An Animated History of Ukraine

Really, really good history! Since I know next to nothing about Ukraine's national history, I particularly appreciated the accessibility -- the vlogger assumed we had been born yesterday, and it worked.

Getting Married? Pay a Fine!

Medieval England liked its "fines" which sound pretty similar to dues or taxes today. There were quite a few around marriage:

  • Merchet – a fine paid for a licence to marry
  • legerwite which literally translates as a "laying down fine" was the fine levied on a woman who had had pre-marital sex (there was no corresponding male fine)
  • chidewite -- the fee for having an illegitimate child.

Cultural Connections, Courtesy Of A Vase

This is an unusual ceramic fragment, which was found at a housing construction site in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. A beautiful turquoise vase inscribed with a line of text. Given its location, archaeologists initially thought the text was Arabic or Turkish, both languages that have been spoken in Jerusalem and written in Arabic, at one time or another. But the writing was Persian. Persian, at a time when it would have been written in Arabic -- so after the Islamic Conquests -- has never been spoken in Jerusalem outside of individual families or small merchant groups.     Once translated, the inscription was found to be a line from the Rubaiyat, a collection of four-line verses (rubaais) written by Omar Khayyam (1048-1131 CE), the renowned medieval Persian poet, mathematician, and astronomer. The Rubaiyat is considered his masterpiece and the central work of Persian literature.     What makes the find especially surprising is that this is the first time Persian verses have been found on a vessel in Jerusalem. In fact, it was the first time one had been found in Israel! Others have been found in the region, but none in Israel itself. So now we have to wonder: how did this particular ceramic find its way to Jerusalem? A merchant selling fine goods? A gift for a family member far from home? We will probably never know for certain.


"If I were to see among the race of women another woman like this, I should say that the race of women was far superior to men."

Bar Hebraeus, on his opinion of Sorkhokhtani, matriarch of the Mongol family of the lineage of Tolui. Sorkhokhtani married Ghenghis Khan’s youngest son. Based on a combination of good upbringing and her shrewd political acumen, all four of her sons were proclaimed Khan of Khans. You might recognize some of their names: Möngke KhanHulagu KhanAriq Böke, and Kublai Khan.

  A tomb in northern Iraq, first exposed by construction workers in 2013, concealed the remains of at least six individuals. Along with dozens of ceramic vessels, a bracelet decorated with snake heads was found among the burials and helps date the tomb to the end of the Achaemenid Empire, or just after it. So somewhere between 400 and 550 BCE. Sometime later, between 700 and 1600 CE, the tomb was reused and five more people were buried on top of the ancient skeletons.   Yes, you read that right -- people reused a 1,100 to 2,000 year-old tomb!

Who Counts As Family?

Under the traditional Irish laws, the Brehon Laws, there were three family groups. The largest unit was the iarfine, or ‘after-kin’, comprised of all descendants sharing a common great-great-grandfather. The next was the derbfine, or ‘true-kin’, which was considered to be the most important. These were all descendents sharing a common great-grandfather.

Under the Brehon Laws parties to legal proceedings were not treated as individuals but rather as members of their wider kin-group. For the purposes of law, therefore, the whole derbfine was treated as a single legal entity. All kinsmen of this group were duty bound to remedy all wrongdoings, whether committed by or against their members. Finally, the gelfine, or ‘bright-kin’, was the close family made up of all descendants sharing a common grandfather.

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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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