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Entries by tag: france: history

Gunshot wound, emergency last rites & clergy spilling blood
Silver Fox
Hello everyone! I have a scene that is giving me trouble on both medical and psychological levels and would appreciate any help I can get.

The POV character is a Roman Catholic priest confronted with a wounded man. The setiing is complicated by time travel issues, but the the priest is from 17th century France.
The castle they are in is under a surprise attack. The victim is the first casualty - a guard who was shot (from a small handgun, if it matters) while standing duty at the gate and then staggered inside. The priest has a lot of military experience - planning battles as well as witnessing the process and the aftermath. He feels responsible to participate in the castle's defence, and he wants the guard to tell him what happened at the gate. He is (correctly) assuming that the guard is dying - if not right now, then within the next several days for sure. He also knows that the guard is a Roman Catholic, although not a very devout one.
The plan was for the guard to tell the priest something along the lines of "there were about this many attackers going in approximately that direction", then the priest grabs the guard's weapon and runs off to defend the castle.

The problems I have with the scene are:

1. I need a dying man who is coherent and initially mobile. I thought to give him a gut wound, but googling  "gunshot wounds to stomach", "gut wounds" suggests that the guy will be either screaming in pain or unconscious. All the other wounds I can think of would be either immediately fatal or potentially curable. What I need is a gunshot wound that would
a) permit the man to walk 15 meters or so before collapsing, then talk for at least a couple of minutes, and then, ideally, actually hand the priest a weapon, possibly with a short explanation which button to press (this is not a 17th century weapon, or guard, or castle)
b) be recognized as definitely, unequivocally fatal by an experienced 17th century "soldier", assuming said "soldier" failed to consider the possibility that people here have different medical capabilities than what he's used to.
Any ideas how to do that? And how exactly would the priest know the man is a goner? (For the gut wound I was thinking a tell-tale smell).

2. The priest is behaving more like a soldier than like a priest here, but he is a priest. As such, he'll probably at least think about doing something, um, religious. My knowledge of Catholicism is fairly limited, my knowledge of 17th century French Catholicism - even more so. I tried to google "Roman Catholic death preparation", "Catholic priest comforting the dying", "Catholic last rites", "Emergency last rites" and combinations thereof. I got that there is a procedure of Penance,  Anointing, and Viaticum, but that obviously requires time and preparation. The priest here was not planning on giving any last rites and has no supplies beyond a pectoral cross. So, the questions are:

2a. Will the priest feel oblidged to offer spiritual support before or after getting the military info he needs? What kind of support would that be, exactly? Will he offer to hear a confession (would you like to...) or will he insist on it (repent your sins), or will he just jump straight into the Viaticum (do you reject sin...)? Can the Viaticum be shortened somehow? From the text I found here, it would take at least a couple of minutes, and the priest really needs to get moving.

2b. Assuming the priest expects the guard to live another few hours, can he just give him a quick blessing (how would that be phrased?) and intend to come back for the proper ceremony after the assault has been repelled (which is not at all certain at that point)? Or is that completely contrary to what is expected of a priest, he has to stay and say the prayers now, come hell or high water?

2c. Conversely, this is a 17th century priest who'd seen the war up close. He's got a man who is in a lot of pain, and who cannot, in his opinion, be healed. Would it occur to him to finish the man off out of mercy? I'm pretty sure he has the nerve to do it, but did Catholicism in 17th century approve of mercy killing? Also, if he does decide to kill the guard, would that mean he'd have to first perform the last rites? Because that would take time he hasn't got and make this option impossible.

3. Finally, the whole concept of a priest killing. I heard that Catholic clergy is not supposed to spill blood, which is why in the middle ages they only used maces/clubs/staves for combat, but I never found any backing for that idea. Google search for "Catholic clergy spilling blood" yields a suggestion that perhaps the clergy was not allowed to use swords, specifically, because those who use the sword will perish by it. Also, I saw some counter-arguments about monastic orders using swords like no tomorrow, which was a good point.
I mean, I realise a priest is not really supposed to kill, period. But if he happens to be killing anyway, will he have any more qualms over using a gun than over using a mace/club/staff? He comes from a noble family, and probably wouldn't know how to use a club. And no clubs are available, anyway. So he has to use a gun no matter what. But will that present an additional moral dilemma?

ISO: Sexual terminology for 16th century France
Babs is thinking about porn.
Setting: Early-mid 16th century France, but then, it's BBC Musketeers, so laser-accuracy is not expected or desperately needed.

