Daniel Mendoza, Boxing Champion of England

Daniel Mendoza was the first Jewish prize fighter to become Champion of England (1792 to 1795). He stood but 5’7”, but Mendoza was a scrapper. Weighing in a 11.5 stone (160 pounds), he was billed as “Mendoza the Jew.” Mendoza was the only middleweight boxer to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World.

It was Mendoza who brought changes to boxing. Before he became popular, men simply stood still and slugged it out. Mendoza introduced the idea of “defense.” Many criticized Mendoza’s tactics, but soon all boxers were using the techniques. He opened his own boxing academy in 1789, which was known as the Mendoza School or the Jewish School. Mendoza also published The Art of Boxing, a book that described his techniques.

Mendoza’s first win came over an opponent known as Harry the Coalheaver, whom he beat in 40 rounds. In a 1787 professional fight, Mendoza won both the bout and the patronage of the Prince of Wales (later George IV). Mendoza was the first Jew to have an audience with England’s King George III, which both elevated the Jew in London’s population, as well as a vicious tide of anti-Semitism.

From 29 March 1787 edition of The Times, we see a bit of the secrecy behind the English sport of boxing. Generally, only a few knew of the site for a match until the last moment. Prize fights were against the law. Most of the clergy and many of the middle class thought the bare knuckles bouts brutal.

That being said, the brutality did not keep the throngs from enjoying the matches. “The boxing match between Martin the Bath Butcher, and Mendoza the Jew, which has been the subject of every blackguard’s conversation for some days, was put a stop to on Tuesday, by the prudent and praise-worthy interference of the civil poser. The parties met on Ealing Common, attended by a great concourse of people (among whom was the Prince – whether accidental or otherwise, we know not – we may, however, reasonably suppose the former – and some other personages of note) when a Justice of the Peace, and a posse comitatus, assisted by a party of the Light Dragoons, made their appearance, and prevented the decision of the combat. In justice to the high personage, whose name we are sorry to mention on this occasion, he was the first to shew respect to the civil authority, by retiring with his party, as soon as the Magistrate made his appearance. The riot act was read, and the mob, in number perhaps ten thousand, dispersed quietly.” (Champion of England

The fight was rescheduled for Barnet Racegroun on 17 April. The crowd numbered some 5000. Mendoza easily defeated Martin in 30 minutes. He won a prize of £500 from the Prince.

In 1788, 1789, and 1790, Mendoza fought storied matches against Richard Humphries, Mendoza’s mentor. He lost the first bout in 29 rounds, but managed to win the other two in 52 and 15 rounds, respectively. The 1789 match was the first time spectators were charged an entry payment to a sporting event. The fights were hyped by a series of combative letters in the press between Humphries and Mendoza.

Mendoza laid claim to the English Championship when Benjamin Brain retired in 1791, but Bill Warr challenged Mendoza’s claim. The two met in Croydon in May 1792. Mendoza’s claim to the title prevailed in 23 rounds. The two met again in 1794. Mendoza dispensed with Warr in a little over a quarter hour.

In 1795, Mendoza fought “Gentleman” John Jackson for the championship at Hornchurch in Essex. Jackson was five years younger, 4 inches taller, and 3 stone (42 pounds) heavier. Jackson won in nine rounds. Reportedly, Jackson caught Mendoza long hair, holding Mendoza in place where Jackson could pummel him into submission in ten minutes. Jackson used the win to propel him into Society. Jackson’s Rooms opened at 13 Bond Street, along with the Fives Court off Jermyn Street, where public sparring took place.

Born in Aldgate in July 1764, Mendoza, a descendant of Spanish Marranos (Jews coerced into conversion to Christianity) who lived in London for nearly a century, became such a popular figure in England that songs were written about him, and his name appeared in scripts of numerous plays. His personal appearances would fill theaters, portraits of him and his fights were popular subjects for artists, and commemorative medals were struck in his honor.

At age 13, he was apprenticed to a glasscutter, but he fought with the employer’s son and was forced from the position. Later, he apprenticed to a Jewish greengrocer and still later to a tea dealer. His fortune rested in his fists.

