On leisure in August

It’s August, and while you might not realise that here in London by looking at the weather, we are headed into the month that many Europeans generally associate with time off. As a rule of thumb, here when one is planning a summer holiday, one does so in August. In some places life shuts down specifically for the holidays, as a result, with offices running skeleton staffs. Usually, a lot of us slope off somewhere else for a while, though in the pandemic that is happening less and less of course. Travel plans notwithstanding, August is often the time when we expect people to relax more and work less.

This phenomenon is not exactly newsworthy. If you have every been anywhere in Europe during August I am sure you would have noticed the high proportion of tourists. What is interesting to me is that the association of rest with August is a relatively new idea. If you asked a medieval or early modern European, instead they would likely tell you that August was one of the busiest times of the year.

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On damsels and influencers

So, the other day I was over on my extremely good Patreon that you would like if you joined, having a chat in a video about my research methodologies and some books I have used lately. I gushed about one book in particular, Kim M. Phillips’s Medieval Maidens: young women and gender in England, 1270-1540, which absolutely rules. The book focuses on the idea of “maidenhood”, which especially for the aristocratic, was a phase of life was strongly correlated with the conception of a nebulous “youth” similar our own teenage.

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I assure you, the Black Death was actually bad

I cannot believe I am about to write this, after a year and change of saying that we really don’t need to keep comparing COVID to the Black Death, which was by all estimates the worst pandemic the world has ever seen, but yesterday I saw a take so hostile in its stupidity that I have been forced to counter it today.

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On putting sex work on the map

I have written before about the Agas Map of London (which you can find a fun zoomable version of here!) and how we can use it to find ordinary people and think about how medieval and early modern people thought about the world around them. Today, however, I have been thinking once again about how these same maps either show or hide sex work from us.

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Sneak Peek: The Middle Ages, a Graphic History (out now!)

Friends, my comic is officially OUT in the UK! (Americans and Aussie/Kiwi friends have to wait until September, I am very sorry.) To celebrate, or tide you over in case you are still waiting I thought I would give you my loves a peek inside, and give you a better idea of what happens when you put 1100 years of history into 176 pages, with pictures.

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Annoy a medievalist Bingo

The other week my friends and I enjoyed drinking several pints outside and indulged in one of my new lockdown hobbies – creating bingo cards. (Shout out to Sara and Justin, two beloved stars who helped.) I thought I would share it with you, my loves, so that you too can play along. However to help you with that let’s go through it piece by piece, shall we?

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A Very Short Introduction to the Black Death

The Department of Transportation invited me to come give a talk on the Black Death, and have kindly shared it on YouTube. One note for myself! In the talk I incorrectly state that peasants’ wages in England went from 15 Denarii to 17 Denarii. That is way too much! It is actually 5(.12) Denarii to 7(.22) Denarii. This simply reflects my desire to give all peasants a raise. I hope you enjoy!

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Radio alert – Going Medieval on White Supremacists on 1A

Last week I stopped by 1A on NPR with my colleagues Matthew Gabriel and Cord J. Whitaker to talk about the trouble with racists and medieval history. Have a listen.

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On women having sex with themselves

This week I have extremely been back on my bullshit talking about and thinking about medieval dildos, as ones does. Real fans of the blog, of course will remember that I have written about dildos before, but this week over on the We’re Not So Different Podcast Luke and I were having a bit of a chat about them as well. One of the things I mentioned there was the fact that dildos have a specific place in the medieval mind because of the way that medical and religious writers thought about sex. Then I opened twitter this morning, because I am a masochist, and saw an honest to god neo-Nazi talking about dildos in the exact same way. Behold:

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