Tag Archives: MEDIEVAL

HENRY VIII AND NASA

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I discovered something interesting about Henry VIII’s armor. His armor was used as inspiration by NASA to create the earliest space suits.

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A HERO’S WAR HAMMER

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I like the design of this war hammer from Forged In Fire because not only did it have beautiful aesthetic, but it could be wielded with either one or both hands. I am thinking of making my new main characters’ initial main weapon to be a war hammer much like this one in my fantasy book. The only difference would be the hammer and spike would not be made from Damascus Steel. My main character would often use his war hammer in one hand and a dagger in the other.

WARWICK CASTLE

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One of the costliest castles in Britain was Warwick Castle. The reason for this was because its wealth was almost entirely dependent on its owners’ service and loyalty to the English monarchy. It was a castle that was built on the spoils of war. In peace time, it was virtually impossible to maintain. When the castle’s wealth was high, family members often buried themselves in tombs trimmed with gold. Strategically, Warwick Castle controlled all the roads leading to Wales and Scotland. It was originally built by William the Conqueror as a motte-and-bailey castle before replacing it with a stone fortress. The favorite of Edward II, Piers Gaveston, was condemned by a kangaroo court within the castle’s walls. There was even a section of the dungeon that involved sealing a person under the castle and leave them to die. To make this prison worse, the cell was positioned under the castle privy so it was a combination between a prison cell and a sewer. It was easily the worst kind of prison for a person to die in. The last Earl of Warwick to live in the castle was a movie star from the 1930s and the only way he could pay for the castle’s expenses was through his film career. Eventually, the castle became too expensive to maintain and the castle was sold and made into a tourist attraction. I will be drawing inspiration from this castle for my fantasy series.

CAERNARFON CASTLE

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Caernarfon Castle was one of the many castles Edward I constructed to consolidate his hold on Wales. It was not only used to symbolize English dominion over Wales, but it also symbolized the alteration of the title “Prince of Wales”. Before Edward I came along, the Prince of Wales was the title given to the ruler of Wales. After Edward’s conquest, it became the title for the heir apparent to the English throne. Edward I’s successor Edward II was born within Caernarfon’s walls. During the Welsh Revolt in the 1400s, the castle faced a siege from Welsh rebels. The castle garrison numbered only 28 men and they drove away the rebels after slaying 300 of them. Because all of the castle’s windows were arrow slits, the invaders had no idea how many defenders they were facing. Caernarfon Castle last saw battle during the English Civil War and repairs were neglected until the 19th century. In more recent history, Caernarfon Castle was where Prince Charles was crowned Prince of Wales. I have several ideas for castles based on this fortress in future fantasy works.

CARDIFF CASTLE

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Cardiff Castle was a Welsh castle that was over 2,000 years old. It was originally built as a fort for the Romans before being turned into a motte-and-bailey castle by William the Conqueror’s Normans. William the Conqueror’s firstborn son, Robert, was imprisoned in Cardiff by his kid brother Henry I until the day he died. During the reign of Edward II, Cardiff was the seat of power for Hugh Despenser the Younger and he used it to not only execute Welsh rebels, but also snatch land from Welsh lords such as Roger Mortimer. These actions ultimately led to Edward II losing his throne and Hugh being hanged, drawn, and quartered. During the Welsh Revolt in the 1400s, the castle fell into Welsh hands, but after the rebellion was quelled, the Welsh rebels lost control of the castle. Strategically, whoever held Cardiff Castle controlled southern Wales, which became apparent during the English Civil War where Parliament briefly overthrew the monarchy. During the Industrial Revolution, the town surrounding Cardiff Castle became a rich coal mine and the noble house holding the castle became obscenely rich. With this new wealth, the town grew a port for trade and the castle and the separate mansion were given lavishly luxurious Victorian architecture. Coal made Cardiff rich and trade made it even richer. Overall, I would very much like to visit this castle and draw inspiration from it for some of the castles in my fantasy series. I already have castles that draw their wealth from gold and crops, but I think it would be interesting to depict one where its wealth comes from coal.

MY OPINION OF THOMAS BECKET

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I have a very low opinion of Thomas Becket. He started out as the best friend and right hand man of King Henry II. However, once he became the Archbishop of Cantebury, Becket started defying the monarchy for seven years. He became so popular as a religious figure that he could instigate a rebellion against the monarchy if he wanted to. When Henry II had his eldest son crowned king-in-waiting, Becket excommunicated every priest involved in the coronation. I can’t blame Henry II for not inviting Becket for his son’s coronation. Because Becket spent so many years defying the crown’s authority, he pretty much undermined the monarchy’s trust in Cantebury.

For a priest, Becket was a hypocrite. Henry II was his best friend and he betrayed him. In Dante’s Inferno, the deepest and coldest circle of Hell represented Treachery. Also, Becket was arrogant in thinking that his status as Archbishop would give him the right to do whatever he wanted without consequences. Among the Seven Deadly Sins is the sin of Pride, which Becket clearly submitted to. He is an example of hateful zealots who think everything they say or do is in God’s name. In the end, Becket paid for his arrogance and zealotry with his life. When you betray your friend and defy the government for so long, sooner or later the consequences of such actions will catch up to you. Becket deserved what he got. Did he honestly think that he could challenge a king’s authority and expect there to be no price to pay?

In general, Thomas Becket is a prime example of why religion and politics must NEVER be mixed together. When the public cannot differentiate one from the other, the result is chaos. By undermining the monarchy’s authority, Becket was essentially undermining the credibility of the government as a whole. In modern times, such people would be called anarchists or extremists.