Yes, ‘Barbarians’ Did Have Art

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Several years ago, a then-critique partner commented on my reference to a mural in an early medieval building in The Cross and the Dragon—something like, “Weren’t they barbarians? How could they have art?”

Justice and warfare in eighth century Europe fits my modern-day definition of barbaric. Despite that grim reality, the need for art and beauty transcends time and geography. Cultures lacking our scientific knowledge and technology will display their creativity and skill, even in everyday objects like a clay pot or woven basket.

The Dark Ages was no exception to the yearning for art. In fact the Franks, so-called barbarians, had many attributes of a civilized society: poets, scholars, theologians, doctors and midwives, books and music, skilled craftsmen, and artists. Most of that without the benefit of a textbook.

So I’ve come to a couple of conclusions:

  1. A long-ago society can still be civilized, even when it lacks some of our 21st century standards.
  2. To assume a society was bereft of art denies its people their humanity.

For more about a particular early medieval art form, see my post about Carolingian frescoes on Unusual Historicals.

Carolingian Fresco of the Flight to Egypt

A fresco of the flight into Egypt, circa 825, Monastery Church of Saint John in Müstair, Switzerland (public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Medieval Kids Didn’t Choose How They’d Spend Their Lives

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No medieval child was ever asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

That question reveals how we Americans value our individualism. From a very young age, we’re taught that we determine our fate.

No so in the Middle Ages. That decision was in the hands of the parents, everything from whom their child would marry to whether they’d join the clergy.

Charlemagne and Byzantine Empress Irene, for example, arranged a betrothal between his 6-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old son in 781. Seven years later, each monarch took credit for breaking off the agreement, even though the teenage bridegroom was upset. (We don’t know how the bride felt.)

That same concept applied when parents gave a young child to the Church. This comes to mind as I write another post about medieval parents who did just that. In fact, if we are to believe the source, it’s the very reason the father got married in the first place. See my post about Saint Wilgils at English Historical Fiction Authors for more.

St. Willibrord Sculpture

Wilgils’s son, Willibrord (photo by Ytzen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

A New Life for ‘The Cross and the Dragon’

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The Cross and the Dragon coverToday marks an important day for The Cross and the Dragon, my debut novel about Alda, a young early medieval noblewoman who must contend with a vengeful jilted suitor and the anxiety her beloved husband will die in battle. I am reintroducing my first book baby to the world, clad in a beautiful new cover created by talented graphic artist and my friend Jessica Kerkhoff.

When the rights to both my books reverted to me, I was determined to make them available to readers again. I had invested too much of my time, my effort, and myself to do otherwise. I decided to go indie because I wanted to release The Cross and the Dragon on my terms.

And you, the readers, encouraged me. If I am to believe the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads—and why shouldn’t I?—most people who’ve read the book loved it. To those of you who read the novel when it was previously published, thank you. If you wrote a review, you have my undying gratitude. And if you meant to get a copy, but never quite got around to it, here’s your chance.

To celebrate my novel’s new life, I’m giving away a signed paperback to one lucky U.S. resident, thanks to Goodreads (check out the widget below). At the same time, I’m giving away one ebook in the format of your choice in the form of a 100 percent off coupon from Smashwords. The ebook giveawy is open internationally from now until September 5, 2016. To enter the ebook giveaway, all you need to do is agree to get an email whenever one of my books is published and leave your email address in the comments.

If you just can’t wait, ebooks are available at Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and other vendors. You can get print copies at Amazon and CreateSpace, among other vendors.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Cross and the Dragon by Kim Rendfeld

The Cross and the Dragon

by Kim Rendfeld

Giveaway ends September 05, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Astronomy? Astrology? No Difference in the Dark Ages.

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I hope my post on Unusual Historicals won’t drive my scientifically minded friends too crazy. I’m using the term astronomy to describe a natural philosophy closer to today’s astrology. But early medieval scholars called their study of the universe astronomy.

They saw similar phenomena as today’s stargazers do—eclipses, comets, planets, constellations—but it was for a different purpose. Well, sort of. Astronomers throughout the ages sought explanations for their observations. Today’s scientists look at forces such as gravity. In the Middle Ages, scholars were trying to figure out Gods’ will and believed unusual events in the sky were omens.

