#historical reference
inky-duchess · 22 days
Fantasy Guide to A Great House (19th-20th Century)
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(I know, I've been slacking but I'm still alive)
When we think of the Victorians, the grand old Gilded Age or the Edwardians, we all think of those big mansions and manors where some of our favourite stories take place. But what and who did it take to run a great house?
Meet the Staff
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Large numbers of staff were always needed to run great houses. Every department had its own management and its own teams, all working together to ensure everything ran smooth. There was both an interior and exterior team.
You can split the interior of the household into three departments: Service, Upkeep and Food Preparation.
Butler: The Butler was the Head of all the household staff. He acted essentially as the manager of a great house, directing the staff on a day to day basis or at events on the command of the lord/lady/employer. Make staff would report mostly yo him and he would be in charge of keeping an eye on them. The Butler had charge of the wine cellars, the dining room, sometimes the pantry as well. As the manager of the house, Butlers were afforded the title of Mr. X. Our favourite examples being of course Mr Carson and Mr Pennyworth.
Valet: The valet was the male servant who handled the dressing of the men of the family. He would be in charge of his master's clothes, ensuring he was always dressed in the right outfit for the right activity (there was a lot) and be in charge of helping him into the outfit in question. The valet would also be in charge of cleanliness, sometimes shaving his master or running his bath. Valets were referred to as Surname and ranked in how their employer's ranked, for example the Lord’s valet would outrank his son's.
Lady's Maid: The lady's maid was similar to the valet. She was in charge of keeping the ladies of the house looking their best and handling their needs. She would style hair, care for jewels, mend clothes, care for clothes and often act as a companion, accompanying her lady on visits or day's out. The lady's maid was referred to by their surname.
Footman: The footman was a male servant who served at table, fetched items, handled heavy lifting such as luggage, opened and closed doors. Most footmen were young men and en chosen for good looks. Footmen polished the silver services at great houses and when called upon would often take on the role of valet to guests without a servant to help. Footmen were referred to as their firstname. Footmen were denoted by rank, the highest being first footman who had charge over the others and would assist the butler in some tasks.
Housekeeper:The housekeeper was second in command but she ran her most of the interior staff, especially those who took care of the house itself. She supervised all female staff. She helped the lady of the house when it came to running events and caring for guests. The housekeeper is always Mrs. Surname even when she's unmarried.
Housemaid: Housemaids clean the house. They would dust, make and strip beds, straighten things up and keep the house looking it's best. The housemaid was a servant that was almost never seen, usually rising early, lighting the fires, cleaning the house as the family moves from room to room. She was called by her Firstname.
Scullery Maid: The scullery maid is the lower ranking maid. She would also have been younger and less experienced. She was in charge of the more unsightly work: laying the fires, scrubbing the floors, emptying chamberpots, cleaning servant's chambers. She may even do mending and washing for other servants. She was called by her first name.
Hall boy: The hall boy was also young and handled the worst jobs. He would polish boots belonging to the family and sometimes staff, cempty the servant's chamberpots and waited on on the higher ranking servants. He was called by his name.
Food Preparation
Cook: The cook or chef was the third highest ranking servant downstairs and they ran their own department. They were in charge of the kitchen staff. All cooks and chefs would meet almost daily with the lady of the house to discuss menus and ordering but would answer to both housekeeper and butler. As with the housekeeper, a female cook or chef is Mrs Surname despite martial status and make cooks/chef are Mr.
Kitchen maid: The kitchen maid helped the cook/chef in preparing the food. She would be one of the first servants up, in charge of lighting the ovens and starting the breakfast for the family and servants. She would clean the kitchen, boil water when needed and bring food up to the servery when needed. She would be called by her first name.
The house would needed a team on the outside to handle the stables, the gardens and any outdoor activity.
Gardeners: They would be responsible for the upkeep of the grounds itself, caring for the gardens. There would be multiple at a great house led by a head gardener.
