Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Court of King Charles II

Sibelle Stone

When King Charles I was disposed, and then executed in 1649, his son, Charles Stuart II, was forced into exile. He traveled to France and the court of his cousin, Louis XIV to Germany and the Spanish Netherlands. He lived an impoverished life of wandering as the King without a country.

After Oliver Cromwell’s death, the Protectorate, the government controlling England, was weak and dissolving. The restoration of the monarchy was achieved without war in May 1660, as Charles II returned to London to march triumphantly back into the streets as crowds cheered him.

Charles II was a popular king, as he reopened the theatres, hosted an opulent (and many said lurid and hedonistic court), enjoyed good food, fine wine, gambling and beautiful women. He was tall, dark-haired and was said to possess charisma Also, he was the King of England.

Although he married Catherine of Braganza of Portugal in 1662, despite several miscarriages, they never had any children together. Charles II did sire fourteen illegitimate children, but at his death, his brother James was his designated heir.

Among the many loves of Charles II,one of  his longest relationships was with Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine and later Duchess of Cleveland. The ferocious and demanding Duchess  had a fiery temper, and she was never faithful to her lover. She conceived three children while at court at Whitehall, but there is some question as to the paternity. She was exiled to Paris in 1677.

Perhaps one of the most beloved of King Charles II’s many loves was the actress Nell Gwynne. She grew up in an impoverished state, was an orange girl, (selling oranges at the Duke’s House theatre when they met in 1668). Nell was loyal to her lover, gave birth to two illegitimate sons and created a salon for him in the homes he gave her. She often used her influence in the cause of others, and petitioned him to fund the Royal Hospital for injured soldiers.

On his deathbed in 1685,King Charles II begged his brother and successor, James  “Do not let poor Nelly starve.” James generously paid Nell's debts and gave her an allowance, but it was not for long. Nell at the age of 37 in 1687, just two years after her beloved King.

Like a fairy tale maiden rising from the ashes to the castle, Nell Gwynne became something of a legend, as a good-natured charmer, and an ordinary girl from the slums who ended up not with the Prince, but with the King.

In my recent release, "Whistle Down the Wind" the setting is 1664 England, but not the court of King Charles II, although references are made to it. The heroine’s older sister, Aelwyd, has visited court, and the hero, Sir Griffin Reynolds is a member of the King’s Coldstream Guards. While he’s been at court, he’s on a secret mission to scout out a Puritan plot in the colony of Jamestown to once again dispose the King of England.

Like the court of King Charles, the story is filled with action, adventure and sensuality

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two little love birds....Kissing -the history of

Two little love birds
Sittin' in a tree

Once upon a time, men and women didn't kiss. Or at least, no one knew about it. There wasn't anything drawn on cave walls like practically everything else was.  As far back as ancient Egypt, there were reports written on how to do practically everything. But nothing mentions placing lips together for any reason. So, when did man start this game of kissing anyway?
Rumor has it  (To Kiss Vaughn M Bryant Jr. and Sylvia Grider The World &I, Dec 1991) that around 1500B.C.   the Vedic Sanskrit mentioned  rituals for spells and charms etc  first mentioned such  close encounters of one's faces. They rubbed noses. (I always called this Eskimo kissing.) 

 Then 500 - 1000 years later, this act moved to pressing lips together So what is kissing. Wikipedia says to kiss is the "act of pressing one's lips against the lips or other body parts of another person or object." 

We start with India's Kama Sutra that records many erotic practices including many examples of types of kissing, what parts of the body, special kissing methods before and after marriage.

