- July 3rd, 987 — The French crown Hugh Capet, kicking off the Capetian dynasty’s 800-year run.
- July 4th, 1054 — Light from a star in the constellation Taurus going supernova reaches Earth. Arab and Chinese astronomers mark it down. Europeans, not so much. The remnants of that star come to be known as the Crab Nebula.
- July 6th, 1189 — Richard the Lionheart is crowned king of England.
- July 7th, 1465 — Joan of Arc wins her case on appeal and the verdict of heresy is overturned. As she had been dead for 25 years, her reaction was somewhat subdued.
- July 11th, 1302 — The Flemish kick some serious French booty, taking so many of their golden spurs as trophies they decide retroactively to call the event “The Battle of the Golden Spurs”.
- July 15th, 1381 — John Ball, one of the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt is hanged, then drawn and quartered.
- July 16th, 1054 — The Great Schism begins–the one between the Eastern and Western halves of the Church, not the one between Avignon and Rome… you know, it would be easier if the Church would schism a little less often, just to keep the nomenclature clear.
- July 21st, 1403 — The Battle of Shrewsbury is fought, in which Henry IV of England’s forces, led in part by his son Henry, defeat the rebels from the north led by Henry of Northumberland’s son Henry. Rejected names for the battle include “Henrypalooza,” the “Henreichpocalypse,” and “The One with All Them Henries”.
- July 24th, 1487 — The Great Dutch Beer Strike is struck. The citizens of Leeuwarden (Leeuwardenians? Leeuwardese?) take to the streets and burn stuff to defend their right to foreign beer.
- July 25th, 1261 — Constantinople, not Istanbul, is recaptured by Michael VIII, giving the Byzantine Empire another 200 or so years to slowly limp into collapse.
- July 30th, 1419 — During the First Defenstration of Prague, seven members of the city council are thrown out of windows by a Czech Hussite mob. Wordsnobs rejoice, because it gives them a reason to casually slip the word “defenestration” into conversations.
Welcome to July
According to medieval calendars, July is the time to gather up all the wheat you spent June scything and tie it into sheaves. Make sure it hasn’t just rained when you do it, or you might end up with ergot posioning from moldy rye. Then who knows what hilarious mass delusion you’ll end up taking part in!
Important dates in medieval history in the month of July include:
And so there you have it, folks, a year of months is in the books. If you’ve been properly noting down my wisdom, your calendar should look like this:
February: Pruning and firewood gathering
March: More pruning!
April: Planting and romancing
November: Fattening your swine
December: Slaughtering your swine
(Technically, February should actually read “feasting and/or pruning”. The shortest month tends to absorb tasks from the months to either side.)
Judged by their calendars alone, medieval life doesn’t look half bad. Sure, there’s a lot of hard agricultural labor there, but you get at least one month off a year, as well as a month to goof off with birds and one for plighting your troth and other such amorous activities. Pretty sweet, all in all.
Check back in next month to see if I’ve come up with anything to replace medieval months!
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