All posts by Bad Historian

800 medieval illuminated manuscripts digitized

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England and France may have had one or two little issues with each other in the Middle Ages, but all is forgiven now and 800 medieval illuminated manuscripts have been digitized and made available to the public on the websites of the British Library and Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The BL and BnF have the largest collections of medieval illuminated manuscripts in the world. To make some of these masterpieces accessible to the general public, both libraries worked together with funding from the Polonsky Foundation, a charitable organization that focuses on preserving and sharing cultural heritage primarily through the digitizing of important collections.

The carefully curated collection features works created in Medieval England and France between 700 and 1200 A.D.

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Medieval Irish Avicenna fragment found in English book

Source found HERE:

A fragment of a medieval manuscript used in the binding of a printed book has been identified as a unique Irish-language translation of a medical compendium by the great Islamic philosopher and physician Avicenna. Written on vellum in the 15th century, the fragment was part of a manuscript of Book 1 of The Canon of Medicine, a five-volume overview of medical knowledge in the Islamic world written in 1025 by Persian physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna in the Latinized version). The fragment is small, consisting of parts of descriptions of the physiology of the jaws, nose and back. It is an Irish translation of the Latin version of the text translated from the Arabic by Gerard of Cremona in the 13th century. This fragment is the only known example of Avicenna’s Canon in Irish.

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On “the way of carnal lust”, Joan of Leeds, and the difficulty of clerical celibacy


Loves, you may have had the pleasure of being alerted, in the Guardian (which is a SWERF and TERF-ridden rag of a paper, but hey-ho), to the important findings of Professor Sarah Rees Jones and her team at the University of York’s extremely important discovery of the story of Sister Joan of Leeds.

Joan of Leeds, in an OG proof of the fact that you cannot defeat a bad bitch (you just cannot do that), in that in the year of our Lord 1318 got Archbishop William Melton of York’s attention to the point that our boy had to write out a note…

To warn Joan of Leeds, lately nun of the house of St Clement by York, that she should return to her house…

See, your man was straight up MAD that Joan had…

…impudently cast aside the propriety of religion and the modesty of her sex … [and] … out of a malicious mind simulating a bodily illness, she pretended to be dead, not dreading for the health of her soul, and with the help of numerous of her accomplices, evildoers, with malice aforethought, crafted a dummy in the likeness of her body in order to mislead the devoted faithful and she had no shame in procuring its burial in a sacred space amongst the religious of that place…

The Archbishop of York’s register, where Joan’s case is recorded.

Why? Well, because she…

…turned her back on decency and the good of religion, seduced by indecency, she involved herself irreverently and perverted her path of life arrogantly to the way of carnal lust and away from poverty and obedience, and, having broken her vows and discarded the religious habit, she now wanders at large to the notorious peril to her soul and to the scandal of all of her order.

In other words, Joan was out to catch some D and she didn’t care if she had to fake her own death and make a dummy to replace her during burial so she could sneak out of her nunnery in order to do that.

Now, this story is notable in that Joan here was crafty AF. Making an actual model corpse in order to leave a nunnery? We stan. Having said, that, the heart of the story – a nun who wanted to get it and fled her nunnery in order to do so –  is not in and of itself that exceptional. In fact, the idea that medieval nuns were extremely horny was enough of a trope that it inspired what I am assuming is probably your fav medieval image – the penis tree loving nuns of Bibliothèque nationale de France manuscript MS Fr. 25526.

nuns penis tree
You know whomst the fuck it is.

Why were horny nuns such a stereotype of the medieval period? Well, firstly as everyone in the medieval period agreed, and as we’ve discussed before, women were by nature Very Horny. (Yes, that is a technical term.) That is why they were always running about, making dildos, cuckolding their husbands, and in general being sexually ungovernable.

Nuns, being women, were no exception to this rule. Their vow of chastity was meant to keep them off of the D and indoors where they couldn’t act like complete dick pigs, but so were women’s vows of fidelity during marriage and, well, you know how that tended to turn out.

Read the rest here.. 

On Sex Toys and Penance


Last week on twitter I had a little chat about the presence of dildos in the penitential of Burchard of Worms, which raised some questions.

