Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

SON Real-Time Reading – 8-26 November – Chapter 8

unsplash-logoOkamatsu Fujikawa

“We have arrived at Mont Saint-Michel, madame.” Pierre held out his hand.

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont Saint-Michel (St. Michael’s Mount) is an island in Normandy famous for its dramatic architecture and powerful tides. The picturesque island and abbey is “a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by this unique natural site.” According to, the design for Mont Saint-Michel came to Bishop Aubert of Avranches in a dream in 708 A.D. In the dream, the Archangel Michael told the Bishop to build his abbey on the island at the mouth of the Couesnon River. Image result for mont san michelReportedly, the Bishop ignored him… and the archangel burned a hole in his head to encourage his compliance. The skull of Bishop Aubert allegedly bears a burn mark from this encounter; you can view the skull on display at the Saint-Gervais d’Avranches basilica. According to TripAdvisor reviews, the hole in the skull is “cool,” however it got there in the first place. The abbey at Mont Saint-Michel was an important pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages despite the fact that it houses no major relics and did not witness any particularly significant events in the history of Christianity.

Should you care to visit, you can take a day trip from Paris. Like these guys:

A gentle cough directed my attention to a man standing before one of the blazes. He was dressed in the red robes of a cardinal and appeared to be in his late twenties — a terribly young age for someone to have risen so high in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy.

Well, Diana — that may be true for anyone except François de Joyeuse, noted churchman and politician. Cardinal Joyeuse came from an “intensely religious” family of bishops and soldiers; he became Archbishop of Narbonne in 1581 (aged 19) and cardinal in 1583 (aged 21). The Joyeuse family was deeply involved in the French wars of religion; François’s brothers all died in support of the Catholic cause. As might be gathered from Cardinal Joyeuse’s (rather terse) exchange with Matthew, the Joyeuse family was very loyal to Henri III of France — Henri III originally supported religious tolerance in France but repealed his more tolerant edicts in 1585 to privilege the Catholic French. Interestingly enough, Henri III was also a potential suitor for one Elizabeth I of England. This… fell through. Referring to a putative spouse as a “public whore” is not exactly best practice, after all.

“What is this place?” I asked after the footmen led us to a deserted château. It was surprising warm for an empty residence, and the delicious smell of cooked food floated through the echoing corridors..

“The house of an old friend … This was René’s favorite hunting lodge.”

Because Deb overlooks no tiny detail, it shouldn’t surprise you that René, Count of Anjou (René I of Naples) (1409-1480), was a real-live person. He inherited the ruins of the castle at Baugé in 1422. His mother, Yolande of Aragon, burned the original structure to the ground to prevent it from falling to the English during the Hundred Years’ War. After René’s death, the chateau fell into disrepair. The French government embarked on an extensive renovation project in 1961, when the chateau became a cultural landmark.


You can still tour the chateau if you happen to be in Anjou, or you could live vicariously through Trip Advisor.

Two days later, as twilight fell, Matthew, Pierre, and I stopped on one of these ragged mountaintops, the de Clermont family chateau barely visible through swirling gusts of snow. The straight lines of the central keep were familiar, but otherwise I might not have recognized the place. Its encircling walls were intact, as were all six of the round towers, each capped by conical copper roofs that had aged to a soft bottle green. Smoke came from chimneys suggesting that some crazed giant with pinking shears had trimmed every wall. There was a snow-covered garden within the enclosure as well as rectangular beds beyond.

Diana describes a living, breathing Sept-Tours very different from the quiet keep Ysabeau occupies in 21st century France. The description of Philippe’s 16th century household aligns nicely with the seigneurial economic system of the period. Seigneurial economics eventually gave way to the market economy but they dominated parts of Western Europe until industrialization. Seigneurialism vested the power in a lord of the manor on whose land peasants settled and worked the fields. They paid for land in labor, goods, and coin. The part of the house Diana describes sounds like the demesne (di-mayne), or the portion of feudal land retained for the use of the lord and his family. Within the walls of the feudal manor, you’d expect to find the lord’s ovens, his grist mills, his stables, his blacksmith, etc. — everything necessary to provide basic goods and services for those living on the land year-round.

