My Medieval Knowledge
So maybe many of you don't know this but I am actually what they call a medievalist, or medieval historian. Or you could say I did the least popular history study available. I did my masters degree with 6 other people. But I love the Middle Ages, especially that the mindset is so different from our current one so you really have to make an effort to understand that things that are not logical to us at all, where in fact very logical to medieval people.
So What Do I Know?
So I looked at the early Tudor period in England and specifically at the mother of Henry VII, the first Tudor king. It is a pretty cool story, but as two families fought for the throne during the Wars of the Roses (York vs Lancashire) it was a third family that would eventually run off with the crown, the Tudors. Now the story of King Henry VII is pretty well known so I didn't want to repeat other people's research. So instead I looked at the role his mother Margaret Beaufort played and more general at what sort of political influence medieval women could have at court. If you are a nerd like me and ever wanted to have a look at my thesis then here you can find the whole thing: https://studenttheses.universiteitleiden.nl/access/item%3A2608438/view
Why I loved studying the Middle Ages
When I was working on my thesis I had to go to Cambridge and London for research. Cambridge is where most material related to Margaret Beaufort lies as she helped establish a college there and in London you can find the royal archieves. I arrived in the small but beautiful archive of St John's College on a rainy afternoon. You step inside and see the beautiful old room, it just oozes history.
With medieval texts we have to be very careful, they are old and often not made of the most durable material and they hate damp. So you go in a special room conditioned for them and you have to wear gloves and be extremely careful. But then, after all the research you did after this person that lived over 500 years ago, you suddenly find yourself holding a piece of paper that they wrote.
I cannot tell you how magical that moment is. It is kind of like meeting someone through a time machine and shaking their hand. As you will stare at these texts intimately for weeks trying to decipher them and then dissect their meaning you feel like you intimately get to know a historical figure. For me, that is real life magic right there.