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Southern Magic - History Tidbits

The 13th Century

By Carla Swafford

Afraid of Genghis Khan's army, the normally fearless Saracens pleaded for England's help in protecting the Holy Land. They were turned down.

A caravan of healthy Arab camels could cover 200 miles of sand in a week.

The end of the 13th century, the last Christian territories in the holy land fell to Egypt and brought an end to nearly two centuries of crusades.

The Teutonic Knights, a charitable German order from the Holy Land, moved to eastern Europe after the failure of the Crusades. They fought as mercenaries against the pagan tribes in Poland and the eastern frontier. In the late 1200's, they formed an alliance with a Baltic order of knights called the Brothers of the Sword.

Heraldic devices on shields, surcoats, and banners became popular with Christian Knights during the late 1100's and early 1200's to identify each other in armor during battle.

Popular forms of sport were bear-baiting, bull-running, badger-baiting, and cockfighting.

Goliards were wandering students performing as minstrels during the 12th or 13th century. They wrote Latin verses that were often bawdy and sacrilegious.

Troubadours, strolling minstrels, were lyric poets who composed songs, often about courtly love.

During the 13th century, English doctors would drape red cloth around a patient's bed in an attempt to cure smallpox.


Taken from Magic Moments - May 2001 Volume 4/Issue 5