You can learn more about medieval manor houses via Wikipedia, or you could always decide to get a closer look and buy this one.


Matthew started at the sound. Alain cast a worried look at him and pushed the door. It silently swung open on substantial, well-oiled hinges.

In the world of the All Souls Trilogy, Philippe is notorious for speaking Greek and Latin — and he prefers that you do, too. If you’ve ever wondered (1) how ancient Greek differs from its modern counterpart or (2) how we know what Latina actually sounded like, I have you covered with these videos:

By the time his father acknowledged our presence, my anxiety and temper were both dangerously close to the surface. I was staring down at my hands and wondering if they were strong enough to strangle him when two ferociously cold spots bloomed on my bowed head. Lifting my chin, I found myself gazing into the tawny eyes of a Greek god.

I haven’t yet come to a conclusion about The World of All Souls and how it figures into our usual death-of-the-author approach. I suspect that Jen and I would lean towards “nice to know, but not textual” — any details we learn from TWOAS are fascinating, but they don’t actually add to the interpretation of the text other than to tell us where Deb was going when she wrote the original trilogy. Unless you can trace the fun little nuggets of information to the original text, we probably won’t use them for interpretation.

I can already hear you saying, “That’s no fun,” but meh. That’s how we choose to do our interpretive work. The good news is that I can still mine TWOAS for details regarding the Real-Time Reading as much as I like.

Which brings me to Philippe’s given name — mentioned on page 168 of SON. Alcides Leontothymos. Alcides is the given name of Herakles/Hercules, the greatest of the Greek mythic heroes who completed the Twelve Labors. “Alcides” means “from the line of Alcaeus” and “Leontothymos” means “lion-hearted.” In a very fun twist, the epithet “leontothymos” is applied to Herakles/Hercules in a poem translated by none other than George Chapman. The poem goes something like this:

I WILL sing of Heracles, the son of Zeus and much the mightiest of men on earth. Alcmena bare him in Thebes, the city of lovely dances, when the dark-clouded Son of Cronos had lain with her. Once he used to wander over unmeasured tracts of land and sea at the bidding of King Eurystheus, and himself did many deeds of violence and endured many; but now he lives happily in the glorious home of snowy Olympus, and has neat-ankled Hebe for his wife.

Hail, lord, son of Zeus! Give me success and prosperity.

“Curses, like chickens, come home to roost,” Philippe murmured.

This idiom — meant to express that ill deeds have repercussions likely to rebound — isn’t French. It’s thought to come from Chaucer, who remarked in The Parsons Tale (1390) that curses are like “birds that return to their own nest.” The chickens come from a far later iteration of the same expression — most likely dating to about 1810. The idea is premodern — the phrasing, not so much… which suggests that Philippe might be a fileuse de temps, himself (I kid).

In the Real-Time Reading Companion, Deb says:

“Immortal Memory” by Lisa Gerard and Patrick Cassidy. This is, and always will be as far as I’m concerned, “Philippe’s Song.” 

The logistics of travel to Sept-Tours mean that this chapter has to last us until 26 November, when we begin our true stay at the chateau.

We talked about this chapter in Episode 23 – Philippe All Over the Page. The Daemons covered this chapter in Take 32 – The One with the Prince.

In the meantime, you can find us on our Facebook group, the C&C Clovers, you can follow us on Twitter @chamomilenclove, or you can e-mail us at

We can’t wait to hear from you.


Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

SON Real-Time Reading – 7 November – Chapter 7

jacek-ulinski-776734-unsplashJacek Ulinski

Chapter 7

It was a dirty, deceitful business, but it had to be done, Rima reflected. The library was a small, specialist archive with scant resources. The core of its collection came from a prominent Andalusian family whose members could trace their roots back to the reconquista, when the Christians had taken back the peninsula from Muslim warriors who had claimed it in the eighth century. 