Stableboy/groom/kennelmaster: They would take care of the family's horses and dogs. They would take care of tack, help plan hunts and riding pursuits and handle carriages.
Chauffeur: As automobiles became popular in this period, a chauffeur was needed to drive the family and take car of their motor.
Lives of Servants
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Servants were paid very little at this time, mainly because most staff got free room and board. Most of the interior staff would live in the house itself and be supplied meals. Chauffeurs, gardeners etc would live nearby on the estate either as locals or be supplied a house as a staff member. Staff uniforms were also supplied. Days off were rare but not withheld. Permission was needed to leave the house either to visit the shop or take a few days off.
Servants were expected to be obedient, modest and humble at all times. They were expected to stand in the presence of their master's, speak only when spoken to and never question an order. They had to be ready for anything at the drop of a hat. You've set for a dozen guests but now there's five more coming? Tough luck, change the table settings. You get seasick? Nevermind that, your gentleman is going across the sea and as his valet you're going with him, like it or not.
Servants from one house often travelled to with the family to their other residences: the butler, footmen, chef, kitchen maids, lady's maid, valet would all go with the family while everybody else would get left behind. Every house would have its own housekeeper if it could be afforded. Housemaids and other staff needed could be hired locally when needed.
The Daily Routine
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The working day of a servant in a grand house was a long arduous one.
Morning: At 6am, the servants rise. The scullery maid gets up and begins lighting the fires, starting with the kitchen. Then she cleans the kitchen top to bottom before the staff get in to cook. The kitchen maid would rise at the same time, helping with the cleaning. She would set for the servant's breakfast and start cooking it. The footmen open the shutters upstairs, cleans whatever tools they will need such as glasses and silverware, tend the lamps and sets for breakfast upstairs. The housemaids go about the house cleaning up after the night before, starting in the rooms that aren't being used (any room that's not the bedrooms). At around 8, the cook rises and starts the day. The kitchen maid serves breakfast to the other servants before returning to the kitchen to eat her own breakfast with the other kitchen staff. After breakfast, the housemaid will change her apron and deliver hot water to each of the bedrooms for the family. At 9, the family rise. Married women have breakfast in bed with all other family members and visitors eating in the dining room. Valets and lady's maids would have dressed them prior, gathering up any clothes to be mended or washed. The footmen and butlers will serve while the housemaids go into each empty room and begin their chores.
Midday: Just before midday, the chef would speak with the lady of the house to discuss menus. At around 11, the staff were permitted their first break, just enough time for a drink usually a cup of tea before they started again. The chef would start preparing for the main dinner of the evening with the lady's approval. Footmen would take their places at entrances or attend the family where he may be needed. At noon, the servants would have their dinner. At 1, the family would sit for their lunch. Once lunch is over, a footman might be permitted to attend personal business (with permission from the butler first) or be sent on errands out of the house such as delivering messages. While the family sit for breakfast, the maids tidy up any room they have been using since getting up.
Afternoon: The family take tea around 4. The footmen clear the tea before heading down to take their tea - a light meal- with the other servants around 5. Afterwards, the footmen will start to light the lamps, close the shutters and draw the curtains. The butler would oversee the laying of the table for dinner with the footmen. The first footman carries the silver, the second the china, while the butler sets the silver and glasses. If a guest is coming, a footman will remain on the door to see them in.
Evening: At 8, the footman or butler signals the start of supper. This is done by the rinibg of the gong or bell which gives the family and any staying guests, 15mins or more to get ready. Valets and lady's maids would already be upstairs at this point, helping their master/mistress. When the family head downstairs, they linger in the drawing room to chat while a footmen keeps an eye on them. Any guests visiting for dinner would be let in by a footman and announced upon entry. The butler announces dinner and escorts the family in. The footman serve the food while the butler pours the wine (chosen by the Lord with the butler's help). The footman stay in the dining room all throughout dinner, excepting when they go to the servery to collect the food from the kitchen maid. They serve and clear the plates for every course. When dinner is over, a footman will stay with the men while they drink their port while another serves the ladies their coffee in the drawing room. While dinner is on, the housemaid would tidy the empty rooms, check the fires and turn down the beds. At 9, the servants eat their supper while the family chill. When supper is over and the family is done for the night, the valets and lady's maids would ready their masters for bed. A footman would wait in the hall with candlesticks for the family and show any departing guest out. The kitchen staff would start to clean up while the butler starts locking up the house. The staff would get to bed about 11:30 - 12.
