I’ve written before about how the games Mount and Blade and its sequel, Warband, are a, shall we say challenging, experience for the female character. Set in the fictional kingdom of Calradia during the 13th century this ARPG is practically a medieval simulator. After statting up your character you can go on to raise an army, gain support from neighbouring lords, engage in political intrigue, manage fiefs, I could go on. Continue reading
Unlike most of the posts I write, this one is not tied into something in modern media, I just happened to be researching prostitutes (as one does), and thought I’d share because it’s my blog and why not? Ha!
Researching prostitution during the Middle Ages is not an easy ask, particularly in Medieval England. Prostitution was not necessarily a woman’s sole career choice and there are many examples of women who used prostitution to supplement their everyday income. A lack of centralised law across England provides a consistently different attitude towards prostitutes across the country, an attitude which was already significantly different to that on the continent. As a general rule Europe seemed to be far more lenient and accepting of the occupation as a necessary public utility and, although many countries engaged a policy of restriction, it was aimed against the clientele of the prostitutes and not the prostitutes themselves. In particular married men, clergy and Jews were forbidden to patronise them and faced heavy fines if caught doing so, while the admitting brothel faced no repercussions for allowing them entry.
I have studied history for years and throughout it all, until very recently, you will find religion underlying a great deal of societal history. Considering that for a vast amount of time, Europe was predominantly Catholic before changing, in the sixteenth century, to somewhat Catholic with some Protestantism thrown in for good measure; religion is always going to feature in any historical fiction regarding these periods. However, for a modern and more importantly secular audience, any religion must be used, if not sparingly, then at least with a nod to the fact that we, largely, will not be able to relate to characters who are largely motivated by a firm and unwavering belief in God.
The medieval/early modern woman was defined by her marital status. As an adolescent she was an unmarried virgin until, as an adult, she entered the state of matrimony in which she would either die or survive to widowhood. Common subjects for modern historical fiction are the sex lives of the royal courtiers. Any such look at the sex lives of courtiers will inevitably glance upon their eventual marriage, as few people remained single at this time, those that did usually found their way into the celibacy of religious institutions. Fictional marriages however, are rarely representative of the state of marriage at the time. As a disclaimer this article focuses purely on the marriages of royal courtiers as portrayed in fiction, not marriage as a general state across the social strata of the period, in this case the Tudor years 1485-1603. Continue reading