See my post for more on how Carolingians saw the universe.

Ninth century diagrams

Ninth century diagrams show the division of the day and the week (public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

When a Writer Must Imagine the Unthinkable

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I’m nervous about my post in English Historical Fiction Authors. In an eighth-century German community, a young disabled beggar killed her newborn, to the horror of the villagers and a group of missionary nuns from Britain.

More than a millennium later, I’m as appalled as they are, yet I try to explain why the girl would do such a thing. It would be easier for me to paint the teenager as a fiend and not speculate on her motives. But I’m a novelist, and my job is to put myself inside the heads of other people, even those whose actions disgust me.

When I think of the young mother, I don’t see a monster. Rather I see an outcast with no friends or family or even a midwife, someone who might have been so deep in the throes of depression that she truly believed her baby better off dead. Her deed is still heinous, but trying to understand her makes her human.

For more, see my post on EHFA about the baby in the river.

Studies of Beggars and Vagrants

Studies of Beggars and Vagrants, between 1465 and 1559, by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch (public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Heisenberg and Schroedinger Develop Equally Valuable Ideas but Criticize Each Other

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In this installment on the history of atom theory, physics professor (and my dad) Dean Zollman features Erwin Schroedinger—best known for his thought experiment involving a box and a cat. Schroedinger found a way to visualize quantum ideas. Heisenberg, who developed a more complex approach, was not pleased.—Kim

By Dean Zollman

Dean ZollmanAs I discussed last time, Heisenberg developed his ideas without any direct reference to wave-particle duality that had been postulated by Louis de Broglie. A different approach was taken by Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961). He took the wave ideas to heart and began working on a theory in which an electron in the hydrogen atom behaved somewhat as a vibrating string. As shown in the diagram below, a string which is fixed at both ends can support only certain vibrations which are related to the length of the string. Thus this phenomena seems to have some relation to the Bohr atom with its limit on the number energies.

Three Different Modes of Vibrations

Three different modes of vibrations for a string which is held fixed at both ends. (By Christophe Dang Ngoc, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Schroedinger needed to combine this idea with the de Broglie hypothesis to obtain a mathematical formulation for atoms and other small objects. As with Heisenberg, Schroedinger’s breakthrough would come when he took time away from his daily grind. However, his motivation was quite different from Heisenberg’s hay fever. I will rely on Arthur I. Miller, a historian of science, to describe it.

“A good friend of Erwin Schroedinger recalled that ‘he did his greatest work during a late erotic outburst in his life.’ The epiphany occurred in the Christmas holidays of 1925 when the thirty-eight-year-old Viennese physicist vacationed with his former girlfriend at the Swiss ski resort of Arosa near Davos. Their passion was the catalyst for a year-long creative activity.”

(Most historians suspect that Schroedinger’s wife, Annemarie (1896-1965), would have been aware of this liaison. Schroedinger was a well-known womanizer.)

Erwin Schroedinger

Erwin Schroedinger in 1933 (Nobel Foundation, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Schroedinger constructed his equation by using de Broglie’s concept and analogies with optics and other wave phenomena. The result was a differential equation in which one can enter information about the energy of the particle. Then solving the equation yields a wave function which provides some information about the particle’s motion. I am being deliberately vague because at the time it was not clear to Schroedinger or his colleagues exactly what information the wave function was providing.

Schroedinger on the Austrian 1000 shilling note

Prior to the creation of the euro, Schroedinger appeared on the Austrian 1000 shilling note. (By Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Visualization

Schroedinger’s equation was more appealing to physicists than Heisenberg’s matrix formulation. First, differential equations, while they can be difficult to solve, were well known entities. Newton’s Second Law is an example of a differential equation which physicists had been dealing with for about 200 years. Second, it was much easier to use in calculations than the matrix approach.

As I mentioned last time, using matrices Wolfgang Pauli needed 40 pages of calculations to obtain numbers for the energy levels in the hydrogen. With the Schroedinger approach, a couple of pages is sufficient. The solution, the wave function, can be visualized. For example, the sketch below shows part of the wave function solution for a beam of electrons striking a very thin metal plate. The top drawing represents the electron energy (blue line) with the thin metal represented by the black line. The bottom drawing is the wave function when the information from the top drawing is put into Schroedinger’s equation.  (These drawings are from one of my teaching projects, Visual Quantum Mechanics.)