The Christian kingdoms of northern Spain slowly conquered the southern territories of Andalusia over the course of 750 years (722-1492). The wars came to an end when the armies of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I conquered Granada, a city in the far south of the Iberian Peninsula. The story is rather fascinating — Ferdinand and Isabella (not exactly known for their religious tolerance) pressured a captured emir of the Muslim territories to attack his own father.What-was-the-reconquista-MapThe emir, known to the Spanish as Boabdil, capitulated and began waging war. Boabdil later tried to defect and repel the Spanish, but it was too late. reports this uncomfortable anecdote of the surrender of Granada:

Leaving Granada with his family and retainers, Boabdil personally delivered the keys of the city to Ferdinand. Within moments royal bearers raised a great silver cross and the Castilian banner in triumph from the watchtower of the Alhambra, and the victorious royal couple wept for joy. Later that day, as he crossed over the Sierra Nevada, a dejected Boabdil paused for one last look at the city, shedding a tear for all he’d lost, only to be taunted by his own mother. “You do well to weep like a woman,” she scolded, “for what you failed to defend like a man!”


If you’d like to know more, you can explore the history of the Reconquista through the extraordinarily detailed Historical Atlas of the Mediterranean.

It was the third time this week he’d asked her out. Rima knew that he found her attractive. Her mother’s Berber ancestry appealed to some men.

The Berbers are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa — Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Tunisia, Libya, and the west of Egypt. The Berbers appear in the great histories of the Greeks and Romans, including Herodotus. While the ethnic group is not homogenous, most members speak in the Berber language, which has between twenty-five and thirty million speakers. The Berber alphabet (Tifinagh) may derive from old Berber script and looks like this:

Sample text in Tamazight in the Neo-Tifinagh alphabet

Want to try Berber? Try this video from Free Morocco:

You can watch a short video on the Berber ethnic group here:

In four hundred years, would the only proof of her existence be a page from her calendar, a shopping list, and a scrap of paper with her grandmother’s recipe for alfajores on it, all placed in a file labeled “Anonymous, of no importance” and stored in an archive no one ever visited?

Putting aside the melancholy commentary on the fleeting nature of human existence for just a moment, now is as good a time as any to make sure that you, too, have a recipe for alfajores handy. Alfajores are chewy sandwich cookies with dulce de leche filling popular in Spain and South America. According to Wikipedia, there are towns in Spain whose alfajor recipes date back centuries. Traditionally, the ingredients include hazelnuts, honey, and cinnamon. I am personally more familiar with the Argentine recipe, frequently dunked in chocolate and served with bitter coffee. You can find a recipe for them from ChowHound here.

Such dark thoughts were bound to be unlucky. Rima shivered and touched the hand-shaped amulet of the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima. It hung around her neck on a leather cord and had been passed down among the women of her family for as long as anyone could remember.

The hamsa is a symbol of a hand significant to several cultures and religions. The earliest use of the hamsa dates to ancient Mesopotamia and Carthage (modern day Tunisia).

Image result for meaning of the hamsa

It symbolizes the protecting hand of god and wearers believe that the hand offers its owner peace, happiness, and prosperity. The hamsa may be worn  with the fingers pointing either up or down; unlike the Irish claddagh, I could not find any symbolism for distinct modes of wear. Depending on whether the wearer of the hamsa is Jewish or Muslim, the symbol represents different things — for Jews, the five fingers of the hand represent the five books of the Torah and the fifth letter of the alphabet (Heh) represents one of the sacred names of god. For Sunni Muslims, the five fingers represent the five pillars of Islam and the hand is that of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet.

The phrase Khamsa fi ainek, or “Five in the eye,” is meant to ward off evil spirits.