I tried searching using the terms 'sexual terms Classical French', 'sexual terminology sixteenth century France', 'medieval slang', 'sexual terminology slang sixteenth century'

For those not familiar with the show, I'm hoping for a selection of words/phrases for various parts of the body/acts (assume I want anything you can find, I can find a use for pretty much anything) that I can take and adjust to a more British English in the quirkily tortured way the show does.

Thanks so much in advance,


Laws affecting 19th century European Romani
Setting: 1830-1870 Central Europe (France, Germany, Austria, and Bohemia mostly)

Google Search: "Romani in 19th century Europe", "19th century laws relating to Romani, "19th century romani regulation", "19th century romani persecution"
Same search terms used with 'gypsy' and 'Roma' to see if anything different came up (and because I'm not entirely sure which term is the most appropriate/commonly used).

One of my PoV characters is a man of Romani (specifically Sinti) descent who wound up in the care of the Catholic Church when he was very young. They kept him around effectively as slave labour until someone higher up decides to put him to a different use by making him a secret agent in their super secret supernatural evil fighting order. What I'm basically having trouble with is working out how much trouble his Romani heritage would get him in when he starts getting sent out and about on the business of this order. I've found a variety of laws regarding the treatment of Romani in the relevant parts of Europe for various different time periods, but none of them are particularly good matches for the period I want. The best I've found is vague mentions that some of the harsher laws were relaxed towards the end of the 19th century, but nothing about which ones those were or how far they were relaxed. I'm also trying to find out how the wider Catholic Church might react to him. I have found a few things there, but the messages have been very mixed (some saying giving alms to the Romani is a greater sin than theft and refusing to bury them or baptise their children even if they claimed to be Catholic, others implying all was fine so long as they would convert).

Any light shed on the subject would be appreciated.

Stars visible on the first morning of the Battle of the Somme
What stars would have been visible on the eastern horizon from the Allied lines just before dawn on 1 July 1916? (Once you got above the ground mist.) I think it's Taurus and its neighbours. The proofreader has queried this.

Stellarium is giving me problems - it's telling me sunrise occurred at 1300 hours, and will not be convinced otherwise. David Levy's Starwatching has charts for all sorts of latitudes and times but apparently doesn't think people look at the stars any later than midnight or any earlier than 9 pm (though the charts also seem to indicate Taurus.) I don't have a Northern skies planisphere which would solve the problem immediately.

Can anyone help?

1745 Jacobite Rebellion
Action Hero
I found in the book by Daiches (below) that Bonnie Prince Charlie was related, through his mother, to Queen Marie Leczinska of France. I haven't been able to find out the exact relationship. Can anyone help?

Also, Gaelic speakers, and I have no idea how to search for this: Are boats referred to as “she” in Gaelic?

Research - Some trawling about on the net, including, which is less helpful than I'd hoped; ditto Wikipedia.
Books - Daiches: Charles Edward Stuart
Duffy: The '45
Louda and MacLachlan: Lines of Succession
Taute: Kings and Queens of Great Britain

Thank-you for any help!

Taking off a robe à la française
Setting: 18th C France
Research: various costuming/historical fashion sites, "How To Undress A Victorian Lady" article, various historical fiction forums.

Okay so I have my two characters in the throes of passion (or at least some serious foreplay). How do I go about getting the (upper-class, fully dressed) lady out of her dress? Are there laces? Buttons? How many layers? I'm seeing lots and lots of information on how to build/make a dress, but not so much on how to wear it/take it off.

Need the name of a Parisian Street in Montparnasse that was popular in the 1930's but not now.
zevon price
My novel takes place in modern times and pre-World War II in Paris, France.

I need the name of a street or area inside Montparnasse that would have been a popular for a group of young occult practitioners to gather, preferably a street or an area known for having a wealthy bohemian air, but, in modern times, has fallen into decay. It needs to be located off the beaten tourist-track, a street or cul-de-sac that would be easy to miss.

I have Googled Montparnasse, Montparnasse history, Montparnasse 1930's, popular areas in Paris in 1930's, as well as several travel guides to Paris, Paris Eyewitness Guide, Paris, the Secret History,

[ANON POST] Women's Rights in 1810s-1820s France
The setting is Paris during 1810s-1820s in our world.

I've tried to research, woman's rights both general and France specific, Napoleonic code, the Bourbon Restoration, divorce laws, and property laws.

I'm trying to determine information about two different female characters.

