Friday, February 29, 2008

Today in the Middle Ages - Leap Year Edition

29th February, 992 - St Oswald, Archbishop of York dies. Oswald was a leading force in monastic reform, founding several Benedictine monasteries.

See you in four years...

Vikings had more fashion flare than previously thought: study

Vikings dressed with more finesse than we previously gave them credit for, a new study out of Sweden finds; vivid colours, flowing silk ribbons, and glittering bits of mirrors all contributed to their glamorous wardrobe.

The men were particularly vain, while the women dressed provocatively for the times. "They combined oriental features with Nordic styles. Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire," says textile researcher Annika Larsson, whose research at Uppsala University presents a new picture of the Viking Age.

However, the study also found that the advent of Christianity likely changed these styles.

Larsson studied textile finds from the Lake Malaren Valley - an area that was once one of the central regions in Viking Scandinavia and that includes Sweden's capital city Stockholm as well as Uppsala. While the period popularly known as the Viking Age stretched from 750 - 1050 AD, Larsson emphasizes this was by no means a uniform period. By analyzing textiles and articles of clothing, Larsson believes the transition to less oriental features and more modest medieval Christian fashions took place as early as the late 900s.

This shift in clothing style also indicates that new trade routes with the Christian Byzantine and Western Europe came into use then as well.

"Textile research can tell us more about the state of society than research into traditions. Old rituals can live on long after society has changed, but when trade routes are cut off, there's an immediate impact on clothing fashions, says Larsson.

The traditional view saw Viking women wearing long suspender (brace) skirt, with both the front and back pieces consisting of square section, held together by a belt. Clasps, often regarded as typical of the Viking Age, were attached to the suspenders roughly at the collar bone. Under this dress they wore a linen shift, and on top of it a woollen shawl or sweater.

"The grave plans from excavations at Birka outside Stockholm in the 19th century show that this is incorrect. The clasps were probably worn in the middle of each breast. Traditionally this has been explained by the clasps having fallen down as the corpse rotted. That sounds like a prudish interpretation," says Larsson.

"It's easy to imagine that the Christian church had certain reservations about clothing that accentuated the breasts in the way and, what's more, exposed the under shift in front. It's also possible that this clothing was associated with pre-Christian rituals and was therefore forbidden," she concludes.

The Name of the Rose (1986)

Stealing Heaven (1988)

'100 000 Years of Sex' opens in Germany

Erotic carvings and excavated Roman artefacts connected to sex will go on display on Saturday in Germany's best-preserved ancient Roman city, Trier.

The temporary exhibition, 100 000 Years of Sex, comprises 250 items, mainly archaeological.

They date back to the Stone Age and show how our ancestors experienced lust and procreation, said Mechthild Neyses-Eiden, deputy director of the museum.Devised in the Netherlands and first mounted in 2003 in another museum, the exhibition is being supplemented at the Rhenish Museum in Trier with about 50 local Roman-period artefacts recovered by archaeologists.

Trier - called Treveris by the Romans - has several well-preserved buildings, such as a town gate, an arena and a church, from the time when it was a principal northern city of the late Roman empire.

The original exhibition includes primitive objects representing feminine charms, explicit pictures on Greek vases, a medieval chastity belt and an 1813 item described as the world's oldest condom.

The show, inaugurated with a party on Thursday evening, runs from Saturday till June 22. It will be repeated for the last time in the German city of Heilbronn in July 2009.

Neyses-Eiden said it was important to study past attitudes to sex in a neutral way. She said the show illustrated how different historical periods had differing attitudes.

"Things we regard as normal now were regarded as revolting in medieval times," she said. Referring to child sex, she noted that some things allowed among the Greeks were taboo or illegal nowadays.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ancient letter will be showcased in new City Archives ‘Document of the Month’ feature

A letter written in 1644 by the Marquis of Montrose to the Burgh of Aberdeen will be the first document to go on display in a new feature on the Aberdeen City Archives website.