For those who have managed to escape the morass that is the twitter hellscape, a brief recap before we get on to making a historical point<imgsrc=”” alt=”™” class=”wp-smiley” style=”height: 1em; max-height: 1em;”>. Burchard of Worms was the Bishop of Worms, which was an extremely influential Holy Roman Imperial city, and which we generally think of now in relation to the Diet of Worms, where Martin Luther (who is just a second-rate Jan Hus, but whatever), was tried. Burchard, however, was working five blissful centuries before Luther came on the scene, i.e. at the end of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh centuries, and he was massively influential in making canon, or Church, law. He is also very well known for making his own penitential.</imgsrc=””>

For those who were not raised Catholic, a penitential is – more or less – a book that gives guidance to priests who are giving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which was known as the Sacrament of Penance in the medieval period. This is where Catholics (aka any non-Orthodox Christians in the medieval period) go into a little booth and tell a priest what sins they have committed. The priest then tells them what penance they have to do in order to be forgiven of the sins and reconciled with God.

Now, most people may have trouble telling a priest exactly what very sinful things they have done, and when hearing the sins of their flock, priests might struggle to come up with an appropriate penance to forgive them. Penitentials help with this because they provide priests with a series of questions they can ask repentant sinners to draw out the sins they have committed, and they also suggest appropriate penances for said sins.

As exciting as all of this is, there is a boring history point to be made here, which is that penitentials are a super tricky source. We don’t know, for example, if the sins that are included in penitentials are defo rife throughout a particular parish, or if they are something that come from a lot of individual reflections on the part of priests. In other words, when we think about weird sex stuff in penitentials does that mean that lots of medieval people were doing weird sex stuff all over the place, OR does it mean that a celibate priest with a lot of time on his hands to think about sex and how VERY NAUGHTY it is came up with some strange answers? It’s hard to say, and medieval historians love to argue about that.

One way or another, however, Burchard defo wanted priests to ask any women in confession the following:

Have you done what certain women are accustomed to do, that is, to make some sort of device or implement in the shape of the male member, of the size to match your desire, and you have fastened it to the area of your genitals or those of another with some form of fastenings and you have fornicated with other women or others have done with a similar instrument or another sort with you? If you have done this you shall do penance for five years on legitimate holy days.[1]

AKA, did you make a dildo? Did you then strap it on to someone else and get your fuck on? That is naughty and there is gonna have to be some penance.

This isn’t so surprising to most of us, given that we are talking about sex to Catholics and of course it’s all very naughty. Of course you ought not be doing it and a priest is going to tell you to repent and all that.

What is surprising about this is that your boy also talks a bit about weird sex magic elsewhere, to whit:

Have you done what some women are wont to do? They take a live fish and put it in their vagina, keeping it there for a while until it is dead. Then they cook or roast it and give it to their husbands to eat, doing this in order to make the men be more ardent in their love for them. If you have, you should do two years of penance on the appointed fast days.[2]


Now this raised some questions among my lovely followers, namely, why is the penance for having sex with a dildo worse than doing weird vagina fish magic on your husband?

The answer is sodomy.

nuns penis tree

Now we tend to think of sodomy as just butt stuff, but it’s not. Technically sodomy is any kind of sex that means you can’t get someone pregnant. So butt stuff defo is sodomy, but so it manual sex, oral sex, and sex with strap ons, of course. If you are out here making dildos and having sex with people with them you are doing a big old sodomy and it is Extremely Bad. You’ll notice that Burchard here is particularly worried about women doing this to each other here, but he also acknowledges that “others” could be getting down on this. It doesn’t really matter then if the people doing this are doing a Gay Sex or not. Anyone doing it is bad because no. It is sodomy. He rebukes it.

Find more HERE

12th c. triple toilet seat goes on display

Move over, Vindolanda with your single-ass toilet seat. Medieval London is giving you three times the run for your money. A unique three-seater wooden toilet seat from the 12th century is going on display at the Museum of London Docklands. The rough hewn oak plank was preserved for centuries in the waterlogged environment of the Fleet River, one of the tributaries of the Thames that were “lost” to the development of the London sewage system in the Victorian era. It was unearthed in excavations near Ludgate Hill in the 1980s but the discovery wasn’t announced before because the money ran out before the thousands of artifacts from what was then the largest archaeological dig in London history could be published. (Besides, even experts didn’t appreciate scatological archaeology three decades ago as much as we do now.)