First character: Her father owned and ran a bookshop. She works there too. She has no living siblings. He has no other living family. She marries. The father dies (while Napoleon was still in power). If I understand the napoleonic code right, ownership of the bookshop would go to the husband, not her. He would have complete control of any earnings even if she was the one running the shop. He could spend the money on alcohol and mistresses. Should a mistress have a child that he legally recognizes as his, the child could inherit part or all of the shop if the wife had no children at the time of death.
1st question: Is this how the shop and it's earnings would be dealt with?

2nd question: With the husband spending most of their earnings on drink and women, is it possible for her to gain some control of their finances legally? How likely would she be able to with no spending money to pay legal fees and the laws favoring men? Assume they have no debt.

3rd question: Divorce was legal during this time. How hard would this be? Assume little money to pay fees and the husband doesn't want the divorce. If they did become divorced, what would happen to the shop? If he was also physically abusing her, how hard was it to prove abuse for a divorce?

Second female character: The time is now 1820s during the Bourbon Restoration. She is 20 years old. She has no siblings. Her parents die. They have no other living family. Assume the family had little money, no property, and no debt.
1st question: What would happen to her? Would she need a guardian? Who?

2nd question: How difficult would it be for her to get a job as a single woman with no parents?

3rd question: If she managed to earn enough money, could she open a bank account? I know before 1964 married women had to have their husband's permission to open bank accounts, but I'm not sure of the laws for single women.

Public Flagellation as Punishment
Story is set in Paris, France in 1830-1832.

Some discussion of corporal punishment (Namely, whipping/flogging) belowCollapse )

Education in France, early 1800's
I've searched history french eduction, history french universities, french universities 1800's, french education 1800's, napoleon education, napoleonic education, romantic era education, romantic era universities, and so on and I haven't been able to find a comprehensive breakdown of what I'm looking for. The only lists I can find are for modern educational structure and I know that prior to 1880, the educational system in France was significantly different.

What I need is a list of the education levels for students in France, from 1810-1830, including all secondary and post-secondary levels, the age at which a student would be studying at that level, and what they would be studying.

I know from some extensive research on bohemian life that in London at the time, the dandies were very much "career students", as the higher classes could afford education for the sake of education and it was sort of a pastime for them, but I don't know anything at all about French history (the extent of my French history knowledge is Rousseau and some Napoleonic warfare).

But the point at the end of all of this is whether or not it would be realistic for someone in their mid-20's to still be considered a student and if so, how?

Walking distance between France and Germany 1918
gummy bear injection
I've used this LJ before for help with my current novel, and since you were all so incredibly helpful I thought I'd impose on your knowledge once again...

A central aspect of my novel, set in the aftermath of the 1918 Armistice, is that the two main characters - one a nineteen-year-old stretcher-bearer, the other a sixteen-year-old soldier - end up trying to make their way to an address in Berlin, Germany. If plausible, I would like them to both be survivors of Verdun. (EDIT: Verdun isn't plausible for my MCs, so changed to the Somme and then Passchendale at the time of the Armistice.) 

Search terms previously used: walking distance france berlin, walking distance verdun berlin, world war one battlefields, world war i battlefields map, stretcher-bearer world war one. 

EDIT: To clarify some details: Both characters will be taking modes of transport at points e.g. hitching lifts, however I need to estimate the walking distance first for the overall plotting. They don't particularly care how long it takes for them to get to the address because they don't particularly want to return to civilian life - as they basically feel there's nothing to go back to (stretcher-bearer) or that they will never be able to adjust back (underage combatant.) 

Questions about walking distance, Army jurisdiction post-Armistice, etc. Collapse )

