New Feature: Google Penance

Installing a sitemeter confirmed my suspicion: fully a third of this blog’s traffic comes from people doing web searches for boobs, specifically, those of the actress who recently portrayed Grendel’s mother in a video gamecum-movie called Beowulf.*

There’s no denying it, then, most visitors to this blog go away disappointed. For all my salty talk, there’s very little actual pornographic content at Got Medieval. So, it’s time to rectify that by introducing a new feature, which I’m going to call Google Penance.

The purpose of Google Penance is to retroactively satisfy people who have stumbled across this blog through interesting but inappropriate Google searches.** Unfortunately, the medieval-pornography desiring third of my visitors will continue to be unsatisfied, as I want to one day be gainfully employed in ivory-towered academe. So instead, I’m going to answer the less sexy questions that brought Google-searchers here to a place where they tragically could find no answer.**

For example, these are a few of the questions that my blog has failed to answer for people in recent weeks, according to Google:***

1. Did women in the Middle Ages shave their legs?
2. Is it OK to go to Rennfest pregnant?
3. When is it safe to have sex after your period?****
4. What were the most awesome names for males in the Middle Ages?
5. How did you get to Heaven in the medieval era?
6. Is it a sin to look at yourself naked?
7. Why did medieval popes all have the same name?
8. What might Joan of Arc have looked like?
9. What did the medieval cow look like?
10. Did they have paper money in the Middle Ages?
11. Did they waterboard people in the Middle Ages?
12. What was Unferth drinking in Beowulf?
13. Is Dan Brown a rich man?
14. What did the medieval guillotine look like?

So, as you can see, I have my work cut out for me, and these are just from the past fortnight or so. The only clever answers I have so far is for questions 12, 13, and 14, which are “computer animated mead,” “net worth: $88,000,000,” and ” “, respectively.*****

Be on the lookout for more Google Penance in the days weeks months “indefinite period of recurrence as afforded by my dissertating” to come.

*I’m going to avoid mentioning her name, even though mentioning it would guarantee me another 50% increase in hits, especially in conjunction with my careless use of pretentious Latin in that sentence there.
**Bonus factoid learned through my sitemeter: As of this writing, Got Medieval is the #1 hit for the Google search “boring men in 30’s”.
***For a few of these searches, I’ve had to add verbs pronouns to turn them into proper questions–but not all. I’m amazed at the specificity of Google’s searchers. One typed out the entire question, properly capitalized and punctuated, “In Beowulf, what was Beowulf wearing during the swimming contest with Brecca?” (Answer: Armor, of course. What else would you swim in?)
****Blame my post on Brundage’s flowchart for this one. Still, too sexy to answer–and too likely to lead to liability on my part. Go see the people at You can sue them if you get pregnant.
*****That’s a bit pedantic, I know, but as all readers of fine literature know, Madame Guillotine was first used in 1792, and is a device originally designed to provide a humane (i.e. non-“medieval”) means of execution. If you want to be more forgiving with your definition of “guillotine” and just mean “automated head chopper thing” then go over to’s (I owe them for 1/10th of my page views) history of all things beheading-inducing.

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  • Robert Seddon

    At least yours were interesting enough to get a post out of. My blog ‘The Face of the Moon’ actually has nothing to do with anything lunar (it’s named after a line in a song), but a tonne of my hits come from searches like ‘what are the faces of the moon in January?’

  • Eaquae Legit

    Ah, if only they allowed cameras in the manuscript library. Found a wonderful drawing of a dead cow in the back of a medical herbal the other day, and I wish I could share.

  • Marlowe

    So are we going to get the answers to some more of these questions?

    -Waiting impatiently

  • Andy

    I stumbled upon this blog searching chainmail bras to support my argument that women aren’t more attractive just because they’re half naked, and really if men are attracted to warrior women, shouldn’t they be more attracted to women wearing real, practical armour? Or at least clothes? The men of the world say no.

    Anyway, I arrived at your post on viking bras. I kept reading. You’re pretty entertaining.

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