Then, the Greeds took it up a notch to include men as in greeting one another.  The armies of Alexander the Great likely enjoyed whatdiscovered this art form and brought it back to Greece and this fine art began to develop into different kinds of kisses:
  • Adolescent kissing...kissing our children's hurts away or goodnight.
  • Sexual kissing- see below
  • Kiss of Affection- a friend that is not sexual. as gratitude, compassion sympathy....
  • kiss as a ritual or religion as found in the Bible according to Paul. Kissing the feet or hem or rings out of respect, peace,respect, or friendship
  • Or the infamous  Kiss of Death/the Godfather kiss.
Until now, kissing was equivalent to shaking hands usually, but the Romans perfected this art form. The osculum...kiss of friendship as a peck on the cheek that was not passion still popular in Russia, France, and Greece as well as Italy.This kiss was also used to determined if the wife or daughter has been hitting the wine. It would linger on their mouth and could be smelled.
Then thanks to writers as Catullus and is Mistress Lesbia and another writer Ovid and his "The Art of Love" --that was banned from Rome as he was-- the young Romans discovered the  joy of 'basium'  or the more passionate kisses.  And thus we have kissing  in Spanish-besar, in Italian-baciare, in French-baiser and in common English- bass-a wet smacking kiss.  But the word kiss is a Germanic root word.  or possibly Old English- cyssan/ to kiss from coss/a kiss.
Anyway, the Romans enjoyed this to the point of even taking it farther to  yet another kind of kissing. the Saviolum or 'a kiss sweeter than sweet ambrosia.  This was the kiss of wild passion that we know know as the 'soul kiss' or 'the French kiss.'  Interesting enough is that Ovid thought the 'kissing of the tongue was shameful voluptuous and even lewd. 
Seriously now, this got really out of hand that Rome instituted laws regarding kissing. If a man kissed a girl publicly, she could demand that he marry her.  Why? Because the husband of this young woman should have first rights to her virgin kiss, which she experienced at her betrothal.
Then with the arrival of Christianity, at the end of the wedding. Thus the wedding kiss. "You may now kiss the bride."

Another infamous kiss is under the mistletoe. Now this comes from the Celtic world where Druids revered this herb that dates back to Norse Mythology. The Trickster Loki kills the beloved god Balder with an herb that grows on only oak trees...mistletoe.

Thus the Druids revered this herb with attributes of healing diseases, make poisons harmless, bring fertility to women, protect against evil, bring the blessing of the gods. So to honor this, the Celts hung mistletoe in their entries to bring peace and love to the house. Because one could not fight beneath this herb. Here they were required to be friends.

But the Celts didn't kiss under the mistletoe.  This is a recent development since the Medieval period of Europe. 

 So, okay. The Celts believed mistletoe to have magic power. The Romans  used the kiss to seal friendships and a betrothal.  . And since Christianity, a kiss under this herb was a serious commitment...any time of the year.  And, since Christmas is a time of peace, love and joy, ....
 ....why shouldn't we bring our 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles together  and share saliva  under the leaves of  vicum album to reduce stress  in our relationships, lower cholesterol levels, and release epinephrine and norepinephrine loose in the blood? 
 Sounds good to me. 

J.F. Ridgley   jfridgley@jfridgley.com
My website: http://www.jfridgley.com
RPride website http://www.rpridepublishing.com 

Friday, July 20, 2012

History Catches up to Bras

L.G.C. Smith

With the recent announcement that 600 year-old bras were found in Lemberg Castle in the Austrian Tyrol (abcn.ws/NC1xEl), historical romance writers of big-bosomed heroines may breathe easier. We may now confidently rig bra-like foundation garments for our ladies of the past, should they require them. For decades, writers have struggled to balance the received wisdom that bras were not used before the early twentieth century with the imagined discomfort of active heroines doing bouncy things like riding horses and running through the woods without adequate support.

Plenty of writers have adopted the rough and ready stance that dire need and female ingenuity must have come up with individually crafted solutions to the bra problem. There is the “chest bound in linen strips” solution, most commonly found in medieval romances and those where the heroine is disguised as a male. There is the “cut up an old corset” solution, usually employed by thrifty western women and the British horsey set. Wherever one finds romance heroines endowed with a C-cup or better, one finds creative writers desirous of keeping those heroines comfortable. Besides, it’s fun to peel off layers in seduction scenes.

The bigger issue here is how far we can claim to be historically accurate when there are so many things we don’t know about the past. Most of us who write historical fiction do so because we are fascinated by the past, and we want to make it come alive for readers—and ourselves while we’re writing. That may be the real reason we write historical fiction. As hard as we try to faithfully re-create a past time and place, however, we don’t know everything.

So we imagine. If we have a fair handle on the material and social culture of the times we write about, we can always assume people in the past were at least as smart as we are. They might not know what we know, but they know a lot we don’t. How many of us could plow a field if we had to? Hunt or gather dinner without killing ourselves in the process? Some could. People are resourceful now, and they were in the past.

 The German Shepherd Dog next door.