We’ll see you tomorrow on the journey to 1590 Sept-Tours. In the meantime, you can find us on Twitter @chamomilenclove or in our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers. Feel free to e-mail your thoughts on the Real-Time Reading of Shadow of Night to

Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

SON Real-Time Reading – 5 November – Chapters 5 and 6

zoltan-tasi-482489-unsplashZoltan Tasi

Chapter 5

“And Berwick? You told me there was no danger of being caught up in a witch-hunt.”

“Nothing in Berwick will affect us here,” Matthew assured me. 

Should it surprise anyone that the fear and suspicion of powerful men started the panic that became the Berwick witch trials of the late 16th century? Sigh. According to The Scotsman, James VI had an influential role to play in the start of a terrible phenomenon that condemned dozens of innocent people:

After having tried and failed on numerous ocassions to bring his prospective bride, the 14-year-old Anne of Denmark, to Scotland due to storms at sea, he suspected witchcraft at work. Suspicion initially fell on Geillis Duncan, a local maid who had been seen practicing healing (from which it was deduced that she could also harm). Under torture, she implicated three others in sorcery, and proof of her witchcraft had been established via ‘the Devil’s mark’ discovered on her neck.

Bonus points if you recognize the name “Geillis Duncan” and the idea of the “Devil’s Mark.” The podcast below gives you some insight into the origins of the Berwick Witch Trials:

The appearance of Francoise and Charles forestalled further conversation. Francoise had fragrant gingerbread and spiced wine for the warmbloods.

Leave it to the de Clermont family servants to break up the brewing tension between Gallowglass, Hancock, and the School of Night. The 16th century preference for spiced wine may have some relationship to the aforementioned humorous theory of gastronomy — drinking wine steeped with earthy, hot spices was supposed to balance a cold, wet temperament and make you more balanced from the inside out. In my case, the balance would go the opposite direction. Spiced wine was often steeped with fragrant aromatics like cinnamon, ginger, galangal, nutmeg, cloves, grains of paradise, and pepper. Cooks steeped the wine with the spices and then strained it until the liquid ran clear. You can find a recipe for spiced wine here. For a more modern recipe (perfect for the cooling, crisping weather), try Wine Enthusiast.

“Baldwin?” Gallowglass gave a dedicate shiver. “Even before I became a wearh, I knew better than to let that monster near by neck. Hugh de Clermont was my father. For your information, my people were Úlfhéðnar, not berserkers. 

According to Wikipedia, the Úlfhéðnar appear in the legends of Indo-European cultures as wolf warriors. These men allegedly went into battle clad in helms made of wolf pelts. The Úlfhéðnar, a shamanic group, underwent ritual transformations between life and death and were rumored to go into battle naked except for their pelts, brandishing spears. Oof, what an image. If you’re curious, there’s also a metal band out of Italy called Ulfhednar — writers of uplifting songs such as RULERS OF DARKNESS and ADDICTED TO TRAGEDY.

As a note, I wanted to include more stuff about Gallowglass’s people — but the internet is full of racist nonsense derived from Norse mythology. We don’t truck with that shit, and I gave up on separating the good from the bad after an hour. Sorry, y’all. Any Norse mythology scholars amongst the Clovers? If so, hit me up.

Mr. Danforth reached into his black robes and pulled out a tattered sheaf of papers. It was no more than a few dozen sheets crudely stitched together with coarse string. Time and heavy use had softened the papers’ fibers, fraying the edges and turning the pages gray. I was too far away to make out the title page. All three vampires saw it, though. So did George, who blanched. 

“That’s part of the Malleus Maleficarum. I did not know that your Latin was good enough to comprehend such a difficult work, Mr. Danforth.” Matthew said. It was the most influential witch-hunting manual ever produced, and a title that struck terror into a witch’s heart. 

