Much like the Language of Flowers and other courtship rituals of the past, there was an entire conversation hidden in your love spoon. For example, an anchor might symbolize settled love, while interlocking chains were pretty self-explanatory. A wheel could signify a willingness to work for your partner; a shield would offer protection. Balls in a cage could refer to love held safe or show a number of children. Arwyn, you dog!
Summer, 1495. You’re Hans, King of Denmark and Norway, freshly anchored off the southern coast of Sweden for a little tête-à-tête with Sten Sture the Elder.
This isn’t a shake-hands-and-kiss-babies kind of diplomatic trip. You’re there because Sture, the “protector of the realm,” is trying to keep Sweden out of the Nordic union you’re supposed to be ruling over.
Rule number one for surviving the viking ‘Great Army’ invasion of 865 — don’t give the enemy a reason to shoot arrows at you. Somehow, King Edmund of East Anglia missed the memo, both in real life and in the Netflix series The Last Kingdom.
Just like now, drinking alcohol was a favorite pastime of many a medieval person, but especially so during the Christmas period. As a rule, the average citizen quaffed large quantities of weak ale instead of water. Despite this tolerance, people somehow still managed to get rowdy. So much so that it was commonplace for wealthy lords to employ watchmen to guard their estates against rioters. Outside of warmth and some bread, watchmen could expect to a reward of, you guessed it — a gallon of ale.
It was, in turn, a dish for the rich and the poor. Its long shelf life and simple ingredients made it popular fare for travelers, and as technology progressed, so did production. But the biggest thing to happen to pasta was undoubtedly the day some genius figured out that it paired well with tomatoes.
Boudica and Dany both represent ruthless female leaders who rebelled against those who wronged them without mercy. They took no prisoners. It’s estimated that Boudica’s armies killed as many as 70,000–80,000 people.
Eventually, an angel came to him in a dream and urged him to return home. “You have fasted well,” it said, “very soon you will return to your native country.” Thankfully, this helpful spirit also let Saint Patrick in on the latest ship departures and he was soon in pursuit of one that would take him back home. He trekked over 200 miles of forests, bogs, and brambles until at last, he reached a port that may have been Wexford.