The next time I read a historical novel with a German Shepherd Dog in the 16th century, instead of getting up on my high horse about historical inaccuracy, and doesn’t that idiot know that German Shepherds weren’t developed until the late nineteenth century, I will consider that maybe someone in a little village in Belgium bred dogs looking remarkably like German Shepherds in 1736. If the writer calls them German Shepherds, I reserve the right to be annoyed, but otherwise, I will calm down and continue reading. After all, there are 600 year-old bras from an Austrian castle no one knew about for centuries.

L. G. C. Smith
A Secret Queen of Hidden Realms
She is a sorceress. A witch. Alone in the shadowed mountains she works forgotten magic to keep the land strong. Few remain who understand her sovereignty. Hers is a lonely life. One dark Samhain night she looks for one who might match her ability to bring harmony to the land and its people. If he will. His fate and the future of Britain lie in her hands.
An Enemy King
A young king of the Angles hears a fireside tale from his Welsh cousins. There is a witch who can grant him the power he yearns for most: To rule over all Britain. To gain it, he will have to prove himself worthy in unfamiliar ways. No sword or cunning will sway this witch. Can he learn the lessons she sets for him in time to earn his prize?
An Alliance to Assure the Future?
Not for hundreds of years has there has been a king with the potential to rule beside the Lady of the Isles. Strong and skillful, the young king tempts her when she tests his mettle. The Old Ways say that she can have him, or she can have his child. Which one will she choose?

Click here to buy Eve of All Hallows now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seeing Clearly in the Regency - Vivienne

If you ever wondered what people with poor eyesight used during the Regency and Georgian eras...

Since ladies and gentlemen did not wear spectacles out in public, many people used a quizzing glass. They were so fashionable that even those with good vision would carry them. A quizzing glass would be held up to the eye to see a person or object better (rather than directly holding it over an object or newspaper as you would a magnifying glass). A person would wear it by stringing a gold chain or ribbon through the smaller loop.

While I think it started out as a practical device for those with poor eyesight, it was also used at social gatherings to people watch or to indicate annoyance or interest in another guest. Historical Hussies mentions that Beau Brummel used the device to demonstrate his disapproval of people he didn't like. In a society where manners and good breeding were everything, a person could give an insult or  approval without saying a word.

Another popular viewing device was a lorgnette, which was basically a cross between a quizzing glass and spectacles. It is the precursor to modern opera glasses. The lorgnette was invented in 1770, while the quizzing glass was invented in 1727.

For more information, visit:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Edwardian Living

by Sheryl Hoyt writing Historical Romance as Saralynn Hoyt

A few weeks ago I was surfing channels and was pretty excited to land on a PBS Downton Abby fund raiser. They were featuring, Secrets of Manor Houses and of course, Downton Abby. So I grabbed my tea and notebook and settled in for the afternoon.

This topic is of special interest to me as I’m in the middle of editing my Edwardian psychic ghost story, Heaven Made. What is so fascinating about this period of time is that it straddles the old with new in what I consider a perfect way. You had some lovely modern conveniences, such as the water closet, telephone, automobile, and electricity, while still embracing the old fashions, styles and customs of the past. Also, in Edwardian times, especially in jolly old England, the lines were becoming blurred as to who could claim access to the peers and highest echelons of society.

With all their posturing and posing, the Ton was going broke trying to maintain their huge estates and elaborate lifestyles. An infusion of money was required and the easiest way for the family heir to get his hands on ready cash was to marry an American heiress.

Another great BBC show that highlights this trend is, The Buccaneers. A wealthy American man sends his daughters to London to find peers of the realm to marry so that he can use those contacts in order to increase his own business interests. This was becoming a very common practice by the late 1800’s and although the Americans were made fun of behind their backs, the English simply couldn’t afford to decline the generous offer of these gauche and sometimes unattractive daughters in exchange for monetary gain.
Another fascinating trend of the time was the chasm between below stairs and above stairs was growing narrower. Part of the reason for this was because modern conveniences, like electricity and the automobile made it possible to run a manor house on fewer and fewer servants. Before, when a lamp needed to be lit in every room and a stable full of horses had to be maintained, it wasn’t unusual for a house to have up to a hundred on staff. This made ignoring the vast number of hired help a bit easier and less obvious.

However, the one event that truly changed the relationship between servants and masters was World War I. It was difficult to ignore the lower classes when they were fighting with their former masters side by side or caring for the wounded elbow to elbow. After that momentous event, it would be difficult to go back to the old ways.

