I've had many people read Sword of Forgiveness as their first medieval romance and say they expected something different from a medieval book and were pleasantly surprised. I found it interesting that many people think all medieval is the dark ages. That got me to thinking about the different historical eras that we often see in fiction print and I thought I'd briefly go over each time period and mention some of the highlights of each one.
So often the word medieval congers up an image in our minds of barbaric people. But truly, medieval times covers a vast amount of years. The medieval time period started in the 5th century and went until the 15th century! That is 1000 year span when one uses the vague term medieval times. There was such great change from the 5th century to the 15th century that one can't hardly compare them. The last several hundred years had made great strides in laws, protection, rights, and much more. So as a writer of the medieval time period, I'd like to clarify this a little more.
So with good reason we need to break down the medieval time period into 3 eras-- Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages, and Late Middle Ages.
The Early Middle Ages start in the 5th century and continue on into the 10th century. This time was called the 'Dark Ages' with lack of literary and cultural output. Up until about half way through this period population and trade in Europe declined while immigration increased.
|Repaired walls of Constantinople By en:User:Bigdaddy1204 - Photograph taken in June 2006 in Istanbul by en:User:Bigdaddy1204. All credits go to him., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=880970|
The High Middle Ages pick up from the 11th to the 13th century. One of the huge changes was the swiftly increasing population. Such an increase like that would not be seen at such great numbers for another 600 years. Later in the era this population growth helped contribute to the economy picking up. They also saw political and social changes during this time period.
The Late Middle Ages which I write in are usually considered the 14th and 15th century. This time period saw so much hardship. They were a part of The Great famine as well as the black plague. The combination of the famines and the plagues that hit Europe reduced the population almost in half. There was much social unrest within the country. Peasant uprisings leading to revolts, senseless warfare, and The Hundred Year War kept this era in constant turmoil.
|Peasants preparing the field. Background the Louvre.|
The Renaissance Period which started in the 14th century in Italy, reaching its peak in the 15th century and then spreading through out Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. What most know about the Renaissance period is its art and architectural contributions. But the Renaissance Period also saw a scientific revolution of its kind turning to observation. It also saw its share of social and political unrest.
|The School of Athens by Raphael|
The Georgian Years ranged from 1714 to 1837 including the short reign of William the IV. This period began the industrial revolution and great social changes. The industrial revolution strengthened the class divisions as well as help them to see the appearance of Tory and Whig parties.
|The Circus in Bath (meaning circle or ring in Latin)|
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1188457
The Regency Period is a sub-period of the Georgian Era, when the King was deemed unfit to rule and the Prince Regent ruled the country. Those years ranged from 1811 to 1837. The Regency period is known for its elegance but it too was a time of great change socially, politically, and even economically.
The Victorian Age ran from 1837 when Queen Victoria took the throne to 1901 when she died. This period for the most part was peaceful. The economics continued to increase and people gained more confidence in their queen and country. It was also a time that was considered refined sensibilities. (That made me think of the Regency period and Jane Austin's Sense and sensibility).
|The Epson Derby- 1840|
The Edwardian Period was a short time from 1901 to 1910. Sandwiched in between the great achievements of the Victorian Age and the first World War this period is many times romanticize as the Golden Age. One thing this time period did accomplish was the growing awareness of the working class. It saw an increase of labor unions, labor movements, and a push for better working conditions.
The American Colonial Period ranged from 1607 to 1776. This was a time of great change. Many came to America for religious purposes, while some came to get away from the reaching arm of England or to make money. There were lost colonies, starvation, growth, unrest, and finally a fight for freedom.
|Castillo de San Marcos construction began in 1672 in St. Augustine, Florida|
By National Park Service - http://www.nps.gov, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1151786
19th Century 1800 to 1899. Its a time when much of the world prospered. America settled the west. The century saw wars, political growth, a fight for equality, medical break throughs, inventions, and so much more.
|The first ships sail through the Suez Canal|
So to break this down:
Medieval Era 5th century to the 15th century 1000 years
Early Middle Ages 5th century to the 10th century 500 years
High Middle Ages 11th century to the 13th century 300 years
Late Middle Ages 14th century and the 15th century 200 years
Renaissance Period 14th century to the 17th century 300 years
Georgian Period 1714 to 1837 123 years
Regency Period (sub period of Georgian) 1811 to 1837 26 years
Victorian Period 1837 to 1901 64 years
Edwardian Period 1901 to 1910 9 years
Colonial Period 1607 to 1776 169 years
19th Century 1800-1899 100 years
Interestingly enough when you look at the years of each era and think about when most books are set, the majority of books are set in the minority of eras.
How about you? Do you have a favorite time period or periods that you like to read? Let me know for a chance to win my new release, Sword of the Matchmaker in choice of format ends June 12th.
Giving away a copy of my new release, Sword of the Matchmaker so be sure to leave a comment to enter for just my book AND don't forget to enter in the rafflecopter! Your comment can count toward my book giveaway and the rafflecopter give away. Be sure to share on FB and twitter for Rafflecopter entries!
Thomas Godfrey never married, but when a Scottish warrior lass shows up needing his aid, he finds her both annoying and irresistible. But the last thing he wants is to marry a woman who fights alongside him. If he was going to marry—which he isn’t—it would be to a soft, submissive woman. But when the Lady Brithwin meets the Scottish lass, she’s sure she’s found the perfect match for Thomas and nothing is going to stop her from seeing a summer wedding.
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.