In his 72 years, Mendoza made and spent a fortune. His memoirs were finally published in 1818. After his glory days, he spent time as a pub owner, teaching boxing, and even was hired by the theatre manager John Philip Kemble in an attempt to suppress the Old Price Riots; the resulting poor publicity probably cost Mendoza much of his popular support, as he was seen to be fighting on the side of the privileged. He even spent time in King’s Bench prison for his debts.

Mendoza made his last public appearance as a boxer in 1820 at Banstead Downs in a grudge match against Tom Owen; he was defeated after 12 rounds. He died on 3 September 1836. By then, the thrill of the boxing ring had waned. Mendoza left his family of 11 children in poverty. One of Mendoza’s descendants, Rufus Daniel Issacs, became Lord Chief Justice and 1st Marquess of Reading.

Excellent Resources on Daniel Mendoza (many used to write this piece):

International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Jewish Quarterly (Includes specifics of each fight and wonderful primary sources)

Hertfordshire 1731-1800 as Recorded in the Gentleman’s Magazine (by Arthur Jones) has an account of the fight with Martin the Bath Butcher.

Wikipedia  (good overview)

Posted in British history, Great Britain, Living in the Regency, real life tales, Regency era | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Do You Know These Words and Phrases?

I am all about finding how words came into usage. How about you? 

Crug is a Welsh word meaning hillock, cairn or barrow. Crug Hywel (called the Table Mountain in English) is a flat-topped hill at the southern edge of the Black Mountains in southeast Wales. (Wikipedia

A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English (page 122) says a Crow-eater is a lazy person who does not work but “picks” at what he can find to get by. A croweater comes from the early settlers in South Australia who allegedly ate the breast meat of crows, parrots and cockatoos when there was a shortage of red meat. The term croweater entered the lexicon in the late 1800s.

The Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang tells us that a cup-and-saucer player is “a player in a comedy by T. W. Robertson (d. 18710, a pioneer of ‘slick’ yet natural and workmanlike society-dram: theatrical, ca 1866-90.”

Thomas William Robertson (9 January 1829 – 3 February 1871), usually known professionally as T. W. Robertson, was an English dramatist and innovative stage director best known for a series of realistic or naturalistic plays produced in London in the 1860s that broke new ground and inspired playwrights such as W.S. Gilbert and George Bernard Shaw. (Wikipedia)

Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green (page 357) tells us that a Croaker’s Chovey is a late 19th Century word for an apothecary/pharmacy. Croakus was a mid 19th Century – 1920s word for a doctor; a quack.

Green goes on to give us Crock, defining it as a word used in the late 19th Century to early 1900s to mean “an old or broken-down horse; 2. [late 19th C-1920s] a bicycle; 3. [late 19th Century +] a broken down or physically debilitated person or thing. 4. [1900s] an invalid, a hypochondriac. 5. [1910s+] a broken down or mechanically unreliable car, airplane or any other vehicle [SE “crack,” to break (down); all often with pfx “old”; note medical jargon “crock,” a patient whose complaints far outweigh the seriousness of their illness].

phrases.org tells us that Screw Your Courage to the Sticking Place means to be firm and resolute. It comes to us from Shakespeare’s Macbeth when Lady Macbeth says, “We fail! But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail.” 

phrases.org also gives us Shilly-Shally to mean to dither and be undecided, a reduplicated word meaning “Shall I, or shall I not?” The phrases origin comes to us from William Congreve’s The Way of the World (1700). “I don’t stand shill I, shall I, then; if I say’t, I’ll do’t.” The article goes on to bring notice to Sir Richard Steele’s The Tender Husband, or the Accomplish’d Fools, A Comedy (1703). “I’m for marrying her at once – Why should I shatnd shilly-shally, like a Country Bumpkin?” 

Heng-pan-nail is a 20th Century word to indicate “unpressed clothes; thus a general term of abuse; ready-made clothes, rather than individually tailored garments” [SE “hang upon a nail” in one’s house of shop] Jonathon Green’s Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, page 708. [Google Books

Chinese Kangxi blue and white porcelain www.chinese-porcelain-art.com Chinese blue and white miniature vase, Kangxi (1662-1722), decorated with panels of Long Elizas and flowering branches, height: 3 5/8in. 9.2cm.