Written in 1486, the Malleus Maleficarum (HAMMER OF WITCHES) sold more copies than the Bible up until 1678 (yikes). The book is responsible for the mass shift from the persecution of evil deeds accomplished through witchcraft to the punishment of all forms of witchcraft. Prior to its publication, the majority of witch-hunts were conducted under the aegis of the church.image According to this website from Mt. Holyoke University, the Maleficarum had three parts: (1) the theological basis for hunting witches (they have intimate relations with the Devil, obvs); (2) how to prevent harm done by witches (protect yo cattle, folks); and (3) how to try and convict witches (PROSECUTE VIGOROUSLY. ACQUIT NO ONE).

During witch trials based on the Maleficarum, examiners (almost exclusively male) shaved women’s heads to look for devil’s marks and stripped them to look for “instruments” of witchcraft.

Remember when I made Jen hold up the MM at All Souls Con?

Then, of course, came the popular attempts at burning and drowning — if you can burn a woman, she might be dead, but she’s not a witch. Comforting, non?

If you’re desperate for more (are you?), you can read the full text of the Malleus Maleficarum here. It’s even in PDF format — portable for your next witch hunt!

That is a joke.

No witch hunts.

Chapter 6

“A spy?” I repeated numbly.

“We prefer to be called intelligencers,” Kit said tartly.

“Shut it, Marlowe,” Hancock growled, “or I’ll stop that mouth for you.”

Elizabeth’s England was a dangerous place —  and no less so for the Queen, herself. Elizabeth spent much of her reign dodging assassination plots — it is a testament to the success of her intelligence network that she died quietly in 1603. According to Stephen Alford, author of The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I, “Elizabethan spies were employed on an ad hoc basis and paid by results, a method which inevitably produced wildly exaggerated scare stories.” Apparently, many spies were “bankrupts who began and ended their careers in prison;” it fits with the AST version of Kit that he might have fallen into “intelligencing” as a means to keep his numerous creditors at bay. The National Archives has a brief, but interesting, online exhibit on Antony Standen, an Elizabethan spy responsible for helping the queen defeat the Spanish Armada. There’s also a bit on the cipher Mary, Queen of Scots, used to correspond with her supporters.

“I became the queen’s agent later, when she sent Walsingham back to Paris. He was supposed to be brokering Her Majesty’s marriage to one of the Valois princes.” Matthew snorted. “It was clear that the queen had no real interest in the match. It was during that visit that I learned of Walsingham’s network of intelligencers.” 

Sir Francis Walsingham (1532-1590), popularly remembered as Elizabeth I’s spymaster, served as one of the Queen’s primary ministers advising her on domestic and foreign policy. He was a fervent Protestant known for his ambitious, aggressive advice to the Queen.

As previously mentioned, the reign of Elizabeth I represented a turbulent time in European politics. In 1559, the kingdoms of England, France, Denmark, and Portugal all lost their monarchs and the Church installed a new pope. The effects of the Reformation spread far and wide and ordinary people — previously quiet and obedient — began to question the authority of sovereigns and stage insurrections.  imageElizabeth stayed ahead of this turmoil by employing spies and by playing a very peculiar game — so long as she could be seen attempting to broker a marriage with a Catholic prince, she bought herself time and insurance against assassination by Catholic loyalists. Despite his Protestant loyalties, Sir Walsingham went to Paris in 1570 to attempt to negotiate the match between Elizabeth I and Henry, Duke of Anjou (brother of Charles IX of France). As Matthew told Diana, the marriage negotiations fell through and Walsingham returned home.

Walsingham is probably best remembered for his role in entrapping (and securing the execution of) Mary, Queen of Scots, by thwarting the Babington Plot, a plan to assassinate Elizabeth I and place Mary on the English throne. Anthony Babington and John Ballard, co-conspirators, sent Mary — imprisoned for 19 years by her cousin Elizabeth — a letter proposing Elizabeth’s untimely demise. Mary replied and agreed to the scheme. Unbeknownst to all, the courier carrying Mary’s mail was one of Walsingham’s spies. Walsingham effectively incriminated (and then eliminated) Mary, who accused him of entrapment during her trial; the post-script stating that she authorized the assassination may have been forged. She was executed in 1587.  You can learn more about the Babington Plot from the documentary, below.