Shroedinger equation

Part of a wave function. (From the Quantum Tunneling program of Visual Quantum Mechanics.)

In the early days, the wave function was thought to represent the location of the charge on the electron or the distribution of the electric charge in space. Neither were very satisfying. Eventually Max Born suggested that the square of the wave function represents the probably of finding the electron at each point in space. That interpretation of the wave function did not have a strong theoretical foundation but it stuck and made calculations using Schroedinger’s equation very valuable and useful in a variety of areas of physics and chemistry.

In describing both Heisenberg’s and Schroedinger’s approach I have used words such as developed or constructed; I have avoided derived. In physics and mathematics, we generally think about fundamental laws being derived. We start with some principles that are well established, bring them together, maybe make a few assumptions, and derive some new ideas.

For both the matrix and wave approach to quantum physics, this was not the case. To get to useful results, Schroedinger, Heisenberg, and their colleagues used a variety of analogies and other operations that made sense but could not be derived. Their work is the basis for essentially all of the physics and chemistry related to very small objects. Yet, it cannot be derived; it just works.

Rivalry

Within a few years it was clearly shown that the two approaches were equivalent and led to the same conclusions. However, that did not make Heisenberg and Schroedinger friends. Publicly and privately, they criticized each other. A statement from Schroedinger about the origin of his work says,

My theory was inspired by L. de Broglie … and by short but incomplete remarks by A. Einstein. … No genetic relationship whatever with Heisenberg is known to me. I knew of his theory, of course, but felt discouraged, not to say repelled, by the methods of transcendental algebra which appeared very difficult to me and by the lack of visualizability.

Schroedinger was repelled by matrix mathematics (which he called “transcendental algebra”) and the lack of a visual connection. Heisenberg, in a letter to Pauli, was somewhat stronger in his views and Schroedinger’s reliance on visualization.

The more I reflect on the physical portion of Schroedinger’s theory the more disgusting I find it. What Schrodinger writes on the visualizability of his theory is probably not quite right. In other words, it’s crap.

Of course, the letter was written in German. The translation here comes from a chapter by Arthur I. Miller. I have seen the last word (crap) translated in a variety of waysfrom poppycock to bullsh**. The German word was Mist which is generally translated as manure. In today’s usage, at least among my German friends, crap is a good translation. Some of the others are too mild, and some are too strong.

Both Approaches Have Their Place

While feelings ran high in the 1920s, both approaches are now considered very valuable. Physicists choose which to use based on what type of problem they need to solve. For most teaching situations, the wave function approach is introduced first because of its visualization capabilities. However, in some recent advanced undergraduate courses instructors have been starting with part of the matrix method.

Most importantly, quantum physics was a revolution in the way we think about matter. It provides the foundation for our understanding and allows engineers and scientists to develop and design many of our modern devices. What started with the ancient Greeks’ attempts to understand matter reached a milestone thousands of years later with the development of quantum physics.

There are still some fundamental unanswered questions about quantum physics. Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman (1918-1988) famously said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” But it has worked well for almost 100 years to explain many phenomena related to atoms, molecules, and solids.

When I began this series almost four years ago, I started with ideas from a short lecture that I had given at the Smithsonian Institution in the 1990s. Based on that talk, I expected to write about six to eight posts and be done. But I found a lot of interesting distractions along the way. Now that I have finally reached the quantum revolution, I will take a break. A lot of interesting developments have occurred in the past 90 years. Before I think more about them, I will pause for a while.

Dean Zollman is university distinguished professor of physics at Kansas State University, where he has been a faculty member for more than 40 years. During his career he has received four major awardsthe American Association of Physics Teachers’ Oersted Medal (2014), the National Science Foundation Director’s Award for Distinguished Teacher Scholars (2004), the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Doctoral University Professor of the Year (1996), and AAPT’s Robert A. Millikan Medal (1995). His present research concentrates on the teaching and learning of physics and on science teacher preparation.

Previously

What Are Things Made of? Depends on When You Ask.

