Monday, December 07, 2009


I had started to run a small feature titled Medieval Monday at Facebook, but found that I didn't have enough room for the post on my profile. I've therefored moved it over to my blog. Basically, in between my usual blogs and every Monday, I will quote a small piece in translation from a Medieval primary source. It will be as it takes my fancy, but I hope to show the rich texture of Medieval life and how similar and different it was to our own.

My first post for this new series at my blog venue comes from the Historia Novella of William of Malmsbury, who wrote this prior to 1142. I'd written a shortened version at Facebook a couple of weeks back, but here it is with fuller flavour. It concerns men with long hair.

'In the twenty eighth year of his reign the king returned from Normandy to England. In the twenty ninth year a thing befell in England that may cause wonder to our wearers of long hair who, forgetting what they were born, enjoy transforming themselves to look like women. One of the knights in my part of the country, proud of his very luxuriant hair but alarmed by the stings of conscience, imagined in his sleep that he saw someone strangling him with his own tresses, and so, on waking up, he promptly cut off all the excess of hair. This precedent quickly made its way through England and, as a penalty just suffered is wont to influence the mind, almost all the knights had no objection to their hair being cut to a reasonable length. But this strictness did not last for long, since a year had hardly passed before all who regarded themselvs as courtiers relapsed into their old fault; they vied with women in the length of their locks and when the hair was inadequate, they fastened on a kind of wig, forgetting, or rather not knowing, the Apostle's judgement. 'If a man have long hair it is a shame unto him.'

Nothing new under the sun is there?

As I have the time, I am also adding to my sidebar the first and last sentences of my work in progress each day. It'll keep changing. First lot's tonight, but will be different tomorrow!


Unknown said...

looks like a case of being green with envy! :D lol

Anne Gilbert said...

Wow! Medieval Mondays! What a neat concept. I hope you don't mind my making an announcement about this on my blog, and providing the ling!(vbg)
Anne G

Jan Jones said...

This is fun!

What goes around, comes around!

Rowan said...

This is hilarious!
Thanks so much for that!

Mirella Patzer said...

Loved the first and last sentence feature. How interesting!

You amaze me in how you manage to juggle blogs, twitter, writing your novels, and your networking groups. You are a wonderful role model.

Anne Gilbert said...


Just to let everybody know, the announcement of Medieval Mondays is now up at The Writer's Daily Grind at:

Hopefully, this will bring a lot of "eyes" EC's way!
Anne G

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Thanks Anne - I hope people will find my 'Medieval Monday' feature enlightening and useful - or just plain fun or interesting for a coffee break moment! :-)

Anne Gilbert said...

Sure! Anything I can do to help(vbg). Seriously, though, I'll be taking a look every Monday. And if something interests me you can be sure I'll have something to say about it on my blog!
Anne G

Miss Moppet said...

A fun way to learn! I certainly didn't know twelfth century knights wore wigs.

I like the first and last sentences too.

Unknown said...

Fascinating, I thoroughly enjoy your blog and learn so much reading it.

Anonymous said...

Medieval Monday is such a fantastic idea! I love it! Who knew?? People never change, I am CONSTANTLY trying to get my teenage boys to cut their hair!

Jules Frusher said...

Obviously the writer was a real party-pooper. I'm trying to imagine the lord and lady fighting for time in front of the mirror though lol! Long hair on men is nice - not sure about the wig thing though!

'Medieval Monday' - great idea!