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thevibraniumveterans · 4 months
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“Black Panther Wakanda Forever” has a supporting cast of actors and actresses, without whom the story may not have been as effective. Sure, our main leads and the secondary characters are cool and awesome, and the story is amazing, but it’s people like the ones above who play small but very important roles in the story.
Having a young boy witness the trauma of his people be subject to horrors no child should be privy to, and hold on to that fear and rage with a grip so tight it transforms into vengeance that burns within a god-king hell-bent on protecting his people… little Manuel Chavez may not have been onscreen long, but his presence very much informed the charismatic K’uk’ulkan who is both filled with rage and kindness in equal measure.
Like Manuel, Irma-Estel LaGuerre and María Mercedes Coroy may not have been onscreen much, but their portrayal of a mother who, for the sake of her unborn son, must ingest a concoction to save both her and her people from the raging fires of colonialism resonates with many. In the film, K’uk’ulkan wonders what it is like to be a people in a pristine land who never have to leave. His mother loved him, cared for him, and wished for him to bury her in the land she loved so much, even if it was being desecrated by people who most certainly did not belong there to begin with. LaGuerre and Coroy portrayed a woman who had so much love to give, yet lost so much; it is to nobody’s surprise that her son adopted the name “Namor”, itself shortened from “el niño sin amor”, the child without love.
Without Josué Maychi, there may well not have been the inclusion of the Yucatec Mayan language in the film. Maychi’s role as the shaman who was guided by a god to retrieve a plant grown in Vibranium-rich soil to heal his smallpox-afflicted people is very important to the story, as without him, Talokan is as good as nonexistent. It is thanks to the shaman that Talokan was able to thrive as we see it do in the film.
María Telón Soc portrays a Mayan elder in the film. Her role, though small, is crucial as she is one of the guiding forces who help convince K’uk’ulkan mother to ingest the herbal drink to save her and her unborn son. Like the other actors and actresses mentioned above, she may not have been onscreen for long, but her presence informs the decisions we see the other Mayan-Talokanil make.
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thethirdromana · 8 months
Some context for the 1890s
I thought it might be fun to look into the period when Dracula was written and set in a little more detail.
Key facts
In 1897, the population of the UK was just under 40m - so about 60% of what it is today. (By contrast the US population at the time was just 21% of what it is today). Only about 6m of them had the right to vote - about 40% of adult men.
With a population of 6m, London was the largest city in the world and would be for another 20 years.
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Politics and imperialism
The British Empire wasn't yet at its peak, which would be at some point between 1913 and 1922 depending on whether you define it by land or population. This was the time of the Scramble for Africa - in the 1890s alone, Britain colonised the countries that are now Uganda, Zanzibar, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, parts of Sudan and parts of South Africa. (Ish - matching 1890s borders to modern ones is tricky).
All the same, the sense of effortless British dominance was fading, because countries like Germany, France and the USA were starting to catch up. In 1896, the book 'Made in Germany' by Ernest Edwin Williams was a bestseller, bemoaning that cheaper German goods were crowding out British ones in shops. (It's available for free online; just google it if you're interested.) Here's 1890s Berlin:
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Britain was only just emerging from what the Victorians called "The Great Depression" from the 1870s to early 1890s. The wealthiest and most powerful country in the world didn't always feel that way to the people living in it.