Chinese Kangxi blue and white porcelain
Chinese blue and white miniature vase, Kangxi (1662-1722), decorated with panels of Long Elizas and flowering branches, height: 3 5/8in. 9.2cm.

John Stephen Farmer and William Ernest Henley (pages 272-273) define Long Eliza as “the trade term for certain blue and white vases ornamented with figures of tall thin china women, is a name derived undoubtedly from the German or Dutch. [Our] sailors and traders called certain Chinese vases, from the figures which distinguished them, lange Lischen (tall Lizzies), and the English sailors and traders promptly translated this into long Elizas. [Google Books

Farmer and Henley also give us Prick-the-Garter in their A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English (page 353) to mean “the manner in which countrymen are deceived by gamblers, at a game called Pricking in the Belt, or the old Nob: this is a leathern strap folded up double, and then laid upon a table: if the person who plays with a bodkin pricks into the loop of the belt, he wins; if otherwise, he loses; however, by slipping one end of the strap, the sharper can win with pleasure (Goldsmith): also Pitch the nob, Prick the belt (or loop), and Fast and loose. World Wide Words says, “But for centuries it formed the basis of a gambling game that was a staple in fairgrounds, racecourses and markets all over Europe, frequently using a leather strap or belt to make the loops. In Britain, from the eighteenth century onwards, it was often called pin and girdle or prick the garter, but it had been known in medieval times and afterwards as fast and loose, using fast in its sense of ‘fixed; immovable.’ The expression to play fast and loose became an idiom sometime before 1557, the date of its first citation in OED2. It was an obvious progression from the name of the game to a sense of ‘inconsistent; variable’ and from there to mean ‘trifle with another’s affections.'”

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Mansfield Park 2007

Mansfield Park 2007 (BBC mini-series)

Directed by Iain B. MacDonald
Douglas Hodge ….. Sir Thomas Bertram
Maggie O’Neill ….. Mrs. Norris
Billie Piper ….. Fanny Price
Blake Ritson ….. Edmund Bertram
James D”Arcy ….. Tom Bertram
Michelle Ryan ….. Maria Bertram
Rory Kinnear ….. Mr. Rushworth
Catherine Steadman …… Julia Bertram
Hayley Atwell ….. Mary Crawford
Joseph Beattie ….. Henry Crawford
Jemma Redgrave ….. Lady Bertram


 Amazon.com: Masterpiece Theatre: Mansfield Park: Billie Piper ... www.amazon.com

Amazon.com: Masterpiece Theatre: Mansfield Park: Billie Piper …

Unlike the Miramax (Rozema) production I discussed last week, this adaptation of Austen’s Mansfield Park emphasizes the societal depiction of Austen’s time. Even the opening scene is staged quite differently. In the 1999 film version, the young Fanny is portrayed as intelligence and possessing of resolve, where in this production the child Fanny is well dressed in a red cloak and hat. She is shy and only speaks when spoken to. Her home life is displays a sense of “disorder” and “distracted parenting,” rather than poverty. (See my previous posts on Mansfield Park 1983 and Mansfield Park 1999.)

When Sir Thomas announces Fanny’s second-class status to his family it is done in private. Fanny does not hear Sir Thomas’s disparagements. Sir Thomas’s apprehension that either of his sons might take a liking to Fanny is more out of not thinking Fanny worthy of his offsprings.

The interior sets draw the viewer’s attention to the period decor. Many of the scenes are shot outdoors with the characters strolling through gardens and rustic pathways. The novel gives the impression that Mansfield Park is a modern manor house. “Miss Crawford soon felt that he and his situation might do. She looked about her with due consideration, and found almost everything in his favour: a park, a real park, five miles round, a spacious modern-built house, so well placed and well screened as to deserve to be in any collection of engravings of gentlemen’s seats in the kingdom, and wanting only to be completely new furnished–pleasant sisters, a quiet mother, and an agreeable man himself–with the advantage of being tied up from much gaming at present by a promise to his father, and of being Sir Thomas hereafter.” Newby Hall, Skelton on Ure, North Yorkshire, was used for Mansfield Park in the mini-series.

