2: For fear of provoking another shower of spam, I haven't replied inidivually. But I am grateful to everyone who's helped out!

Misc. Italian Renaissance questions

*headdesk* Me again, with more stupid questions.  This time they're about the Italian Renaissance, specifically Assassins Creed 2.  I want to get my facts straight since so much research went into the game itself.

Prior research: I goggled 'renaissance mourning attire' 'mourning period' and 'renaissance attire'.  I've read many articles, but none truly weilded results (and Wikipedia was being an arse during my search)

Le Situation: This specific story is set in Assassin's Creed 2-verse, specifically during Ezio's stay in Venice.  My character is the daughter of Carol Grimaldi.  And obviously, throughout the course of the story, Carlo dies. 

So my questions: 

During this time period, what was the accepting mourning dress/mourning period for her?  And what would happen afterwards? Carlo was her only living parent, so would she have to move out of their home or would she be able to stay in their home? 

I also would like to know just general dress for upper-class women during this time period.  The extent of my knowledge on Renaissance attire doesn't extend far past what I wore to a Renaissance Fair last year.  Anything you can tell me can help. 

And finally- since Carlo was in league with the Templars, do you believe it would be acceptable for her to resume his business with them (of course, without the political influence her father had.)

EDIT: This part of the story takes place between 1480 and 1486.

Poisoning pigs in 1458
haiku impossible
Setting: England, 1458.

This is actually for an on-line RPG, but I'd still like to get things right in so far as I can.
My character keeps pigs. A new arrival in town also keeps pigs, but so far knows very little about how to do so. My character sees her as a rival, and while apparently staying friendly and helpful, wants to give her some advice on pig-keeping that will actually be to the detriment of her rival's swine - not out-right killing them, but making them less likely to thrive.

My original thought was advising her to feed them something mildly toxic, but a bit of research suggests that pigs are quite difficult to poison - they refuse to eat most things that are bad for them. Ragwort (too well-known), bracken (they won't eat it), hemlock (ditto). There was mention of potatoes and tomatoes, but this is 1458.

Googled: pigs, poison, herbs, toxic, feed, food, "what can pigs eat", "-guinea" (so as not to be flooded with advice on a very different animal), many combinations of the above.
Checked tags in this community for poisoning advice, found nothing relating to pigs.

Good plot would be for the advice to be taken, the pigs to sicken slightly as a result, and then the poor victim of my nasty character to find the original notes on pig-keeping being referred to, and notice that the word "not" had been missed out of a transcription. No, this villain will not get away with it.

So, what can I do to those pigs? Is poisoning the right way to go, or should I be looking for something else?

Thanks, everyone, there's some great ideas and links there. I'll see what the other players involved think looks like most fun.

Broken Bones in the Italian Renaissance
Lady 18
The time is 1498, in Florence, Italy.

My character breaks his leg in a fall from scaffolding, say 5 or 6 feet up. He falls backwards off it, after tripping over an item that was accidentally placed behind him. I am currently undecided on what bone(s) he breaks, as I want him to have a fairly uncomplicated recovery-- just one that is tedious and long enough to keep him fairly confined and more or less immobilized.

I had thought about having him break his tibia and fibula, but my reading indicates that may be fairly problematic in terms of a decent recovery (and that in some cases it is problematic even today).

The person setting the bone is quite skilled (and is from a line of bonesetters... the wife of the local barber-surgeon-- I have read stuff that indicates that most bonesetters per se were women and it was a family business, so to speak.

1)  If the tibia/femur break is too much of a long shot for a non-crippling recovery, what is a better suggestion?

2) I have seen in this comm that bonesetters and people like them frequently used the herbs feverfew, comfrey/knitbone and boneset for the purposes of speeding healing for broken bones. I know the Renaissance barbers used ox bones as splints, and linen bandages to stabilize the break. I have seen one (scholarly, cited) web page that said they had read a religious text that suggested red clay be used on the bandages (I suppose to strengthen them as with plaster). I have also seen a web page that said (uncited) that Renaissance barbers also used plaster. I am interested in either possibility, but mostly I just want to know how my bonesetter would treat this injury: she'd reduce the break as best she could, pack unguents and herbs around the break, bandage to stabilize it, and then... ?

I have searched Wikipedia for Renaissance Medicine; in here for medicine: injuries: broken bones, italy: history; and Google for
setting bones in the renaissance
treatment of broken bones in the renaissance
medical therapy renaissance
broken bones in the italian renaissance
treatment of fractures in the italian renaissance

English Church Architecture and Geometry (all periods)
Hello all;

My query relates a clump of short stories I'm working on. Set in a fictional port town in East Anglia, they centre on the large abbey church at the centre of the town and the rebuilding of the east end by an ambitious abbot during the 15th Century.

Here are my queriesCollapse )

Mental handicap in 15th century England

Search terms used: "mental handicap"/"down syndrome" + "sixteenth century"/"middle ages"/"medieval"

EDIT TO ADD: i accidentally had this titled 16th century, so have amended that and plan to re-do my googoling and searching with an amended query thread but any comments would still be gratefully read!

Timeframe: 15th century England (the first reign of Edward IV: so Wars of the Roses).

Details: I'm trying to write a murder mystery. My main character has a younger sister who has Down Syndrome.

Obviously, it wasn't called this back then, or even Mongolism but does anyone know any information as to

a) how such mental handicaps were regarded at this time? I've read some information that implies that such people were regarded as demon-possessed but I've also read that there have been skeletons found, buried with respect, of older children whose DNA shows Down Syndrome. I've found lots of references to attitudes to Down Syndrome being "postively medieval" but no actual hard evidence of what such attitudes were.

b) whether there is any evidence that Down Syndrome was in any way recognised in the sense of "oh she has those features, so she won't be very bright"? I know the commons would be unlikely to know anything, but would anyone else? The priesthood for example.

Margaret Fraser, in "A Play of Isaac" (the first in her Joliffe series, set a little before my timeframe) has a Downs character who is referred to as an "Eden Child" by the main character, who recognised his features and reflects this man is lucky to be well-looked after, as most of 'his kind' not only die in childhood but are often abandoned. But I can't find any references to this term and am suspecting she made it up.

Final questions:

So far, the backstory is that her mother was very ill in late pregnancy, and was also a sometime prostitute and that most people who know this assume that one or the other 'caused' the child's Down Syndrome. Given both the attitude to afflication in those times and the level of medical knowledge, this sounds feasbile, yes?

Finally, I know that puberty in the Middle Ages was, very roughly speaking, about 12 for girls (hence this was the age at which a girl could consent to sex and marriage) but I've also read that people with Down Syndrome tend to come into puberty quite late. Does anyone with experience of people with Down Syndrome (or, if it's not too personal a question, anyone WITH Down Syndrome) know roughly when a girl might start puberty?

Thank you

15th century terms, namely for the Russian people.
Setting: 15th century fantasy based off of Medieval Europe.

Search Terms: Wikipedia :Russia, East Slavs,Kievan Rus : Google: Middle Ages russia, East Slavs.
one through quite a few articles on Asia, Africa and Medieval history books.

I'm looking for how a character who is Russian. would be acknowledged by the members of the court, knights, or if at all.
There seems to be alot of differing terms and none really seem to agree with one another or make sense to me.
I know i;m writing  fantasy, but I like to build my fantasy from reality.

Also if anyone can make suggestions, theres a cuturally diverse groop at this location, any suggestions wold be greatly appreciated.

Sorry for all the misunderstandings.
I wrote this at 2am...

Thank you
You guys have been ridiculously helpful. I'm sorry I wasn't able to make myself  clear.