Medieval Monday: ‘Broken on the Wheel’

Archaeologists discover medieval man ‘broken on the wheel’

An archaeological dig in Milan has uncovered the remains of a young man who suffered massive injuries, likely caused by torture and execution while being ‘broken on wheel’.

The team of researchers from Università degli Studi di Milano were examining the remains of 56 individuals that were discovered buried at San Ambrogio square in the Italian city of Milan. These skeletons date from between the era of the Roman Empire to the sixteenth-century, but their focus was on individual found with two buckles. Radiochemical tests were performed, which dates the body to between the years 1290 and 1430. He was between 17 and 20 years old when he died.

The individual was found with numerous wounds, which the researchers noticed as having a very specific distribution. All the long bones on his forearms and legs were fractured in a way that the weapon hit the bones perpendicularly. He also had blunt force injuries to his face, a stab wound that hit his vertebrae, and a deep fracture at the back of his skull, which the researchers believe was caused during a clumsy attempt to decapitate him.

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Medieval Monday: The Service of Magic

In medieval England magic was a service industry used by rich and poor alike

by: Emily Costello

Chances are that when you hear the words “medieval magic”, the image of a witch will spring to mind: wizened old crones huddled over a cauldron containing unspeakable ingredients such as eye of newt. Or you might think of people brutally prosecuted by overzealous priests. But this picture is inaccurate.

To begin with, fear of witchcraft – selling one’s soul to demons to inflict harm on others – was more of an early modern phenomenon than a medieval one, only beginning to take hold in Europe at the tail end of the 15th century. This vision also clouds from view the other magical practices in pre-modern England.

Magic is a universal phenomenon. Every society in every age has carried some system of belief and in every society there have been those who claim the ability to harness or manipulate the supernatural powers behind it. Even today, magic subtly pervades our lives – some of us have charms we wear to exams or interviews and others nod at lone magpies to ward off bad luck. Iceland has a government-recognised elf-whisperer, who claims the ability to see, speak to, and negotiate with the supernatural creatures still believed to live in Iceland’s landscape.

While today we might write this off as an overactive imagination or the stuff of fantasy, in the medieval period magic was widely accepted to be very real. A spell or charm could change a person’s life: sometimes for the worse, as with curses – but equally, if not more often, for the better.

Magic was understood to be capable of doing a range of things, from the marvellous to the surprisingly mundane. At the mundane end, magic spells were in many ways little more than a tool. They were used to find lost objects, inspire love, predict the future, heal illnesses and discover buried treasure. In this way, magic provided solutions to everyday problems, especially problems that could not be solved through other means.

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Inspiration Sunday

yellowstone-national-park-1581879_1920The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:7-11

Inspiration Sunday

forest-1818690_1920The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Psalm 145:9-12

Medieval Monday: 14th Century Life

What Was Life Like in 14th Century England?

by: Brumafriend

1__S_39-gF6nJ5GVhvZLV6YQThe 14th century was, both worldwide and in relations to England, a century of social turmoil, filled with plague, famine, and an unprecedented desire for social mobility. By the end of the 1300s, the long-standing system of serfdom which had previously been the core of English socioeconomic and class relations had started to irreversibly deteriorate. The key turning point was the Black Death of 1348 (which began the year prior in Europe) and saw the foundations of English society shake. Therefore, it makes sense to look at the 14th century not as one unit but rather as two, with the plague as a divider.

Before the plague, English life for the peasant class remained fairly unchanged from what it had been for hundreds of years. Medical technology and practices had been slowly improving over time, although more so in the Islamic world than in Europe, and many afflictions — such as the Black Death itself — were explained as divine punishment or by superstition, rather than any biological cause. England’s population had grown rapidly from the year 1200, rising to 5 million by 1400. This increase was largely spurred on by, and subsequently encouraged, the prosperity of England’s agricultural economy — which still made up a very rural society — caused by the adoption of crop rotation techniques. This, in turn, led to an increase in the number of towns. Although many were small, others, such as Norwich, consisted of around 5,000 inhabitants and the biggest cities, such as London, neared 40,000 in population. This meant that society was no longer merely agricultural and other professions, such as in the exportation of wool and cloth, could be pursued.

The Church was also a prevalent force at this time as England was still highly Christian (as a result of, and certainly a cause of, scientific ignorance) and this constituted a significant part of a peasant’s life. A peasant was under an economic obligation to pay a tax (known as a ‘tithe’ to the Church), which came in the form of 10% of the value of the land that he farmed. At a time when peasants were struggling to get by, this tax was deeply unpopular, although it was rarely challenged due to the deep-set nature of religious faith. Indeed, the majority of the population were not even able to comprehend the words delivered to them from the Bible each Sunday, as it was not given in the vernacular and the vast majority of the lower classes could only speak English. Most were also illiterate, which meant that independent religious practice was difficult and possession of books was pointless as well as expensive. At this time, books were often as much a testament of wealth as an intellectual endeavour. Books were incredibly expensive, especially as the printing press would not be invented until 1440, and were often encrusted with jewellery to signify the wealth of its owner.

