The medieval case for remain, or fuck Brexit

Y’all – do you know about the Brexit? It’s this thing where some people think that Britain should leave the EU because something something making Britain great again, something something.

There are, of course, any number of reasons why leaving the EU is stupid, as academics who work on modern Europe and the freedom of movement can explain to you.

As an academic who works on Medieval Europe, I can explain to you why it makes no sense within an historical context as well.

First off, one of the reasons a lot of people want to vote to leave the EU is that Schrodinger’s EU immigrant is somehow both taking our jobs, and in the UK claiming benefits.  They feel that immigrants should not be coming to the UK from the EU, and the UK should instead remain steadfastly British.

As any medieval historian can tell you, however, the history of the island of Britannia is one of a series of mass migrations.  So if immigrants shouldn’t be living in Britain, you need to somehow prove to me that you are 100% Druid or GTFO.

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On Hotline Bling and courtly love

We’ve ranted, in brief, before about the cultural circumstances that inspired courtly love. (I’m sorry for reminding you about the whole Sansa thing.  Our girl doing good now though, right?  Right.)

The thing about courtly love is generally that people think courtly love is a part of some super-romantic tradition of lords and ladies having a very nice time and falling in love and getting married.  That is not what it is about.

What it is about is a bunch of young knights who can’t get married, because they don’t have any property, sitting around trying to conceal their boners while they look at the lady of the house.  See, because of the primogeniture system, (aka the oldest son gets everything), excess sons who didn’t join the Church usually went and found places in other households as knights in the hopes that they’d manage to get a grant of land one way or another eventually.

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Let’s talk about Game of Thrones part 2: on marriage and Sansa

So, Game of Thrones, am I right?  (I am.)  Oh, what is that, you are unsettled by marital rape?  Excellent, that means you are not a worthless human being.  Sadly, however, I’m going to welcome you to marriage in the medieval period, my friends.
OK, OK, let’s back it up.  Perhaps when you think about marriage in the medieval period you’re all like …

chivalry

Yeah, but no.  The thing about chivalric or courtly love is that it was a construct that has nothing to do with people actually being married.  Wait, no, it has a lot to do with people being married, but the people in love were never married.
When you think about courtly love who do you name?  Probably Guinevere and Lancelot, no? Yeah think about who was married there.

I’ll give you a minute.

Right.

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Let’s talk about Game of Thrones part 1: Byzantine Constantinople

You will be hugely unsurprised to learn that medieval historians love A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones.  Like really really love it.  This is because a) medieval historians are already enormous geeks, and so are free to get their geek on harder whenever they so choose; b) ASOIAF rules, obviously; and c) There are a tonne of references to medieval history throughout the books that allow us to feel like we’re in a little clique that gets it the most.  As a result of all these overlaps there are going to be a million posts on this subject over time, but today we’re going to talk about the links between Constantinople and ASOIAF.

In the early medieval period Constantinople was the most affluent and secure city in Europe, because, among other reasons its taxation and governmental administrative systems survived in-tact whereas the Empire had largely collapsed in the West.

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Kanye West is the modern day Peter Abelard (except for the whole Heloise thing)

As many important historians have noted, Kanye West is kind of a dick.  Between the multiple MTV music award rants, his delusions of grandeur, and his messiah complex, there’s a whole lot general douchebaggery to go around, and has been for some time.  Yet, while Kanye’s self-proclaimed arrogance-as-steam-powered-dream-life may seem to be nothing more than a disheartening phenomenon of the modern world, I would submit for your consideration one Peter Abelard.  “But wait”, I hear you cry, “how could an acclaimed philosopher and theologian possibly have anything to do with a man who apparently thinks that he would belong in a modern day Bible have anything in common?”  To that question, I would submit the following arguments:

kanye abelard
…and then I was like, “I’m happy for you, and imma let you finish, but the universality of particulars as conceptualised frameworks are situated within the thinking mind.”

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