Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Huzzah Got Medieval!
Congrats to Carl!
Tim Romano's e-Edition of "The Wanderer"
I really love the way he's worked out the frames on The Wanderer, with the MS image centered, rather than the reverse as it usually would be.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The Nest Christmas Party
As some of you will recall, my Cub Scout den raised money to bring Christmas to The Nest, a children's group home in Kenya. The boys did yard work to earn the money (raking leaves, picking up sticks and pine cones, collecting pecans, etc) in an attempt to meet their goal of $200. By the time all was said and done, they raised $275!
You can find other photos of Christmas at The Nest here, and you can read a more detailed account of the party here.
One of the Bear Cubs was shocked to hear that having meat for dinner is a luxury for some people, and said he suddenly felt rich when he heard there were kids for whom a Coke is a special treat. I think all the boys were left with a greater appreciation of everything that they have, and also a sense that the Boy Scouts isn't just about camping; the Cub Scout Promise to "do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the Law of the Pack" means something very real.
Bear Cubs Colin Jones, Quinten Pouncy, and Orion Nokes did their best, and did their duty to help other people. I'm proud of them.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Thomas Becket -- Troublesome Priest, Martyr, Medieval Superstar
Yes, I know the current Archbishop of Canterbury is annoying and does not rise even to the level of "troublesome priest," but if anyone was considering assassination, just consider how poorly that worked out for King Henry II.
I haven't paid a great deal of attention to Warhammer as modern medievalism because I only had one friend who was into it, and it is such an expensive hobby that I had no desire to drop the coin necessary to find out more.
Tonight, though, I learned that my friend had seduced three other mutual friends over to Warhammer, and that they were planning some kind of big war this week. In their discussions, I learned a variety of things about the game:
- It's even more expensive than I thought. Individual pieces can be very expensive, meaning that armies almost always run into the hundreds of dollars. I suspect folks have armies running into the thousands of dollars.
- The world of Warhammer is far more complex than I had imagined. I assumed that it was a basic fantasy world, with these guys as the good guys and those guys as the bad guys, but it has a developed history, sometimes with individual families or characters well-developed.
- The artwork is really, really cool. Players paint and modify their figures and often even make their own terrain. Much it is reminds me of model train builders; I'm not a train fan, but I love their landscapes. Same here. White Dwarf magazine is generally filled from cover-to-cover with photos of beautiful minature. Just check out some of the images that appear when you Google "Warhammer miniatures."
*There's also Warhammer 40,000 which is a futuristic, science fiction game, but since this is a medievalism blog, I'll just ignore that here.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Announcing the first annual Praemium Ephemeridis Aetheriae Auctoribus awards(Award for Authors of Ethereal Diaries). Ok, I'm not that caffeined (rhymes with fiend) yet, so if you have a better name or acronym, write in. Anyway, here's the deal. Nominate the best medieval blog *entry* of the year that is not one written by you. So: medieval, an entry, written by someone other than the person nominating [....]I'll collate and between the 25th and the 1st announce things that are gaining votes and announce those whom we wish to recognize after the first of the year [....] The prize contains nothing other than the approbation of fellow medievalists.
- Award for Best Blog Entry of the Year
- Award for Blog Entry that Fueled Research
- Award for Blog That Best Serves the Medieval Community
- Recognition for Best Electronic Article on a Medieval Topic
- Award for Best Entry Making Fun of Ourselves
- Best Journal Article of the Year
- Best New Medieval Book of the Year
- Best New Medieval Web Project of the Year
- Best Use of Electronic Media of the Year
- Best Medieval Movie/TV Show of the Year
- Best Medievalism Web Site of the Year
- Best Medievalism Book/Movie/TV of the Year
Write suggestions and nominations to larsprec AT gmail dot com.
Friday, December 19, 2008
On the First Day of Christmas...
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Just How Evil Am I?
It's not evil enough that I have minions (or hench-persons, or whatever), but now I'm considering getting one of the fairy calendars over at Heroic Dreams so I can deck out my lair (or office, if you'd prefer) with fairies just to torment her.
Or maybe I should just take the medieval/fantasy-themed supervillian thing to its logical conclusion, and make my student assistants dress in fantasy costumes, perhaps as frickin' fairies with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' leafy tiaras.**
*Someone once referred to them as my "two hot minions," and so they have decided this is their official job title. Don't believe me? Go on Facebook and search for anyone with "hot minion" listed as her job title.