Unlike the 1999 version of the story, this one keeps William Price as an important character in the story. As we all may remember, Henry Crawford’s assistance in getting William a commission for military service brings Fanny many moments of introspection after Crawford’s proposal to her. In the 1999 film, Fanny is heard in voiceover reading letters to her sister. In this mini-series, Fanny’s voiceover is directed to William. In her letters, she summarizing many of the events at Mansfield Park. William also plays an important role in the ball given by Sir Thomas in honor of William and Fanny.

It also portrays Henry Crawford in a less than kindly light than does the Miramax film. Crawford “plays” with Fanny, seducing her to fall in love with him. This is more in character to the Austen novel than the 1999 film, where Crawford appears to fall in love with Fanny. Mrs. Norris is seen as too ingratiating in her relations with Sir Thomas’s family. Like the novel, Lady Bertram is seen as disengaged from her family. She cares more for her pugs than her children.

As in the novel, Sir Thomas chastises Tom Bertram for Tom’s excessive expenditures. Tom’s inconsideration has forced Sir Thomas to sell a benefice meant for Edmund. Tom accepts the fault, but he does nothing to change his ways other than to “hope” he will have better luck at the gaming tables and the horse races.

Costumes for Regency Bad Girls in Jane Austen Movies www.frockflicks.com  Mansfield Park (2007), Mary Crawford (Hayley Atwell)

Costumes for Regency Bad Girls in Jane Austen Movies
Mansfield Park (2007), Mary Crawford (Hayley Atwell)

In this adaptation, Fanny’s costumes are plain and “useful.” She wears white or pastel colors. Mary Crawford’s character wears pastel colors also, but her costumes are elaborately elegant. Neither Fanny, Mary, or the Bertram sisters show much décolletage.

The scenes where the group perform the play, this mini-series stays close to Austen’s novel. Fanny is reluctant to participate in the play and is more reluctant to serve as the “partner” to both Mary and Edmund when the pair are learning their lines. Fanny must witness Edmund’s “courtship” of Mary Crawford.

The ball scene shows how Fanny enjoys the dance with Edmund best. She dances first with Henry Crawford, after Sir Thomas demands that she lead off the ball. The dance with Henry is slow and stately. Next, she dances with her brother William to a lively jig. The dance with Edmund is formal, but we see them clasping hands and enjoying each other’s company. After the ball, Sir Thomas orders her to bed, as if he had extended his benevolence long enough.

 Mansfield Park (2007) | Costume drama reviews costumedramas.wordpress.com

Mansfield Park (2007) | Costume drama reviews

In both the novel and this mini-series, Fanny is in Portsmouth when she learns of Maria and Henry’s flight. She also learns of Tom’s illness, and Fanny wishes to be of service to those at Mansfield Park. Edmund comes to Portsmouth and escorts Fanny and Susan to Mansfield Park. Fanny learns from Edmund his change of heart toward Mary Crawford. A flashback is used where Edmund calls on Mary in London. Mary is angry at her brothers and Maria’s escape, not because of adultery, but because they caused rumors, which affect her also. Mary claims that if Fanny accepted Henry then none of this would happen. Mary develops a plan to “re-introduce” Maria and Henry to society if they marry.

Fanny’s voiceover to William in a letter advances the film’s ending. She tells the viewer that Rushworth receives his divorce, Julia and Yates elope and marry, and Mrs. Norris is to set up a home for Maria. Then we see Fanny’s wedding day as Fanny continues to tell William that she and Edmund will live in the parsonage for Dr. Grant has departed the neighborhood. The ending scene is Edmund and Fanny together with Pug on the parsonage’s grounds.