In my book, Heaven Made, which takes place in 1902 London, I found another interesting topic to focus on. Not only were the peers going broke, but of course a lady could find herself in dire straits if she had no means of her own. If she were widowed and her husband’s estate was entailed to a distant male relative, she might very well find herself out on the street looking for a position. Not much work out there for a lady of previous means. During my research I found an interesting occupation described as ‘lady help’. It was a position in a fine home where there was no lady of the house (a wife, mother, aunt or older daughter) yet there was still a need for overseeing of the staff. Don’t forget, most households in this era still had quite a large staff of servants who if given an inch would take a mile. The housekeeper and butler could only do so much without the firm hand of a master and mistress. I took a little liberty with this idea and ran with it, adding a matchmaking psychic employment agency to the mix. This of course is the fun part about writing fiction, mixing some truth with wholly fabricated themes.

If I could travel back in time, I wouldn’t mind being one of those American heiresses shipped off to jolly old England to find myself a cash poor Duke to wed. Maybe I’ll write a book about it.

Sheryl Hoyt aka Saralynn Hoyt lives in North Bend, Washington State near Seattle. She lives in the Cascade foothills with her husband and two cats. A manager in the financial world by day, Sheryl likes to curl up with her cats and a toasty fire creating imaginary worlds in times and places that spark her imagination.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Research Books for Writing Regencies

Research Books for Writing Regencies

One of my favorite periods in history is the Regency era. I'm a huge Jane Austen fan, love Regency-styled clothes, architecture, history, etc. 

Below is a list of books I use for researching the Regency.  Some also include history on the Georgian era. 


A Lady of Fashion - Barbara Johnson's Album of Styles and Fabrics - by Barbara Johnson.  Color reproductions of fabric samples from Barbara Johnson's album of clothing designed for her during her lifetime (mid 18th century to early 19th century).  The journal entries include fabrics, designs and prices.  This book is no longer in print but can be found used.


The Regency Companion - by Sharon Laudermilk and Teresa L. Hamlin.  This book covers a lot of information on general Regency topics.  From clothing, to gaming, to food, this book is a must have for anyone writing Regencies.  I believe it is now out of print, but used copies can be found online. 

The Jane Austen Handbook - by Margaret C. Sullivan.  A great book with general information on the Regency era.  Includes a nice section on everyday life that covers managing an estate, list of servants, social gatherings (including card games) and a glossary.

Georgette Heyer's Regency World - by Jennifer Kloester.  An excellent book on all things Regency.  Includes a section on money, banking, postal service, military history, carriages, a Who's Who list, resorts and The Season.  Several glossaries are found in the book dealing with clothing and general Regency terms.

The Jane Austen Dictionary - by Pauline E. Kelly.  This unique dictionary of Regency terms is sprinkled with notes from Austen's own writing, showing the usage of the words in her novels.


Cooking With Jane Austen & Friends - by Laura Boyle.  A great book with authentic recipes from Austen's own writings.  Aside from the wonderful recipes, I like this book's notes and details about food during Austen's era.  The book covers Breakfast, Dinner, Sweets, Tea Time and Beverages.  Available from the Jane Austen Center, Bath England.


A Map Of Bath In The Time Of Jane Austen - map with information on Jane Austen and her novels.  Available from the Jane Austen Center in Bath, England.

Bath As Jane Austen Knew It (books 1 and 2) - by Terry Old.  A fascinating look at the places in Bath that played a part in Jane Austen's life and books.  Both books include maps and color photos.  Available from the Jane Austen Center in Bath, England.


Jane Austen's Town & Country Style - by Susan Watkins. Chock full of photos and information on Jane Austen's family and life.  A must have reference book for Jane Austen fans.

The Illustrated Letters Of Jane Austen - by Penelope Hughes-Hallett.  Jane Austen's world comes to life through copies of her letters.  This book includes many photographs and a ton of interesting information about Austen's life.


Georgian & Regency Houses Explained - by Trevor Yorke.   I love this book!  Not only does it detail architectural styles of Regency and Georgian houses, there are fabulous photos!  Excellent information on building materials, windows, stairs, house layouts, fireplaces, gardens, servant quarters, and overall style details. 


