What was the Frauenzimmer?

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article originally appeared on Tudors Dynasty. In the 15th century, the word “vrouwenzimmer” slowly entered the German lexicon, becoming a fully-fledged concept by the late 15th to early 16th century. Literally meaning “woman’s room,” the word applied to the secondary court which developed around the women of a noble household. The word “Frau,” now simply meaning a woman … Continue reading What was the Frauenzimmer?

Who were the Landsknechte?

by Heather R. Darsie This article originally appeared on the Henry Tudor Society.  In the 16th century there existed powerful groups of soldiers-for-hire in the Holy Roman Empire called “Landsknechte,” which literally means “country servants.” The singular form of the word is, “Landsknecht.” The word was frequently Anglicized into “lance knights” and Gallicized into “lansquenet.” These mercenaries developed into formidable, well-trained soldiers in the late 15th … Continue reading Who were the Landsknechte?

The Habsburg-Valois Wars

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article first appeared on LaurenMackay.co.uk The Habsburg-Valois Wars were part of another series of wars. The Italian Wars took place from 1494 to 1559, where the parties struggled for control of the Italian peninsula. The Italian Wars initially started over a spat between Pope Innocent VIII and Ferdinand I of Naples. Ferdinand I did not pay its dues … Continue reading The Habsburg-Valois Wars

The Charming Side of Charles V

by Heather R. Darsie ** Please note that this originally appeared on https://samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/   While researching for Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’, I came across a couple anecdotes about Charles V’s character. I envisioned him before I started writing Anna, Duchess of Cleves as someone who was very stiff and did not relate well to his sisters. During the negotiations which led to … Continue reading The Charming Side of Charles V

The First Hint of Trouble: An Early Spat Between the Johann II of Cleves and Elector Frederick of Saxony

by Heather R. Darsie This article first appeared on History, the Interesting Bits . Throughout the late 15th and early 16th century, various disputes over territory sprung up across the German-speaking portions of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1517, a new facet of rebellion against the Empire was introduced in Saxony when Martin Luther’s 95 Theses became known. Maximilian I was still the Holy Roman Emperor in … Continue reading The First Hint of Trouble: An Early Spat Between the Johann II of Cleves and Elector Frederick of Saxony

Anna of Cleves’ Maternal Grandparents: Wilhelm IV and III of Jülich-Berg and Sibylle of Brandenburg

by Heather R. Darsie This article first appeared on Sarah Bryson’s website.  In honor of Charles T.  Reice, 1926-2019. Reice served in the US army during World War II, including landing on the beaches of Normandy. He is remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.  Wilhelm of Jülich-Berg was born 9 January 1455 to Gerhard of Jülich-Berg, from the Heimbach branch of the Dukes of … Continue reading Anna of Cleves’ Maternal Grandparents: Wilhelm IV and III of Jülich-Berg and Sibylle of Brandenburg

How to Train Your Hawk: A 15th Century English Prioress’ Guide

by Heather R. Darsie This weekend when I was researching for my new book, anticipated in Summer 2021, I stumbled across a curious book from the 15th century. It is called, Book of Hawking, Hunting, and Heraldry. The book was printed in 1496 at Westminster by Wykyn de Worde, who also published an account of Anne Boleyn’s coronation. Even more interesting were the hand-written notes at the … Continue reading How to Train Your Hawk: A 15th Century English Prioress’ Guide

The Scythian Lamb, or the Delectable Lamb-Vegetable of Tartary

by Heather R. Darsie In the Middle Ages, rumour spread that there was a mythological zoophyte known as the Scythian Lamb or the Borametz. Herodotus, from the fifth century BCE and Theophrastus of the third century BCE wrote of the Scythian Lamb, bolstering credibility that such a thing existed. An additional source for the rumour was found in a Jewish text from 436 called, Talmud … Continue reading The Scythian Lamb, or the Delectable Lamb-Vegetable of Tartary

The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Sorrow

by Heather R. Darsie After Anne Boleyn’s startling arrest on 2 May 1536, several other men accused of being her accomplices in treasonous adultery were arrested. Sir Thomas Wyatt himself was arrested, but later released without charges. While he was in the Tower, it is traditionally thought that Wyatt wrote the following poem: Believed to be a late 16th century copy of a portrait of … Continue reading The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Sorrow

The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Anger

by Heather R. Darsie Another poem written by Sir Thomas Wyatt and allegedly about Anne Boleyn shows how upset he was at Anne for losing her. Calling her an old mule and pointing out that she now had a few grey hairs, Wyatt repeatedly calls the subject of the poem a “mule.” Devira Achille, protrait of Anne Boleyn for a lithography project in 2016, via … Continue reading The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Anger