The Life and Work of Christine de Pizan, Feminist Writer of the Middle Ages

On August 15, 2017, I published the following post on Book Riot.

The Life and Work of Christine de Pizan, Feminist Writer of the Middle Ages

(British Library, Harvey MS 4431 f. 4).

Women during the Middle Ages tend to be seen as oppressed, robbed of all agency, and constantly under the guardianship of a man. Even though the lives of women during the Middle Ages were more circumvented than the lives of women living in Europe and the United States today, the idea that they lacked control is not entirely true.

Nor is it entirely true that medieval women were prevented from expressing their views in public, or that they were prevented from pursuing artistic careers because of the burdens laid upon them as mothers, wives, and daughters.

In fact, during the Middle Ages there were plenty of women who led independent lives, excelling as politicians, artists, and writers. One of these women was Christine de Pizan, a French renaissance poet who is the first woman in France known to have made her living solely from writing. Christine is also known as one of the earliest feminist writers, publishing protest poems, utopian fiction about a city inhabited only by women, and a celebration of the achievements of Joan of Arc.

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In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

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100 Must-Read Books about Ancient History

On July 31, 2017 I published the following post on Book Riot.

100 Must-Read Books about Ancient History

Rome. Athens. Memphis and Thebes. Ramses II. Nefertiti. Julius Caesar. Cleopatra. Aristotle. Sappho. Cyrus the Great. Democracy. Oligarchy. Republic and Empire.

Societies and people long gone and still they tickle our imagination.

Ancient history as a scholarly endeavor came into existence during the time of the European empires. The imperialists of Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany looked to the distant past for validation and wrote their history accordingly, resulting in a research field dominated by white men focusing on Rome and Greece.

But things are beginning to change. Ancient history and Classical studies are becoming more inclusive. The ancient histories of Persia, India, present-day Iraq and Sudan and their influences on Rome and Greece are being acknowledged. The white dominance among Classicists is being challenged. Inter-disciplinary research projects bring together the disciplines of history and archaeology.

This list of 100 must-read books about Ancient History reflects these changes. Prepare for your TBR list to explode.

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In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

The Three Pillars. Thoughts Brought on by the Events in Charlottesville

The Boomerang’s header photo shows three concrete pillars. Those pillars stand a ten minute walk from the house where I grew up. They were placed there during World War II to stop Nazi-German tanks in case of an invasion of Sweden from Nazi-occupied Norway. The three pillars still stand there today because they are indestructible. They are a testament to the fact that Nazis can be destroyed and that if you stand strong, you will prevail.

In the words of my friend, the Austrlian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sana’a Pentateuch

On August 4, 2017, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sana’a Pentateuch

Yemen is a country that somehow feels further away than most. Located on the south-west part of the Arabian Peninsula, news about Yemen only seem to reach us when there is a tragedy.

But Yemen is so much more than the occasional news story from a far away land. Yemen is a country with an old civilization capable of wonderful art.

Book art.

One of the most famous books from Yemen is the so-called Sana’a Pentateuch.

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In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Lisbon Bible

On July 27, 2017 I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Lisbon Bible

When King Afonso I of Portugal gained recognition for the independence of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1143, there had been a Jewish community in the Iberian Peninsula since at least the second century C.E. After having been expelled from Jerusalem by Emperor Hadrian, Jews found themselves a new home in one of the farthest-most provinces of the Roman Empire. The Jewish culture that developed here is known as Sephardic, from the Judeo-Spanish word for the Iberian Peninsula—Sepharad. A vital part of Sephardic culture was the creation of the Bible, also referred to as the Tanakh by Jews and as the Hebrew Bible by Christians.

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In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

Quirky History: Micrography, or Minuscule Medieval Images Drawn with Letters

On June 14, 2017, I published the following post on Quirk Books.

Quirky History: Micrography, or Minuscule Medieval Images Drawn with Letters

Whenever we here at Quirk Books think we have found everything there is to discover about the weird and wonderful world of medieval manuscripts, something new always pops up and takes us by surprise. This time, what came at us out of left field was the incredible art form of micrography.

Micrography is an art form unique to Judaism that developed during the Middle Ages. Here, reading, writing, and imagery come together in one.

If you wish to read the entire post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

Quirky History: Urchins, Igls, and Hogs. Hedgehogs in Medieval Manuscripts

On April 7, 2017, I published the following post on Quirk Books.

Quirky History: Urchins, Igls, and Hogs. Hedgehogs in Medieval Manuscripts

We love hedgehogs! Hedgehogs are a commonly occurring animal in manuscripts and bestiaries throughout the Middle Ages (and who can blame the artists for including them?). If you’ve read other posts about medieval manuscripts, be warned: this might be the cutest one yet.

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In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.