17c military life
I'm writing in a slightly alternate 17th century setting and find I need details about life in an army (French by preference) in the period 1650-1670. I've done quite a lot of research already, but unfortunately there's a scarcity of good available secondary material that actually looks at the details of daily life (though there's tons that talk about the administration, the political context, the strategy, principles of siege warfare, and flags/insignia/weaponry/tactics - the latter primarily from a war-gamer, model-painter or re-enactor perspective). The best data points I've found are stray references embedded in other discussion, which only takes me so far. Can anyone help me with either info or references/pointers?
Some of the areas I particularly am looking for details about include:
  1. How many servants & other civilian staff, and of what sort, would a top-ranking general of high noble status have with him while on campaign? (I'm thinking someone like Turenne, Condé or Luxembourg). I know that Condé for one never seems to have gone anywhere with less than two secretaries, and in the 1690s the teenage Duc de St. Simon, as a volunteer & very junior officer, had at least 5 grooms & 2 "gentleman servants" in attendance. 
  2. Where would these servants & civilian staff be housed, while the army is encamped? I assume that given the opportunity the general would have commandeered the biggest house in the vicinity for his headquarters, but that doesn't work so well while you're on the march or laying siege to some town. Most of the descriptions of camp life I've seen date from the 18c, by which time there were a lot fewer servants traveling with the army, and a lot more separation in ordinary life between masters & servants, so I don't really want to extrapolate too much from them.
  3. What were officers' tents like? Would all officers be expected to camp in the same place as their men, or did they congregate separately? How big would a general's tent be? How many tents might he have, & how arranged? (George Washington had 3 - one for sleeping, one for dining, and one for his baggage. But again, it's hard to extrapolate from Washington to a Condé or Turenne.)
  4. Who was the general supposed to feed every night? i.e. Besides himself & his servants & staff, who would be expected to dine at his table on a routine basis? When officers were not invited to dinner with their commander, what were their normal meal arrangements?
  5. What did the commanders eat? What did their senior/junior officers eat? Was their bread issued every 4 days like the troopers' ration, or did they get their bread fresh?
  6. Were the horses that hauled the artillery & the baggage kept in the same place as the cavalry mounts, or separately?    How far from the troops would they typically have been? How about the grooms, the smiths, etc. who tended the horses? Were any of these ever mingled with the teams & personnel of the (civilian contractor) supply convoys?
As I said, any information or pointers toward information (either online, or primary/secondary offline sources) would be welcome! 

(no subject)
I'm pretty familiar with the British tradition of pubs having colorful names taken from decorative signs put up for the illiterate. However, I have not been able to find much on the French equivalent; my online searches keep finding references for the British - and mostly English - tradition. I suspect the fact that I didn't find what I want is that "pub" is very English and I don't know the French equivalent. I have found some information for France, but am unsure it is accurate, and even if it is would appreciate more detail. So, my question is two-fold:

What are the French (specifically, the Alsace region) version of pubs called?

What are some typical names?

I used the search terms "pub drink name sign history France Alsace Europe medieval" in various combinations. I did find an interesting site on Medieval drinks, and another on Medieval words and terms:

I have a fantasy novel in which one of the characters mentions going to the Knotted Roses. That's the only mention of such institutions in this book, but it's nagging at me. Also, if this novel sells (hopehopehope) and there are sequels - or if the novel is revised - I would be more likely to include additional references if I am more confident and knowledgeable in the French tradition.

Thank you. Since this involves alcohol I anticipate an enthusiastic participation. :-)

Boat Travel 1640's France to England
Hi there! I've got some characters taking a trip by boat from France to England (think cargo type ship) during rough seas and I'm trying to estimate how long it would have taken. I've tried searching by google with things like '16th century boat trip france to england' but I mostly come up with modern day fair trips insteqad of detailed information. I've also looked up on wiki 16th century boats but it mostly covers what battles they were used in. Can anyone help?

Thanks in advance!

Louis Antoine Saint-Just(St. Just)'s 9 Thermidor wound
moleskine lilacs leaves
I am trying to do research for a story about the events of 9 Thermidor during the final month of the Reign of Terror during the first French Revolution.

I've looked everywhere; there are a handful of articles I found online that allude to Saint-Just receiving a (minor?) sabre wound at the time of Robespierre's jaw wound during their arrest the night of 9 Thermidor (July 27), 1794. I have reason to believe that it was a minor wound because several books and articles I've looked at emphasize the fact that Saint-Just was the only Robespierre supporter who was able to walk by himself after the violent arrest. The movies seem to either ignore it or quickly gloss over it, being of no help.

I did find a book and article that gave me a (primary?) source: Gazette d'un parisien sous la revolution by Ruault, pp. 357-61 (as cited by Dwyer, et al., The French Revolution and Napoleon: A Sourcebook). Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate a copy of the Gazette that I can look at (and anyway, I don't speak or read French), and it seems odd that it should say simply "Saint-Just was sabred" while it gives all the gruesome details of everyone else's wounds ("One of Hanriot's eyes was hanging out of his head," for example). Other books and articles I've found claim that Saint-Just was "unscathed".

There are other discrepancies, too; namely that most American sources claim Robespierre's wound was a botched attempt at suicide, while most European sources claim it was sustained when rebel soldiers burst into the Hotel de Ville and fired shots. I'm going to lean in favor of the European version, I think. There seems to be more evidence to back it up.

Anyway, any help on where on his body Saint-Just was wounded (arm? leg? torso?) and its severity would be of much help. Thank you!

