Friday, August 29, 2014

Medieval Tourist Kitsch

As the growing middle class in the late Middle Ages found themselves at leisure to travel for pleasure, a tourism industry arose in Europe for the first time. The travelers were pilgrims, choosing as their destinations holy sites across Europe (though the motivation for making a trip at all was not always purely a religious one). And, of course, people in the places to which they traveled excelled at profiting from the new arrivals.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


The Charlemagne who appears in the legendary Matter of France is not always on the side of the heroes, and there are those who stand opposed to him - not only the villainous traitor Ganelon, but heroic characters as well who, at least at times, stand in opposition to the king. They are the central figures of their own sub-cycle within the legends, recorded in folktales as often as in literary chansons de geste. Notably, though, folklore remembers these people more for their horse than for their specific acts of defiance.