Iconoclasm in 16th Century Western Europe

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. The sixteenth century saw massive changes in the spiritual and visual culture of Western Europe. In the first half the sixteenth century, government-sanctioned iconoclasms during the German and English Reformations changed not only how people worshipped, but also what they saw. In the second half of the sixteenth century, religious revolts in France and the Netherlands violently changed the religious … Continue reading Iconoclasm in 16th Century Western Europe

The 13 Siblings of Mary, Queen of Scots

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Mary, Queen of Scots had at least a dozen siblings from both her maternal and paternal sides. Mary’s mother, Marie de Guise, had two children during her marriage with the Duke of Longueville before his untimely passing, then had two more children with James V before Mary was born. Mary’s father, James V of Scotland, had at least nine children … Continue reading The 13 Siblings of Mary, Queen of Scots

1520: A Tudor Year in Review

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. 19 January — King Christian II of Denmark, Christina and Dorothea of Denmark’s father, defeats the Swedes during the Danish invasion of Sweden. Christina of Denmark c. 1533 by Anon. 30 January — Birth of Sir William More, whom Henry VIII elected to Parliament in 1539. More served Elizabeth I in every single one of her parliaments, as well. More … Continue reading 1520: A Tudor Year in Review

Martin Luther, Henry VIII, and the Papacy

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Most people familiar with Tudor history are aware that Henry VIII of England published in 1521 a tract defending the seven sacraments, which was a response to Martin Luther’s ideas being spread on the Continent. As a result, Pope Leo X awarded Henry the title of, “Fidei Defensor,” Defender of the Faith. The controversy between the two men did not … Continue reading Martin Luther, Henry VIII, and the Papacy

New Decade, New Bride: Henry VIII and Anna of Cleves

by Heather R. Darsie, J. D. Anna von der Mark, Hereditary Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, had been on English terra firma for about a week when she married her husband, Henry VIII of England. Henry was exactly twice Anna’s age, her being twenty-four and he, forty-eight. Perhaps the couple thought about celebrating their joint 28 June birthday together. According to the German account, Anna and Henry … Continue reading New Decade, New Bride: Henry VIII and Anna of Cleves

How did Anna of Cleves Celebrate Christmas?

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Christmas celebrations today are a lot different from what Anna von der Mark’s Christmas would have been like. The timing of presents and how Christmas was observed changed dramatically in some parts of Germany from her early to shortly before she left for England. She would not have exchanged gifts with her family on Christmas. Instead, they would have exchanged … Continue reading How did Anna of Cleves Celebrate Christmas?

Why do We Kiss under the Mistletoe?

by Heather R. Darsie Oh, the romantic kiss under the mistletoe. The viridian, sturdy, parasitic mistletoe. Varieties of the plant are found all over the world, growing on trees and shrubs. The mistletoe eventually kills the branch of the host plant upon which it is preying, feeding on the host plant throughout the winter. Mistletoe is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “dung twig.” So how did … Continue reading Why do We Kiss under the Mistletoe?

Anna of Cleves and Sankt Nikolaustag

by Heather R. Darsie 6 December is Sankt Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas’ Day. It is a Roman Catholic holiday that is still celebrated in parts of Germany. St. Nikolaus goes by other nicknames, such as Pelznickel, Belsnickel, and Niglo. Named after the Catholic St. Nicholas, patron saint of children and sailors, this holiday traditionally signifies the beginning of the gift-giving season. Children place their shoes … Continue reading Anna of Cleves and Sankt Nikolaustag

Henry VIII Orders Medicine for Anna of Cleves

by Heather R. Darsie In the British Library, there is a collection of pharmaceutical recipes created by Henry VIII and four of his physicians. Henry and his doctors seemed to prefer herbal remedies for a lot of the recipes. It is believed that the manuscript was compiled between late 1540 and 1545. Important to dating the manuscript, there is a recipe for a plaster to … Continue reading Henry VIII Orders Medicine for Anna of Cleves

The Gregorian Calendar is Adopted in 1582

by Heather R. Darsie On 15 October 1582, the Gregorian calendar was decreed via papal bull. Pope Gregory XIII, under the bull Inter gravissimas or Of Great Importance, corrected calculation of a year from 365.25 days in the Julian calendar to 365.2422 days in Gregorian. Also, the Julian calendar had 100 leap days over 400 years, whereas the proposed Gregorian would have only 97. Most centennial … Continue reading The Gregorian Calendar is Adopted in 1582