Posted in British history, film, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Regency era | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Winners of “His Irish Eve” Giveaway from Regina Jeffers

His Irish EvejpgI am pleased to announce the winners of an eBook copy of “His Irish Eve. ” Hopefully, all listed below received a prize notice from Kindle by now. Enjoy the book. Later this week, I will be releasing a new title and hosting another round of giveaways so come back for more fun. 

winners_areThe winners are…


Lindsay Downs



Lois Losh 

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Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome: A Plot Point

My upcoming release, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery, uses Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as part of the plot line, but as my book is set in the Regency period (1811-1820) in England, when no such distinction was made for the disease, it was important to treat the disorder’s presence in the main character’s life with a large dose of research. There are references to what we now term “PTSD” in the Bible (story of Job comes to mind), the writings of the Greek historian Herotodus (i.e., his description of the Spartan leader Leonidas – the guy from 300), the Mahabharata, Homer’s description of Ajax’s madness, and Shakespeare’s descriptions (via Lady Percy) of Harry Percy’s nightmares and delusions, as well as the accounts of Macbeth. Samuel Pepys’s diary holds references to the trauma many experienced after the Great Fire of London. Charles Dickens wrote of the “weakness” he experienced after a train wreck which killed 10 people and injured nearly 50. [See Yesterday’s Post on the Mention of PTSD in Early Literature]

Over the years, PTSD was known as nostalgia, homesickness, ester root, neurasthenia, hysteria, compensation sickness, railway spine, shell shock, combat exhaustion, soldier’s heart, irritable heart, stress response syndrome, etc. In my story, I use the word “melancholia” for research into the disorder did not occur until well after the Regency period. Needless to say, the many wars of the late 1700s and early 1800s (American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Napoleonic Wars) in England brought this issue to a head. [For more on the many terms used for PTSD, see “From Irritable Heart to “Shellshock”: How Post-Traumatic Stress Became a Disease,” by Charlie Jane Anders, 4 April 2012.]   

Da Costa http://jeffline. jefferson.edu/sml/ archives/exhibits/ notable_alumni/ jacob_mendes_dacosta. html

Da Costa http://jeffline.

During the American Civil Wart, the study of “soldier’s heart” fell into the lap of Jacob Mendez Da Costa, who took up the study of the condition and advanced what we now know of the disease. Da Costa was a well-trained and observant clinician. He held the reputation of an excellent clinical teacher and served as Chairman of Medicine at the Jefferson Medical College (now Thomas Jefferson University) for 19 years, as well as president of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1884 and again in 1895; Da Costa was one of the original members of the Association of American Physicians and its president in 1897. 

In the years of the Civil War, Da Costa served as assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army and at Turner’s Lane Hospital, Philadelphia. As such, he studied a type of cardiac malady (neurocirculatory asthenia) plaguing soldiers. He described the disorder in his 1871 paper “On Irritable Heart: A Clinical Study of a Form of Functional Cardiac Disorder and Its Consequences,” a landmark study in clinical medicine. The malady was soon to be known as Da Costa’s syndrome – an anxiety disorder combining effort fatigue, left-sided chest pains, breathlessness, dyspnea, a sighing respiration, palpitations, and sweating.

In the mid-20th Century, the syndrome was thought to be a form of neurosis. It is now classified as a “somatoform autonomic dysfunction.” Earl de Grey presented four reports on British soldiers with these symptoms between 1864 and 1868. He attributed the symptoms to the heavy equipment being carried by the soldiers in knapsacks strapped to their chests. Earl de Grey asserted that the constriction of the knapsack affected the heart’s ability to function. Henry Harthorme described the Civil War soldiers who suffered with similar symptoms as being exhausted and poorly nourished. The soldier’s heart complaints were assigned as lack of sleep and bad food. In 1870, Arthur Bowen Myers of the Coldstream Guards (the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army) regarded the accouterments as the source of neurocirculatory asthenia and cardiovascular neurosis.

“J. M. Da Costa’s study of 300 soldiers reported similar findings in 1871 and added that the condition often developed and persisted after a bout of fever or diarrhea. He also noted that the pulse was always greatly and rapidly influenced by position, such as stooping or reclining. A typical case involved a man who was on active duty for several months or more and contracted an annoying bout of diarrhea or fever, and then, after a short stay in the hospital, returned to active service. The soldier soon found that he could not keep up with his comrades in the exertions of a soldier’s life as because he would become out of breath, and would get dizzy, and have palpitations and pains in his chest, yet upon examination some time later he appeared generally healthy. In 1876 surgeon Arthur Davy attributed the symptoms to military drill where ‘over-expanding the chest, caused dilatation of the heart, and so induced irritability.’” [Wikipedia]

Releasing late May 2015

Releasing late May 2015

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until “urgency” rears its head. Darcy receives a note of exigency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness. 

