First a confession: I love history, or to paraphrase my friend Liz R, I am a total history-whore. But not just about any history; no in order to get my blood pumping (historically speaking) it has to have happened a long time ago.
I decide to answer your mutterings first, and quote Edmund Burke (1729-1797),”Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. Besides,” I forge on before you can roll your eyes any higher, “history is what made us what we are, don’t you find that fascinating?”
“Not really,” you answer, wanting to end this conversation. However, my wagging tail and shining eyes force you to ask what period of history I am most interested in.
I tactfully ignore the pity in your eyes and reply, “Europe, especially England and France.” I realize my answer makes me sound completely insensitive to the plight of non-European cultures so I quickly add, “I don’t ignore other cultures, I’ve visited them and read about them, heck I just finished an incredible series about Genghis Kahn (he was a totally fascinating guy, his sons, however, were a bit of a disappointment).” Anyway, the amazing Genghis aside, I am absolutely infatuated with the lives of people in England and France prior to 1250.
Yes, I confess it: I am a hardcore Anglophile (I know, even the word sounds culturally insensitive) and a semi-core Francophile and have been all my life. I fell in love with Boudicca as a young girl, reading every book I could about the nearly invincible Celtic Queen. From that point onward, my love affair with European history grew into what is now a full-blown obsession. My undergraduate degree was European history, which of course brings to mind the apt and often repeated joke: What does a liberal arts major ask her boss? Do you want fries with that?
Anyway, as culturally insensitive as my passion is, I continue to nurture it by visiting ancient sites, when I can afford international travel, and reading everything I can get my hands on about the early days of Europe, with a special emphasis on things that happened between 1000 and 1225, because, in my opinion, that is when the world began a huge cultural shift and a lot of really cool stuff happened–think Magna Carta.
As a token of my love for you my blogger friends, I will provide a weekly historical tidbit, starting next week with a story about William the Bastard, aka the Conqueror, and his bride-to-be Mathilda. I have no doubt you are sitting on the edge of your seat crying out for the story now, but you’re just going to have to wait. After all, history didn’t happen in a day.