We’re away until January 3, but we’re reposting some of our favorite pieces from 2017. Enjoy your holiday!
Being a red-blooded, blue-blooded male in the Carolingian Empire was a risky business. Those who grew up in Western Europe during the eighth and ninth centuries were frequently exposed to extreme violence. One adolescent royal from the period was struck so hard in a play fight that, in the words of a contemporary account, his playmate’s sword “penetrated almost as far as the brain, reaching from his left temple to his right cheekbone.”