A Quickly-Changing Word

The word "nice" originally mention "foolish". In the 1400s, the word came to mean "coy," then in the 1500s, "fastidious." By the 1700s, nice had assumed its modern meaning.

Early Globalization In One Object

Ming Vase (circa 1540-1550) with Chinese designs on the stem and a Portuguese armillary sphere on the body.

A Beautiful, Classic Example of Ethiopian Manuscript Art

You can see on this leaf, John the Evangelist has already copied John 1:1-2 in Ge'ez. It comes from a gospel book, all written in Ge'ez, the traditional language for worship in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This particular manuscript, dating to the 1st half of the 1500s, is exceptionally well-preserved and represents the golden age of what has been termed the Gunda Gunde style of Ethiopian manuscripts.

The Gunda Gunde style is characterized by bold blocks of color defined by detailed and often delicate linear motifs. Figures are highly stylized and expressive, like John the Evangelist on this page. And around the figures are beautiful geometric and interlaced designs, like the chair that John is sitting upon

The word "pet" comes from the word “petty” and was first given to humans, to mean an “indulged child.” Only later did it come to mean a household animal.

Need To Remember All The British Royal Houses?

Here's a fun mnemonic: "No Point Letting Your Trousers Slip Halfway!" Which stands for the main British royal families: Normans, Plantagenets, Lancasters, Yorks, Tudors, Stuarts, Hanovers, and Windsors. And in chronological order, too!

Pilgrims Were Great At Naming

William Brewster, senior clergyman and senior citizen of the Plymouth Colony, named his children Jonathan, Patience, Fear, Love, and Wrestling.

Weird But Wonderful

This weird, kind of amazing glass fish thingy just has to be shared. According to the Walters Art Museum, it dates to the Baroque period in Italy. At the base, "dolphins with entwined tails support the fish, while the wavy patterns on the base represent flowing water." The Milanese family of Sarachi was particularly famous for vessels in the shape of fishes. So they think the Sarachis made this one, probably around 1590 to 1600.

How Did Elizabeth I of England Use Art As Propoganda?

This video looks not at her more-famous life-size paintings, but her miniatures. How did she convey big political ideas with small portraits? Because no matter how she was being portrayed, Elizabeth I was always a political actor, and conveyed herself as such.

How Did Church Bell Ringing Become An Art?

Bells have been used in Europe since the early middle ages to call people to church services, mark the hours of the day, and sometimes convey signals or warnings. However "musical" bell ringing did not really begin until the 1500s or 1600s.

The first carillon, the array of bells housed in the tower of a church, was created in Flanders, Belgium, in the 1500s. It was slowly refined over decades until it became a huge musical instrument that just happened to be housed in a giant tower. Each bell could be run precisely as the ringer wished, using a system of levers and pedals. The new musical instrument proved popular, and carillons and their beautiful sound slowly spread across Europe.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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