I am quite often asked “Why do you like history so much?”, and I end up launching into a twenty five minute rant about the importance of history and all my very favourite characters throughout the ages. But I’ve never really sat down and thought about it properly until now. So this post is probably going to be entirely useless and have no purpose other than allowing me to rant and ramble away about nothing in particular. So please feel free to ignore this and get on with the rest of your day.
So how did it all begin? The answer is really very simple. My aunt introduced me to Ancient Egypt, and brought me a special set of hieroglyphic stamps. They were awesome, and I had loads of fun printing out people’s names as they would (or very likely wouldn’t, it was a kids play set after all) have been in hieroglyphics. At any rate, it made me want more. So I began to take books out of the library, and my aunt brought me loads of books about life in Ancient Egypt. Very simply, I was in love with the era. I clearly remember the first time I ever saw the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum. I was in absolute awe of the thing, this massive slab that helped us to understand just how to read Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Now, I always make a point to visit it if I’m in London and spend a few minutes just gazing at this amazing piece of history.
It was only a matter of time after then that I would begin to become interested in other eras of history. I absolutely adored history at school, and it was always my favourite subject. No word of a lie though, I struggled with it at A-Level. No idea why, probably because I was so damned fed up of the Tudors that I just lost interest. At any rate, it was during my A-Levels that I began to develop a huge interest in the Seventeenth Century and particularly the English Civil War. We studied the reign of Charles I, and how he ended up making a massive mess of things and screwing himself over. Many in the class hated ole Charlie. I however found his derpiness adorable. And I fell completely head over heels in love.
Would you believe when I saw this portrait of Charlie boy at Hampton Court, I burst into tears? Yes, I am that much of a Charlie fangirl. The staff looked at me as if I was crazy. I was even worse in front of the massive portrait of Charles II. Honestly, a gross sobbing mess doesn’t even begin to cover it.
My interest in the Seventeenth Century filtered through to University. I toddled off from my cosy little sixth form in Wiltshire, all the way to Winchester where I began a degree in History and Archaeology. After my first year, I dropped history (which I now believe is the biggest mistake I ever made) and studied single honours archaeology. My final year dissertation ended up being on the landscape archaeology of a lesser known English Civil War battlefield. Cheriton, in fact. This little village and its surrounding fields now have a special place in my heart and I visit as often as I am able, just to walk around the fields in which the Royalists and Parliamentarians fought on 29th March 1644.
To many of you, that will look just like a field. To me, it is where men fought and died for what they believed in. Those fields have a very special place in my heart. Particularly as my work on them earned me an award for the best Final Year Project, which I was given at graduation in 2009 (God, that is SO long ago. I feel so OLD now!)
When I graduated Uni, I was lucky enough to gain a contract with my local archaeology unit. That was awesome, probably the best job I have ever had. At any rate, the contract ended and I was unable to get work with any other units. It was then that I realised I should probably have gone down the history route. I began to get back into my history books. I began reading more around the ECW and expanded beyond the usual Tudor crap that I had on my shelf. I had always been somewhat interested in the Renaissance, but it was then that I really started reading about it and my interest in and around the history of the Roman Catholic grew, and my obsession with the Borgia family grew beyond sensible bounds. I have spoken enough of my love of Cesare Borgia for you all to know about it, but there is something about that era that just speaks to me. I was a mess in front of the Charlie portrait? You should have seen me in the Borgia apartments in the Vatican. I have never been such a mess in my life. Just all that passion and adoration pouring out in what I can only call “liquid feels”. The same happened when I saw Cesare’s sword scabbard at the V&A. Nothing can really describe the passion I have for that family. Except that it has gotten so bad I now have Cesare’s motto tattooed on my arm. Now THAT is love…
My love of history has taken me to some amazing places over the past few years. From places right on my doorstep, to the heat of Rome. And I am planning on going to many more places to expand my love, to expand my learning…
And there we have it. A bit of a fangirly post all about where my love of history came from.
I will let you get back to your day now………..