The Real Witches – Written By Nicholas Rossis

I found a phenomenal article written by Nicholas Rossis, where he writes about witches, in a very unique and still sensitive way, combining myth and history, as he usually does. Thank you for a fascinating post, Nicholas.


I kick off the new year with a matter close to anyone who’s ever flirted with fantasy writing: witches. I mean, what’s fantasy without witchcraft? Probably a rather boring Medieval existence, that’s what.

Of course, there’s a big difference between fantasy and reality. Witchcraft has been a topic for discussion since forever and witches have been surrounded by countless myths through the centuries.

This guest post by John Dickinson, a writer from SuperiorPapers, discusses the myth and reality of witches.

The Real Witches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witches were traditionally pictured as ugly hags with warts on their faces, a pointy hat with a wide brim, stirring a huge cauldron with a green liquid or cackling through the sky. However, modern pop culture has portrayed them as a kind, nose-twitching suburban housewife; an awkward teenager learning to control her powers, and a trio of charmed sisters battling the forces of evil.

A similar confusion seems to surround their punishment. We believe that witches were burnt for their sin of practicing witchcraft. But this, along with other myths, was an unusual punishment that probably became popular because of Jean d’Arc.

Here are some more interesting facts about witches I hope you will find at least as interesting as I did!

CONTINUE READING HERE

Writers And Painters Are Not That Different


When I read this quote, I felt a little sting inside of me. So far, writing, to me, was something I love doing, but still, it is hard work. Therefore, I considered myself a ‘hard worker’, with some natural creativity, and, hopefully, some God-given talent.

I did not, whatsoever, combine my writing and the world ‘artist’ in the same sentence. And to me, a painter is clearly defined as an artist.

The moment I read that, I tried to find out who said it, and when I read ‘Voltaire’, I was surprised, and a tiny bit proud, too.

Voltaire is considered one of the best writers ever, busy as a bee, and in many ways controversial for the past times. His entire thinking was far ahead of his time. The fact that it was Voltaire, telling me that what I do is ‘painting’, just with words, instead of brushes, made me, for the first time, feel like being an artist.

Yes, I write, yes, I paint, I just paint with words… I paint wonderful pictures for the ones who take the time to stand still and ‘look’ at these pictures; take them in, enjoy them… read them, and imagine them… take my tools and use them to show your own picture in your head, in your dreams, in your imagination.

At this moment I consider this a wonderful Christmas present.

Thank you, Voltaire.


Voltaire Biography

Historian (1694–1778)
Author of the satirical novella ‘Candide,’ Voltaire is widely considered one of France’s greatest Enlightenment writers.
Who Was Voltaire?

Voltaire established himself as one of the leading writers of the Enlightenment. His famed works include the tragic play Zaïre, the historical study The Age of Louis XIV, and the satirical novella Candide. Often at odds with French authorities over his politically and religiously charged works, he was twice imprisoned and spent many years in exile. He died shortly after returning to Paris in 1778.

Early Life

Voltaire was born François-Marie Arouet to a prosperous family on November 21, 1694, in Paris, France. He was the youngest of five children born to François Arouet and Marie Marguerite d’Aumart. When Voltaire was just seven years old, his mother passed away. Following her death, he grew closer to his free-thinking godfather.

In 1704, Voltaire was enrolled at the Collége Louis-le-Grand, a Jesuit secondary school in Paris, where he received a classical education and began showing promise as a writer.

Beliefs and Philosophy

Embracing Enlightenment philosophers such as Isaac NewtonJohn Locke and Francis Bacon, Voltaire found inspiration in their ideals of a free and liberal society, along with freedom of religion and free commerce.

As a vegetarian and an advocate of animal rights, however, Voltaire praised Hinduism, stating Hindus were “[a] peaceful and innocent people, equally incapable of hurting others or of defending themselves.”

Major Works

Voltaire wrote poetry and plays, as well as historical and philosophical works. His most well-known poetry includes The Henriade (1723) and The Maid of Orleans, which he started writing in 1730 but never fully completed.

Among the earliest of Voltaire’s best-known plays is his adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus, which was first performed in 1718. Voltaire followed with a string of dramatic tragedies, including Mariamne (1724). His Zaïre (1732), written in verse, was something of a departure from previous works: Until that point, Voltaire’s tragedies had centered on a fatal flaw in the protagonist’s character; however, the tragedy in Zaïre was the result of circumstance. Following Zaïre, Voltaire continued to write tragic plays, including Mahomet (1736) and Nanine (1749).

The Horrific History of St. Albans Bible – Written By Nicholas Rossis

Nicholas Rossis introduces us to the history of the St. Albans Bible which I found fascinating. Thanks so much for that post, Nicholas. I just HAD to share it.


You may remember Erik Kwakkel or Leiden University from earlier posts like A Fantasy Tip From History: Medieval Spam. Erik recently shared the incredible history of St. Albans Bible. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

A Horror Story

In 1964, the New York rare book dealer Philip Duschnes (d. 1970) bought and subsequently broke a splendid medieval Bible produced in early-fourteenth-century Paris.

Leaf from the St Albans Bible auctioned at Christie’s on 10 July 2019 (now part of the McCarthy Collection). Source

 

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A Fantasy Tip From History: Doo-Dooing The King

Nicholas Rossis provides us with a fascinating fantasy tip from history. Thank you very much, Nicholas!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Hand Of The King | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Hand Of The King pin (image: Dark Comics)

In Game Of Thrones, it is the King’s Hand who exerts some real power of the Seven Kingdoms. His symbol, appropriately enough, was a pin depicting a hand.

