The First Dunce

John Duns Scotus (c. 1266-1308) was a Scottish philosopher and theologian who left behind a large body of work on a myriad of philosophical and religious topics when he died in 1308. As a theologian, he was one of the most important of his era. However, perhaps his most lasting legacy comes simply from his name.

The Life of Fools

Called a jester, folly, fool, or wit; court entertainers have existed throughout history and throughout the world. The fools of medieval and renaissance England were musicians, story-tellers, comedians, jugglers, and acrobats.

A Turkey by Any Other Name

In the 15th and 16th centuries, as trade exploded around the globe, one poor bird had an identity crisis. Brought to England by the Turks, the bird became known as the “turkey” in English, as well as a similar derivation in Hindi.

The Pirate Queen

Sayyida al-Hurra became Queen of Tétouan (present day northern Morocco) when her husband, the king, died in 1515. After her husband’s death she agreed to marry the king of Morocco, Ahmed al-Wattasi, but insisted that he travel to her, signifying that their marriage would not change her intent to rule.