The ‘Document of the Month’ feature will showcase different historical documents each month along with a description, background information, and a transcription if necessary.

The documents show the wide variety of information that Aberdeen City Archives has to offer and provides an opportunity to learn more about local history.

Aberdeen City Archives collects and preserves historical records related to Aberdeen City and Shire and secures significant modern records for future generations.

There is a wealth of items to choose from, including a series of council minutes dating from 1398 which represents the finest set of medieval burgh minutes in Scotland.

The first document to be shown is a letter from the Marquis of Montrose to the Burgh of Aberdeen, dated 13 September, 1644. At that time, Montrose was a Royalist, while the Burgh was on the side of the Covenanters. Addressed to his “loveing friends”, he demanded the Covenanting burgh surrender to the Royalist troops – or they would suffer. The old and the young would be free to leave, while anyone else left should “expect no quarter”.

The letter was a strong threat to the burgh, but it was still ignored. Aberdeen mustered a force and later that same day the Battle of Justice Mills was fought, in which Montrose was victorious.
Montrose’s letter was chosen to highlight how exciting some of the sources can be. It publicises a dramatic event from a less familiar period of Aberdonian and Scottish history in a way that is easily accessible.

Phil Astley, Aberdeen City Archivist, said: “By displaying our more interesting items in this way we are hoping that the new feature will be popular with both our regular users and those less familiar with archives. We hope it will encourage people to use Aberdeen City Archives, as well as inspiring them to explore repositories in other parts of the country.”

To find out more go to

Workmen dredge Medieval bones from river

Buryfreepress reports that human bones and medieval artefacts have been discovered by workers dredging the River Lark at West Row.

An adult male skull and the shoulder of a juvenile were revealed as silt was being removed from the river by Environment Agency workers.

Ryan Eley, team leader in charge of the dredging operation, said: "We were undertaking some flood risk management when we found these bones. We thought they were cattle bones because they came up individually – that was until we found the skull. Obviously, our first thought was that we'd come across a crime scene so our first port of call was the police."

"When they gave us the all clear, we contacted the archaeological team at Suffolk County Council. They came out to the site and went through the silt in case there was anything else of interest."

He added: "When you dredge rivers you find all kinds of things, but this is the first time I've come across human remains in my time working for the Environment Agency."

Although the grisly discovery – made in mid-December – turned out not to be connected with a recent crime, examinations showed the man had come to a gruesome end – a hole in the skull indicated it had been pierced with an iron arrow or a spear.

The circumstances of the adult's death are unknown although there was a battle at nearby Fornham in 1173, but the association is speculation, said the report.

Shroud of Turin Gets High-Def Scrutiny

The Turin shroud, the 14- by 4-foot linen long believed to have been wrapped around Jesus' body after the crucifixion, has entered the digital age.

A huge 12.8 billion-pixel image was made of the linen, on which the smudged outline of the body of a man is indelibly impressed. The image was made following a Vatican request to obtain the most detailed reproduction of the yellowing ancient cloth. The technology allows a level of scrutiny of the linen as never achieved before.

"The Shroud has been photographed in high definition for the first time. We have stitched together 1,600 shots, each the size of a credit card, to create a huge photo which is almost 1,300 times stronger than a picture taken with a 10 million pixel digital camera," Mauro Gavinelli, technical supervisor at HAL9000, a company specializing in art photography, told Discovery News.

According to Gavinelli, who also created the world's highest-resolution photo when he digitalized Da Vinci's "Last Supper," the technology allows researchers to analyze the shroud in unprecedented detail.

"It is like looking at the Shroud through a microscope. You can see the threads, the fibers that make these threads, the damage that the shroud has suffered over the years," Gavinelli said.
As hundreds of shots were taken using sophisticated equipment, the process, itself, was recorded by the British Broadcasting Company, which will be airing a program about the project on the Saturday before Easter.

"It was fascinating. Seeing the shroud within a few inches is a unique experience. The image is very visible, it isn't true at all that it is fading," said David Rolfe, director of the BBC documentary.

