The reason we shake hands has nothing to do with warmth or kindness and everything to do with mistrust. Just as we clink glasses so that if our companion has poisoned our drink he’ll get to drink some of his own poison (by virtue of contents slopping between glasses), we shake hands to check for concealed weapons.
I expect that you’ve heard of ‘Doing the Hussle’ or maybe even ‘Doing the funky Chicken’ (they’re dances by the way), but what about ‘Doing the Medieval Walk’? No ?
Well, it’s not a dance craze but a real historic thing.
Even in modern, secular Britain there is one tradition that still holds sway at Christmas – The Christmas Nativity Play. In this article we look at the 800 year old origin of this Christmas institution.
Not the most pleasant of subjects but when the ‘great mortality’ as it was called struck the Channel Islands it left in its’ wake a scarred population, decimated in numbers and traumatised in the minds and bodies of all islanders.
If there’s one English Monarch who’s consistently had a ‘bad wrap’ it’s King John I. He’s the ultimate in abuse of absolute power, an archetypal villan – portrayed as the cruel King oppressing his people with taxes and arbitrary justice. But is this true ? Was his rule really as bad as folklore seems to say ?
Today, London is the financial capital of the world and for good or ill the hub of global banking and finance. How banking started in the capital is every bit as intriguing and mysterious as the ways that modern international finance seems to work today. Basically we owe it all to a religious order of heavily armed warrior monks who set up London’s first bank some 900 years ago.
If there is one thing that is a blight on modern life it is the rise of ‘compensation culture’. The idea that someone else is always to blame and you are entitled to some compensation no matter what. But the origins of this are far older than you might think.
Democracy isn’t a word that you would ordinarily associate with the Middle Ages. The most common perception of this time is of Kings, Bishops, Feudal over lords and right at the bottom of the ‘social heap’, the peasant all of them with no say in government. In fact it turns out this is not overall an entirely true picture and that elections were a reasonably common occurrence
Today we celebrate Christmas with a spirit of merriment, gift giving and (over) indulgence. But that begs the question … How was Christmas celebrated in the past? Or more specifically for our aricle here – the Middle Ages?
If the 4th July 1776 is remembered for the momentous statement that begins, When in the course of human events … then Saturday the 6th April 1320 should be noted for an equally stirring declaration of independence when another nation struggled for freedom from English rule.
There are key moments in history when on the decisions and actions of men the course of human history is changed forever. Sunday March 8th 1265 was such a day when the actions of the nobleman Simon de Montfort still reverberate down the centuries to us today, for on that day the first ever English Parliament sat.
The simplest of experiences can hatch eureka moments. Legend has it that despite all his inherited wealth and global travels, the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus hit upon one of the most fundamental of ideas in physics while sitting in the comfort of his own home.
Wednesday October 12th 1492 was no ordinary day, for on this day Christopher Columbus reached the New World. On that day, after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, the Italian explorer sighted a Bahamian island, believing he had reached East Asia.
English is a very rich languange indeed and is possibly the greatest gift that Britain has bestowed to the world. In this article we look at one of the oldest masters of them all Geoffrey chaucer, often described as the father of English literature.
Lihou island off of Guernsey’s west coast, at first, looks like a tranquil, if not rugged, haven of peace and security. But there is a darker more salacious history to it that would even make readers of today’s gossip mags gasp. In this article we look at foul murders and dark deeds in what was supposed to be a place of spiritual contemplation and service for God.