Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Duchess and the Necromancers

I vaguely remember hearing this story many years ago but I never knew the particulars. From author Nancy Bilyeau:
During the 15th century, England was an orthodox kingdom of devout Catholics--and yet superstition ran amok. In 1456, 12 men petitioned Henry VI for permission to practice alchemy, among them two of the king's own physicians. Some courtiers owned astrological books. What was heresy and what was knowledge linked to the fashionable pursuit of ancient texts? It was not always possible to know what was forbidden--until you made a mistake.
The stage was set for Eleanor Cobham and her ambitious play for love, power and glory. 

The daughter of Sir Reginald Cobham, Eleanor in her early twenties entered the service of the highborn and illustrious Jacqueline, Countess of Hanault. Jacqueline repudiated her husband, John of Brabant, and fled to England in search of champions, marrying the youngest brother of Henry V: Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. (Read entire post.)

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