To Marry An English Lord - by Gail MacColl.  This book deals with early 20th century English nobility and the American heiresses they married.  Even though it is not Regency, it's a fascinating look into New York society and the Ton with great info on the different titles of nobility. 

All Things Austen (Two Volumes) - by Kirstin Olsen. This is the ULTIMATE encyclopedia of Jane Auten's world. 

Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry - Denis Diderot.  A fascinating look at arts and sciences of the 18th century.  The illustrated plates give you a wonderful insight into everything from fashion workrooms to palace interiors to bridges/architecture.    

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A History of the Canadian Flag by Anna Markland

St. George's Cross
I am probably safe in assuming that 99.9% of Canadians know that our neighbour to the south celebrates its Independence Day on July 4th. But sadly most Americans are unaware that Canada also celebrates its national day in the same month-July 1st to be precise.

Like Americans, Canadians are proud of their flag. But the distinctive Maple Leaf Flag wasn't always our flag. Here's a brief history.

The first flag known to have flown in Canada was the St George's Cross carried by the explorer, John Cabot when he reached Newfoundland in 1497.

In 1534, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in Gaspé bearing the French royal coat of arms with the fleurs-de-lis. His ship flew a red flag with a white cross, the national flag of France at the time.

The Royal Union Flag has been used in Canada since the 1621 British settlement in Nova Scotia. Since the surrender of New France to the United Kingdom in the early 1760s, the Royal Union Flag, called the Union Jack, was used as the national flag, as in the United Kingdom, until the adoption of the current flag in 1965.

Union Jack
Shortly after Canadian Confederation in 1867, the need for distinctive Canadian flags emerged. The first Canadian flag was that then used as the Flag of the Governor General of Canada, a Royal Union Flag with a shield in the centre bearing the quartered arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves. In 1870 the Red Ensign, with the addition of the Canadian composite shield in the fly, began to be used unofficially on land and sea and was known as the Canadian Red Ensign.
Canadian Red Ensign

As new provinces joined the Confederation, their arms were added to the shield. In 1892, the British admiralty approved the use of the Red Ensign for Canadian use at sea. The composite shield was replaced with the coat of arms of Canada upon its grant in 1921 and, in 1924, an Order in Council approved its use for Canadian government buildings abroad.

In 1925, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (the PM on our $50 bill)  established a committee to design a flag to be used at home, but it was dissolved before the final report could be delivered. Despite the failure of the committee to solve the issue, public sentiment in the 1920s was in favour of fixing the flag problem for Canada.

During the Second World War, the Red Ensign was the national flag Canadian troops carried into battle. A joint committee of the Senate and House of Commons was appointed on November 8, 1945, to recommend a national flag to officially adopt. By May 9 the following year, 2,695 designs were submitted and the committee reported back with a recommendation "that the national flag of Canada should be the Canadian red ensign with a maple leaf in autumn golden colours in a bordered background of white". The Legislative Assembly of Quebec, however, had urged the committee to not include any of what it deemed as "foreign symbols", including the Royal Union Flag, and Mackenzie King, then still prime minister, declined to act on the report, leaving the order to fly the Canadian Red Ensign in place.
Suggested 1945 flag

By the 1960s, however, debate for an official Canadian flag intensified and became a subject of controversy, culminating in the Great Flag Debate of 1964. In 1963, the minority Liberal government of Lester B. Pearson gained power and decided to adopt an official Canadian flag through parliamentary debate. 
Lester B. Pearson

The principal political proponent of the change was Prime Minister Lester Pearson. (Yes, Toronto Airport is named in his honour).

He had been a significant broker during the Suez Crisis of 1956, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. During the crisis, Pearson was disturbed when the Egyptian government objected to Canadian peacekeeping forces on the grounds that the Canadian flag (the Red Ensign) contained the same symbol (the Royal Union Flag) also used as a flag by the United Kingdom, one of the belligerents.
Pearson's goal was for the Canadian flag to be distinctive and unmistakably Canadian. The main opponent to changing the flag was the leader of the opposition and former prime minister, John Diefenbaker, who eventually made the subject a personal crusade.