**Can you tell I'm still decompressing from the semester?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Squire Scouts
In case the text is too small to make out, at the top it says "U*S*A BONDS," in the middle "Third Liberty Loan Campaign. BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA," and the platform upon which they are standing says "WEAPONS FOR LIBERTY." On the sword it says "Be prepared," which is the Boy Scout Motto.
I think Liberty is male in this image, though it's a little hard to tell, but male or female, the knight iconography is clear. Torch and book gone, this Liberty has a shield and sword. The scout here is depicted as a squire assisting Liberty.
I did a bit of research, and found that this poster is a WWI poster from 1918. Since the Boy Scouts started in America in 1910, I'm a bit surprised that the Scouts were already so recognizable only eight years after they came to this country (and only a decade after they were started in England). It's also interesting how quickly they adopted the chivalric image of the Boy Scout as the prepared squire of Sir/Lady Liberty.
In one article from the time, Benjamin Strong, Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, had this to say:
There is every evidence from the results they [the Scouts] have hithertofore obtained, from the earnestness and courtesy of their manner in going after these results, from the enthusiasm and chivalry of their attitude toward their important task, that their hearts are absorbed in it. They are true crusaders, these young Americans, the hope of our race.
The amounts are staggering, too. In the three drives, the scouts sold nearly $150 million in bonds -- and let me remind you, that's 1918 dollars. Those are some pretty active squires.
Pretty cool, huh? Since the image has passed into the public domain, someone is selling t-shirts of it on Zazzle.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Morning Medieval Miscellany
- Art historian Conrad Rudolph has recreated Hugh of St. Victor's 'The Mystic Ark', a complex mural.
- The Cloisters has posted an entry on their Christmas wreath.
- What is a heater shield?
- Dr. Drout has been busy wondering why Beowulf Aloud is so popular and sharing seasonal cheer with news of a Monsters and Critics reprint.
- Polish archaeologists claim to be able to identify the remains of three Teutonic knights.
- Soon there will be an animated feature film of Brendan and the Secret of Kells! And a play called 'The Song of Hilde' will be put on in January for those of you in able to see it in London.
- Medieval Material Culture has published new pages of links, including a seasonal page with images of ice-skating and sledding.
- There is some new research about genetic diversity in southwest Europe during the Middle Ages, concerning Jewish and Muslim populations.
- Steven Till has an article titled "A Brief History of Medieval Banks".
- Last but not least, a historian of science needs advice on where to stay in Oxford and Cambridge this spring. Help is appreciated!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Medieval Christmas Music
Same here, but the music doesn't really get going until about 1:50 or so.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Morning Medieval Miscellany
- Psalms 127-129 are up on Anglo-Saxon Aloud.
- The Lost Fort has pictures of Quedlinburg Cathedral.
- Don't know what to get the medievalist on your Christmas list? Quid Plura has some suggestions (and they are more likely to go over well than are my annual Viking Kitten recommendations). Or how about a medieval field flask (link courtesy A Commonplace Book)?
- Got Medieval has a message for the media: "I'm willing to cut you a little slack on the word 'medieval' if you keep your grubby little hands off Mr. Geoffrey Chaucer."
- Magistra et Mater posts on the accusation of sodomy after the Gregorian Reformation, in response to Matthew Kuefler's "Male Friendship and the Suspicion of Sodomy in Twelfth-Century France.”
- Luxoria, Space Ritual, the Mabinogion, and flying saxophones are up at A Corner of Tenth Century Europe.
- A 13th century rent book gives a glimpse of medieval Ledbury, courtesy News for Medievalists.
- Steve Muhlberger muses on teaching "Crusade and Jihad" this term.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
What to Read for Freaks and Monsters
- Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy (though we'll only read The Inferno, I think).
- Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron.
- Byock, Jesse L, trans. The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki.
- Byock, Jesse L, trans. The Saga of the Volsungs.
- Gerald of Wales, The History & Topography of Ireland.
- Mandeville, John. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville.
- Ovid, The Metamorphoses.
That's it. Because it's technically a survey course with a theme (rather than, say, a Selected Topics course), I've left out secondary works for the moment, and will probably handle them through handouts and directing you to them for research papers. I still have time to change my mind, though, so don't get too comfy.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Advent, According to Lego
...King Herod and his jester decided to pre-emptively slaughter the innocents...