“No.” My eyes were drawn by the crimson stain on Matthew’s neck. “If Matthew is going to France, I’m going with him.”

“Absolutely not. I’m not dragging you through a war.”

Matthew is referring to the French Wars of Religion, which raged from 1562-98. Technically, the period refers to eight distinct wars between the Catholics and the Huguenots starting with the massacre of Protestants worshiping in Wassy in 1562 and ending with the Edict of Nantes in 1598. The Edict of Nantes guaranteed a measure of civil tolerance for religious difference between Catholics and Protestants and peace between the warring factions of France. I am particularly fond of this wee presentation on the French Wars of Religion from the Education Portal — it’s quick and easy and has stick figures, so yay:

We’ll leave Matthew and Diana for now as they begin their journey to France (and Philippe!). On 7 November, we’ll tackle Chapter 7, and then we’ll look at Chapter 8 from 8 November through 26 November.

We covered Chapters 6-7 and the end of Section I in Episode 22 — So Much Kit to Come. The Daemons covered Chapter 6 in Take 30! The One With the Non-Berserker.

We’ll see you on 7 November for Chapter 7!

Enjoying our real-time reading posts? Let us know by e-mailing us at, by tweeting us @chamomilenclove, or by joining our Facebook group, the Clovers.


Cait and Jen


Podcast, Uncategorized

Episode 31 – Full Elizabethan


Dearest, most darling Clovers:

It’s new episode day! Today’s offering closes out our chapter discussions for Section III of Shadow of Night and offers our thoughts on how Section III — with its highs, its lows, and its oddities — fits in with the rest of the book and maybe the trilogy. We’ve got plenty to say (no surprise) and plenty to look forward to as we leave London for Prague.

Download the episode here.

We hope you’re enjoying the #RealTimeReading of #ShadowofNight. If you’d like to discuss those posts, the countdown to the release of A Discovery of Witches TV in the US, or anything else that suits your fancy, join us on our Facebook page, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers. You can also find us on Twitter @chamomilenclove or e-mail us at

Thanks for listening!


Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

SON Real-Time Reading – 4 November – Chapter 4

unsplash-logoaaron burden

Chapter 4

Matthew vetoed all these suggestions and called on Widow Beaton, Woodstock’s cunning woman and midwife. She was poor and female — precisely the sort of creature the School of Night scorned — but this, Matthew argued, would better ensure her cooperation.

The term “cunning folk” generally refers to folk medicine practitioners across Europe. In England, the “cunning folk,” “wise women,” and “wizards” who supplied their communities with folk remedies in exchange for meals or other goods often escaped the scrutiny and persecution of “witches” during the same period; the common theory appears to be that cunning folk provided for a social good whereas witches brought ill-fortune and disaster. Shadow of Night takes place during a period after parliament outlawed “conjugations and witchcraft” in 1563. The law punished those who utilized “magic” and threatened both “witches,” who used magic for evil purposes, and the cunning folk who dispensed herbal remedies. During this period, Protestant theology condemned not just witches but any who used folk medicine that seemed “magical.” This apparently stemmed from a rejection of the mysticism and ritual of the Catholic Church as well as an inherent fear of evil folk wielding otherworldly power.

Folk magician, from Austin Shippey’s Who Were the Cunning Folk?

Because the popular thinking of the day did little to distinguish witchcraft from the craft of the cunning folk, the perception of a cunning woman in her community could change quickly based on (1) her effectiveness and (2) her perceived ill intent. In the book, Diana correctly (and justly) cautions Matthew that a witch’s safety depends on the goodwill of her neighbors. Given the historical context of Elizabethan England, it seems reasonable that the vulnerable Widow Beaton should attempt to divert suspicion away from herself and towards Diana.

“You think a historian can understand the tenor of the present moment better than the men living through it?” Matthew’s eyebrow cocked up in open skepticism.