Kept rolled up in a silver casket, the shroud has been shown only five times in the past century. When it last went on public display in 2000, more than three million people saw it. The next public display will be in 2025.

Scientific interest in the cloth, which has survived several blazes since its existence, began in 1898, when it was photographed by the lawyer, Secondo Pia. The negatives revealed the image of a bearded man with pierced wrists and feet and a bloodstained head.

Venerated by many Catholics as proof that Christ was resurrected from the grave, the shroud was eventually dismissed as a brilliant, medieval fake twenty years ago. Carbon-14 tests at three reputable laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, dated it to between 1260 and 1390.

After the tests, the Oxford laboratory's founding director, Edward Hall, told journalists: "Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it."

But shroud scholars, known as sindonologists, have always argued that no medieval forger could either have produced such an accurate fake or anticipated the invention of photography.
Speculation about the linen cloth continued as well as debates over the validity of the carbon-14 tests.

"There is the possibility that new carbon-14 tests today will produce different results. A new hypothesis has been formulated, and it deals with information that wasn't available twenty years ago," Rolfe said.

The new hypothesis, developed by "another contributor to the film," according to a University of Oxford press release, is being tested by Christopher Ramsey, director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. The results will be revealed in the documentary
Ramsey, a top expert in the use of carbon dating in archeological research, is skeptical the new theory will prove that the carbon dating tests were inaccurate.

"I keep an open mind--as I would about any scientific investigation. However, my strong intuition, based on my experience in this field, is that the new hypothesis will not challenge the accuracy of the original radiocarbon dating exercise," Ramsey said in a statement.

The new theory would only require two percent contamination to skew the results by 1,500 years--not much considering the shroud's long history, handling and exposure to the elements.
"There is nothing new, as far as I know, which would change the situation. These ideas have been raised previously and none has been shown to have any merit. Many hypotheses, such as contamination, fire changing the results and more dubious assertions have been made, but none has seriously challenged the 1988 dating," Timothy Jull, a professor in geosciences at the University of Arizona who specializes in carbon dating, told Discovery News.

Indeed, numerous theories, such as a plastic coating built up on the linen by millions of tiny micro-organisms, have been presented to explain how the radiocarbon tests could have been inaccurate. All have been rejected by the scientific community.

In 1998, Ramsey himself tested the possibility that carboxylation of the cellulose in the linen during the 1532 fire could have produced a younger dating, but concluded that "carboxylation is not a systematic source of error in the dating of cellulose-containing materials such as the linen in the Shroud of Turin."

The latest research, by the late Ray Rogers, suggested that the sample used to test the age of the shroud in 1988 was taken from a medieval rewoven area of the shroud.

Whatever the outcome of Ramsey's tests, the high definition images are expected to add new complexity to one of the most controversial relics in Christendom.

"The Shroud has yielded surprises each time it is subjected to a new form of reproduction. The first time it was photographed, it revealed its negative characteristics. Then it was scanned and turned into a tridimensional image. Now we have filmed it in high definition. We are already seeing some interesting effects," Rolfe said.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Demetrius and the Gladiators

Quo Vadis?

A tide of barbarians surge forth in a great wave of a frothing storm...

A Taste of Honey: Is mead poised for a comeback?

Judging by the prominence of honey these days, you'd think there's a run on sugar. Local, flavored honeys are now in restaurant kitchens. Foodies are mail-ordering artisanal raw varieties. At my local farmers market in Connecticut, the area beekeeper shows up with a table's worth of options and a glassed-in buzzing hive.

This resurgence is in spite of the recent colony collapse disorder, which decimated many beehives. But even more unexpected is the rise of honey for an ancient use: alcohol, in a drink known as mead.

