The Assasins

Templar Knight:

An interesting blog post on the Assassins – an Islamic heretical sect that plagued both the Saracens and the Crusaders during the medieval period. I will be blogging about the Assassins in more depth in future posts. But enjoy this primer for now!

Originally posted on The Past Tense:

“The Old Man kept at his court such boys of twelve years old as seemed to him destined to become courageous men. When the Old Man sent them into the garden in groups of four, ten or twenty, he game them hashish to drink. They slept for three days, then they were carried sleeping into the garden where he had them awakened.

“When these young men woke, and found themselves in the garden with all these marvelous things, they truly believed themselves to be in paradise. And these damsels were always with them in songs and great entertainments; they; received everything they asked for, so that they would never have left that garden of their own will.”

And when the Old Man wished to kill someone, he would take him and say: ‘Go and do this thing. I do this because I want to make you return to paradise’. And…

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Watch Assassin’s Creed Black Flag Gameplay Release Trailer

Templar Knight:

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag is on the way, set in the eighteenth century Caribbean – so definitely not a lot to do with the Middle Ages. But I know it has many fans here so here’s the latest update!

Originally posted on OmLogdom:

So we finally have some pretty pretty gameplay to look at for Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. Yummy!! :) Let us know what you think in the comments!!

photo credit: Ubisoft

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Bits of a Roman bath in a medieval English church

Sometimes a historical site can be initially very confusing and making sense of it requires a little bit of detective work. I was in Leicester – in central England – last week. It’s a city that was hugely important in the Middle Ages and was a major town when the Romans ruled the province of Britannia.

So – in the pouring rain, I came across a chunky bit of masonry dating back to the Romans. It’s a thick, brick section of wall called the Jewry Wall. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Jews and wasn’t a boundary wall. In the eighteenth century, historians thought it was a temple to the god Janus. It wasn’t. In the nineteenth century, the Victorians decided it was a city gate. It wasn’t. Then it was believed to be the city’s Roman forum even when it was becoming increasingly clear that the wall was actually part of a bath complex.

So why was it called the Jewry Wall?  Especially as Leicester’s Jewish population was expelled by Simon de Montfort in 1231, during the Templar era. It’s now thought the term is a corruption of the word ‘jurat’ – these were the senior politicians in the medieval era who held their council meetings near the wall. It is claimed on Wikipedia that buildings of unknown origin were attributed to the Jews in the Middle Ages – I’ve no evidence to support this assertion.

Next to the wall is a church to Saint Nicholas. I walked in and was immediately confronted by two windows in the nave that looked very Roman. In fact, they date to the Saxon period – around 880AD. But the masonry was part of the original Roman bath and was simply transplanted into the church – by the looks of things, mimicking the original positioning.

It’s a strangely laid out church with a Norman tower and some questionable changes made in the early nineteenth century when a wall of the nave was demolished and replaced by a brick arch. The church authorities actually wanted to demolish the entire church but didn’t have the funds.

The Roman "Jewry" wall

The Roman “Jewry” wall

The Roman baths now excavated and the medieval church

The Roman baths now excavated and the medieval church

Nineteenth century arch

Nineteenth century arch

A Saxon window made from Roman bricks

A Saxon window made from Roman bricks

Nineteenth century arch and Saxon window

Nineteenth century arch and Saxon window