... so they got their weapons together....
Monday, December 08, 2008
Morning Medieval Miscellany
- Michelle of Heavenfield posts bibliographies relating to North Britain, Adomnan and King Oswald.
- The Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity and the MLA Prize for a First Book were both given to medievalists. Here are some post-doctoral teaching fellowships (in Byzantine art, architecture and/or archaeology).
- The British Library has published a podcast lecture on the Magna Carta as part of their Taking Liberties exhibit.
- In the area of conferences, J. J. Cohen reflects upon Stonehenge and Jonathan Jarrett has an interesting post about the vital importance of small pieces of metal from the 9th century. Larry Swain has announced a conference, Wilfrid, Saint and Bishop: 709-2009, and reminds us of the Thomas Northcote Toller Memorial Lecture. He also mentions a lecture at Princeton on What Anglo-Saxons Ate.
- Over at Got Medieval there are posts about marginalia of half a dozen lions and a naked man in the Bayeaux Tapestry.
- As Dr. Virago thanks her commenters for their input on her medieval lit. class, Dame Eleanor Hull reviews some Chaucer texts. At Per Omnia Saecula, it looks like Johnny Depp might be taking up a medieval project.
- The Heroic Age introduces us to te Global Middle Ages Project, and there's a post on Early Medieval Art that brings to our attention the medieval works on display at the Met.
- Last but not least, J. J. Cohen takes a look at some ebooks.
Quid Plura's Xmas List
I thought the Lego Advent Calendar was a joke. It isn't! Really, what kind of market could there be for this?
*And I continue my crusade to take the "Christ" out of Xmas, a crusade that will misidentify me as atheist and will only make sense to other Christian medievalists. I keep waiting to get an angry phone call from my mom. After I have won this battle, I'll start replacing "and" with 7. Muhahahaha!
Cædmon's Hymn Project
Original lyrics by Cædmon, inspiration by God. Modern English translation by Erin Murray; music and performance by Clay Paramore, and piano by Laura Aaron.
By the way, I promised Erin that she would get extra credit if she could get a hundred views before I calculate their grades on Tuesday, so I'm sure she'd appreciate it if you'd watch it more than once! Also, high praise for Clay, who wasn't doing it for a grade -- he just wanted to do something cool.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Grand Opening at Medievalists.net
[T]he site attempts to cater to anyone interested in the Middle Ages - scholars, students, historical fiction readers, movie buffs, gamers, etc. So you will see all kinds of sections, although most of them are just in an embryonic state. The one big feature so far is that we [...] are developing a database of all online academic articles and theses that deal with the Middle Ages. We make a post for every article, with all the bibliographic info, plus tags which represent subject and geographic headings [....] That way, people can search for articles that deal with Social History or Scotland. So far, we have posted about 300 articles, and we have a list of hundreds more that we can post too! We also are republishing some academic articles where we can get permission to republish them, or if they are out of copyright.
They're looking for more articles to link to, so if you know of any hidden away on professors' homepages, let them know.
Morning Medieval Miscellany
- Got Medieval has hempe and hoppis through the ages -- illustrated even! Blogging on such "evil and pernicious" weeds is especially appropriate this week, as December 5th is the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition in the U.S.
- Old Norse News has information on CRASSH's Between the Islands: Interaction with Vikings in Ireland and Britain in the Early Medieval Period.
- Michael Drout at Anglo Saxon Aloud has Psalm 126 up for your listening pleasure.
- Merchet is the medieval history term of the week over at Steven Till's Medieval History and Historical Fiction blog.
- Medieval Material Culture announces an exhibition on Theophilus and 12th century enamelworks.
Friday, December 05, 2008
How You Can Help Kenya this Christmas
As many of you know, my sister and her family are missionaries in Kenya.* This time of year, I'm frequently asked by people how they can help out with the mission work in Kenya. Here are some opportunities to give that you might not have known about:
CMF International now has their Christmas Catalog available. Though I have no doubt all the needs are urgent, in Kenya they have a particular need for Bibles (page 3 of the .pdf file) and water (page 11). According to my brother-in-law,
water and bibles have been the most requested things of us personally- even here in Nairobi. People come to our gate with water jugs and fill them up here to carry home. And I have a waiting list of people wanting English Bibles. I can only buy 10 or so every few months to hand out, but now people are recognizing my truck and are waving me down while I am driving or when I stop the truck for whatever reason.