Ancient Greeks Were the First to Hypothesize Atoms

The Poetry of Atoms

Atom Theory in Ancient India

Religion, Science Clashed over Atoms

Medieval Arabic Scholarship Might Have Preserved Scientific Knowledge

Rediscovering a Roman Poet – and Atom Theory – Centuries Later

Reconciling Atom Theory with Religion

Did Atom Theory Play a Role in Galileo’s Trouble with the Inquisition?

Did Gifted Scientist’s Belief in Atoms Led to His Obscurity?

Does Atom Theory Apply to the Earthly and the Divine?

A Duchess Inspired by Atoms

Separating Atoms from Atheism

Isaac Newton: 300 Years Ahead of His Time

Issac Newton and the Philosopher’s Stone

When Chemistry and Physics Split

Redefining Elements

Mme Lavoisier: Partner in Science, Partner in Life

With Atoms, Proportionality and Simplicity Rule

Despite Evidence of Atoms, 19th Century Skeptics Didn’t Budge

Mission of the First International Scientific Conference: Clear up Confusion

Rivalry over the First Periodic Table

The Puzzle of Dark Lines amid Rainbow Colors

The Colorful Signature of Each Element

Light Waves by the Numbers

Even Scientific Dead Ends Can Contribute to Knowledge

Discovery of the Electron Took Decades and Multiple Scientists

‘Wonders of the X-ray’

The Accidental Discovery of Radioactivity

Marie Curie: A Determined Scientist

Pierre and Marie Curie Extract Radium – and Pay a High Price

Scientists Delve into Radioactivity and Make Their Own Discoveries

The First Attempts to Visualize Atoms

Did Busy Work Lead to Models for Atoms?

Why Does Ice Melt? The Answer Lies in Physics.

Einstein Explains How a Dim Light Can Release More Energy Than a Bright One

How Bohr’s Famous Model of the Atom Was Created

Bohr’s Model of the Atom Answers Fundamental Questions – but Raises More

Bohr’s Model of the Atom Draws Critics

‘A First Feeble Ray of Light’ to Explain Electrons’ Orbits

Two Labs across the Atlantic Prove That Electrons Behave Like Waves

A Mathematical Approach to Atoms That Works but Is Complex

Dark Ages Slavery: Commerce vs. Religion

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Every once in a while, a historical novelist comes across something that makes her realize her invention is more plausible than she originally thought.

In The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar (to be rereleased in November), I made up one of the terms for the peace treaty after the 772 war between the Franks and the Saxons: free Saxons would remain free. My heroine, Leova, is betrayed by her relatives when she’s sold into slavery, and that condition makes that part of the plot possible. Otherwise, Pinabel, the Frankish count who buys them, could just grab them without any help from treacherous relatives.

Later, Pinabel grumbles to a merchant, “The priests, soft-headed fools, persuaded our king to forbid us from taking free Saxons. I argued against such idiocy, but my words only vexed him. I had to comply with the terms of the treaty, lest I lose his favor—and the bishopric I want for my sister’s son.”

At the time I wrote that, I rationalized that King Charles (Charlemagne) might agree to such a condition as a goodwill gesture that would also make the missionaries’ work easier. As I did some research for my post about slavery on Unusual Historicals, I found that if the treaty prevented enslavement, churchmen would be behind the move. To them, Saxony was not only land, it was a battlefield for souls, and they could not convert people shipped off to Muslim lands or owned by non-Christians.

Visit Unusual Historicals for more about why the clergy disapproved war captives becoming slaves.

Medieval Peasants

From A History of Medieval and Renaissance Europe for Secondary Schools, published 1920 (Internet Archive Book Images, no known copyright restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons)

Coming Aug. 3, 2016: ‘The Cross and the Dragon’

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My debut novel, The Cross and the Dragon, will be reintroduced to the world on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, under my own imprint.

TCATD_FINAL_SMALLWhen all the rights to my books reverted to me in April, the path that made the most sense was to go indie—in other words, take on the role of publisher as well as author and promoter. The vast majority of people who’ve read The Cross and the Dragon and The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar loved them. So at this moment, I no longer want or need to prove myself to agents and editors.

