Anna of Cleves Breaks the News to Wilhelm

by Heather R. Darsie   On 21 July 1540, Anna of Cleves was no longer allowed to hide the truth from her brother Wilhelm about her marriage’s end. Henry had grown impatient waiting for Anna to write her family. Anna waited as long as she could, hoping that Henry would either directly send a letter to Duke Wilhelm in Cleves, or that one of Henry’s … Continue reading Anna of Cleves Breaks the News to Wilhelm

Happy 506th Birthday, Anna of Cleves!

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. On this day of 28 June in 1515, a little baby girl was born in the Holy Roman Empire whose life would be dramatically shaped by international politics. The baby was christened, “Anna,” after her paternal aunt. “Anna” was a family name on her maternal side, as well. Anna of Cleves’ great-grandmother through Maria of Juelich-Berg was Anna of Saxony. … Continue reading Happy 506th Birthday, Anna of Cleves!

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 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

Die Eroberung Roms 1527

geschrieben von Heather R. Darsie mit Unterstützung von Tanja Klimmek 6. Mai 1527. Papst Clemens VII. saß seit dem 19. November 1523 auf dem Petersstuhl. Er war ein uneheliches Mitglied des Medici-Clans und wurde von seinem Onkel Lorenzo de Medici, als Lorenzo der Prächtige, großgezogen. Sein Cousin war Papst Leo X., der zweite Sohn von Lorenzo dem Prächtigen und ein weiterer Medici. Clemens VII. war … Continue reading Die Eroberung Roms 1527

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

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

by Heather R. Darsie There was and yet is the rumour that Sir Thomas Wyatt, Tudor-era poet and diplomat, was in love with Anne Boleyn. Wyatt was born in 1503, making him either three years younger or four years older than Anne Boleyn. Wyatt entered Henry VIII’s service in 1526. It was right around this time that Henry’s desire for Anne was becoming known at … Continue reading The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Infatuation