Thursday, June 13, 2013

Carnivalesque: At last, sort of.

Well, tardy, overdue, and underdone, but the Carnivalesque is below.  More to come!

Hello and welcome to the slightly tardy Carnivalesque, Pre-Modern Edition. Honestly, I miss the old days where we had enough posts to fill an ancient and medieval and renaissance carnivalesques! Ah, the nostalgia.....

So, here we are. Before starting, I'd like to give a shout out to three blogs that keep us all up to date on all kinds of field related news. First, David Meadows and his Rogueclassicism ( keep us up on Classics in the News, Classics news, and other materials from the ancient Mediterranean world. David also sends out a weekly email newsletter of news related to Archaeology and so on called Explorator.

Second, covering things Medieval, operated by Peter Konieczny and Sandra Sadowski, who consistently update us on medievalism, medieval news, articles old and new, and a host of other related things (and they do other blogs too!).

Third is Jim Davila's Palaeojudaica ( ) that purports to be a simple blog about ancient Judaism and its context, but in reality covers the news and issues on a much broader canvas.

Now that the kudos are done, let's take a look at what the blogosphere has been up to of late. Starting in the ancient world, let me start with Judith Weingarten writing at Zenobia, Empress of the East; in a two part post on graffiti in Dura Europos, ( )a city of never-ending fascination and interest, (and I learned a new adjective, Durene, which of course describes things from Dura Europos). Nor is Zenobia's the only one....she references 3 recent studies on Durene graffiti.

Over at concocting history, we have an interesting post about breast feeding; while the focus is on modern research, a good bit is on the ancients and what they knew about the health beneifts of breast feeding. Galen, Hippocratic treatises, and Dioscorides make appearances in the discussion ( ).

Friend of this blog Curt Emanuel over at Medieval History Geek has been blogging an occasional series of posts on his reading in Early Christianity. I encourage readers to go on the journey with him, even if not particularly religious. His observations are interesting and perceptive. The journey begins here:

Mary Beard's “A Don's Life” is a wide ranging blog by a world-renowned classicist. Though always interesting, Dr. Beard does restrict herself to commentary on matters classical often enough. In this Carnivelesque I'd like to highlight her post on the ancient Pompeians, were they just like us? Read it here:

A little further in time is Professor Grumpy at Historian on the Edge (aka Guy Halsall I believe). Halsall has been doing quite a bit of thinking about notions of the “state” in late antiquity over the last couple years. Earlier this month he shared a pre-circulated version of a paper he recently delivered on The Crisis of the State ( ), perfectly timed at least for those USA readers whose own state is undergoing a shocking crisis at the moment. If I've understood him aright, and I may not have, he suggests that to ask the question of whether something in late antiquity is or is not a state distracts and detracts from other key questions and issues. See if I'm right and give it a read.

With Grumpy tipping us over the edge, we can enter into a review of the good Medieval posts of the last several weeks. Let me start by pointing to “theculturegirl” who gives us an excellent post on “How Medieval Monasteries Made Money”, a title with enough alliteration to attract a poet ( ). She gives us a nice overview of the issue, and I am both happy and ashamed to learn the word and the practice of “multure.”

The Lost Fort weighs in with three posts I'd like to highlight. Just returned from a trip, our blogger shares some pictures of the castles visited on said trip in a two part post. The photo essay is fascinating and the pictures are good quality. Last month before the trip I was educated on the Imperial Palatine Seat Tilleda-Fortifications, a medieval fort that I'd not known about previously. Good photos, interesting post, and I learned a thing or two. ( )

The British Library blog asks the questions “What Did Medieval Kings Look Like” ( ) and gives us a number of kingly images mostly from BL Royal MS 20 A II, the newest upload to the BL's Digitized Manuscripts. Beautiful images, interesting description of the contents and history, this is a one of the good posts of the last month.

Vikings! Everyone loves Vikings! Viqueen over at Norse and Viking Ramblings offers a post
on Norse VĂ¡gar in the Lofoten Islands. The post covers some history, some ramblings about stockfish, and other items of interest.

Tim Clarkson over at the Senchus blog gives us an examination of the Battle of Dun Nechtain, 658 ( ). One of the more well-known battles in the early medieval period, the Picts defeat of the Northumbrians and the death of Ecgfrith and a good portion of his army in the process, this one stands as a game-changing event at least for Northern England and Scotland.

The Contagions blog gives us confirmation of yersinia pestis, the bug responsible for the Justinian Plague and the Black Plague, as responsible for plague in 6th century Bavaria. Near Munich, a cemetary containing some 483 graves was independently studied by 2 labs, and then there was a lot of science over my head. But those intelligent enough to follow should head over to and have a read.

No fewer than three of Steve Muhlberger's posts have been nominated from his Muhlberger's World History blogs. In the first, Steve ponders the notion that men-at-arms were hostile to archers and crossbowman. He reflects on a story in the Chronicle of the Good Duke Louis of Bourbon that confirms the notion. 

First Update:
In addition, Steve announced that some of the Freelance Academy Press and La Belle Companie reenactments at Kalamazoo were recorded and are available. Check them from his post:

Finally, Steve makes a point about the Crusades by pointing to something that modernism in contrast to Medievalism? In any case, Steve reacts to those who fail to understand the Crusades since religious wars seem to be so distant from Jesus' statements about peace and love. Steve's rejoinder points to the Battle Hymn of the Republic as a more recent example of Christian drum-beating....and this against a Christian foe! See it all here:

The Incuncabula Project Blog at Cambridge University Library brings us a discussion of the four copies of the Ninth German Bible of 1483. The post gives the origin and provenance of the four copies, including a couple of intriguing puzzles. Learn all about it (and see the photos) at: .

The blog unifinity gives us a couple of interesting posts on things from the Far East. First up is an interesting post, though a little late perhaps for inclusion here, but where the hay, on the Taiping Rebellion. What's that you say? You know, the “Jesus' Other Brother” one:

But back to the medieval, Unifiniti also gives us a post on the Mongol invasions, Best in fact is the nice map that reveals the growth and break-up of the Mongol empire from 1206-94.

Turning to the modern period, Katherine Butler of the Early Modern English Music blog gives us a post reviewing Crisis, Creativity and the Self 1550-1700, a one day conference of musicians and literary scholars discussing notions of the self in the period. There's assessment of papers, of particular ideas, and if you like what you read, papers were recorded and a podcast is available:

Early Modern Thought Online gives us a blog entry on Defining Philosophy in Early Modern Germany ( ). Melancthon seems to be the central figure since the authors/philosophers who are talked about in the post all encountered him and were taught by him in the mid 16th century. Interestingly at the height of the Reformation, thinkers could agree on something: The first interesting aspect to note is that in the middle of the 16th century, the definition of philosophy as cognition of Divine and human things was acceptable across confessional boundaries....” So something good in the 1500s anyway.

The many-headed monster blog (because hydra is too specific) gives an interesting study of the science of astrology in early modern Europe. The use of astrology was widespread and governed everything from health to when to mow the hedge. Fascinating stuff.

David Rundle gives us some aspects of palaeography reviewing an inaugural lecture given by Daniel Wakelin on the care with which a scribe took to form words. This frankly is one talk I do wish had been recorded for podcast.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Carnivalesque will hopefully be up on the morrow (June 9).  Thanks for the nominations and the patience!