Recent Posts

Spiritual High Stakes for Newborns, By Kim Rendfeld

Kim Rendfeld will serve on a panel about midwifery at the 2015 Historical Novel Society Conference, June 26-28, and talk specifically about the practice in early medieval times.

Childbirth was so risky in early medieval times the expectant mother confessed her sins as her time drew near. If her baby was in jeopardy, the . . . → Read More: Spiritual High Stakes for Newborns, By Kim Rendfeld

People in the Dark Ages Would Think Our Lent Was Easy, by Kim Rendfeld

A 12th century painting of Esther and Ahashuerus at a banquet, with a pretzel.

Giving up something for Lent? A dessert? TV? Facebook? The 8th-century characters in my novels would envy you.

Early medieval Christians took Lent seriously. No meat. No eggs. No dairy. Only one meal a day around 3 p.m., and that . . . → Read More: People in the Dark Ages Would Think Our Lent Was Easy, by Kim Rendfeld

The Dark Ages Warrior’s Version of Play with a Purpose, By Kim Rendfeld

A 13th century toy mounted knight – Walters Art Museum via Wikimedia Commons, used under the terms of under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

When we shop for toys for the loved ones on our list, we like to think the kids are learning something. Books help children associate those squiggles . . . → Read More: The Dark Ages Warrior’s Version of Play with a Purpose, By Kim Rendfeld

Five Surprising Facts about Christianity in the Dark Ages, by Kim Rendfeld

Lorsch Gospel, produced during the Carolingian era

Religion plays a central role in the lives of my early medieval characters, but portraying Christianity in the days of Charlemagne takes more than having prayers in Latin. Here are a five aspects of Christianity in this period that might surprise you.

Midwives could baptize newborns . . . → Read More: Five Surprising Facts about Christianity in the Dark Ages, by Kim Rendfeld

Yes, People in the Dark Ages Bathed, by Kim Rendfeld

This 14th century image by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci depicts the newborn Virgin Mary about to be bathed.

When I decided to write fiction set in the days of Charlemagne, I knew very little about the Middle Ages but was certain of one thing: medieval people didn’t bathe. I recall being told by teachers . . . → Read More: Yes, People in the Dark Ages Bathed, by Kim Rendfeld

Medieval Misconception: All Women Were Chattel, by Kim Rendfeld

Early medieval women were far from passive damsels waiting for a knight to rescue them.

Of course, this time period is hardly an ideal time for women: childbirth so risky expectant mothers were urged to confess their sins before they went into labor, fathers choosing whom a girl would marry, age 13 considered marriageable, . . . → Read More: Medieval Misconception: All Women Were Chattel, by Kim Rendfeld

Who’s Guilty? God Knows. By Kim Rendfeld

First published Sept. 8, 2014, on Spann of Time http://www.susanspann.com

To prove her innocence of adultery, Kunigunde, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich II, walked over red-hot ploughshares (circa 1010, bas-relief from Bamberg Cathedral).

Who’s Guilty? God Knows. By Kim Rendfeld

Delve into the justice system of early medieval Francia . . . → Read More: Who’s Guilty? God Knows. By Kim Rendfeld

Traditional Marriage: Eighth Century Frankish Style

“As a novelist, I don’t judge the marriage traditions of another society. My responsibility is to accurately depict my characters’ reality and their reactions to it. But examining customs in another time teaches us that the definition of marriage–who is eligible, who gets to decide, why one gets married–has indeed changed.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kim . . . → Read More: Traditional Marriage: Eighth Century Frankish Style