What’s in a Name: Latin Titles

by Heather R. Darsie How important is it to understand Latin when sorting a monarch’s status in Medieval and Early Modern portraiture? A monarch’s title indicates over what he or she rules. There is a long history of the use of Latin to specify over who and what a monarch rules. Looking back into the Ancient period, when civic identity was paramount, the only things … Continue reading What’s in a Name: Latin Titles

Sir Thomas More: Ethics, Duty, and the Law

by Heather R. Darsie On 6 July 1535, Sir Thomas More lost his head for sticking with his legal principles. He was 57 years old. Often lauded as an important religious figure during the English Reformation, More was canonized 19 May 1935. Ironically to some, that was the 399th anniversary of the death of another famous victim from the English Reformation: Anne Boleyn. Turning back … Continue reading Sir Thomas More: Ethics, Duty, and the Law

Is Today Really Anna of Cleves’ Birthday?

by Heather R. Darsie Tradition has held for the last couple hundred years or so that Anna of Cleves, fourth wife to Henry VIII of England, was born 22 September 1515. No proof has ever been put forward to support that date. However,  primary source exists which shows Anna’s date of birth as 28 June 1515, making her exactly twenty-four years younger than Henry VIII. … Continue reading Is Today Really Anna of Cleves’ Birthday?

Anne Boleyn: The Difference of 1,100 Days

By Heather R. Darsie On 15 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was put on trial for her alleged crimes against Henry VIII. Three years earlier, a roughly five-months pregnant Anne and her husband Henry were learning that things were leaning in favor of their marriage. Henry and Anne secretly wed around 14 November 1532 in Dover, then officially secretly wed (confusing, I know) in January 1533 … Continue reading Anne Boleyn: The Difference of 1,100 Days

The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

by Heather R. Darsie The 16th century saw rapid changes in military capabilities. The medieval knight and a knight’s form of armor and fighting reached peak efficiency by around 1450. After 1450, advances in military science made armor more and more vulnerable. The advent of pike attacks and guns made armor almost ineffective, and the flat walls of many fortifications made excellent targets for canon … Continue reading The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

16th Century Religious Reformation: What Did the Term “Reform” Mean?

by Heather R. Darsie The idea of ‘reform’ is multifaceted, with its meaning changing from Reformer to Reformer. This article looks at the German Martin Luther’s,  itinerant German-turned-Swiss preacher Melchior Hoffman’s, and Swiss Heinrich Bullinger’s basic thoughts on church reform. It is by no means inclusive of all their ideas, but is hopefully a springboard for further discussion. Martin Luther, who famously posted his 95 … Continue reading 16th Century Religious Reformation: What Did the Term “Reform” Mean?

Sebastian Cabot and the Loss of Sancti Spiritu

by Heather R. Darsie On 1 September 1529, Charles V von Habsburg, lost one of his major forts in what is now Argentina. Charles V became King of Spain on 23 January 1516, right before his sixteenth birthday on 24 February. A few years later, on 28 June 1519, Charles effectively inherited the Holy Roman Empire from his paternal grandfather, Maximilian I von Habsburg. The … Continue reading Sebastian Cabot and the Loss of Sancti Spiritu

Sir Francis Drake’s 1570s Adventure in Panama

by Heather R. Darsie During the Elizabethan period, English privateers careened up and down the Atlantic coast of the Americas in an attempt to capture Spanish ships. One of the more famous privateers was Sir Francis Drake. Regarded as an all-out pirate by the Spanish,  Drake harassed Spanish ships wherever he found them. This included attacks in what is now Central America. In 1572, Drake … Continue reading Sir Francis Drake’s 1570s Adventure in Panama

Elector Johann Friedrich: Anna of Cleves’ Powerful Brother-in-Law

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article first appeared at On the Tudor Trail. Johann Friedrich Wettin, Elector of Saxony, was born 30 June 1503 to Elector John of Saxony and his first wife Sophia of Mecklenburg. Sadly, Sophia passed away on 12 July 1503, shortly after Johann Friedrich’s birth.  Johann Friedrich was born in Torgau, Saxony. His father married again, bringing Johann Friedrich … Continue reading Elector Johann Friedrich: Anna of Cleves’ Powerful Brother-in-Law

Ibn Battuta and the Roc

by Heather R. Darsie The scholar named Shams al-Din Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Ibn Battuta al-Lawati al-Tanji, or simply Ibn Battuta (meaning son of Battuta), was twenty-one years old when he set off on 13 June 1325 to travel the world. Ibn Battuta left from his birthplace of Tangier, traveling across northern Africa, across the Arab peninsula, through India, and … Continue reading Ibn Battuta and the Roc