This process is exciting and nerve-wracking for the same reasons—I make the decisions about the story, cover, prices, release date, and promotion, starting with this announcement about The Cross and the Dragon and the reveal of the beautiful new cover, designed by Jessica Kerkhoff.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t provide a little something on what The Cross and the Dragon is about:

Francia, 778, the tenth year of Charlemagne’s reign: Alda has never forgotten Ganelon’s vow of vengeance when she married his rival, Hruodland. Yet the jilted suitor’s malice is nothing compared to Alda’s premonition of disaster for her beloved, battle-scarred husband.

Although the army invading Hispania is the largest ever and King Charles has never lost a war, Alda cannot shake her anxiety. Determined to keep Hruodland from harm, even if it exposes her to danger, Alda gives him a charmed dragon amulet.

Is its magic enough to keep Alda’s worst fears from coming true—and protect her from Ganelon?

Inspired by legend and painstakingly researched, The Cross and the Dragon is a story of tenderness, sacrifice, lies, and revenge—a novel reviewers call “addictive,” “a delightfully entertaining and thrilling read,” and “a powerful tale.”

To the readers who supported me when The Cross and Dragon was first published by buying the book, writing a review, or spreading the word, you have my deep gratitude. And if you’ve been interested in the novel but didn’t get around to ordering a copy, here is your chance. Ebooks are available for preorder on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. Print copies will be available on the launch date, and if you’d like a friendly reminder, email me at kim [at] kimrendfeld [dot] com.

Cross and Dragon‘s companion, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar, will be rereleased in November. It can be preordered at Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes and will be on Amazon in the coming weeks.

Ugly Petras: Outcast but Free

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Today, I am happy to welcome Marina J. Neary back to Outtakes as she introduces her latest release, The Gate of Dawn, a dark folkloric thriller with pagan elements. Here, she shares a dark Lithuanian tale with moral underpinnings and emotional justice.

By Marina J. Neary

Marina Neary author photo 2016I wanted to thank Kim for hosting me. I have very much enjoyed her Carolingian novels, particularly her depiction of the religious atmosphere of early Christianity and residual paganism. The Baltics were among the last European regions to accept Christianity.

Much of the Lithuanian folklore is centralized. Like in any other tradition, some of the folklore is local and regional, confined to the villages in which they originated. It’s not hard to conceive that similar horror tales generated in different locations. They represent collective phobias. Abominations like rape, deformity, and child abandonment are universal.

The tale of Ugly Petras is one of those fairy tales. I learned it from my paternal grandmother who lived on the border between Lithuania and Belarus. The tale actually originated in the western part of Lithuania that was under Prussian rule in the 19th century. I incorporated it into my latest novel The Gate of Dawn, set in 1880s Lithuania that was under the rule of Czar Alexander III. Please read the excerpt below. A young man is telling a chilling tale to a girl after he had just seduced her. A very interesting choice of pillow talk material!

Lithuanian bog,

A Lithuanian bog, by Šarūnas Šimkus (released to the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

***

“Once upon a time, there was a landlord. Let’s call him Adomas. His frigid and barren wife could not produce him an heir, so his attentions shifted onto a comely maid named Greta. Before long the girl fell pregnant. The landlord’s wife, a staunch keeper of morals, kicked Greta out of the house, to set an example for the rest of the servants. For months the hapless girl roamed the countryside, moving from village to village, hiding in the barns by night, eating whatever scraps were discarded. One midsummer morning she made a nest in the bog and birthed a boy as handsome as the young woodland god Velnias. She named him Aras, meaning Eagle. As soon as she clutched the hungry babe to her breast, another wave of pain came, and her body expelled a hideous being, her second son. Even the mischievous bog nixies scattered at the sight of him. Every limb was crooked, every feature was deformed. Greta fled in terror with Aras in her arms. She left her handsome son at the doorstep of the church and ran off, never to be seen again. That day Adomas came to mass. When the landlord beheld the boy’s features, he recognized him as his own. His wife did not object, though she looked particularly sullen that day.

“The deformed child was found by a witch named Vaida who lived in a cottage near the bog. He was so perfect in his ugliness that he made her black heart sing. She rejoiced in him more than Adomas rejoiced in his handsome son. Old Vaida adopted him and named him Petras, for the lad was sturdy as a rock. She taught him all her wicked tricks, all her pernicious spells. He knows how to conjure the water sprites and make them dance to his song. To this day Ugly Petras haunts the countryside, rummaging the barns and the chicken coops, where his mother once found refuge. His first retaliation was against his natural father, Adomas. The haughty landlord took leave of his senses and hanged himself on a cherry tree.