Alongside anxieties about Britain's place in the world, the other major political topic which dominated the 1890s was the question of Irish Home Rule - essentially whether Ireland should be allowed its own parliament and responsibility for domestic affairs while still remaining part of the UK. The Second Home Rule Bill passed the Commons in 1893 but was defeated in the Lords. Here's 1890s Dublin:
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Less than a percentage of the British population would have been people of colour. The 1921 census showed just 75,000 people born in India - 1897 wouldn't have been much different. All the same, the University of Oxford - i.e. one of the most elite institutions in the country - had its first black student as long ago as 1873.
This was a period of growing rights and freedoms in the UK (starting from a very low base). In 1891, children under 11 were banned from working in factories; in 1893, education was made free and compulsory for children up to age 11; in 1882, the Married Women's Property Act allowed married women to own and control property in their own right. Many socialist and trade unionist organisations were founded at this time, including a precursor to the Labour Party.
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A social concern at this time were the "surplus women" - there was perceived to be a relative excess of women compared with men, prompting fears they wouldn't be able to marry and would have to work. Women were about 40% of the labour force.
If a man and a woman got engaged but the man then broke it off, the woman could sue him for "breach of promise" as this was considered a binding legal contract. The woman could break the engagement with no legal penalty. (You might recognise this as the basis for several Jeeves and Wooster plotlines).
The fertility rate was falling fast - from an average of nearly 5 children per woman in 1880 to 4 in 1895 (this would fall to 2 by 1930). Around 1 in 5 children died before the age of 5, and around 1 in 200 births resulted in the death of the mother.
Daily life and prices
There were only a handful of cars on British roads - so when Mina says she and Lucy "drove up to the house", she means by horse, not by car. But there were ~25,000km of railways in the UK, compared with about 17,000km today.
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The rise of the railways and people actually getting days off meant that this was the golden age of trips to the British seaside. Train fares were a penny per mile, meaning that London to Whitby cost about 20s or a week's labour for a solicitor's clerk, with the purchasing power of £64 today.
As a full-blown solicitor, my guess (though it's only a guess) is that Jonathan is earning about twice that. A female teacher's salary was around £75 a year or 28s a week. A housemaid would earn just £10 a year, though she would get bed and board as well.
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The first edition of a novel cost about a shilling and reprints cost even less - as little as a penny or two for the cheapest books. Literacy was nearly universal in the UK.
Also available for a penny were magazines like the hugely popular Tit-Bits, which was the first periodical to sell over a million copies in the UK. It consisted of short, mostly human interest snippets of information, as well as short stories. Lucy and Mina probably wouldn't read Tit-Bits, but Mr Swales might.
References, youtube links and a couple of bonuses for fanfiction writers on my original post here.
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talesofedo · 3 months
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Here's a little "today I learned" about Hiraga Gennai 平賀 源内, arguably one of the most interesting individuals of the Edo period.
+ Gennai was born in 1729 in Shidoura village, Sanuki province (one of the provinces on the Nankaido road) as the third son of Shiraishi Mozaemon, a low-ranking samurai.
+ He grew up in a family with many siblings and was a precocious, intelligent child whose interests ranged from painting to poetry, and science to naturalism. In fact, pretty much the only thing I didn't find in references was any mention of talent with (or even just interest in) the sword.
+ Around age 12 or 13, Gennai became an apprentice of one of the domain's doctors where he learned traditional Japanese medicine, herbalism, and Confucianism.
+ After his father died in 1748, 19-year-old Gennai became the head of his family. During the Edo period, it would have been more common for the eldest son to succeed the father as both head of household and in his hereditary post (if he held one), so it stands to reason that Gennai's two elder brothers either did not survive into adulthood or there was some other reason neither could succeed their father.
+ Around 1752, Gennai traveled to Nagasaki to further his studies. Specifically, he studied rangaku (Dutch learning, but really any Western learning): Western medicine in general, surgery specifically, natural sciences, and oil painting, for good measure.
