Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shakespearean time - Elizabethan period part 3

Elizabethan Theatre

Elizabethan Theatre History and Timeline
The history of the theater is fascinating. How plays were first produced in the yards of inns - the Inn-yards. The very first theater and the development of the amphitheatre! The Elizabethan Entrepreneurs ( the men with the ideas and the money!). The building, design and construction of a London Elizabethan Theatre. The plays, the playwrights, the politics and the propaganda all play an important part in the history of the Elizabethan Theatre. The Elizabethan Theatre was a booming business. People loved the Theatre! The Elizabethan plays and theatres were as popular as the movies and cinemas of the early 20th century. Vast amounts of money could be made! The inn-keepers increased their profits by allowing plays to be shown on temporary stages erected in the yards of their inns (inn-yards). Soon purpose-built playhouses and great open theatres were being constructed. The great success of the theatre and what led to its downfall. The section covering Elizabethan Theatre includes the following subjects:
  • The History of the Elizabethan theatre - the Inn-Yards, the Amphitheatres and the Playhouses
  • Elizabethan Plays and Propaganda
  • Elizabethan theatre and Plays banned from London City Limits
  • The Puritans and the demise of the Elizabethan Theatre
An Elizabethan Theatre Time presents all of the imported dates and events in the history of the Elizabethan Theatre in a logical order!
Famous London Elizabethan Theatres
The theatre was an expanding industry during the Elizabethan era. Many theatres sprang up in and around the City of London. The excitement, money and fame lured Elizabethan theatre entrepreneurs and actors into working in the famous Elizabethan Theatre. Information about each of the most famous names and type of theatre in the Elizabethan era have been described in this section including the Globe,
the Theatre, Newington Butts, the Curtain Elizabethan Theatre, the Rose Theatre, the Swan Theatre, the Fortune Elizabethan Theatre, the Boars Head , the Bear Garden, the Bull Ring and the Hope Elizabethan Theatre.