The communal toilet seat was once perched over a cesspit that emptied into the Fleet. It served the needs of people who lived and worked in on what was then a small island. Archaeologists even know its name, amazingly enough.

Remarkably, archaeologists have even been able to identify the owners of the building, which was known at the time as Helle: a capmaker called John de Flete and his wife, Cassandra. “So what I love about this is that we know the names of the people whose bottoms probably sat on it,” said Kate Sumnall, the curator of archaeology for the exhibition.

They would probably have shared the facilities with shopkeepers and potentially other families who lived and worked in the modest tenement block, she said. “This is a really rare survival. We don’t have many of these in existence at all.”

The toilet seat will be part of an exhibition dedicated to London’s lost rivers: Effra, Fleet, Neckinger, Lea, Wandle, Tyburn, Walbrook and Westbourne. Remains preserved in the loving embrace of the city’s rivers will go on display alongside the seat exemplifying how said rivers were used by Londoners as open sewers before they were diverted into culverts to be used as closed ones today. Bronze Age weapons deposited in the Thames as ritual offerings, a dog collar, animal skulls, discarded porcelain will represent the archaeology of the rivers while photographs, paintings, poems and film represent its history. Secret Rivers runs from May 24th through October 27th. Admittance is free, and just in case seeing the toilet seat isn’t worth the ticket price, a plastic replica will be available for visitors to perch upon. That’s a group selfie opportunity not to be missed.

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Restorative deboning at iconic Czech bone chapel

The Sedlec Abbey ossuary in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic, is known worldwide for its extravagant towers, massive central chandelier and decorative flourishes constructed of human bone. The Sedlec Ossuary is one of the greatest tourist draws in the Czech Republic, attracting a half million visitors a year.

The church was originally built around 1400 after the monastery’s cemetery became a major regional draw due to its having been sprinkled with soil from Golgotha in the 13th century. Death’s rich harvest during the Bubonic Plague of the mid-14th century and the Hussite Wars 50 years later gave the cemetery more business than it could handle, and the church included an ossuary on the lower level so bones could be stored to make room for new graves.

For hundreds of years monks collected bones in stacks in the ossuary, but the artistic bone structures as they exist today were created by woodcarver Frantisek Rint in 1870. (He signed his work, yes, in bone.) It’s estimated that the skeletons of 40,000-70,000 individuals, 60,000 or so skulls and 450,000 long bones, were used to create four large pyramidal mounds in each corner of the chapel and the other decorations in the nave and on the walls.

Now those famous pyramids are being dismantled as part of a major restoration project to repair structural issues of the mounds and of the church building itself. Without dismantling the pyramids, it’s not possible to repair plaster walls, floors and windows and dehumidify the space.

Restorers began to dismantle the first of the four pyramids in November. The bones are being placed in paper boxes one at a time and removed to a conservation laboratory where each bone will be surface cleaned, soaked in a weak lime solution and dried. They won’t be scoured or even cleaned as thoroughly as restorers cleaned the hanging elements like the chandelier and the Schwarzenberg coat of arms

The biggest concern is that over time the pyramids have suffered damage at the base. The deformation of the lower layers poses a danger to the entire structure and the deconstruction will hopefully help identify the root cause of the problem. It could largely be a matter of weight, the towers being too massive for the bones on the bottom to bear. Endemic mold and moisture also play a part.

It’s already clear that some of the bones have been irreparably damaged by moisture and will have to be replaced. What material will be used is undetermined at this juncture. Bones from a neighboring church with a small ossuary could be borrowed, or copies could be made out of mineral materials.

In order to rebuild the pyramids so they look exactly the same as they used to, experts will have to replace and shore up damaged parts in ways that do not alter the original design. The firm Nase Historie has been engaged to scan the bone towers using photogrammetry, thousands of high-resolution images mapped and stitched together to create an extremely accurate 3D model.

Conservators estimate that it will take at least four months to dismantle each tower, but that’s speculative at this point. Nobody really knows what’s in these pyramids, the real number of bones, whether there is any debris or osseous material shoring up the intact bones. Being able to count precisely how many bones were used to create these towers is another unique opportunity afforded by the restoration project.

As restorers work on the towers, visitors continue to be allowed access to the chapel. A dust-proof barrier separates the pyramids and chapel, but there are windows in it to give people a chance to see the reconstruction.

