Exeter Castle, also known as Rougemont Castle, was originally no more than a defensive city wall built by the Romans and later repaired by King Athelstan around 928 AD.
After the Norman Conquest of England, the city of Exeter — like many other cities at this time — rebelled against William the Conqueror. In 1068, William laid siege to the city, which lasted eighteen days before surrendering. William then ordered construction of the castle within the city walls. Baldwin FitzGibert managed the construction of the castle, which was placed at the highest norther angle of the Roman city wall on a volcanic outcrop. The large stone gatehouse still survives, a testament to the Anglo-Saxon masons who likely built it on William’s orders.
I also wrote a short piece based in the city of Exeter, called Exeter Burning. It doesn’t include the castle but instead centers around the cathedral.
*image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license, author Juan J. Martinez
Watch how suits of armor are constructed in this How It’s Made program, originally aired on the Discovery channel.
How It’s Made – Suits of Armor
Here is also an interesting article from the Scientific American on how medieval armor may have been more of a hindrance than a benefit on the battlefield: “Medieval Armor: Was it Worth the Weight?”
Though by the time combatants were wearing these heavy suits of armor, the knight had basically become obsolete with the increasing use of gunpowder-based weapons. As such, the knight decked out in his shining armor was more for show in tournament style displays than for actual, useful function on the battlefield.
*image is from Galerie des armes et armures, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, licensed under the Creative Commons Attriubtion-Share Alike license, uploaded by Mattes.
I’ve recently been testing out Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited feature. Basically, you can keep as many books as you like from a catalog of over 800,000 titles. You pay a subscription fee of $9.99 per month, and you can download and keep any book you want. It reminds me of Netflix or Amazon Prime Video Service but for books. It would be nice if they gave this service free to all Prime members, but paying $9.99 a month isn’t terrible. The service also includes a large catalog of audio books.
The way it differs from Amazon’s library feature, as far as I can tell, is that instead of being limited to checking out one book per month, you have access to read as many books in a month as long as they are in the Unlimited catalog.
Here’s the direct link to browse the full catalog.And here’s a direct link to view the catalog of medieval history books that are offered.
From the Jorvik Viking Center. A collection of quick, historical articles detailing the lives of the Norsemen. Subjects cover:
- Who were the Vikings?
- Where did they come from?
- What did they look like?
- How did they live?
- What happened to them?
- Place names
Excerpt from “Who were the Vikings?”
Often the name Viking conjures images of brutes and barbarians, but the truth is a little different.
Vikings were warriors. More precisely ‘Viking’ is the name by which the Scandinavian sea-borne raiders of the early medieval period are now commonly known.
Even before the earliest Viking raids on the monasteries, the Anglo-Saxons used an Old English word ‘wicing‘. But this was not a word that they used often or exclusively for the Scandinavian raiders; instead it was used for all-comers and meant ‘pirate’ or ‘piracy’.
Discover more about the Vikings at the Jorvik Viking Center site.
The Battle of Nations is an international medieval combat championship, where teams from various countries come together and compete in a full contact competition using actual weapons and a standardized set of rules. The first competition was held in 2009 or 2010 in the Ukraine. This year’s competition is held in Prague and runs from May 7-10.
More info on this year’s event.