Skip to content

Category Archives: Tales from History

Yep, it’s Charlemagne.

You guys are good. The painting is by Jules Laure (1806-1861). It shows Charlemagne receiving manuscripts from his tutor, the monk Alcuin, around 781. Charlemagne is a good choice for the cover of the History of the Medieval World; he represents one of the main themes of the book, the growing tendency of kings to […]

Why does “prolific” not sound like a compliment?

I’m not sure why, but whenever someone calls me a prolific writer, it makes me cringe. Why is that? It has some sort of negative implication which I can’t quite tease out. Anyway, I’m not feeling very prolific this week. After family vacation and back-to-back education conferences, my kind husband suggested that I go away […]

Scenes from a Monday morning

Sundays are work days for us, so Mondays are our days off. It’s sprinkling a little this morning, but not too hard; the windows are open and the birds are singing. The neighbor’s cows are mooing (in fact they sound like they’re in the back yard–I’m going to go check as soon as I post). […]

Hi ho, hi ho…

I’m back to work now. So, in no particular order, here’s what’s occupying the brain of THIS working writer on the first day of December… 1. I’m waiting on the contract from Princeton University Press to be issued, at which point I’ll sign it, return it, and commit myself to delivering the manuscript along with […]

The Tale of Offa and the Arabic Coin

I’m still in the eighth century. Struggling valiantly (and slowly) toward the ninth. Here’s my favorite story of the week. Once upon a time, a king named Offa ruled in the English kingdom of Mercia. Offa, who reigned c. 757-796, had a (relatively) huge empire, big enough so that Charlemagne treated him as an honored […]