Dutifully, Darcy and Elizabeth rush to Georgiana’s side when the major general leaves his wife and daughter behind, with no word of his whereabouts and no hopes of Edward’s return. Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family. 

Even so, the Darcys’ troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before his cousin is hanged for the crimes and the Fitzwilliam name marked with shame. 

Posted in American History, British history, Great Britain, Living in the Regency, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Mention of “PTSD” in Early Literature



I have a new release coming soon from Pegasus Books in which the illness we now call PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) plays a major role. The main character is accused of a series of violent crimes. Although he holds no memory of the events, the major general possesses the opportunity to commit the acts, and he has been seen in the vicinity of the crimes.

All this sounds quite cut and dry if the events did not happen in 1816, in the midst of King George’s England after the Napoleonic Wars. PTSD did not exist as we know it. So, what do we know of PTSD in history?

GotQuestions.org provides us with a summary of PTSD. “Post traumatic Stress Disorder develops in some people following a traumatic event. The event or “stressor” could be exposure to death or threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence. The sufferer may be directly exposed, indirectly exposed through a family member or close friend experiencing the event, or extremely or repeatedly indirectly exposed through his or her work (such as first responders, police officers, military personnel, or social workers). Common trauma experiences are combat, car accidents, natural disasters, abuse, rape, and mass violence. After such an event most people will show signs of stress such as feeling on edge, anxiety, fear, anger, feelings of depression, a sense of detachment, desire to avoid trauma-related reminders, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, headaches, changes in appetite, irritability, self-blame, “survivor’s guilt,” or a sense of numbness. For most people, these reactions lessen and eventually subside with time.”

In the Bible, Job likely suffers from PTSD. Job loses his wealth, family, health, etc. Job says of his suffering: “For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters./ I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” (Job 3:25-26) In Job 7: 14-15, we find, “Then thou scariest me with dreams, and terrifies me through vision:/ So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.”

From The History of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, we learn more of the history of the illness. In “Mahabharata, an epic tale in Indian mythology originally written by Sage Ved Vyas in Sanskrit, Mahabharata illustrates the Great War of Mahabharat between the Pandavas and the Kauravas that happened in 3139 B. C. […] The great epic Mahabharata describes vivid combat stress reactions exhibited by the ancient worriers.” (Sir Lanka Guardian

Below is an excerpt from the horrendous combat events described in Mahabharata (as translated by Dr P. V. Vartak):

“On the 14th day of the Mahabharat War, i.e., on 30th October a similar phenomenon took place. Due to the October heat enhanced with the heat of the fire-weapons liberally used in the War, the ground became so hot that the layers of air near it were rarefied while the layers at the top were denser. Therefore the sun above the horizon ws reflected producing its image beneath. The Sun’s disc which was flattened into an ellipse by a general refraction was also joined to the brilliant streak of reflected image. The last tip of the Sun disappeared not below the true horizon, but some distance above it at the false horizon. Looking at it, Jayadratha came out and was killed. By that time, the same appeared on the true horizon. Naturally there was no refraction because the light rays came parallel to the ground. This revisualized the Sun at the true horizon. Then the sun actually set, but the refraction projected the image above the horizon. The sun was thus visible for a short time, which then set again.” (Sir Lanka Guardian)

Examples in literature abound of the evidence of PTSD. The Illiad describes multiple battles scenes and combat suffering. Could Ajax in Homer’s tale suffer from the disorder? And what of Achilles? Was not Achilles devastated by the death of his comrade Patroklos? And what of the Trojan women who waited for their husbands’ return.

