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Southern Magic - History Tidbits

How to Sell a Kingdom
The Reign of Richard I

By Carla Swafford

Though warned by astrologers, Richard, the Lion Hearted, was crowned on September 3, a bad omen day called Egyptian Day. A pall was cast over the day further when a bat flew into the abbey at Westminister, and circled the coronation chair during the ceremony. Then after the crown was placed on his head, the abbey bells rang though no one admitted to pulling the ropes.

Now finally king at age 32, Richard was ready for his crusade except for one important factor. Money. First, he placed a dwarf with a twisted back, and the unlikely name of William de Longchamp, in the position of chancellor. Thus, began the selling of every position of note, and even of little note, and along with pieces of the kingdom itself. The king of Scotland bought his country's independence, old bishops became new earls, forests were cut down and sold. Lawsuits were settled by the highest bribes and royal manor houses were sold to the highest bidder. It was claimed that Richard said he would even sell London for a price. Then, of course, when there was nothing more to be sold, they taxed everyone.

When he returned from the Crusades, and his imprisonment by Leopold of Austria, Richard proceeded to take back the lands and castles he had sold for his crusade. He claimed they were only loans and they should be honored he allowed them to receive their revenues during his absence. Richard ruled for ten years and only twice did he come to England, a total of seven months.

The world's oldest profession, prostitution, had an unusual ally. The Catholic Church. Was it a coincidence that several bishops owned land that brothels were built? Many felt the prostitutes were needed to prevent perversions and besides, this was the easiest way to regulate it. You can't help but wonder how many of the "Ordinaunces" laid down by Henry II was followed. Such as, no stew-holder (pimp) could prevent a woman from leaving, giving up her occupation, or charge her more than fourteen pence a week for her room. On Holy Days or other religious festivals, the brothel must be closed. The prostitutes could sit in the doorways, but were not allowed to solicit or throw stones at pedestrians. The woman must stay with her customer through the night and, if the client refused to pay, he could not be held against his will. Instead, he would be taken to the Lord of the Manor's dungeon.

Very Small Tidbits...

In the Middle Ages, dentists would often advertise their trade by stringing pulled teeth and hanging it around their necks.

To soften furs or fur skins that have become hard, first spray wine by mouth on the fur. Then sprinkle flower on the wet part and let it dry. The next day, rub the fur until it's good as new.

To cure a dog bite or from another mad beast, eat a crust of bread and write the following:

Taken from Magic Moments - January 2000 Volume 3/Issue 1