Fealty rings from the Middle Ages

A fede gimmel ring from the British Museum’s collection from the 16th/17th century. Source:

We are all familiar with the tradition of the wedding ring, even if it’s not directly part of our culture. This symbol has permeated society for centuries and has some very interesting origins. Today, I would like to focus on the concept of fealty rings.

You can find wedding rings in ancient traditions like those of the Egyptians, the Romans, and the Greeks. The circle shape of the ring goes back to the meaning of the ouroboros (the serpent that eats its own tail), no beginning and no end, eternity. …


How the refusal to accept religious freedom led to the loss of thousands of innocent lives

“A Expulsão dos Judeus” (The Expulsion of the Jews), by Roque Gameiro (Quadros da História de Portugal, 1917). Source:

In 1492, the Reyes Católicos (Catholic Kings) of Spain, Fernando II of Aragon and Isabel I of Castile — you may know them as the famous parents of Catalina de Aragón y Castilla, or Catherine of Aragon, first wife to King Henry VIII of England — broke away from a tradition of religious tolerance in the kingdoms of León and Castile. In an edit of 31st March of the same year, the Jews in their kingdoms were forced to either convert to Catholicism or being forced to leave their homes. They had four months to do so.

The Iberian Kingdoms and the Jews

When talking about…


Big Data, Privacy, and Surveillance Capitalism

Photo by on

We currently find ourselves in a time in which we have witnessed a deep change in the way people communicate, work and relate with the world. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, many people have to blend their professional lives with their personal lives, bringing their work home. …


The haunting tale of the Cadaver Synod

The Cadaver Synod as portrayed by in 1870. Public Domain. Source:

Have you ever wanted to put a dead person you hate on trial? Well, one pope in the 9th century actually managed to hold a trial for an already dead pope! Yes, pope against pope, one living, one dead. This is what happened in the Synod Horrenda, commonly known as the Cadaver Synod.

Today, we see the pope as a friendly figure, a man who stands for principles of liberty, justice, and humanity. However, this wasn’t the case with the popes of about 1100 years ago. At that time, the papacy as marred by corruption and greed, being dominated by…


A small introduction to the first stages of the expansion of Islam

Early 19th-century manuscript showing the Muslim army marching into Mecca and the subsequent smashing of its idols. Public Domain:

In the first centuries since its inception, Islam was able to conquer and dominate a vast amount of territory. Its rapid spread was mainly due to the fact that its main antagonistic forces were weakened by wars amongst themselves, as well as civil unrest while Islam maintained a united front. The Sassanid Persian Empire and the Byzantine Roman Empire had been not only constantly at war with each other for the previous four centuries, with short periods of peace, as well as been fighting other foreign invaders. That continuous state of war affected not only the resources of both empires…


The extermination of one of the most prominent Portuguese noble families of the 18th century

The attempted regicide of King Joseph I of Portugal, in 1758. Francisco Vieira de Matos
1759–1760. Source: Museu de Lisboa (Public Domain)

The Távora Affair, known in Portuguese as the Processo dos Távoras is one of the most shocking episodes in the Portuguese history of recent centuries. This 18th-century extermination of one of the most prominent families in the Portuguese Kingdom was a shocking, horrid event, even in today’s point of view.

It all started after the assassination attempt of King José I in 1758…

The Beginning

After the devastating earthquake and seaquake of 1755, in Lisbon, the Portuguese king, D. José I, settled his court in an elaborate complex of tents located in the Ajuda region of the capital — don’t be fooled…


When John of Gaunt called on twelve Portuguese knights to defend the honour of twelve Lancastrian ladies

Jaime Martins Barata, “Torneio dos Doze de Inglaterra” in the wall of the Palácio de Justiça de Seia (1966), Portugal. Source:

In one of the most iconic pieces of Portuguese literature, Lusíadas (1572), the poet Luís de Camões mentions in passing an episode that occurred between the English and the Portuguese kingdom. With one of the oldest alliances in the world, both nations have held trade and diplomatic relations for a very long time (as is proven by the love the British hold for Port, known — and produced only — in Portugal as Vinho do Porto).

Today, I will discuss the tale of the Os Doze de Inglaterra (“The Twelve of England”), a medieval Anglo-Portuguese story of the late fourteenth…


How companies appeal to your emotions

People gather around a table, planning content. There are multiple post-its and colourful markers.
People gather around a table, planning content. There are multiple post-its and colourful markers.
Picture by Kaboompics .com on

We have always been surrounded by stories: they are our bedtime stories, our favourite books, series and movies and even in our favourite songs. They seem simple at first, but by looking into them, we realise they have masterfully developed techniques that play with our emotions. Brands realised this a long time ago and have been using storytelling techniques in their communication and advertising efforts ever since. By relying on storytelling, brands develop brand personas and brand narratives that allow them to develop long-lasting emotional connections with their costumers, gaining their loyalty and support.

Storytelling is transversal to human life…


The Roman Ara Pacis and what it’s screaming at you

The Ara Pacis in Rome. Source: Manfred Heyde on

On 14th July 13 B.C., the Senate approved the building of a new monument. This was supposed to commemorate Augustustus return to Rome after three years of campaign through Gaul and Hispania.

This building was supposed to emulate an archaic style of the IV-III B.C. centuries and was inaugurated on the birthday of the Emperor’s wife Livia, on the 30th of January, 9 B.C.

The Ara Pacis Augustae, the Augustan Altar of Peace, remains to this day as a coded message of Roman values. A silent beacon of law, order and conquer in the city of Rome, Italy.

However, today…


The love of Pedro and Inês of Portugal

Inês de Castros’s Drama (c. 1900), oil on canvas by

If you look hard enough, you will find several iterations of the plot in Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet all around the world. One example of this is Masuccio Salernitano’s Il Novellino, with the love story of Mariotto and Ganozza, written in the 1400's — which is actually the source for the Luigi da Porto’s story, used by Shakespeare to write his play.

However, there is a historical account that is often associated with the famous star-crossed lovers that star in Shakespeare’s brilliant play. This is the story of D. Pedro, King of Portugal, and his lover D. Inês…

Ana Esteves

Passionate reader and writer with a profound interest in history and literature. B.A. in Languages, Literature and Culture; current M.A. Communication student.

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