Dec. 16th, 2015

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Died on this day in 1650 aged 23 Philip of the Palatinate (my toy,wikipedia). Grandson of James VI & I. Raised in exile (from Bohemia) in the Hague, he got so cross with a French exile who made yo' mamma joke that he killed him and then ran off to be a mercenary and went on to die in battle.

Born on this day in 1485 to King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, Catherine of Aragon (my toy,wikipedia). Wife of Henry VIII. Catherine was named after her great-grandmother Catherine of Lancaster, a daughter of John of Gaunt; Catherine's own descent from John of Gaunt was more legitimate than Henry VII's, although obviously the question of who would be King was settled on the battlefield not in a courtroom, and she was thought to be a very suitable wife for Henry's son and heir Arthur. Although when she arrived in England she could not actually talk to Arthur since she spoke no English and he no Spanish - they had corresponded in Latin, but knew different pronunciations. Arthur died soon after their marriage, leaving Catherine widowed and stuck in England. Henry VII wanted to marry her to his remaining son (Henry VIII) but had to get a papal dispensation and she was not allowed to return home. Eventually her second marriage was managed just after Henry VIII was crowned, 7 years after Arthur's death. The marriage was tolerably good until Henry was so consumed with desire for a)Anne Boleyn and b)a legitimate son that he decided he had to be rid of her.
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SPQR (Mary Beard)

An interesting history of Rome from its foundation to the Emperor Comodus (of Gladiator fame). Thorough and obviously well researched, but readable and accessible if you don't know who all these people are. Also not just a list of Famous Men and Battles Fought but also details about every day life in Rome.

The Flux (Ferret Steinmetz)

I read Ferret's first book (Flex, to which this is the sequel, there will be a third - Fix) because I read his blog and find him entertaining. I read this one because I wanted to know what happens next.

World of Ice and Fire


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