+ After his time in Nagasaki, Gennai realized he was much more interested in studying, traveling, writing, and inventing than he was in being heir to his family or being stuck in his province. He abandoned his position as head of the family - this went to his sister's husband - and resigned from his clan, becoming a ronin, so he would be free to pursue his own interests.
+ Gennai was interested in everything. At various times, he pursued (among many other things, I'm sure): Western medicine, surgery, traditional Japanese medicine, herbalism, mining and smelting techniques, mining development, natural history, ferry building, electric generators, fire-proof cloth, pottery, plays, and literature.
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Electricity go brrrrrrr: Gennai obtained a broken, second-hand elekiter (エレキテル) from a shop in Nagasaki in 1770 and used it as the basis to build his own. He demonstrated the elekiter to the shogunate and many individual daimyo, and used it to treat various medical conditions, though perhaps more as a novelty than a legitimate attempt at treatment.
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Two more things from the brain of Hiraga Gennai:
On the left, kakanpu, Gennai's fireproof cloth woven from asbestos, which would obviously not burn even if you threw it directly into the flames; and on the right, green glaze pottery dubbed Gennai ware, which was based on Chinese cochin ware.
Gennai also wrote ... a lot. He published 6 illustrated volumes on herbalism, 5 kabuki plays, 9 gidayu, and an assortment of other works, including an essay on farting, a guide to kagema of Japan, and his most popular work, Rootless Weeds, a gay love story featuring Enma, the king of the underworld, and Gennai's lover, the onnagata Segawa Kikunojo II.
That's Kikunojo in the two prints below. Yes, he's a man, despite appearances.
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+ Gennai's death is a bit of a mystery. Apparently, he was involved in the building or renovation of a daimyo's mansion. At some point in this process, a drunk Gennai started arguing with several of the carpenters over what he believed to be stolen plans to the mansion. The argument turned violent and Gennai murdered at least one man and perhaps killed or injured a second.
+ He was arrested and died on 24 January 1780 in prison. His cause of death, unexpectedly, seems to have been tetanus.
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Fashion details of Georgina McLennan, ca. 1895.
Note the heavily beaded fringe trim on the side of the bustle, the abundance of pleating, the flocked velvet-look bodice with a tulip pattern, and even what appears to be a hint of a Victorian Chatalaine chain along the front of the bodice’s buttonhole line. 
High res original can be found here: LINK
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thefederalist · 9 months
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Happy Fathers Day, Hetalia!
here’s a commission i posted previously cuz im still trying to get my new fathers day commission done. In the meantime this shall suffice.
Don’t worry my historical hetalia babies, i shall bring more food soon
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Does anyone have any sources on military equipment in 18th century? France if possible.
I need to know if soldiers commonly had a saw apart from the field surgeon
Alternately if it was possible to perform an impromptu amputation with a cavalry sabre
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mywitchcultblr · 10 months
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"Hold on, is that... Archon Pavus's husband? The rebel mage from Ostwick? The inquisitor?"
"Yes, look at his outrageous jewelry and outfit, probably costed thousands of sovereigns."
"I heard Lord Trevelyan bought the late Empress Celene's Petit Trianon château for College of Enchanters mages, scandalous!"
"He told magisters who complained about their bonuses cut to 'tighten their belt' and 'just eat some cake!' I mean, the nerve! Trevelyan wanted Archon Pavus to use the extra fund for qunari and elven orphanages... What a waste!"
"Some Orlesian called him Monsieur Dèficit."
"Clearly, Lord Trevelyan has artistic temper."
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Gossips about Lord Francois Trevelyan at The Archon Palace in Minrathous. Although he was a hero who hailed by many as a harbinger of equality and freedom; Lord Trevelyan's 'radical' progressive politics, influence, and expensive spending habits were not popular amongst conservative nobility in Thedas. 9:50 Dragon.