Pearson was leader of a minority government and risked losing power over the issue; however, he knew the Red Ensign with the Union Jack was unpopular in Quebec, a base of support for his Liberal Party, but the Red Ensign was strongly favoured by English Canada. On May 27, 1964, Pearson's minority government introduced a motion to parliament for adoption of his favourite design of a "sea to sea" (Canada's motto) flag with blue borders and three conjoined red maple leaves on a white field. This motion led to weeks of acrimonious debate in the House of Commons and the design came to be known as the "Pearson Pennant". 
"Pearson Pennant)

Diefenbaker demanded a referendum be held on the flag issue, but Pearson instead formed a 15-member multi-party parliamentary committee to select a new design.

Through a period of study with political manoeuvring, the committee chose the current design, which was created by George F.G. Stanley and inspired by the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. The design was approved unanimously by the committee on October 29, 1964, and later passed by a majority vote in the House of Commons on December 15, 1964. The Senate added its approval two days later.

Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, proclaimed the new flag on January 28, 1965. It was inaugurated on February 15 of the same year at an official ceremony held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in the presence of Governor General Major-General Georges P. Vanier, the Prime Minister, the members of the Cabinet, and Canadian parliamentarians. The Canadian Red Ensign was lowered at the stroke of noon, and the new Maple Leaf flag was raised. The crowd sang "O Canada" followed by "God Save the Queen". Maurice Bourget, Speaker of the Senate, said, "The flag is the symbol of the nation's unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief, or opinion."

Happy Birthday to both our great nations!

Reminder that two of my books, Dark and Bright, and Conquering Passion, are FREE for two days only July 11/12.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Haunted, Historical Summer Hideaway

This might seem like an unusual post for a blog which focuses on historical romance. There’s some history involved, but there’s a paranormal twist. And the cool thing is, this isn’t a fictional tale.
For the last dozen years or so, my family and I have been fortunate enough to have a summer hideaway on a lake to go to when the weather becomes hot and unbearable like now. There’s a story behind the history of this cottage that I still haven’t attempted to validate yet because, well, I like the mystery and suspense behind it.
I love getting away. I’m writing this post in the living room where it’s nice and cool – my excuse for beating the heat. LOL Maybe someday I’ll research the history of this house, but for now, I prefer to make up my own scenarios for the why’s and how’s.
My Aunt who now owns the cottage went to a psychic some years back after she and her husband bought the place. The psychic told her that the spirit of a Union soldier and his dog lived there. She said that William, as he was called, took his life in one of the four bedrooms upstairs. Now that is creepy, but why would he do that? Makes you wonder. At least it does me. Did the war take too much of a toll on him? And being a romantic, did he lose someone he loved?
The house was moved to where it stands now in the early 1900’s. From where, I don’t know. That’s another mystery I’d like to unravel. I believe it was build in the 1860’s. It’s completely feasible that it could’ve been William’s house. There’s only been one odd incident that made us all wonder if he has a sense of humor. We have two televisions and one day we couldn’t find the remote for one. When we came back the next time, both remotes were on the table. The psychic didn’t think that William was a mean spirit, but perhaps lonely. We’ll say hello to him and I like to think he’s watching over the place while it’s empty. And watching over us while we’re there. Though just to make sure he wouldn’t scare me, I prayed silently and asked him not to, that we weren’t there to cause any trouble, but to stay there in peace with him. And well, it’s worked so far.
I know that some don’t believe in hauntings, but for those who do, have you ever experienced anything paranormal good or bad? Did it frighten you? Have you traveled to any historical sites that are said to be haunted? And if so, did anything happen?

Abbey MacInnis is a published author of Contemporary Western romance. Along with Contemporary, she writes Historical, Paranormal and erotic romance. Whether a Medieval knight, regency rake, or cowboy or cop, her heroes are always strong men who’ll love their women unconditionally.
On most days, Abbey can be found at her computer, penning her latest tale. A tale where love, respect, and passion combine to create a satisfying and happy ending. She invites you to step in to the pages of her romances, to leave your worries behind and get swept up in her world.
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Petra One of the Seven Wonders

I've always been fascinated with the ancient city of Petra. But who wouldn't be captivated by this spectacular stone city? If this city looks familiar, you might remember that Petra was the backdrop for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

The Lost City of Stone in Petra

The Lost City of Stone in Petra

The location of Petra
Click to get larger version
Petra (from the Latin word 'petrae', meaning 'rock') lies in a great rift valley east of Wadi 'Araba in Jordan about 80 kilometers south of the Dead Sea. It came into prominence in the late first century BCE (BC) through the success of the spice trade. The city was the principal city of ancient Nabataea and was famous above all for two things: its trade and its hydraulic engineering systems. It was locally autonomous until the reign of Trajan, but it flourished under Roman rule. The town grew up around its Colonnaded Street in the first century CE (AD) and by the mid-first century had witnessed rapid urbanization. Following the flow of the Wadi Musa, the city-center was laid out on either sides of the Colonnaded Street on an elongated plan between the theater in the east and the Qasr al-Bint in the west. The quarries were probably opened in this period, and there followed virtually continuous building through the first and second centuries CE.