How would a French character address Hitler in person in 1942?
It's pretty much all in the title. How would you expect a French citizen (in Nazi German-occupied France) to address Hitler when speaking directly to him in 1942? Oh, and if it makes any difference at all, the character is actually an eighteen-year-old boy, related to some very important French figures, but not anyone of particular consequence himself at this point. His father is a Nazi-sympathizer, and so is he. IIRC, Hitler didn't speak French, so would the character just address him in German, or would did Hitler still have a French title?*

I've already tried every combination of "Hitler" "French" "title" and/or "address" that I can think of, I've texted Cha-Cha, and I've asked a few French-speaking American European history students.

*For reasons I won't explain right now, them not speaking the same language is not going to be a problem for the rest of the conversation.

Inheritance, France, 1910's
Emma drinking coffee
I'm looking for information on the inheritance laws in France in 1910's. My story has a family with two children, the older one is a woman and the younger one a man. Their father dies and leaves them quite a large estate and a moderate amount of money. If he does not have a will, how is the fortune divided? What if his wife is still alive? How much can he do with a will?

I'm under the impression that Les lois de la révolution ordered women equal rights to inherit, but that was abolished later. So, what was the law like afterwards? Did primogeniture exist, or did daughters also inherit their fathers? In what proportion?

I've searched this with terms 'primogeniture', 'inheritance law', 'France', 'rights to inherit', 'women', 'histoire du droit de succession', 'droit d'aînesse', 'droit à l'héritage', 'droits de la femme', etc. I seem to find information only on the current law and on the situation between the Middle Ages and the French Revolution, or on succession in European monarchies. GoogleBooks mentions some interesting-looking books, but without a preview.

Thank you in advance!

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!

Some First World War related health questions
The events take place in France, during and after the First World War.

Question 1: Did the recruitment to the army work in France in the same way it worked in Britain? If a person had ´health issues which prevented him from acting as a soldier, what was he supposed to do? I suppose those becoming soldiers or officers had to somehow prove their health or have it tested, but what if there were problems with it? Would he be expected to work for the army on the home front? I've done searches with terms 'recruitment', 'France', 'health issues', 'first world war' both in English and in French, but somehow all the results I find are about Britain, Canada or French colonies in Africa. (My French is quite poor, which may explain my problems, but I'm willing to read books or articles also in French.)

Question 2: How big a stigma was shell-shock in mid or late 20's, again in France? And, if someone was suffering from it, who decided on his treatment? I'm planning a sub-plot in which a sister wants to have his brother in a string for certain reasons, and her confederate is a doctor who is willing to falsely claim that his symptoms are caused by shell-shock. What I need to know is how this little scheming possibly affects the family's social status, and whether her power over the brother would be mental or if she could also threaten him with psychiatric hospital or something of the kind. The brother's symptoms are mainly physical, and committing him into a hospital would not be necessary as long as the sister is staying with him. I've done various searches with terms such as 'shell-shock', 'France', 'stigma', 'treatment', 'psychiatry', 'psychiatric hospitals', 'attitudes' etc. and actually found numerous articles on the topic. However, the practical, everyday matters still remain a mystery for me.

Thank you in advance!

Maison Militaire du Roi de France
I'm currently writing something set at the court of Louis XIV and am running into some unexpected snags along the way. The latest involves the king's military household and his personal bodyguard. Though I've found some information on the topic, most of the really informative (and therefore useful) stuff seems to be in French and unfortunately, I don't speak the language. I've done google searches, looked through google books, read wikipedia and the articles on, and discovered a little bit of (confusing) info on a site on European heraldry. And thus, I've found my way here with the hope that someone can help.

Basically, my question is how was the military household organized? In books that I've read about Louis XIV, there are references to a certain Brissac who held the post of major of the king's bodyguard. From my research into the maison militaire, however, they only talk about guards companies and captains.

Was the Garde Écossaise still the premier guard in 1670? And what is the "Compagnie de Cent Gentilshommes"? All I know is it's definitely distinct from the 100 Swiss but I can't find any more information on it. It seems to be listed as the premier company of guards though ahead of the Scottish Guard even though the Scottish Guard provided the 24 "gardes de la manche" who were supposed to escort the king at all times.

I know I'm probably asking for a lot here but if anyone could explain to me in a concise way how the military household of the king of France was organized in 1670: who performed what tasks and which guards had precedence over others - also, whether the "major of the king's bodyguard" controlled the entire bodyguard and all its disparate companies or if he was simply a major who controlled one battalion of guards - I'd be greatly, greatly appreciative.

Thank you in advance.