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sadeyedlady-writes · 4 months
From the Brick:
“And as if she were alone, she hummed snatches of vaudeville songs, light refrains made dismal by her harsh and guttural voice.”
“’Do you ever go to the theater, Monsieur Marius? I do. I have a little brother who’s a friend of some actors and gives me tickets sometimes. Now, I don’t like the seats in the balconies. You’re crowded, you’re uncomfortable. Sometimes there are coarse people; there are people who smell bad, too.’”
I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I found this great resource on vaudeville in the canon era!
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bell-flower · 6 months
Despite knowing absolutely nothing about weaving, I keep having to get more and more information on Bronze Age textile production as I work on The Dancing Ground. I've looked at a lot of resources but this short video from the University of Warsaw was very helpful-- it covers Bronze Age Greek tech specifically and gives visual examples of objects as well as a of several looms in use, even pausing to let the viewers hear what weaving on a warp-weighted loom sounded like-- in other words, a priceless resource for anyone writing the period, so I thought I would share! They have a video on spinning in the Bronze Age as well ;)
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le-loup-et-lion · 2 years
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Popular cravat styles during the Regency. Published by Stockdale, 41 Pall Mall, 1818.
The styles satirized in the 1818 The Neckclothitania include: The Oriental, a Mathematical, The Osbaldeston, Napoleon, American, The Mail Coach, Trone d’Armour, The Irish, Ball Room, Horse Collar, Hunting, Maharata, a Gordion Knot and a Barrel Knot.
More on cravat styles here.
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erinmar13 · 1 year
i was watching a youtube video on a COMPLETELY unrelated topic today and by pure happenstance found the primary inspiration for the design of the Armstrong manor.
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chateau de meudon, built early 16th century
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oh, okay, yeah, i can kinda see it....WAIT
the other main structure of the grounds (chateau-neuf) with its gardens, built around 1705 to house courtiers(because there wasn’t room in the main house????? like literally, there wasn’t room for the number of courtiers so they had to build this other structure)
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these are sadly digital reconstructions from historical images because the main house was essentially burnt down in 1795(accidental) and was demolished in 1803 because of the damage
the secondary structure(chateau-neuf) was occupied by the Prussians in 1870 during the franco-prussian war and it also burned down(cause undetermined)
in 1875 the site was given to an astronomer who built an observation telescope there
the wikipedia article for this place is LONG, and very full of french politics -_-
names attached to this house include marie antoinette and napoleon
img srcs:
https://marie-antoinette.forumactif.org/t2331-le-chateau-de-meudon (this place has a TON of really cool photos and historic illustrations and you should totally go check it out, the forum is in french however)
https://frenchparis.ru/meudon/ (a russian tourism site for the area)
so what was the video i was watching?
a video about books bound in human skin
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talesofedo · 1 month
Today I Learned (TIL), Okada Izo version:
+ Okada Izo 岡田以蔵 was born on 14 February 1838 (by the western calendar) as the oldest son of Okada Yoshihisa and his wife, Rie.
Izo's father has been described as a kind person who enjoyed the good fortune of others and was known in his neighborhood as a bit of a matchmaker.
+ Izo had one younger brother, Keikichi, who was born in March 1844.
+ Izo's personal name (imina) was Yoshifuru.
+ He was born in Iwamura village and when he was 10, the family moved to Enokuchi village, outside of Kochi castle town.
The particular neighborhood where his family lived was called Shichiken-machi 七軒町 ("seven eaves row") because his street had seven houses in a row.
The characters "七以", using the first character of 七軒町 (Shichiken-machi) and the first character of 以蔵 (Izo), were sometimes used as code for him in writings related to the Kinnoto (Tosa Loyalist Party).
+ Izo's father was originally an ashigaru who later bought his way into the rank of goshi with money.
Buying your way to a higher rank, or even buying your way into the samurai class from being a farmer or merchant, was not uncommon. Even Sakamoto Ryoma's family were originally merchants before buying their way to becoming goshi.