Shakeperean time - Elizabethan period part 2

Elizabethan Hair Styles

Elizabethan Hair StylesElizabethan Hair Styles for the court were led by Queen Elizabeth. Upper class fashion, which included hairstyles, was highly elaborate - and necessary to achieve attention and success at court. It was referred to as the Peacock age as the Upper class Elizabethan men were often more elaborately dressed than the women and their hair and beards received a similar amount of attention!
Elizabethan Hair ColorIt was important for Queen Elizabeth to maintain her image and the beauty of a 'Virgin Queen'. The Elizabethan view of ideal beauty was a woman with light hair and a snow white complexion complimented with red cheeks and red lips. Queen Elizabeth achieved this picture of ideal beauty by using white make-up. This explains the odd white face make-up seen in many of her portraits. Queen Elizabeth had a natural red color hair. This red hair look was emulated by many of the nobility of the Elizabethan era, as was the fair hair ideal of an ideal woman! An Upper Class Elizabethan woman followed this fashion further and might even dye her hair yellow with a mixture of saffron, cumin seed, celandine and oil! Wigs were also commonly used - Queen Elizabeth had a wide variety of wigs and hair pieces - believed to number over eighty! These were often referred to as Periwigs.
Elizabethan Hair Styles for WomenElizabethan Hair Styles for women were designed to compliment the upper class fashions of the day. Ruffs, or ruffles, were in high fashion and during the Elizabethan era these became more elaborate and were constructed on gauze wings which were raised at the back of the head. The ruffs, or collars, framed the face and dictated the hairstyles of the age which were generally short for men ( at the beginning of the Elizabethan era) and swept up look was required for women. A frizzy hairstyle was also one of the required styles for women! Women kept their hair long and the full natural beauty of their long hair was displayed by the young women of the era. The long hair flowing hair of a young girl was a sign of a virgin and the favoured hairstyle for a bride on her wedding day. An Elizabethan bride would adorn her hair with fresh flowers. Once a woman achieved the married status she wore her hair swept up. Much of the hair was covered by some form of head covering. Long hair was generally dressed in a bun to which the variety of head coverings could be pinned. The front and sides of the hair received great attention as this was the area that was most displayed. Fringes were not in fashion - hairstyle fashion dictated that hair was combed way from the forehead. The hairstyle was usually designed to compliment the style of the hat. Frizzed hair was favoured by the Queen and therefore followed by ladies of the court although straight hair was favoured with a centre parting which especially complimented the french hood.  
Head Coverings for Women
The Elizabethan fashion dictated that the head was adorned with a hat, veil, coif or caul. This fashion therefore ensured that much of the hair was hidden by some form of head coverings. The style of the head covering dictated the hairstyle. Many of the hats were adorned with feathers, pearls, glass jewels, spangles, gold thread, embroidery and lace.
  • The Coif - The coif ( commonly referred to as the 'biggin' ) worn by all children. Material was plain white linen, a close fitting cap tied under the chin. Coifs were often worn as caps to keep hair in place under more elaborate hats
  • The French hood - Introduced from the French court by Anne Boleyn, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. A half moon, or crescent, style band or brim sloping away from the face. The edges were often adorned with pearls or glass jewels, called bilaments, and a veil covered the back of the hair
  • The Atifet - Similar to the French hood style but with a heart shaped crescent - favoured in white by Mary Queen of Scots. Lace trimmnigs were added
  • The Caul - Cauls were the Elizabethan hair net! A Caul covered the hair at the back of the head and was made of fabric, or fabric covered by netted cord which was sometimes adorned with spangles.
  • The Pillbox style of hat - often had a veil attached to the back
Elizabethan Hair Style - a comment dating back to 1583!During the Elizabethan era pamphlets were printed and distributed commenting on life in Elizabethan England. A writer of one such pamphlet was a well travelled Londoner called Philip Stubbes. He was believed to have been born c1555 and died c1610. He was well educated and attended both Oxford and Cambridge University. He was also a strict Elizabethan Puritan and held firm views on any social practices which, in his view were, unfitting  true Christians. He named his work " The Anatomie of Abuses " in which he strongly criticised many of the fashions of the Elizabethan era. It was entered in the Stationers' Register on 1 March 1583. This pamphlet includes his view and some valuable information about Elizabethan hair styles:
"Then followeth the trimming and tricking of their heds in laying out their hair to the show, which of force must be curled, frizled and crisped, laid out on wreathes & borders from one eare to an other. And lest it should fall down, it is underpropped with forks, wyres, & I can not tel what, rather like grim stern monsters, than chaste christian matrones. Then on the edges of their bolstered heir (for it standeth crested round about their frontiers, & hanging over their faces like pendices or vails with glasse windows on every side) there is layd great wreathes of gold and silver, curiously wrought & cunningly applied to the temples of their heads. And for feare of lacking any thing to set foorth their pride withal, at their heyre, thus wreathed and crested, are hanged bugles, ouches, rings, gold, silver, glasses , & such other gewgawes and trinckets besides, which, for that they be innumerable, and I unskilfull in wemens terms, I cannot easily recount."
Elizabethan Hair Styles for MenElizabethan Hair Styles for men were just as important as they were for women. The length of hair varied during the Elizabethan era. It started as short closely cropped hairstyles and increased in length during the period. Considerable time was spent grooming the hair, especially when it was fashionable to sport a longer length. Long hair was required to be curly! Men had their hair curled with hot irons. To keep the hair in place wax or gum was applied to the hair!
Elizabethan Beards
It was fashionable for men to sport beards during the Elizabethan era. The styles and cut of beards changed with the fashion of the day. The beards could be cut in various styles including pointed ( van-dyke style ), square, round or oblong. Starch was applied to keep the beards in place. Beards were also kept long and so required no help from the barber. Philip Stubbes also had comments about Elizabethan barbers and the cuts of beards available:
"...have invented such strange fashions and monstrous maners of cuttings, trimmings, shavings and washings, that you would wonder to see. They have one maner of cut called the French cut, another the Spanish cut, one the Dutch cut, another the Italian, one the newe cut, another the old, one of the bravado fashion, another of the meane fashion. One a gentlemans cut, another the common cut, one cut of the court, an other of the country..."
Another description of Elizabethan England was written by William Harrison between 1577 - 1587 who described how the vanity of Elizabethan men was pandered to by their barbers
"if a man have a lean and straight face, a Marquess Otton’s cut will make it broad and large; if it be platter-like, a long, slender beard will make it seem the narrower; if he be weasel-becked, then much hair left on the cheeks will make the owner look big like a bowdled hen, and as grim as a goose, if Cornelis of Chelmersford say true. Many old men do wear no beards at all." 

