All the history I know comes from historical novels

After reading most of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe’s Rifles series, now I’m reading Cornwell’s Saxon Tales series about England in the time of King Alfred the Great. The narrator, a Saxon named Uhtred, speaks his mind about other people’s appearance:

  • A certain priest “had a squint, a palsied hand, and a face like a sick weasel, which really did not make him a great favorite with women.”
  • About a girl someone wants him to marry, Uhtred says, “Sixteen and unmarried, which suggests she has a face like a bag of maggots.”

Apparently people didn’t show much sensitivity in the ninth century.


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