Medieval times stretch from the end of the Dark Ages, whenever
that was, to about the time of Martin Luther, give or take
a few decades either way. This was the age of knights and
damsels in distress, of courtly love, plague epidemics, Crusades,
slaughters, smallpox, and interminable squabbling over who
was going to be in charge of Burgundy or Lombardy or someplace
like that. No one -- with the exception of people who wear
funny shoes -- ever sits around and yearns for the good old
The Middle Ages do represent a certain amount of human progress.
People did start shaving and taking care of their hair again,
if only to get the vermin out. It was an age of goofy hats
and shoes with long, pointed toes with bells on the end. A
high forehead was considered desirable, so ladies would pluck
themselves bald all the way back to the ears.
We obviously live in a much more enlightned age today; if
those medieval babes had been as smart as we are today they
would have gotten multiple tatoos and had their navels, both
ears multiple times, and their noses pierced.
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (Red Beard)
the Holy Roman Empire, beat up Milan and the Lombard League,
gave the Pope a dutch rub, and then got embroiled in the Fouth
Crusade. It is said, by those who don't know any better, that
he awakens from his sleep in a mountain in central Germany
every hundred years to see if Germany needs his help. Sometimes
he and King Arthur get together and play cards.
Despite his curly locks, soulful eyes and magnificent moustacios,
Vlad Tzepesh, Prince of Wallachia, was not a nice man. He
may have been the most awful human being who ever lived. He
was given the name Drakul, meaning "Dragon," for
his ferocity in battle. Vlad the Impaler was the original
two foreign ambassadors refused to doff their hats to him,
he had their hats nailed to their heads. By 1462, when he
was deposed, he had killed between 40,000 and 100,000 people
in the name of good government. He killed merchants who cheated
their customers. He killed women who had affairs. He had one
woman impaled because her husband's shirt was too short. That
was a lesson for her.