Shakeperean time - Elizabethan period part1


The Hair styles, Make-up, Jewelry and even suitable Wedding Dress has also been included. But the most alien concepts of the Elizabethan era was that, regardless of their wealth, Elizabethans were not allowed to wear what clothes they liked. Their clothing and items of apparel were dictated by the Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws which governed the style and materials worn!
Elizabethan Clothing for Women
Elizabethan Clothing for Men
  • Underclothes!
    • Smock or shift, also called
      a chemise made of linen
    • Stockings or hose
    • Corset or bodice
    • Farthingale - a hooped skirt
    • A Roll or Rowle
    • Stomacher
    • Petticoat
    • Kirtle
    • Forepart
    • Partlet
  • Over Clothes!
    • Gown
    • Separate sleeves
    • Ruff
    • Cloak
    • Shoes
    • Hat
  • Underclothes!
    • Shirt
    • Stockings or hose
    • Codpiece
    • Corset
  • Over Clothes!
    • Doublet
    • Separate sleeves
    • Breeches
    • Belt
    • Ruff
    • Cloak
    • Shoes
    • Hat
Elizabethan Clothing for Women
Elizabethan Clothing for Men
The Sumptuary Laws - Enforcing statutes of Apparel - Governing Elizabethan Clothing!The Elizabethan Sumptuary Clothing Laws were used to control behaviour and to ensure that a specific class structure was maintained! English Sumptuary Laws governing the clothing that Elizabethans wore were well known by all of the English people. The penalties for violating Sumptuary Laws could be harsh - fines, the loss of property, title and even life!
Elizabethan Clothing, Fashion and the Sumptuary LawsElizabethan clothes provided information about the status of the person wearing them. This was not just dictated by the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing. Only Royalty were permitted to wear clothes trimmed with ermine. Lesser Nobles were allowed to wear clothing trimmed with fox and otter and so on and so forth! Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws dictated what colors and type of clothing individuals were allowed to own and wear, an easy and immediate way to identify rank and privilege. The materials and even the colors of Elizabethan clothing were therefore very important and sections have been dedicated to these subjects in relation to dyes, fabrics and the type of clothes that men were allowed to wear and the type of clothing that Elizabethan women were allowed to wear! As you read through the restrictions placed on Elizabethan clothing the subject becomes more and more fascinating. The importance and significance of costumes used in the Elizabethan theatres also becomes very clear!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Boccaccio's time - Medieval period (part6)

Giovanni Boccaccio                                                             

Born - Died : 1313 - 1375

Boccaccio's father was a Tuscan merchant. Boccaccio was born in Paris and brought in Florence. His father sent him to Naples to learn about business. The young Boccaccio was drawn to scholarship but became interested in the social life of the commercial and courtly classes. He came to admire Petrarch and fell in love with a beautiful girl, Fiametta. He was called back to Florence by his father. His most famous book, The Decameron, was written between 1348 and 1353 and is regarded as a perfect example of classical Italian prose. The Tuscan language is the parent of modern Italian. The Decameron draws upon the author's own romantic experiences and on his knowledge of commercial life. The stories are based round the experience of ten young people who flea from plague then afflicting Florence. They occupy a villa and tell each other earthly tales of love and sexual intrigue. Boccaccio is regarded as one of the most important figures in European literature and a key influence on renaissance humanism.

Book trailer: Aleph

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Boccaccio's time - Medieval period (part5)


The Dark Ages and the Bards

English Medieval literature had no existence until Christian times of the Dark Ages when Latin was the language of English literature. English Medieval literature was not written. It is passed by word of mouth from one generation to another by English, Welsh and Irish bards. The origins of the stories about King Arthur and the Arthurian Legend are found in many Welsh legends and Celtic Myths which told by Bards who therefore contributed to Medieval literature.

The Romantic Arthurian Legend

Tales told by the Bars were transferred into book form and the romantic stories of the Arthurian legend and the ideals of courtly love became part of Medieval literature. The main source of information about King Arthur and the ArthurianLegend was written by a Welsh cleric and author called Geoffrey of Monmouth who wrote a fictional book called Historia Regum Britanniae - the History of the Kings's of Britain in 1136. Other books called Historia Brittonum by Nennius, the Annales Cambriae, the Chronicon Anglicanum and the Welsh Mabinogion also make references to the Arthurian Legend and King Arthur.