Of Peleus’ son, Achilles, sing, O Muse,
the vengeance, deep and deadly; whence to Greece
unnumbered ills arose; which many a soul
of mighty warriors to the viewless shades
untimely sent; they on the battle plain
unburied lay, a prey to ravening dogs,
and carrion birds; but so had Jove decreed,
from that sad day when first in wordy war,
the mighty Agamemnon, King of men,
confronted stood by Peleus’ godlike son.
(Derby) from Illiad Study Questions

Again from The History of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, we have another incidence of the human suffering of war. “According to archaeological and literary evidence the Jataka stories were compiled in the period, the 3rd Century B.C. to the 5th Century A.D. The Khuddaka Nikaya contains 550 stories the Buddha told of his previous lifetimes as an aspiring Bodhisatta. […] In the Jataka stories there are numerous characters who display hysteria type reactions. For instance in the Maranabheruka Jathaka, one monk shows anxiety based reactions that are similar to modern day PTSD. This monk displays extreme fear, hyper-arousal, avoidance, frightful mental pictures (flashbacks?) and emotional anesthesia.”

In the piece entitled “From ‘Irritable Heart’ to ‘Shellshock’: How Post-Traumatic Stress Became a Disease,” we have, “The Greek historian Herotodus writes a lot about PTSD, according to a presentation by Mylea Charvat to the Veterans Administration. One soldier, fighting in the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, reportedly went blind after the man standing next to him was killed, even though the blinded soldier “was wounded in no part of his body.” Also, Herotodus records that the Spartan leader Leonidas — yes, the guy from 300 — dismissed his men from combat because he realized they were mentally exhausted from too much fighting.” 

In Shakespeare, we find a description of PTSD in Henry IV, Part 2.
Tell me, sweet lord, what is’t that takes from thee
 Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep?
Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth,
And start so often when thou sit’st alone?
Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks,
And given my treasures and my rights of thee
To thick-eyed musing and cursed melancholy?

In Act 5, Scene 3 of Macbeth, we are provided:

“Macbeth: How does your patient, doctor?

Doctor: Not so sick, my lord, as she is troubled with thick-coming fancies that keep her from rest.

Macbeth: Cure her of that! Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain, and with some sweet oblivious antidote cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff which weighs upon her heart.

Doctor: Therein the patient must minister to himself.”

Samuel Pepys describes trauma after the Great Fire of London in a diary entry dated 2 September 1666:


Some of our maids sitting up late last night to get things ready against our feast today, Jane called up about three in the morning, to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City. So I rose, and slipped on my night-gown and went to her window, and thought it to be on the back side of Mark Lane at the farthest; but, being unused to such fires as followed, I thought it far enough off, and so went to bed again, and to sleep…. By and by Jane comes and tells me that she hears that above 300 houses have been burned down tonight by the fire we saw, and that it is now burning down all Fish Street, by London Bridge.

“So I made myself ready presently, and walked to the Tower; and there got up upon one of the high places,…and there I did see the houses at the end of the bridge all on fire, and an infinite great fire on this and the other side…of the bridge. .

So down [I went], with my heart full of trouble, to the Lieutenant of the Tower, who tells me that it began this morning in the King’s baker’s house in Pudding Lane, and that it hath burned St. Magnus’s Church and most part of Fish Street already.

“So I rode down to the waterside,…and there saw a lamentable fire…. Everybody endeavouring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that lay off; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the waterside to another. And among other things, the poor pigeons, I perceive, were loth to leave their houses, but hovered about the windows and balconies, till they some of them burned their wings and fell down.

“Having stayed, and in an hour’s time seen the fire rage every way, and nobody to my sight endeavouring to quench it,…I [went next] to Whitehall (with a gentleman with me, who desired to go off from the Tower to see the fire in my boat); and there up to the King’s closet in the Chapel, where people came about me, and I did give them an account [that]dismayed them all, and the word was carried into the King. so I was called for, and did tell the King and Duke of York what I saw; and that unless His Majesty did command houses to be pulled down, nothing could stop the fire. They seemed much troubled, and the King commanded me to go to my Lord Mayor from him, and command him to spare no houses….” (Sir Lanka Guardian)



Charles Dickens speak of how a train accident affected him. He says he was ”curiously weak… as if I were recovering from a long illness,” after a traumatizing railway accident in which the front of the train plunged off a bridge under repair and 10 people died, with another 49 injured. Dickens wrote in letters to people: “I begin to feel it more in my head. I sleep well and eat well; but I write half a dozen notes, and turn faint and sick… I am getting right, though still low in pulse and very nervous.” Dickens admitted to continue to feel anxiety when train travel was necessary, even after the accident described above. (From ‘Irritable Heart’ to ‘Shellshock’)

Although in my story there is no real “word” or “diagnosis” to describe the effects of war, the early literature tells us that some sort of upheaval most assuredly did exist. So wether we call it melancholia, nostalgia, ester root, heimweh, malady du pays, soldier’s heart, neurasthenia, hysteria, compensation sickness, railway spine, shell shock, combat exhaustion, stress response syndrome, situational disorders, or PTSD, physical shock, accompanied by horrifying circumstances have haunted men since the beginning of time.