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Unique deviant burial found in Sicily

The remains of an adult male were discovered in 2013 in Piazza Armerina, a medieval village in central Sicily that was built over the ruins of a Roman latifundia, one of the immense agricultural estates that Sicily was largely divided into by the 2nd century. The body was isolated, not part of a cemetery or burial ground. As a matter of fact, the remains weren’t even in or near a settlement as they date to the between the first and second half of the 11th century, a time when the area was still unpopulated. The village’s first appearance on the historical record dates to 1122.

The skeleton was buried face down in a shallow grave in a southwest to northeast orientation. The right arm was extended along the side of the body. The left arm was extended over the back; the ulna was found resting on the left pelvis. The feet were so close together that it’s highly likely they were tied. There were no funerary objects found in the pit.

The isolation, orientation and position of the body mark it as a deviant or atypical burial that it not in concert with Christian, Jewish or Muslim funerary practices. The skeleton is almost complete and in excellent condition, allowing researchers to study this unique burial in detail using a combination of osteoarchaeological analysis, forensic anthropology techniques and technology to study the remains.

They identified six stab wounds on the sternum with the shape of the blade tip impressed on the bone. The weapon appears to have been a single-edged knife or dagger, a close-combat blade that nonetheless managed to pierce the thorax and penetrate the posterior sternum from entry points on the victim’s back. A large bone fragment on the right side of the sternum was dislodged when the blade was twisted with significant force.

To get an accurate picture of the dynamics of this fatal stabbing, researchers used 3D modeling technology. They created a virtual model of the chest, the entry points and angles of penetration. They were steep, indicating the assailant was standing behind the kneeling victim. As the blade went through the thorax into the breastbone, it probably punctured his lung and heart, killing him quickly.

The injury pattern is unique. There is nothing like it known in the archaeological record. It is not the result of hand-to-hand combat. There is no evidence of contact anywhere else on the victim’s chest, which almost certainly would have been present during the chaos of a fight.

There was no evidence of other injuries on the man’s vertebrae or ribs that would suggest that the man was involved in some kind of “uncontrolled” fight, said lead author Roberto Miccichè, an archaeologist at the University of Palermo in Italy.

The goal of the man’s killer, it seems, was to attack the victim in a “very effective and rapid way,” Miccichè said; in addition, the assailant likely knew human anatomy “very well.” In fact, the cuts were so clean and smooth, that the man may have been immobilized, perhaps with binding, Miccichè said.

The clear, deep stab wounds, the lack of defensive, uncontrolled action, the evidence of binding, particularly in the closeness of the feet, and the relative positions of aggressor and victim indicate this was an execution.

It is also the first thoroughly documented, archaeologically excavated deviant burial found in Sicily. A number of atypical burials have been recorded by archaeologists on the Italian mainland, but only one appears in the scientific literature for Sicily and it was not well-documented. Atypical burials are believed to have been employed for religious or magical reasons — like to prevent the dead from rising to harm the living — or as a form of post-mortem ostracism, a reflection of the deceased’s marginal position in the social order.

Researchers believe this death occurred in the aftermath of the Norman conquest of Sicily in 1061. It was a period of turmoil, of social and political realignment as the island transitioned from Islamic to Norman rule.

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A Kidnapped Boy Becomes a Patron Saint

by Philip Jett

“My name is Patrick… I was taken prisoner. I was about sixteen… I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others,” Saint Patrick revealed in two letters written in the fifth century called Saint Patrick’s Confessio.

Did you know that Saint Patrick was born outside Ireland with a name other than Patrick, and he professed to be an atheist in his youth? What’s more, he likely would not have become a saint nor have a day for us to celebrate if he had not been kidnapped.

My maternal grandmother was a McQueen (Irish) and my paternal grandfather was a Jett (English), thus explaining my lifelong internal conflict. Notwithstanding my Irish blood, I must confess that my only thoughts of Saint Patrick have come while drinking green beer during March Madness. I do not believe I am alone in this ritual. After all, I live in Nashville, Tennessee, and although it is often called the “Protestant Vatican” and the “Buckle of the Bible Belt,” it isn’t due to the citizenry’s collective knowledge of the Catholic saints, I can assure you.

