Thursday, May 04, 2006

Crackpot Medieval "Facts"

As regular readers of this space know, the International Medieval Congress is held at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo every year, so among medievalists we simply call it "Kalamazoo," "K'zoo" (pronounced like "kazoo"), or "The 'Zoo." When I talk to our medieval historian and ask him "When are you going to the 'Zoo?" it has a very different meaning than it would mean if I asked someone else.

The 'Zoo is now officially underway ... and I'm still stuck in Troy. I'm planning to spend all day preparing for the trip (laundry and whatnot), and I won't even leave until bright and early tomorrow morning. Then, because of family issues in Indiana, I'll be driving, which I estimate will take about 15 hours. I won't even get into the conference until Saturday.

Today is the big blogger gathering, and I won't be there! I plan, therefore, to spend part of my afternoon pouting.

Of course, on the other hand, I may very well be the only medievalist blogging today. Perhaps I could use this monopoly to spread around some crackpot ideas since most of those qualified to debunk them are currently freezing/sweltering in the non-airconditioned dorms at K'zoo. Oh, yes, the power!

Therefore, without further incipit, let me present these crackpot ideas in Courier font, the favored font of crackpots around the world:

Some Little Known Medieval "Facts" (that I just made up)
  • The DaVinci Code is absolutely, 100% true, and not a bunch of boilerplated nonsense.
  • The "Dark Ages" really were dark. Sunlight wasn't invented until 1634.
  • The Round Table was more of an oval, because Arthur had a leaf insert to give the knights more elbow room.
  • After Marcellus uttered the line "I'm gonna get medieval on your ass" in Pulp Fiction, he offered his captors mead, then they danced around the Maypole. Unfortunately, this scene was cut from the film, creating some confusion about what he meant.
  • Viking ships (at least those from Denmark) were made out of legos. Of course, legos weren't as advanced in those days, so they were duplos.
  • Axe body spray was invented by sexy german woodcutters in the thirteenth century.
  • Because his workout was unbalanced, Chaucer had a huge, powerful upper body, and weak, teeny little spaghetti legs, as this manuscipt image proves. We do have some evidence, though, that later in life he got a Bowflex and corrected this problem.
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine was a fanatical SCUBA diver. In fact, the word "aquitane" is a corruption of the Middle English word for "aqualung." It is also rumored that she was a groupie following around Jethro Tull on tour, but this remains speculation.

There. Now you know some facts about the Middle Ages to amaze your friends.


  1. Especially if your friends are medievalists. :-)

  2. Anonymous12:53 PM

    Under threat from Ving Rhames "people", Tarantino was "encouraged" to remove the scene of Marcellus dancing around the Maypole, lest he fear the wrath of diminishing returns and Rhames himself.

    And now I have the real reason why I get a hankerin' for saurkraut whenever I smell Axe body spray. Thank you for enlightening me.

  3. Anonymous3:07 PM

    "Because his workout was unbalanced, Chaucer had a huge, powerful upper body, and weak, teeny little spaghetti legs, as this manuscipt image proves."

    Thank you for making me spray pop all over my laptop.

  4. Thou spekst the treuthe, good sir. Whanne yn employe yn the housholde of the Countesse of Vlster, ich founde that ich provede merveilous skilful at walknge on myn hondes with myn legges yn the ayr. Yt did amusen my ladye to swich a degre that she oft askede me to walken so for dayes at a tyme. Thus, my sholdres grewe brode and myn litel legges tapered to the syze of John Goweres self-confidence. This vnusual deformitie hath been the more aggravated durynge myn longe yeeres of sittiynge at a deske at the custoum house. Ich am comfortede by the tale of Yukkio Mischima, who did also apparentli haue teensye litel legges and a broade and powirful uppre bodye.

    Much thonk for thyn attencioun to my plight. Yt ys knowlechable seekres of lore like thynselfe who maken the trewe discoveries yn clios arte.

    Le Vostre

  5. From the forthcoming Monmouth Code: Aurelius met and married his first wife among the hated Saxons. While a forbidden love, they could not keep their medieval paws off one another until the day that she noticed his thinning hair. Struck to the quick, she left him for a young Danish commander, with long flowing golden locks. As an outsider among the Danes, they called her...


    It's true -- I got it from an old Finnish manuscript (you know how the Finns collected gossip about the Scandinavians to blackmail them into buying wind).