Thursday, January 17, 2013

Know much about history?

Been reading some nonfiction lately. First I read Alison Weir's account of the Wars of the Roses.

I've always heard that was such a confusing subject, and it is, a little. It's not the war itself (or the wars--various conflicts over about 30 years time) that's hard to understand, but what I find difficult is the family tree of the combatants, especially because the founder of the Lancastrian side had children by two wives and a mistress. And Henry VII, who finally ended the conflict and founded the Tudor dynasty, was a Lancastrian by his mother and on his father's side the grandson of the wife of Henry V by her second husband, Owen Tudor.

At the end of the book, I felt that Weir gave quite a quick wrap-up to the whole Richard III and the princes in the tower events, but I went on to discover she had previously written a book about that before going back to investigate the Wars of the Roses. So I read that book.

In case you don't know, the Wars of the Roses were conflicts between two branches of the English royal family, the house of York and the house of Lancaster. One family had a white rose as their symbol and the other a red rose. I forget which was which. Finally, after they had pretty much killed each other off, the last Lancastrian, Henry Tudor, married the senior daughter of the Yorkists (most of their men being dead), Elizabeth of York, and thus reconciled the two sides. They were the parents of the notorious Henry VIII and the grandparents of the incomparable Elizabeth I.

Then I went back further in history and read a biography of Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror.

So I guess maybe I do know a little something about history.

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