However, like ashigaru, goshi belonged to the class of low-ranking samurai (kashi) and in Tosa, which was a particularly conservative domain, a great division existed between kashi and joshi (upper-class samurai), making kashi the subject of discrimination and restrictions.
Those restrictions often dictated even small details of everyday life: kashi were not allowed to carry umbrellas, and they were not allowed to wear tabi socks or geta, even in winter.
+ Izo is often described as having been illiterate, but this idea originates from Shiba Ryotaro's fiction.
In reality, Izo had a normal education but was not a talented student, had little interest in books, and often found it difficult to articulate his thoughts. There were many instances people referred to him as "stupid" and "that idiot" throughout his life.
+ Izo was self-taught in swordsmanship to some extent. It's likely he initially learned from his father and then practiced on his own before formally joining a dojo.
I've been trying to unravel some of the sources and it appears he joined the fencing hall of Asada Kanshichi Naomoto in Kochi when he was 12 or 13 years old.
Asada was a master of the Ono-ha Itto-ryu (Nakanishi-ha Itto-ryu) who had previously studied at Shigakukan, one of the big sword schools in Edo. He was also the sword instructor for Tosa's han school.
It was here Izo first met Takechi Hanpeita, a fellow student 9 years his senior, who would become his mentor, someone he looked up to and followed without question for most of his life.
Izo joined Takechi's school in 1855, at 17 or 18, which was the year Takechi opened his own dojo. A lot of sources put Asada's and Takechi's schools together when talking about Izo's training, so it's confusing.
Izo was quickly recognized as being very talented and none of the other students provided him much of a challenge except Takechi himself. He finally found something he was good at!
+ In 1856, when Izo was 18 or 19, Takechi (and perhaps a recommendation letter from Asada) helped make it possible for him to travel to Edo and train at Shigakukan, Momoi Shunzo's school, where he earned his Menkyo Chuden (middle license) in the Kyoshin Meichi-ryu style before returning to Tosa in 1858.
However, perhaps because Izo didn't have the same foundations in swordsmanship as the others, Momoi called his sword "vulgar and without dignity."
+ In 1860, Izo was able to leave Tosa for training a second time, again helped by Takechi, who was using these trips for his own purposes: to gather others to his cause of Sonno Joi and build connections with shishi from other domains.
After spending time in Chugoku and Kyushu, Takechi left Izo behind in Oka domain to study the Jikishi-ryu style, while he (Takechi) went to Edo and worked on establishing his Kinnoto (Tosa Loyalist Party).
+ Izo returned to Edo in May 1861 and joined the Kinnoto out of loyalty to his teacher.
However, because he had no real interest in politics and his comrades excluded him from their political discussions, considering him too stupid to participate, Izo slowly became more distanced from Takechi, and when his teacher returned to Tosa later that year, Izo was once again left behind.
+ In January 1862, Izo set out to return to Tosa himself, but he became ill along the way and had to stay somewhere to recover before he was well enough to continue traveling home to Tosa.
Perhaps Izo should have taken the hint because things did not improve for him from there:
When Izo set out for Kyoto in June 1862 alongside Takechi and other comrades from the Kinnoto, they were hounded by the metsuke Inoue Saichiro, who was investigating the murder of Yoshida Toyo.
That murder had been ordered by Takechi and carried out by three members of the Kinnoto. Concerned that Inoue would arrest them, Takechi ordered Izo and three others to kill him.
This was the first in a number of assassinations Takechi ordered Izo to carry out that year, mostly in Kyoto. More about these here, in a separate post.
+ In January 1863, Izo suddenly left for Edo.
I'm not entirely clear why, nor do sources seem to agree. The most common theories are:
(1) Izo's services as an assassin were no longer needed because things were going poorly for the Kinnoto and Takechi returned to Tosa, leaving Izo behind once again;
(2) Izo had become more estranged from Takechi and his comrades and chose to leave, perhaps at least partly because he didn't want to be an assassin for a cause he didn't care about;
(3) Takechi reprimanded Izo for his behavior and told him to leave.