“Yes,” I said, bristling. “We often do.”

“That’s not what you said this morning when you couldn’t figure out why there weren’t any forks in the house.” It was true that I’d searched high and low for twenty minutes before Pierre gently broke it to me that the utensils were not yet common in England.

The English word “fork” comes from the Latin furca, or “pitchfork.” According to a fascinating anecdote from a Brief History of the Fork, a fork arrived in Venice as a part of a noblewoman’s dowry in the 11th century.

Ancient forks

The Church criticized the woman for using the fork as an affront to God’s purpose for fingers. The fork was considered to be “feminine” and dangerous in Western Europe until approximately 1633, when Charles I declared the utensil to be “decent.” Curious for more on the history of cutlery? I enjoyed this article on the history of the fork, as well as this one.

“It is never too early for stoicism,” Kit replied severely. “You should thank me it’s not Homer. All we’ve heard lately is inept paraphrases of the Iliad. Leave the Greek to someone who understands it, George — someone like Matt.”

Although you wouldn’t know it from Kit’s behavior (because he is The Worst), George Chapman’s actually managed a successful English translation of Homer’s Iliad. Published in 1611, Chapman’s Iliad rejected direct translation in favor of taking the occasional poetic license with Homer’s text. For instance, as the University of Michigan notes, Chapman substituted “the invisible cave that no light comforts” for Hades.

The title page of the 1888 edition of Chapman’s Iliad. E-book available here.

Chapman fell somewhat into disfavor after his death — he apparently had a tendency to try and squeeze strict moral teachings where they didn’t belong, so 19th century critics dismissed him. If you look up Chapman’s Homer translations on Amazon, you get a rather glowing statement of his accomplishments:

George Chapman’s translations of Homer are the most famous in the English language. Keats immortalized the work of the Renaissance dramatist and poet in the sonnet “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.” Swinburne praised the translations for their “romantic and sometimes barbaric grandeur,” their “freshness, strength, and inextinguishable fire.” The great critic George Saintsbury (1845-1933) wrote: “For more than two centuries they were the resort of all who, unable to read Greek, wished to know what Greek was. Chapman is far nearer Homer than any modern translator in any modern language.”

You may have these translations for $30, if you like. It’s more than Kit could afford, that’s for sure. Speaking of which…

“Who are you in trouble with now?” he asked Marlowe, reaching for his wine. “And how much is is going to cost to get you out of it?”

“My tailor.” Kit waved a hand over his expensive suit. “The printer for Tamburlaine.”


Marlowe’s Tamburlaine — a violent, complicated play — tells the story of a shepherd who becomes an emperor through, well, lots of unsavory behavior. By the time Matthew and Diana arrive in 1590, Marlowe’s play has been in print for three months... enough time, apparently, for the printer to come collect his debts. The play had apparently been performed, however, as early as 1587. The themes of Tamburlaine involve pride and power and the desire of one man to conquer everything and everyone. You can read Tamburlaine and watch a trailer for a 2014 production (including a few great scenes) below:

Tamburlaine, the Great — Full Text from the Gutenberg Project.



For further reading on Tamburlaine, check out:

Schray, Kateryna. “Is This Your Crown? Conquest and Coronation in Tamburlaine I, Act II, Scene IV.” Cahiers Elisabethains: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies. (2005).

Burzynska, Katarzyna. “Re-gendering of the Nietzschean Ubermensch in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Marlowe’s Tamburlaine.” Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation, and Performance, Vol. 12, Issue 27 (2015). 

We covered Chapter 4 of Shadow of Night in Episode 21 – Find Your Own Witch. The Daemons take on Chapter 4 in Take 27! The One with the Hag. We’ll see you tomorrow for Chapter 5!

Enjoying our real-time reading posts? Let us know by e-mailing us at, by tweeting us @chamomilenclove, or by joining our Facebook group, the Clovers.


Cait and Jen