But in yet another example of reality being stranger than fiction, it was the Groom of the Stool—named for the close stool, the king’s 16th-century toilet—who filled a highly coveted position in the royal house. How powerful were they? Well, historians believe that both James I and his successor King Charles I were so swayed by their grooms’ counsel that political discussions of the king’s privy helped fuel the 17th-century English Civil War.

As Natalie Zarrelli of Atlas Obscura observes, every day, as the king sat on his padded, velvet-covered close stool, he revealed secrets. He asked for counsel, and could even hear of the personal and political woes of his personal…

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Your content is being archived

Wow, this is quite interesting. Who would have known? Thanks for sharing this, K. Morris!

K Morris - Poet

Did you know that your site (well a snapshot of it’s contents) may well be preserved for posterity?

This remains the case even if you decide to delete your blog and/or website.

Anyone interested in exploring what information is held about their site can visit https://archive.org/ and search for archived material pertaining to their blog.

https://archive.org/is not a substitute for backing up your website (it only collects snapshots of a website’s contents).

It does, however offer a fascinating glimpse into sites, many of which are no longer operative.

WHAT YOU WILL SEE:

SELECT and CLICK the WEB icon

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Type in YOUR FULL URL

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See the period covered

SELECT and CLICK ANY YEAR

SELECT and CLICK ANY BLUE CIRCLED DATE

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SEE the post imaged

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The Oldest Handwritten Documents Ever Discovered in England

Nicholas C. Rossis provides us with writing history! This is so interesting, I thought I’d share it and see how many other writers are fascinated. Thank you Nicholas!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Ancient Roman writing tablet | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books A Roman writing tablet found in the mud. Photo: MOLA / Atlas Obscura

On January 8, 57 AD, Tibullus, a freed slave in London, promised to repay 105 denarii, a hefty sum, to another freed slave named Gratus. Meanwhile, one friend admonished another that he’s lent too much money and is being gossiped about. And a merchant was making a desperate plea for repayment of debts owed to him.

We know all this, thanks to an archeological treasure recently unearthed, as reported by Atlas Obscura: over 400 writing tablets that document financial transactions that are the oldest handwritten documents discovered in England.

Notekeeping, the Roman Way

Ancient Roman writing tablet | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: Erik Kwakkel / British Museum: Wooden shaft with nib excavated at Vindolanda (late Antique)

As befits a business people, Romans founded London around 40 AD in order to facilitate commerce. And commerce means records. When recording something for posterity, the Romans used

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March 3 – National Anthem Day

Author Sharla Shults has published an absolutely amazing blog post about a National Celebration Day:

 

March 3 – National Anthem Day

 

Sharla Shults has the most amazing way of describing history, bring us our roots back and make us remember what’s really important.

Please check out her wonderful post:

 

http://awakenings2012.blogspot.ch/2016/03/oh-say-can-you-see.html

 

 

Picture courtesy of: "Blingee" and borrowed from Sharla Shults' blog.
Picture courtesy of: “Blingee” and borrowed from Sharla Shults’ blog.

155th anniversary of the Pony Express

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Picture courtesy of: http://ponyexpress.org/history/

April 14 celebrates the 155th anniversary of the first mail being delivered by the Pony Express. According to the National Park Service, the first package arrived at midnight on April 14, 1860. It traveled across the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Missouri, through Placerville, California, and then on to Sacramento, down to San Francisco. There were 100 stations along the route with 400-500 horses and as many riders. It was founded by William B. Waddell, Alexander Majors and Williams H. Russell, on April 3, 1860. The Hartford Weekly Times wrote about the arrival of the first delivery saying “…citizens paraded the streets with bands of music, fireworks were set off….the best feeling was manifested by everybody.” The cost of the first delivery was $70,000 to the founders. That’s the equivalent of just over $2 million in 2015 money, thanks in part to the inflation caused by the Civil War. (article to find at: http://heavy.com/news/2015/04/155th-anniversary-of-the-pony-express-google-doodle/ )

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The “Pony Express National Museum” teaches us:

The Pony Express was founded by William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors. Plans for the Pony Express were spurred by the threat of the Civil War and the need for faster communication with the West. The Pony Express consisted of relays of men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail. The service opened officially on April 3, 1860, when riders left simultaneously from St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. The first westbound trip was made in 9 days and 23 hours and the eastbound journey in 11 days and 12 hours. The pony riders covered 250 miles in a 24-hour day.

Eventually, the Pony Express had more than 100 stations, 80 riders, and between 400 and 500 horses. The express route was extremely hazardous, but only one mail delivery was ever lost. The service lasted only 19 months until October 24, 1861, when the completion of the Pacific Telegraph line ended the need for its existence. Although California relied upon news from the Pony Express during the early days of the Civil War, the horse line was never a financial success, leading its founders to bankruptcy. However, the romantic drama surrounding the Pony Express has made it a part of the legend of the American West. (Find this information here: http://ponyexpress.org/history/ )

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Picture courtesy of: http://ponyexpress.org/history/

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According to EyeWitness to history.com the life of a pony express rider was very dangerous. “Speed of delivery was paramount. Any weight other than the mail the horse carried was kept to a minimum. Ads for riders called for: “Young, skinny, wiry fellows, not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.” A specialized, light-weight saddle was developed that had built-in pouches to carry the mail. Hazards abounded, including weather, terrain, hostile Indians and bandits. It typically took a week for mail to reach its destination at a cost of $5.00 per ½ ounce.”

Two very famous historical names can be found on the list of pony express riders:

Buffalo Bill Cody                                                                                                      James Wild Bill Hickock

Picture courtesy of: http://www.becomegunsmith.org/the-10-deadliest-wild-west-gunfighters/
Picture courtesy of: http://www.becomegunsmith.org/the-10-deadliest-wild-west-gunfighters/
Picture courtesy of: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Bill
Picture courtesy of: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Bill