You might know mead from Beowulf—it's what the characters got soused on. Mead is so old-school that its advocates claim it as the world's first alcoholic beverage. (Their line of thinking goes like this: Rain-diluted honey attracted wild yeasts. The fermented liquid then attracted a human, who drank it and felt less unhappy.) But the recent interest in fermented honey has morphed it from an esoteric item that only a few bearded Dungeons & Dragons players indulged in to a small yet legitimate commercial enterprise. There are now more than 100 meaderies in the United States, like Rabbit's Foot Meadery and Mountain Meadows Mead. For the ambitious, there are DIY mead-making books, complete with archaic spellings (see The Compleat Meadmaker). Is mead, last popular around King Arthur's table, poised for a comeback?

The home-brewing community is largely responsible for putting mead on the map. Mead-making culture is a direct descendant of beer geekdom, in part because Charles Papazian, whose The Complete Joy of Homebrewing is the book that launched a thousand brewpub loans, is also a mead evangelist. In fact, the home-brewing community can be credited with many significant changes to the American drinking landscape. Without the nerdy obsessiveness of early hobbyists, we'd all still be crushing corn-fed lagers against our foreheads. Instead, we're drinking double IPAs and imperial stouts. The many new mead-makers in America are almost all lapsed home brewers who smelled the honey.

In some ways, it's not surprising to see mead taking off like this: The last few decades have given rise to many small-scale, artisan food products. In the alcoholic arena alone, there are now craft spirits, craft sake, and craft bitters. Anyone at a farmers market has seen that antique varieties of melons or apples are in vogue; many small farmers now raise and sell almost-extinct animal breeds, like Tamworth pigs and Narragansett turkeys.

For farmers market foodies, mead, as an alcoholic libation, has a conceptual advantage over beer: Mead possesses what winemakers call terroir, the French term for how something—wine, cheese, honey—conjures up the landscape around it. That's because an artisanal mead is still, at least in part, an agricultural product. With its floral and herbal aromas, a good mead vividly communicates a sense of place—think a field of orange blossoms or rosemary bushes—in a way that's impossible for beer. Wine writer Matt Kramer calls this feeling "somewhereness" and, in the new hyper-local-food America, it is an attractive selling point. Don't just "eat your view"; get blitzed off it.

Mead-maker David Myers of Colorado's Redstone Meadery said, "Mead is something that comes around like clockwork every 2,000 to 3,000 years." But despite its seemingly sudden upswing, mead isn't likely to reattain its crazy medieval popularity. Unlike once-forgotten, now-prized goods like heirloom tomatoes, mead won't even make the foodie mainstream. That's partly because it has a horrible image problem—currency with the Society for Creative Anachronism is not exactly a signifier of great commercial promise. Got Mead's blogger goes by the nickname Meadwench, and the topics covered on the blog include questions from readers trying to figure out what the historically correct drinking cup is. Fans like these won't boost mead into the 21st century. Even mead-makers complain about Renaissance fairs, where the drink is treated, inevitably, as an anachronism.

While it's theoretically possible for mead to escape its poor company, it has a more fundamental problem. Although there seems to be a mead flavor for every palate—orange blossom, buckwheat honey, blended with berry purees, infused with juniper berries, champagne-carbonated, still—they all suffer from the same structural problem: Honey has little natural acidity. That may sound appealing, but acidity—the spine of a good wine—is what keeps flavors bright and focused, and what marries wine with food. Mead-makers recognize this flaw, so to give it an acidic boost, they add citric acid. That helps, but it's not enough. Most meads still sit somewhat awkwardly alongside dinner. Unlike the best beer and wine pairings, they neither sharply highlight foods nor blend with them into something equally interesting. Ultimately, they make for reluctant partners at the table.

Strange enough to be intriguing, but too strange to be at home on the dinner table, mead is a stubborn paradox. I like mead conceptually—the lore, the eccentricities. I even occasionally like a bottle. But no mead has ever earned its way into my alcoholic rotation. The other night, I had a glass of Redstone's Mountain Honey Mead, a widely distributed brand, and its initial burst of flavor went flat all too soon. It was an odd fit with what I'd planned for dinner (your basic roast chicken) and dessert (a black-and-white custard). Of course, the rapturous aroma was intoxicating, and I spent a few moments inhaling it. But the taste that followed was neither more nor less than limpid, liquid honey. If Winnie-the-Pooh ever took to the bottle, this is exactly what he'd want.


