21 thoughts on “16 Reasons Why the 16th Century Is My Happy Place

  1. I totally agree the 16th century and the Italian Renaissance of the late 15th century is my favourite period. But I won’t snark at Russian Court styles from the reigns of Alexander III or Nicholas II.

    Regarding Mary of Scotland, she was intelligent and her Pre-Darnley Scottish period she was trying, successfully I might add, to steer a middle ground in Scotland. But her mistake was marrying the idiot Darnley, then rape by Bothwell. I would have taken Leicester. And you?

    1. Mary definitely made some mistakes in the romance department *sigh* Darnley looked good on paper (ok, & in a suit), but was a pretty worthless human being. If she’d had a real chance at Leicester, OMG, that would have been so exciting :) My big Mary Queen of Scots in film/TV post is planned for her December birthday!

    2. That rape has always been questionable to me. Mainly because anyone who assaulted the Queen would have found a quick end. Take the case of Pierre de Chastelard, for example. He had a mad passion for her, hid under her bed, was banished, ignored it, and forced his way into her chambers when she was about to change clothes. Man was executed for it. I tend to fall into the camp that Bothwell seduced her and they covered it as rape.

  2. Blowing Darnley up was probably cheaper than a divorce. And speaking of lawyers, the period was one of the most litigious in history. Sometimes referred to as “Tudorbethan,” the 16th is my 2nd fave, but the 17ths is my true love. Besides reenacting the early settlement in America/ECW period, I was in “The Revenger’s Tragedy,” one of the classics of the Jacobean revenge cycle.

    1. I really love that cross-over period where the 16th ends & the 17th starts too! About 1580 to 1620 — the history, literature, & costuming are just fascinating.

  3. It’s my favorite period as well!

    Mary Stuart was a smart woman, but made some bad choices (I don’t think much of the later Stuarts, to be honest, but I think she and Charles II were probably the smartest of the bunch 1542-1714) and she couldn’t manage to stay flexible enough to get back on top or lower her pride enough to not trip over it. Plus, Elizabeth outclassed her in many ways due to her own upbringing. Elizabeth was a trained hunting cat and Mary, while possessing her own sharp claws, was more of a lap cat.

    1. There’s an excellent book Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by Jane Dunn that details exactly the subject of the two queens’ upbringing & how the differences were critical in understanding their future lives & decisions. QEI was basically given a 16th-c. upper-class man’s education, while MQoS was given a 16th-c. upper-class woman’s education, & yet both of them were expected to do the same job of ruling a country. There’s more to it about the role-models they had growing up, how the English & French courts were incredibly different politically, but yeah, made for wildly different women.

      1. That explains SO MUCH. I have seen one sympathetic treatment of “Bloody Mary” before today. In the anime/manga series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, a vampire roams around Victorian England (yes, I know the costumes are nowhere near historically accurate) raising corpses as “ghouls.”

        Two of the ghouls turn out to be honorable knights who’d served under Mary, Queen of Scots, and had been unjustly executed by QEI. This was the first time I’d seen Liz treated as the nasty villain and Mary as a decent person, instead of the other way around.

        I definitely need to look up that Jane Dunn book!

  4. Meant to ask: is the Roger Moore film “Diane”? Is it any good? I hadn’t heard of it before.

    1. Yep, & I am going to have to just buy the DVD of “Diane” so I can review the whole thing — the costumes are fantastic in that 1950s Walter Plunkett way, & hello, Lana Turner as Diane de Poitiers? That’s inspired casting right there ;-)

    2. They show “Diane” from time to time on TCM. As far as accuracy goes, meh. But it is good entertainment from the last part of “Golden Hollywood”. JMHO

  5. If the movies would accurately portray the 19th century waltz (6 tiny, tight steps instead of 3 giant swoopy ones), it wouldn’t be anything close to snoozy. Once you’ve tried it, you totally get why the Regency debutantes had to get permission to do it–and why it was so controversial when first introduced. A very breathless, you and he are the center of the swirling universe sort of feeling. Modern 3-step waltz was invented by the Castles after WWI so it more closely resembled a march, which meant men could more easily and willingly learn it.

  6. Last night we watched La Celestina … this is very, very late 15th c./ early 16th c Spain. It is based on a play written in 1499. The sets and properties were great. The lesser characters had pretty good costumes. The lead actress (Penelope Cruz) costumes were OK … good shapes, odd fabrics. I’m with Trystan on preferring late 16th c, but early 16th isn’t too bad either.
    Netflix censored it oddly … female genitals were censored, but male parts were not. Still lots of sex and flesh as well as costumes

  7. OMG, courtesans! I would die of squee if The Shadow of the Lion were made into a miniseries just because it has a badass courtesan. And magic. Magic is always fun. Seriously, if you’re not afraid of giant door-stopper books, the entire series is densely-plotted, takes the actual politics of the time into account, and includes a magical system (and magical politics) that make suspension of disbelief fairly easy. Plus, excellent characterization!

    And the sixteenth-century bodice
    Makes all women look like a goddess.
    No matter your size,
    From your breasts to your thighs,
    There’s no fat rolls or muffin-top oddness.

    1. Hiya, I know this is an old post, was just gunna say, boned bodices are amazing and your décolletage looks incredible and from personal experience, boned bodices are very robust even when you are bouncing up and down in a bouncy castle. Everything stays PUT. Unfortunately, my skirt hems needed to be redone. Just sayin as a person who was wearing a plain velvet mutton sleeved dress one would see in Florence in the 16th century. Box pleats ftw!

  8. A Resounding HUZZAH to men in tights, but i would like to just put in a personal swoon for Master Fiennes in Elizabethans generally. There should be a law that says he’s just not allowed out in public in anything else.

  9. I love everything 16th century! I still find the Tudor period incredibly fascinting. Small correction: Clive Owen played Sir Walter Raleigh in Elizabeth The Golden Age, not Drake.

    1. I am Tudor-era obsessed. Wish there were more films and series. I do wish they would just write them to the truth though, which is far more interesting. The scripted subplots are awful…like WHY is Mary Tudor the Queen of Portugal in the Tudors?? That has to be one of the dumbest changes. And she is supposed to be thrilled about that. France I could see, despite the old gouty king. And all the faked meeting between QE1 and Mary…why?? Also…Mary was raised as a spoiled pampered queen to be all of her life…the complete opposite to how Elizabeth was treated after age 2.5. So she was clueless about real life. Even as far as “real life” goes for royalty. I do think she was foolish but so was Margaret Tudor…she had a poor track record in her love life too. Maybe Scotland was their problem…anyway more Tudor shows please…have rewatched all there is out there too many times. But also read about 75 books…so the fake storylines kill me.

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