A Resource for Writers

Riders of Skaith deserves credit for pointing this author to Modern History TV, a Youtube channel created and run by Jason Kingsley, OBE. Kingsley regularly posts videos on a variety of Medieval European facts that would take hours to research or even track down for many an itinerant author. He explains, diagrams, and demonstrates the use of Medieval weapons along with other aspects of life in the Middle Ages.

By far, the video he made which most intrigues this author is the one on notched Medieval sticks. It is common for speakers to conflate the Middle Ages with the Dark Ages, the time between the fall of the Roman Empire and the reconstruction of society in the Middle Ages. Mr. Kingsley explains in the video that while the common man may not have been able to read and write, he could cypher – and do his own taxes.

Why were notched sticks so important in medieval times?

Not long ago, this author discovered that Mr. Kingsley had made a short film about one of the knights in the Arthurian Legendarium. Percival, which has Mr. Kingsley in the starring role, has no dialogue. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic short film with a leading actor dedicated to portraying the time period and the character correctly:

Percival – An Arthurian short film

This is the longest video on the list. It gives viewers a look behind-the-scenes at how Percival was made; though there is a shorter behind-the-scenes look at the film available here if you would prefer to view that. Both are quite interesting:

Behind the scenes; How we made a short movie ‘Percival’.

Suffice it to say, if you are a writer, then Mr. Kingsley’s channel is one you will wish to follow. Even if you do not write in genres that specifically deal with Medieval settings, the information he provides in his videos may come in handy for a scene or a bit of background exposition in your story. Good avenues of research that are entertaining are not always easy to discover, so it is best to bookmark them so you will find them when you need them.

Enjoy the videos, readers! And remember: the past has much to teach us. We did not spring forth like Athena from the mind of Zeus, armed for battle and wise beyond all others. We are but mortals, and we stand upon the shoulders of the giants who were our ancestors.

It is as awe-inspiring as it is humbling. But do not take my word for it. Click the videos above and listen to an expert pontificate upon the subject! 😉

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