Whatever the reason, Takeichi removed Izo's name from the membership roster of the Kinnoto.
+ After he arrived in Edo, Izo lived for a short while with Takasugi Shinsaku. However, when Takasugi was recalled to Choshu, Izo was once again left in limbo.
+ It was around the time Takasugi left in that Izo was introduced to Katsu Kaishu, either by Takasugi Shinsaku or more likely by Sakamoto Ryoma, who had known him since they were young boys in Tosa. Izo became Katsu's bodyguard.
Katsu Kaishu mentioned Izo in his writing:
As I was walking through the city that night, three samurai suddenly appeared in front of me on Teramachi Street and drew their swords. I was so startled, I started to run, but Okada Izo, who was by my side, quickly drew his long sword and cut one of the men in half. The other two were so scared, they ran away. I barely escaped but I was impressed by Okada's quick action. Later I said to Okada, "You should not enjoy killing people." He said, "Sensei, if it weren't for me, your head would have been cut off." There was nothing I could say in response.
+ Izo left Katsu Kaishu and returned to Kyoto later in 1863, for reasons that are again unclear.
This was a terrible decision: not only were Shogunate troops cracking down on ronin in Kyoto, and the city was overall in turmoil with pro-Shogunate and pro-Sonno Joi groups both causing each other trouble, Izo was also considered homeless (無宿, mushuku): someone whose name had been removed from the family register because he was considered a deserter from his domain. (He did not return when other Tosa retainers had been ordered to return.)
With nowhere to go and without any money, Izo, who was using the name Tetsuzo as an alias, started to borrow and extort money, drowned his sorrows in alcohol, and eventually even sold his long sword to make ends meet while trying not to get captured.
+ In May 1864 he was arrested by the Kyoto magistrate for breaking into a merchant's house.
He was subjected to a public beating, tattooed as a criminal, and handed over to the Tosa metsuke who returned him to Koshi in June.
+ In Tosa, Izo faced being brutally tortured and interrogated for information about his former comrades and about Takechi's involvement Yoshida Toyo's murder.
Takechi, resentful Izo had been caught and worried he would easily succumb to torture and give away his comrades, complained "I wish that fool had killed himself!" He reached out to both Izo's father and his younger brother Keikichi, a member of the Kinnoto, with a plan to poison him.
Whether that plan was carried out is unknown: Izo may have become aware of the plan, he may have taken the poison and survived, or he may have given in to more than 10 months of torture. Whatever the reason, in the end he gave up the names of many Kinnoto members, and confessed his own crimes.
Takechi complained: "Izo is truly the greatest crybaby in all of Japan."
+ On 3 July 1865 (western date), Izo was beheaded and his head was put on display by the riverbed for three days.
He was the only member of the Kinnoto whose head was put on public display after death.
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dearest-k16 · 2 years
Hello, my dear followers B)
Some time ago, I said that Cosette's birthday was on 18th February, and that it was a reference to a historical fact, right?
Well, in case you wanted to know, then search for 18th February 1784 on google (that date's definitely not someone's false birthdate aha). You might found someone's portrait 😳 (definitely not someone familiar to all of you aha)
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thefederalist · 9 months
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✨I want to see my little boy✨
Decided to do a 17th century style portrait of baby Alfred. Arthur commissioned this one to show off the drum Alfred couldn’t just leave alone.
Inspiration for the drawing is below! I think it really suits Alfred’s energetic vibe!
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Just remembered a random thing I researched a while ago and feel like wheelchair Ernest fans might appreciate it
In 18th century these fancy bois were all the rage
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It wasn't just that they helped disabled people but were also often used by rich people as kind of personal carriages or whatever when they didn't feel like walking outdoors
Which is kinda
But it looks comfy as hell imo
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