Whilst life was certainly hard for a 14th-century commoner, with a bad harvest being the difference between life and death, there was still time for pastimes. Such activities included gambling, such as dice games, and playing Chess. Alternatively, inns had, since their emergence during the 12th and 13th centuries, increased in number throughout the country, offering commonfolk an opportunity to relax and converse with others. The exact hobbies and feelings of peasants during this time remains somewhat unknown due to the lack of credible primary sources as a result of a high illiteracy rate and the gradual decomposition and deterioration of the few physical first-hand accounts, which were often lost or discarded.

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Inspiration Sunday

tree-3097419_1920You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Hebrews 10:36-39

Interview with Jen Lowry

Happy Thursday everyone, hope you’re having a blessed day. Today I am sitting down with YA Contemporary Fiction author Jen Lowry. I’m eager to get to know more about this author. What about you? Check it out below.

The Interview

Tell us about yourself?
I’m a momma in a blended family of seven, Literacy Coach, English teacher, podcaster, business owner, and homeschool mom.

What genre do you write? Why?
I started off writing YA contemporary fiction, and Sweet Potato Jones will be published in 2020 with Swoon Romance, but have evolved over the past year and challenged myself to explore different genres. It has been so rewarding. I will say that my favorite to write is horror/paranormal, contemporary fantasy and historical fantasy.

How does your normal day look like?
Crazy. On the way to work, I host a daily podcast for authors on my drive. I am a Literacy Coach, English I teacher at a large, metropolitan high school. After work, it’s homeschool time to my two fabulous boys, and I have to squeeze in cooking and napping in there, too. I write after the day is done, try to upload a YouTube video, and keep all of my social media up to date. On the weekends, I have “Homeschool Adventures,” as we call them in my house, so after we are finished up with that, I head back to writing before UFC. Sunday is church and errand day, so I’m always on the go.

What is your favorite hobby?
Hands down, watching UFC. Every Saturday, you’ll catch us around the big screen, eating snacks, and enjoying the fights.

If you could be one person who would it be?
Me. I could never be anyone else because that would mean I wouldn’t have my children, and they are my heartbeats.

Monarch Logo 2019.pngWho is the main character in your book? Tell us a bit about them.
Lyric Harper is finishing up her junior year when she receives the letter she’s been waiting for all year. She was chosen for a special summer program at Harmonic Arts Center and will spend her senior year with musical geniuses from around the world. She plays guitar (Daisy), writes music, and thinks of herself a little weird the way the music plays in her head.

What does your writing process look like?
My summer months are spent writing, usually 18 hour days (no joke) because when school hits, I’m too busy to push out novels. I bank them and set them to preorder. So, now my fall schedule is set with books for my readers to enjoy.

What do you have in the works right now?
I’m currently working on my second book of illustrated poetry called, Heartbeats, have to write my first adult sweet romance before the end of September to meet a deadline, and am compiling an anthology of 20 authors called, Everyday God Things, where all proceeds will go to support the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

What should we expect from you in the coming months?
Stick around because the Holy Spirit is always at work. Honestly, I surprise myself, so follow me to find out!

Do you have any special closing statement you would like to share with your fans?
Never stop writing. Have the courage to push through any self-doubt and continue to improve your craft each day. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be you. Honor your blank page. Write your story.


Jen Lowry

Author Bio J LowryJen Lowry is North Carolina born and raised, still holding on to that country slang that is unique to the small town of Maxton she loves so much in Robeson County. She is an avid enthusiast of all things horror, UFC, and binge watches old episodes of Quantum Leap. She finds herself comfier in a pair of pajamas and would make all public appearances in them if she could get away with it. When she isn’t literacy coaching, author coaching, or homeschooling her two fabulous boys, she can be found napping or singing loudly, probably napping. Jen has her doctorate degree in Christian Ministry and is a member of Raleigh First Assembly. Check out Jen’s official author sites all over the net from podcasts, YouTube, Instagram, and more by searching up Jen Lowry Writes or follow her on @jenlowrywrites. Contact Jen for special author appearances and teaching opportunities or stay up to date with her journey at http://www.jenlowrywrites.com.

Connect with Jen!

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Lyric Harper & the Harmonic Bridge

LYRIC HARPERLyric Harper, musical genius, is about to embark on her senior year at the most prestigious arts school in the world nestled right in the pines of North Carolina. Harmonic Arts Center, this hidden gem of talent and artistry, has another mission than to equip talented young musicians with the heart for greatness but to test and develop their inner spirit to bring out their mythological nature. Seven youth are selected for an early admittance summer program under the guise of performing at the opening showcase in the fall. They are called for a greater purpose and shapeshift, train, and work as one flock to combine their gifts to defeat the creatures threatening to cross the Harmonic Bridge into our world. Birds of a feather fly and rock together in this new MG Contemporary Fantasy set in 1985.

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