Well it’s been an incredibly normal month to live in the United Kingdom. So normal, in fact, that I have mostly been gawping, horrified, as the most normal things possible unfurled about me like some sort of noxious algae bloom. As people queued up over-night in a very normal way, and people holding signs that said “Not My King” were threatened with arrest even more normally, I have been at times equally amazed and disgusted. Overall, however, the entire period has been instructive to me, as someone who works on propaganda and imperialism.
I have read and worked extensively on the measures that dynasties take in order to prove their “right” to rule, as well as the establishing the intended recipient of said right. It turns out that all these same propaganda tactics that Charles IV implemented when he needed to establish the Luxembourg dynasty in fourteenth century Prague were alive and well in THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 2022 in London, and boy oh boy did I ever have to learn about it. So now you do. Sucked in.
Continue reading “On maintaining monarchical succession”
Presumably, there will come a time when we will no longer need think pieces on how courtly love as a construct has poisoned romantic and sexual interactions – especially straight ones. Unfortunately, today is not that day, and we have learned once again, and to our sorrow, that our favs are problematic and our idols must be sacrificed. So, we’re gonna talk about it.
I am here to tell you that any time you hear about men being super pushy about sexual advances and not taking no for an answer, you can pretty much trace the enshrinement of said behaviour back to the OG problematic bin-fire, Andreas Capellanus.
Continue reading “On Courtly Love, Sexual Coercion, and Killing Your Idols”
As the world collectively crawls, gibbering and raving toward the end of the American presidential election, the medieval roots of society’s expectations of women are once again very firmly on display.
Case in point – the life and times of one of the three medieval women you have heard of – Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor was, by all accounts, an absolute bad ass. She lead armies both in Europe and on the Second Crusade. She was a highly skilled ruler who reigned in her husband’s absence from the country. She was also a total babe.
For all these reasons, the modern imagination loves Eleanor. She won Katherine Hepburn an Oscar, and pops up in most Robin Hood movies. (Yes, even that really bad Russel Crowe one.) This is why you know her name.
Whilst we appreciate Eleanor, her mind, influence, and general kick-arsery now, everything we love about her now meant she was often reviled in her own time, and for decades after her death.
Eleanor managed to run herself into trouble because she was intent on exercising power in the public sphere.
Continue reading “Such a nasty woman – on Eleanor of Aquitaine, femininity, reputation, and power”