From the beginning the word “magic” has been used to convey a sense of the otherworldly or foreign. Magic likely stems in a more orientalist tradition from the Greek word Mageia for Persian practitioners of Zoroastrianism, the Magoi. In the context of the Greek and Roman worlds, “magic” was a term for practices beyond the […]Read more "Curses, Omens, and the Magic of Antiquity"
Like many successful viral stories, it was the scandal of it all that got people talking. What the practitioners were getting up to behind closed doors was the well known across Europe. Everyone from polite society to the layperson in the streets from Spain to Greece had an opinion on this “immoderate and perverse superstition.” […]Read more "What we (don’t) do in the Shadows"
To some surprise, 1648 did mark the end of the war. On January 30th the Netherlands and Spain concluded the Peace of Münster, ending their almost eighty year old war. It’s hard to understate how strange that must have been for everyone involved, and the treaty’s signing helped speed the end for the rest of […]Read more "The Desert Peace of Westphalia"
The situation in the field continued to turn badly for Ferdinand as 1645 wore on. Their Danish detour concluded, the Swedes decided Bohemia and Ferdinand’s other personal lands looked appetizing. Once upon a time Sweden’s arrival would have been hailed as the liberation, but that would have been fifteen years ago. Bohemia in 1645 was […]Read more "The End of the Thirty Years’ War"
Against the background of a war that now stretched from Catalonia to Denmark, 1643 marks the inauspicious beginning of the Westphalian Congress. In keeping with the eternal drudgery of this narrative, even this start was the belated result of literally two years spent negotiating just what, where, and how peace terms could be talked about. […]Read more "Journey to the Westphalia"
Part of the reason de Melo had been able to regroup after Rocroi had a lot to do with what the Dutch had been up to. Namely, not much in 1643. The Provinces were extremely tired by the nearly eighty years of on again, off again, war with Spain. With the power of the House […]Read more "Meanwhile, in Denmark"
While the long term future was bright for France, its ability to command anything bigger than a corgi in 1643 must have seemed doubtful. Their military reputation was a mix of the odd success seasoned with some truly awkward failures. The good news for Mazarin was that he finally had two French Commanders he would […]Read more "The Battle of Rocroi"