I can state with confidence, however, that St. Patrick’s Day is the only cultural and religious holiday where folks drink barrels of green beer, display shamrocks and dancing leprechauns, and adorn themselves in bright green attire and plastic jewelry. Actually, light blue was once the holiday’s color until green replaced it during the eighteenth century. Tradition has it that green makes a person invisible to mischievous pinching leprechauns, and the shamrock derives from the belief that Saint Patrick taught the Holy Trinity using a three-leafed clover.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most celebrated days in the world, even observed in countries with little if any Irish heritage, though nowhere more than in the United States whose Irish-descended population is seven times greater than that of Ireland. The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Americas took place in Boston in 1737, and the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world took place in 1762 in New York City (Ireland didn’t have a parade until 1903). General George Washington granted his troops the day off for St. Patrick’s Day in 1780. And the tradition and celebrations still continue, where cities like Boston, New York, Savannah, and Chicago with its green river have ostentatious parades embraced by hundreds of thousands of participants. Simply staggering . . . the scope of the parades, that is.

So, who is Saint Patrick? He was born Maewyn Succat around 385 A.D. in what is believed to be modern-day Wales or Scotland to Roman parents (Calpurnius and Conchessa) of some nobility. Maewyn, a self-described atheist, frolicked about unstrained by Christianity during his youth. Just before his sixteenth birthday, Irish pirates, who frequently trolled and raided villages along the western coast of Roman Britannia (Wales and England), took Maewyn captive. They sold him to Meliuc, a sheep owner in what is now County Antrim, Northern Ireland. For six years, Maewyn tended his master’s sheep on Slemish Mountain as a slave. During this time of suffering, Maewyn recalled later that he prayed to God one hundred times each day and then again each night until, around the age of twenty-two, he believed he heard a voice interrupting the night’s bleating: “It is well that you fast; soon you will go to your own country… See, your ship is ready.”

Since peyote is not indigenous to the pastures of Slemish Mountain, Maewyn believed the voice could only be divine and so he humbly obeyed. Energized by his new-born Christian faith, he trekked two hundred miles across Ireland to Wexford where he boarded a ship bound for Britannia. There, he was reunited with his parents. After much feasting, Maewyn’s spirit moved him to travel to Roman Gallia (in France) where he studied and became a priest. He was thereafter known as Patricius (Latin for Patrick). Patrick said he soon experienced a vision of a man named Victoricus beckoning him back to Ireland to preach the gospel: “We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us.” Once again, Patrick’s parents lost him to Ireland, except this time as a missionary and later a bishop.

While some Christians already lived in Gaelic Ireland, Patrick is credited with converting thousands and making Christianity the predominant religion in Ireland. Many years after Patrick’s death, purportedly on March 17, 461 A.D, Patrick was bestowed the moniker, “Saint Patrick,” even though he wasn’t officially canonized by a pope at that time, a process that didn’t come until the twelfth century. He is believed to be buried at Hill of Down, in what is now Down Cathedral, in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.

Young Maewyn endured much suffering during his captivity, as it is with most kidnappings. Yet, his suffering and resulting faith provided him the strength as Patrick to inspire the Irish people and become their patron saint. For the rest of us, we received one heck of a crazy holiday.

PHILIP JETT is a former corporate attorney who has represented multinational corporations, CEOs, and celebrities from the music, television, and sports industries. He is the author of The Death of an Heir: Adolph Coors III and the Murder That Rocked an American Brewing Dynasty. Jett now lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

The post A Kidnapped Boy Becomes a Patron Saint appeared first on The History Reader.

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Getting to the Moon: How Science Fiction Became Reality

by Brian Clegg

Getting to the Moon

As soon as it was realized that the Moon was more than a light in the sky, the idea of journeying to it became appealing, though early narratives of lunar travel now seem quaint in the extreme. Writers had no idea of the kind of distances involved. For that matter, they had no reason to think that air would not be readily available.

The earliest known example of a trip to the Moon stretches back 1900 years to Lucian of Samosata, a Roman living in Syria. His aim seems to have been to take a sneaky satirical poke at the Odyssey and other works of fantasy, presented as a kind of reality at the time. Lucian’s book True History was the equivalent of the Harvard Lampoon Tolkien parody, Bored of the Rings. Despite this, True History contains many features that would become prime themes of science fiction. After the first part of their journey, Lucian and his companions are lifted into the sky by a whirlwind which carries them to the surface of the Moon. Once there, the adventurers are caught up in a war between the kings of the Moon and the Sun over who should have the right to colonize Venus.