The Treasury
According to tradition, in ca. 1200 BCE, the Petra area (but not necessarily the site itself) was populated by Edomites and the area was known as Edom ("red"). Before the Israelite incursions, the Edomites controlled the trade routes from Arabia in the south to Damascus in the north. Little is known about the Edomites at Petra itself, but as a people they were known for their wisdom, their writing, their textile industry, the excellence and fineness of their ceramics, and their skilled metal working.
The next chapter of history belongs to the Persian period, and it is posited that during this time the Nabataeans migrated into Edom, forcing the Edomites to move into southern Palestine. But little is known about Petra proper until about 312 BC by which time the Nabataeans, one of many Arab tribes, occupied it and made it the capital of their kingdom. At this time, during the Hellenistic rule of the Seleucids, and later, the Ptolemies, the whole area flourished with increased trade and the establishment of new towns such as Philadelphia (Rabbath 'Ammon, modern Amman) and Gerasa (modern Jerash). Infighting between the Seleucids and Ptolemies allowed the Nabataeans to gain control over the caravan routes between Arabia and Syria. Although there were struggles between the Jewish Maccabeans and the Seleucid overlords, Nabataean trade continued.

The Temple of Winged Lions
With Nabataean rule, Petra became the center for a spice trade that extended from Arabia to Aqaba and Petra, and onward either to Gaza in the northwest, or to the north through Amman to Bostra, Damascus, and finally on to Palmyra and the Syrian Desert. Nabataean Classical monuments reflect the international character of the Nabataean economy through their combination of native tradition and the classical spirit.
But among the most remarkable of all Nabataean achievements is the hydraulic engineering systems they developed including water conservation systems and the dams that were constructed to divert the rush of swollen winter waters that create flash floods.
In 64-63 BCE, the Nabataeans were conquered by the Roman general, Pompey, whose policy was to restore the cities taken by the Jews. However, he retained an independent Nabataea, although the area was taxed by the Romans and served as a buffer territory against the desert tribes. Completely subsumed by the Romans under the Emperor Trajan in 106 CE, Petra and Nabataea then became part of the Roman province known as Arabia Petraea with its capital at Petra. In 131 CE Hadrian, the Roman emperor, visited the site and named it after himself, Hadriane Petra. The city continued to flourish during the Roman period, with a Triumphal Arch spanning the Siq, and tomb structures either carved out of the living rock or built free-standing. Under Roman rule, Roman Classical monuments abounded — many with Nabataean overtones.

The Colonnaded Street
By 313 CE (AD), Christianity had become a state-recognized religion. In 330 CE, the Emperor Constantine established the Eastern Roman Empire with its capital at Constantinople. Although the 363 earthquake destroyed half of the city, it appears that Petra retained its urban vitality into late antiquity, when it was the seat of a Byzantine bishopric. The newly excavated Petra church with its papyrus scrolls document this period, especially in the sixth century, a phenomenon less well-attested in other sites so far south of 'Amman. In this period there is also striking archaeological and documentary evidence for accommodation between Christians and the pagan aristocracy. Thereafter one can read the archaeology of a fragmented middle Byzantine community living among and re-using the abandoned limestone and sandstone elements of its classical past. The inhabitants during the Byzantine Period recycled many standing structures and rock-cut monuments, while also constructing their own buildings, including churches — such as the recently excavated Petra Church with the extraordinary mosaics. Among the rock-cut monuments they reused is the great tomb or the Ad-Dayr (known also as 'The Monastery'), which was modified into a church. With a change in trade routes, Petra's commercial decline was inevitable. An even more devastating earthquake had a severe impact on the city in 551 CE, and all but brought the city to ruin. With the rise of Islam, Petra became a backwater community. Petra was revealed to the western world in 1812 for the first time since the Crusades when it was re-discovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. 
Can't you just imagine the romances that took place in this city? 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012