The Language

The French language came over to England with Williams the Conqueror. During the whole of the 12th century it shared wit Latin the distinction of being the literary language of England, and it was in use at the court until 14th century. It was not until the reign of King Henry IV that English became the native tongue of the kings of England.

The Epic poems - Narrative Literature

The French epic poem came over to England at an early date. We know that the Chanson de Roland was sung at the battle of Hastings and such poetry was recited and sung in the 11th and 12th centuries by Troubadours, Trouveres and Minstrels who were the poets and musicians sang songs of courtly love and romance and were expected to learn and recite epic poems by heart. The aristocratic troubadours were poets who originated in the south of France and the elite troubadours of the north of France wrote in French and were called trouveres. Medieval poetry of the troubadours was invariably linked with music. The tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, originating with music and the poems of the English and Welsh Bards, were themes which were included in the lyrics of the Troubadour and minstrels songs.

The poets and Authors

Medieval literature was written by a variety of authors and poets, many of which are included in the following list:
  • Caedmon (657-680) was the first English poet of whom we have any knowledge and credited with the authorship of "The Dream of the Holy Rood"
  • Venerable Bede (673-735) who wrote the Ecclesiastical History of England and the scientific treatise, De Natura Rerum
  • Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) Famous Medieval author of the Canterbury Tales
  • Margery Kempre (1373-c1438) Famous as the author of the first autobiography in English
  • John Gower (1325-1374) was famous as a Medieval Poet 
  • Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) was famous as an Italian poet, and humanist and for his poems which were addressed to Laura
  • Dante 91265-1321) famous as a Medieval Poet and Politician
  • Christine de Pizan (1364-1430) famous as a Medieval author and feminist
  • William Longland (c13320c1386) who was famous as an English Poet who wrote the Vision of Piers Plowman
  • Boccaccio (1313-1375) an Italian writer who was famous for writing the Decameron
  • Rapahel Holinshed (c1529-1580) Famous as the Medieval Author of Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Boccaccio's time - Medieval period (part4)


Holidays and Festivals

The Medieval people of the Middle Ages shared a common life in the work of the fields, in the sports of the village green, and in the services of the parish church. They enjoyed many holidays; it has been estimated that, besides Sundays, about eight weeks in every year were free from work. Festivities at Christmas, Easter, and May Day, at the end of ploughing and the completion of harvest, relieved the monotony of the daily round of labor.

The Entertainers

 Who were the people who provided the entertainment during the Middle Ages? The Medieval entertainers of the Middle Ages including Jesters (A fool or buffoon at medieval courts), Mummers (Masked or costumed merrymaker or dancers at festivals), Minstrels and Troubadours, acrobats and jugglers and conjurers.

Games and Entertainment

Medieval Games of the Middle Ages were popular in all walks of society. Games were played by the upper  classes and the Lower classes, by adults and children. Different types of games and entertainment fell into a number of different categories including Card Games, Board Games, Dice Games, and Sporting Games and Children's games. Frequently, these games were played for money or honors, and therefore they are the ancestors of the modern day's casino games such as craps, online slots, or roulette. The following board games were played  and enjoyed as entertainment during the middle ages:

  • Chess
  • Backgammon
  • Alquerques
  • Fox and Geese
  • Knucklebones
Outdoor Entertainment

  • Archery
  • Gameball
  • Bowls
  • Colf - the ancestor of Golf
  • Hammer - throwing
  • Hurling - a similar game to Hockey
  • Wrestling
Outdoor entertainment also included the practices of certain festivals including May Day when people danced around a maypole and choose a May Queen. Religious plays were re-enacted by the Mummers.

Entertainment for rich people

Entertainment for rich people centered around the spectacles of jousting and feasts or banquets. The Medieval Period of the Middle Ages becoming more refined and elegant and the concept of courtly love was introduced and displayed at both tournaments and jousts. The sumptuous feasts and banquets also provided
entertainment for rich people during the Middle Ages. During the feast musicians would play and provide musical entertainment. After feasting entertainment might be provided by minstrels, troubadours, jesters, acrobats, fire-eaters and conjurers. The dance was also important as part of "courtly love" entertainment. Knights were expected not only to fight but also to dance.