Getting to the Moon

“Fliegende Wandersmann 1659” by Unknown (Life time: Unknown) – Original publication: Wolfenbuttel, GermanyImmediate source: Francis Godwin, Der Fliegende Wandersmann nach dem Mond: Faksimiledruck der ersten Deutsche Ubersetzung Wolfenbuttel 1659.
Image is in the public domain via

True History is unusual in surviving literature for the next 1500 years. But a whole list of fantastical journeys were made to the Moon in fiction from the seventeenth century onward. One of the first to write such a book was English bishop Francis Godwin who penned The Man in the Moone in the 1620s, though it wasn’t published until after his death in 1638. This was when Galileo was getting into trouble over his support for putting the Sun at the center of the universe. While Galileo was facing the Inquisition, Godwin wrote a story that went against the Aristotelian cosmology of the day. His Moon was very different from Aristotle’s perfect sphere: an inhabited world not unlike the Earth, with seas in the dark areas that we still give the name “mare” (sea in Latin). Godwin put the transport in the hand of gansas, an imaginary breed of swan that migrated to the Moon each year. On the other hand, he did describe the way his hero lost weight as he flew away from the Earth.

Getting to the Moon; Ten Billion Tomorrows

“Kopernikus, Gilbert, Galilee, Kepler” by various, see abovemontage by JBarta – Derived from:File:Nikolaus Kopernikus.jpg – Author:unknown – License:PDFile:William Gilbert.jpg – Author:Granger – License:PDFile:Galilee.jpg – Author:Ottavio Leoni – License:PDFile:Johannes Kepler 1610.jpg – Author:unknown – License:PD.
Image is in the public domain via

If hitching a ride with a flock of migrating birds seems unlikely, it is as nothing compared with Somnium, written by astronomer Johannes Kepler in 1634. In this, Kepler has his fictional hero cross a bridge of darkness, used by lunar demons to make the journey to Earth during eclipses. Despite this, Kepler too threw in some interesting thinking about the experience of being on the Moon. He realized that when looking back at the Earth he would see it in the lunar sky like a huge, dramatic moon. And, aware of the thinning of the atmosphere at high altitudes, he noted that the space travelers needed to have damp sponges pushed into their nostrils to breathe.

Surprisingly, though, the most scientific means of transport used to reach the Moon in this period came from Cyrano de Bergerac. We think of Cyrano as a fictional character because of the eponymous play from the end of the nineteenth century by French writer Edmond Rostand, but de Bergerac was a real seventeenth century playwright.

Getting to the Moon; Ten Billion TOmorrows

“Houghton STC 11943.5 – The Man in the Moone, title” by Francis Godwin (author) –  Houghton Library, Harvard University Houghton Library at Harvard.
Image is in the public domain via

In his first person novel L’Autre Monde: ou les États et Empires de la Lune (The Other World: or the States and Empires of the Moon), Cyrano’s initial attempt at getting off the Earth involved flawed scientific thinking. He noted that the Sun made dew disappear, “drawing the fluid” off the surface. So, he surmised, a collection of bottles containing dew, attached to the astronaut with strings, should lift him into space. When the bottles didn’t work, a group of soldiers attached fireworks to Cyrano’s contraption, blasting him off using rocket power. Admittedly by luck, Cyrano had hit on the first vaguely realistic technological approach.

Plenty of other stories written over the next couple of centuries made use of the Moon as a backdrop to play with the possibilities of new social orders (or to mock existing ones), but the turning point from fantasy to science fiction was the arrival of the twin titans Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Neither made use of realistic science in their respective books – but they brought the theme into the front rank of popular fiction. Within another 30 years, the science in space travel fiction was converging on reality.

Since our first true voyage to the Moon it has become a less popular destination in fiction. Yet that’s a shame. Every moonlit night we are presented with a reminder that we still haven’t truly conquered our nearest neighbor. The Moon has allure still as a destination for fiction and reality alike.

BRIAN CLEGG is the author of Ten Billion Tomorrows: How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future. He holds a physics degree from Cambridge and has written regular columns, features, and reviews for numerous magazines. He lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and two children.

The post Getting to the Moon: How Science Fiction Became Reality appeared first on The History Reader.

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