PoMDC Cover-2-2Look for The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery coming soon to fine book stores.

About Regina Jeffers
Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, and Regency era romances. A teacher for thirty-nine years, Jeffers often serves as a consultant for Language Arts and Media Literacy programs. With multiple degrees, Regina was a Time Warner Star Teacher, Columbus (OH) Teacher of the Year, and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar. With 6 new releases coming out in 2015, Jeffers is considered one of publishing’s most prolific authors. Come check out some of her 19 novels: Darcy’s Passions, Captain Frederick Wentworth’s Persuasion, The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy, A Touch of Grace, A Touch of Honor, and The First Wives’ Club.

Recently released: Elizabeth Bennet’s Deception: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary; Mr. Darcy’s Fault: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary; His Irish Eve; and His American Heartsong

Coming Soon: Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep and A Touch of Emerald:The Conclusion to the Realm Series


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Regency Lexicon – The Letters “X,” “Y,” and “Z”

Regency Era Lexicon – We’re Coming to the End – X, Y, and Z

xebec – a small three-masted Mediterranean vessel with both square and lateen sails, originally used by Algerian pirates and later used for commerce

yager – a 19th Century rifle; a muzzle-loading hunting rifle

yam – a posting house along a road

Gallery - Bookbinding, Leather Book Binder, Cloth Book Binding ... www.bookrestorations.com.au

Gallery – Bookbinding, Leather Book Binder, Cloth Book Binding …

yapp – a type of bookbinding in which the leather edges overlap the pages

yarborough – a hand of 13 cards in which no card is higher than a nine; supposed to be named after the second Earl of Yarborough (1809–62), who is said to have bet a thousand to one against the occurrence of such a hand

yardland – an archaic medieval unit of land, between 15 and 40 acres, depending upon the locality; a virgate; a peasant who holds the land

yawl – a two-masted sailing vessel, rigged fore-and-aft, with a large mainmast and a small mizzenmast stepped aft of the rudder post; a ship’s small boat, usually rowed by four or six oars

yellow – the color of the Whigs during elections; the Tories used blue

yellow fever – a tropical disease spread by mosquitoes; those who traveled to the West Indies were exposed to the disease

yeoman – an independent farmer with land of his own, usually 300-1000 acres

yeomanry – the mounted, wealthier faction of the militia

The Archbishop of York – is a high-ranking cleric in the Church of England, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and the metropolitan of the Province of York, which covers the northern portion of England (north of the Trent) as well as the Isle of Man. The archbishop is a member ex officio of the House of Lords, and is styled Primate of England. (The Archbishop of Canterbury is “Primate of All England.”)

Yorkshire Pudding Day | School of Artisan Food – Blog blog.schoolofartisanfood.org

Yorkshire Pudding Day | School of Artisan Food – Blog

Yorkshire Pudding – Yorkshire Pudding, also known as batter pudding, is a dish named after Yorkshire, England, though there is no evidence it originated from there. It is made from batter and usually served with roast meat and gravy.

Your Grace – the form of address for a duke or duchess when addressed by the nobility or the gentry; also the form of address for an archbishop by everyone

Your Highness – used in direct conversation with the nephews, nieces, and cousins of the sovereign

Your Majesty – used in direct conversation with the king or queen

Your Royal Highness – used in direct conversation with the monarch’s spouse, children, and siblings

Your Worship – the form of address for a magistrate

zemindar – in colonial India, an indigenous revenue collector or landholder

zibeline – a sable; a thick cloth made of wool or other animal hair, having a long nap and a dull sheen

zounds—An oath or swear-word, contracted from God’s wounds. It had about the same degree of offensiveness as the modern “damn.”

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