Welcome to October
According to medieval calendars, October is the time for sowing your seeds. Also, it’s the time to be on the lookout for giant six-armed taloned bear monsters.*
Important dates in medieval Octoberian history include:
- October 1st, 959 – Edgar the Peaceable becomes king of England. Anglo-Saxon kings had awesome cognomens.
- October 3rd, 1283 – Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, is executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered. You have to admire Henry III’s commitment to being a royal bastard.
- October 9th, 1003 – Leif Erikson lands in Jellyfish Bay, Canada, thereby becoming the first man to become the first man to discover America. Don’t tell the post office, or they’ll surely close in his honor, just to be safe.
- October 13th, 1307 – The Knights Templar are arrested in France by Phillip the Fair. And the early 21st-century English historical conspiracy book trade is born.
- October 14th, 1066 – The Battle of Hastings. The Normans–they came, saw, and conquered.
- October 17th, 1091 – The Great London Tornado destroys London Bridge. It won’t be the last time that bridge goes down.
- October 22nd, 794 – Emperor Kanmu moves the Japanese capital to Kyoto.
- October 23rd, 4004BC – The world was created according to James Ussher’s calculations. Next time you call Biblical literalism “medieval,” remember that this guy outlived Shakespeare.
- October 25th, 1147 – The Seljuk Turks defeat the German crusaders under Conrad III at the Battle of Dorylaeum. Just when the Crusades were going so well.
- October 27th, 1275 – Amsterdam is founded. You hear that, stoners? Now you have a reason to “celebrate” at 10:27 every morning.
- October 29th, 1390 – The first Parisian witchcraft trial. They had to hurry, too. Only 127 medieval years left to get that witch burning in!
- October 31st, 1517 – Martin Luther nails his theses to the church door in Wittenburg. The Middle Ages are pronounced officially dead about thirty minutes later, giving rise to the expression “dead as a doornail.”**
*For the most part, medieval illuminators had no earthly idea what a scorpion was supposed to look like, so you get some pretty interesting looking Scorpio images in calendars.