He's not kidding about the need for Bibles; my parents are going to Kenya in two months, and they are taking six (!) bags with them -- every spare ounce of weight taken up by Bibles.
Of course, there are many other needs as well, so give where your heart leads you. Many in the medievalist community will be interested in education, and if you look at page 10 of the .pdf, you'll see the education needs. For $200, you can support an adult literacy teacher for a year, or for the same amount you can support a Turkana high school student for a year. If that's out of your budget, for $75 you can provide a desk and chair for a student, or for $50 you can provide a set of school supplies for a student.
Are even those things out of reach for you? For just $10, you can buy a treated mosquito net to fight malaria. Still too much? For just $1, you can buy a brick for a building in the Tanzania training center. Heck, even a grad student can afford that.
Also, for those of you who live in the Troy area, there's one other opportunity: This year, the Bear Cubs (3rd grade Cub Scouts) are doing a service project for Christmas -- they are raising money to bring Christmas to an orphanage in Kenya. To this end, the Bear Cubs are looking for light housework or yardwork in the Troy area (appropriate to 3rd graders) that they can do for you to earn money for the orphans. The director of The Nest orphanage says she can provide Christmas for all the orphans for between $100-200. This will provide meat (chicken) for Christmas dinner, and some other special luxuries such as soda. Anything more than they can reasonably use for Christmas will go to other necessities.
*Please note that their website usually does not have so little content -- it's under reconstruction.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The Most Understated Archetypal Claim Ever
The characters in Beowulf, and in Henry James, and in Joel Schumacher's latest slam-bang movie extravaganza, all participate, with more or less elaborate variations, in archetype.
I guess an era when someone can unironically say that MIT will "try to keep meaning alive," and will "take the next quantum leap in storytelling" needs reminders, no matter how understated, of archetype.
Thanks, MIT! Storytelling has been suffering from a dearth of meaning, and we're glad you're here to Hollywood to show the rest of us rubes how it's done. If only Chaucer had access to the latest film-making technologies, we might still read his work today! Zemeckis certainly improved the story that boring ol' Beowulf by turning it into a video game. And Peter Guber is certainly right when "he blames the audience for the perceived breakdown in narrative quality," because there's nothing an audience hates quite so much as a good story.
It's basically impossible to write about this without getting snarky.
Morning Medieval Miscellany
- A 3rd c. Gospel and a 14th c. Marco Polo compendium are to be sold soon.
- The National Library of Wales has posted a new digitization of Bede's De Natura Rerum. Speaking of digitzation, there are some Cistercians in Yorkshire that have embarked on an interesting quest.
- Archaeology is prominent in the news this week; a bishop's house was found in Herefordshire, a stone coffin at the site of the Battle of Bosworth, some Celtic coins in a Dutch cornfield, and a silver mount in Durham. Lincolnshire is hosting a display of A/S sword fittings until March 1.
- Anyone interested in Old Irish? Three important grammatical texts have been put online.
- A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe ponders the point of charters.
- In California, a work of reconstruction on three Cistercian Gothic portals has been completed.
- The NEH is holding a summer seminar on Disease In the Middle Ages.
- In the medievalist community itself there have been several new events to which we can respond online. Congratulate Nina at Blog-Her for having finished for the term! In The Medieval Middle congratulates Rob Barrett for his new book! Quod She asks for input on her proposed changes to her class schedule and the place of Chaucer therein. Also, Peter Jeffery and Margot Fassler, sacred music and liturgy specialists, have joined the faculty of Notre Dame U. At Cronaca there are concerns about the new director in charge of Italy's museums. On a more sober note, News for Medievalists posts the obituary of Julian Chrysostomides, scholar and teacher of Byzantine history.
- And the Cloisters has posted about their medieval greenery decorations for the coming season, and promises another post detailing more of the same. A hopeful advent season to all!
Monday, December 01, 2008
Morning Medieval Miscellany
- Quid Plura gives us a bit on failed medieval attempts to fly.
- Muhlberger's Early History has musings on C.S. Lewis's musings on courtly love.
- Heavenfield examines Bernicians and northern hegemony in early England.
- The 5th Annual MANCASS Postgraduate Conference calls for papers, courtesy The Heroic Age, where you may also find a bit on Old Irish grammar and the first Lindsay Young Visiting Fellowship..
- Got Medieval gives us notable medieval dates in December.