Livia Gershon is a freelance journalist based in New Hampshire. She has written for the Guardian, the Boston Globe, HuffPost, and Vice, among other outlets.
After Christian forces conquered Jerusalem in 1099, Europeans began making pilgrimages to the Holy Lands by the droves. On the way, they were often attacked by bandits, or even crusading knights. To protect travelers and help defend the new Christian states in the Middle East, a ...read more
There’s no more iconic symbol of medieval Europe than the knight: clad in shining armor, jousting with his rivals, wearing a token of his lady love. But knights were far more than romantic figures—they were a triumph of military technology. Accounts from the Middle Ages describe ...read more
In the 21st century, the word chivalry evokes a kind of old-fashioned male respect for women. But during the Middle Ages, the code was established for much grittier reasons. At a time of routine military violence with massive civilian casualties, chivalry was an effort to set ...read more
On February 14, when we share chocolates, special dinners, or doily cards with our loved ones, we do it in the name of Saint Valentine. But who was this saint of romance? Search the internet, and you can find plenty of stories about him—or them. One Saint Valentine was ...read more
New York’s longest-serving police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, is an Irish-American. So is the department’s current commissioner, James O’Neill. Municipal police departments across the country celebrate the role of Irish-American cops with Emerald Societies—and there’s historic ...read more
One year after Donald Trump’s upset election victory, it’s not unusual to hear people wonder out loud if the United States is really one country anymore. Last month, the Republican senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, gave a speech on the Senate floor about the “state of our ...read more