The Stockholm Bloodbath

On the upcoming anniversary of the Stockholm Bloodbath, a public mass execution of members of the nobility and clergy in the middle of Stockholm on November 7-9 in 1520, a portrait of the man held responsible for it all. Kristian II, in Sweden nicknamed Kristian the Tyrant, the last reigning king of the Union of Calmar.

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The last reigning king of the Union of Calmar, Kristian II (r. Denmark and Norway 1513–1523, r. Sweden 1520–1521). Source: Historiska Museet.

100 noblemen and clergymen were executed for having been in opposition to the King or for being perceived as threats to his reign.

The executions took place at Stortorget (Main Square) in Stockholm. I took this picture of the square when I was there this summer.

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Stortorget, Gamla stan, Stockholm. The location where the Stockholm Bloodbath took place. The building on the left is the Nobel Museum. Photo: E.H. Kern.

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

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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.

If you would like to read this post in its entirety, please click here.

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.

If you would like to read the rest of the post, please click here.

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

Interview for Geek Dad/Geek Mom on Racism and Diversity in Speculative Fiction

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St. Maurice

On April 11, 2017, I was interviewed by the blog Geek Dad/Geek Mom. We talked about racism and diversity in speculative fiction, about the state of the art in historical research, and how to locate trustworthy sources when you do your own historical research when writing speculative fiction.

And of course, I recommended some books. And referenced Stargate SG-1.

You can check out the interview here.

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

Quirky History: A Hootenanny with Owls in Medieval Margins

On November 9, 2016, I published the following post on Quirk Books.

Quirky History: A Hootenanny With Owls in Medieval Margins

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It’s #wolwednesday, the day of the week when we celebrate the animal that #wolwednesday’s originator author Sam Sykes calls the most perfect creation in nature, the furious and ruthless feathered bag of wisdom and anger—the mighty wol. Or, as it it is known to the rest of the world, the owl.

We’d like to highlight this weekly day of celebration by taking a closer look at owls in medieval manuscripts. Because, as we all know, the owls are not what they seem.

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If you’d like to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

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

Quirky History: Fantastical Beasts in Medieval Bestiaries

On November 18, 2016, I published the following post at Quirk Books.

Quirky History: Fantastical Beasts in Medieval Bestiaries

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The fictional universe of J.K. Rowling is filled with fantastical creatures, and no other movie takes better advantage of this than Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, which opens in theaters today.

When creating her magical world, Rowling is tapping into a literary tradition that goes all the way back to the Middle Ages and the literary genre of the bestiary.

Bestiaries are books of animals, both real and fantastical, accompanied by a description and a Christian parable. Even though bestiaries peaked in popularity in the 13th century, they continue to influence us today. Especially when it comes to fantasy fiction.

If you’d like to read the entire post, please click here.

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

10 Things You Should Know about the Exeter Book

On August 3, 2016, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Exeter Book

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Did you think that English literature began with Beowulf?

Think again.

The book that is considered the beginning of English literature is a medieval manuscript known as the Exeter Book. The Exeter Book contains religious and secular poems, placed side by side with riddles written in double entendres that will make you blush.

Here are ten things you should know about the Exeter Book.

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

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