“But the handsome twin proved to have a noble and charitable heart. And though Aras never met Ugly Petras, he sensed that he had a brother, and always left a pitcher of ale and a slice of ham on the porch for him. Petras gobbled up the treats and cast spells of protection upon his brother’s estate. Since then no drought, no pestilence has plagued the land.”

***

Despite the gruesome images, I find the tale strangely life-affirming. It’s a celebration of brotherhood. Conceived in violence, separated physically and socially, the two brothers share a tacit bond. It really makes the reader wonder, which brother was more fortunate and in control of his destiny. Was it Aras, confined to a life of conformity as young lord of the manor, or Petras, banished from society and therefore freed from the constraints?

About The Gate of Dawn

Gate of Dawn cover2Welcome to 1880s Vilnius, a volatile Northeastern metropolis where Balts, Germans, Poles, Russians, and Jews compete for a place in the sun. After sustaining fatal burns in a fire instigated by his rivals, textile magnate Hermann Lichtner spends his final days in a shabby infirmary. In a hasty and bizarre deathbed transaction he gives his fifteen-year-old daughter Renate in marriage to Thaddeus, a widowed Polish farmer who rejects social hierarchy and toils side by side with his peasants.

Renate’s arrival quickly disrupts the bucolic flow of life and antagonizes every member of the household. During an excursion to the city, Renate rekindles an affair with a young Jewish painter who sells his watercolors outside the Gate of Dawn chapel. While her despairing husband might look the other way, his servants will not stand by and watch while their adored master is humiliated.

Taking us from the cobblestone streets of old Vilnius, swarming with imperial gendarmes, to the misty bogs of rural Lithuania where pagan deities still rule, The Gate of Dawn is a folkloric tale of rivalry, conspiracy, and revenge.

It is available at Amazon and other vendors.

About Marina J. Neary

A self-centered only child of classical musicians, Marina Julia Neary spent her early years in Eastern Europe and came to the US at the age of 13. Her literary career revolves around depicting military and social disasters, from the Charge of the Light Brigade, to the Irish Famine, to the Easter Rising in Dublin, to the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl some 30 miles away from her hometown. Notorious for her abrasive personality and politically incorrect views that make her a persona non grata in most polite circles, Neary explores human suffering through the prism of dark humor, believing that tragedy and comedy go hand in hand.

Who Was My Hessian Ancestor?

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I chose to feature Hessians in today’s post for English Historical Fiction Authors to better understand one of my ancestors, Johann Gebel.

He had a decision to make, one that affected the family for generations: does he stay with the Hessian army or does he desert and forsake his home and his parents across the Atlantic?

We don’t know a lot about Johann. Even the spelling of his name varies. Nor is there direct evidence that he was a Hessian soldier, but circumstances point to his service in this army of conscripts who faced harsh discipline. Johann was born February 11, 1756, in Waldeck, one of the six principalities to rent troops to the British. He was 20 when America declared its independence. If he was healthy and “expendable,” he was a prime candidate for the army.

According to family lore, Johann did not want to fight. Possibly, he saw this as a war among foreigners, and it had nothing to with him or the defense of his home and country.

There are variations in what happens next. He was shipped across the Atlantic by himself, or he was one of three brothers who deserted, or he was one of seven brothers who split up to fight for the Americans. The first story is most plausible to me. He somehow wound up in Havana as a prisoner of war and deserted the Hessian army.

Maybe the promise of freedom lured him. He would be out of jail and free of the beatings in the military. Plus, he had a shot of being a respectable citizen rather than an expendable conscript.

After the war ended in 1783, he was living in the States and married Elizabeth Bens Martzall (or Marzell), perhaps in 1789. They had a son, John Gable, six years later; the anglicized version of the name shows they were assimilating to the young country. Johann moved around in Pennsylvania a few times before finally settling in 1803 in Warwick Township in Lancaster County. He would remain there until his death at age 96 in 1852.

Hessians

By Richard Knötel (January 12, 1857–April 26, 1914) (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

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