Ancient church wall art discovered

Fragments of an ancient wall painting dating back to medieval times have been discovered during restoration work at 13th century Stuston church.

Last year villagers in the rural community rallied to the cause when it emerged that £185,000 was needed for urgent repairs to make the nave, porch and vestry roofs watertight.

English Heritage and other funding bodies promised £165,000 towards the project - on condition that the small community of 140 souls met a December 2007 deadline to provide their commitment to making up the shortfall.

Had they failed to do so, there was the risk the church would be declared redundant because it had fallen into repair - but residents rose to the challenge, organising fund-raising events including the first village fete for 25 years.

The main restoration to the church building is due to start on Monday and includes repairs to the tower and improving the underground drainage system. Work, costing about £18,000, is also taking place to restore a 1727 marble wall monument to local worthy Sir John Castleton and his family, who lived at Stuston Hall.

When the memorial was dismantled, it was found to conceal a centuries old mural which may be of significant archaeological and historic value. The painted border is believed to date from the late 1500s to early 1600s and there are traces of earlier medieval painting, especially on the lower left hand side.

Roger Lay, project manager, said: “It is just like a frieze or a border to the Lord's Prayer, which has since disappeared, and it was covered by this memorial which is really distinctive.”

A specialist wall painting conservator from Cambridge University will be visiting the church to examine and make a record of the mural, and stabilise the surface. It is planned to rebuild the monument in the same place, leaving a gap between the marble and painted plaster.

Mr Lay said the restoration appeal has united the community and they are reaping the benefits.

“I think the major beneficiary is the village. We have had a fete, hog roast, table top sales and a golf day, and we will be having some of these events again this year.”

Stuston church will be closed during the repairs which should be completed by July 18. Regular Sunday services will be held at nearby Thrandeston, and special services may be held at other churches in the benefice.

Medieval chest gets new lease of life

A 700-year-old medieval chest in Pershore Abbey has been given a new lease of life.

Most recently the chest has been used for storing surplices but it has now been restored, brought out into public view and lit up. The lid is fixed open to reveal new panelling and a glass-topped gift receptacle.

Visitors can use the chest to contribute to the maintenance of the Abbey. Vicar Kenneth Crawford said how pleased he was to see the important historical furniture brought to the fore and in service again.

He said: "We need about £20 an hour to keep this wonderful building warm, clean and welcoming, so making donations easy and interesting has to be a winner."

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Virgin Spring

A Man For All Seasons

The War Lord (1965)

Why hasn't the blog been updated as often?

I choose to blame this (and not my own personal failings)...

Riding to rescue vital record of English Medieval Knights

The export of a 13th Century roll of arms, crucial to the study of medieval English knighthood, has been put on hold.

Culture Minister, Margaret Hodge, has placed a temporary export bar on the Dering Roll, a decorated manuscript roll of arms on vellum. This will provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the roll in the United Kingdom.

The Minister's ruling follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. The Committee recommended that the export decision be deferred on the grounds that the roll is of outstanding significance for the study of early English heraldry and is so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune.

The Committee awarded a starred rating to the roll meaning that every possible effort should be made to raise enough money to keep it in the country.

The Dering Roll was produced in England in the last quarter of the 13th century. It is eight and a half feet long and contains the coats of arms of approximately one-quarter of the English baronage of the reign of King Edward I. As the earliest surviving English roll of arms it is a key document of medieval English knighthood. As a statement of the knights who owed feudal service to the constable of Dover Castle, it carries outstanding local as well as national significance.

Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the Reviewing Committee said: "This is an extraordinarily iconic object being the oldest complete English roll of arms in the history of English Heraldry"

The decision on the export licence application for the Dering Roll will be deferred for a period ending on 19 April 2008 inclusive. This period may be extended until 19 July 2008 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase the Dering Roll at the recommended price of £192,500 excluding VAT is expressed.

Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the Dering Roll should contact the owner's agent through:

The Secretary The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Victoria House, Southampton Row London WC1B 4EA

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The joys of schoolin'

Today in the Middle Ages

24 February, AD 303 - Diocletian's first "Edict against the Christians" was published, beginning the Diocletianic Persecution the last and most severe episode of the persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire.

But hey, look at the bright side, at least a whole bunch of people got to become martyrs.

Did you hear that sound? It was sound of another movie raping the middle ages...

'A Part In A Jack Black Movie Means Lindsay's Career Is Going Great!' Says Mother With Everything To Lose'

Lindsay Lohan's recent decision to strip down to nothing for an egregiously under-airbrushed New York magazine pictorial recreating a sitting from the last days of a similarly troubled™ screen icon was enough to raise more than a few Hollywood eyebrows; shock-starlet watchers questioned whether dabbling a freckled toe into softcore waters could lead to a headlong tumble into the dark, cokepant-strewn abyss. Most of those concerns were put to rest, however, the moment noted momabler Dina Lohan assured the world that the photos were in fact not-at-all desperate, completely non-exploitative art.

Now, via an E! Online exclusive that doesn't at all give off the pungent whiff of publicist-planted damage control, we learn that Lohan's career is right back where she wants it to be, including a starring turn on the big screen alongside the extremely bankable and A-listy Jack Black:

Producers have exclusively confirmed to E! News that the tabloid queen is resuming her day job, signing on to star alongside Jack Black in Ye Olde Times, a comedy tentatively set to start rolling this April.

A source at Patriot Pictures, which is producing the yukfest, told E! News that the film follows two rival Renaissance Faire troupes as they make their way through the competitive circuit. It's unclear whether Lohan will be one of Black's repertory players or a member of a competing Ren Faire faction.

Lohan's mother, Dina, also let slip via a phone call to E! News from her Long Island home that her firstborn was currently in talks to star in one other big-screen project, though she did not reveal any details. [...]

"She's an artist and is back on her feet and working. She's on the cover of a respected magazine. How can that be a bad career move? It is not!" she said.

While the casting has yet to be added to Ye Olde's IMDb page, it's surely only a matter of time before the official production notes are updated to include Lohan's involvement as Busty Serving Wench 2--a minor supporting role as it reads now in the shooting script, but one which the producers assured her would be beefed up to suit her singular, artistic talents.

From: Defamer

Open house at Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral is throwing open its doors on Saturday 26 April for local people to find out more about their Cathedral as part of this year's 750th anniversary celebrations.

The day has been specially designed to provide interest and fun for all ages. The emphasis is on participation and so our musicians, flower arrangers and embroiderers will be offering you a chance to join in. You will be able to visit areas not usually open to the public including the Vestry, medieval Song Room, the Cathedral's magnificent Library and the former Bishop's Palace. Find out what it's really like to be a verger, stonemason, embroiderer, conservator, chorister, glazier, flower arranger or volunteer guide. The work of the Cathedral's exceptional craftsmen and women - the masons, conservators and glaziers - will be on display.

The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne, said, "We hope that as many local people as possible, as well as parishioners from across the Diocese will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to come and find out more about their Cathedral. I know that our staff and volunteers are looking forward to talking about what they do and what is it like to welcome people, quite literally from all over the world, year round for services and events."

The Cathedral has also launched an on-line ticket booking facility on its website, so the public can book and buy tickets to events marking its 750th anniversary.

The facility has been up and running for less than a week but is already being well used.
Liane Whittles, marketing officer for Salisbury Cathedral, said, "With so many new and exciting events this year, this seemed the right time to offer what, for the Cathedral, is a brand new facility on our informative and up-to-date website.

"We look forward in the future to extending this facility to other activities at the Cathedral including booking for the ever-popular Tower Tours."

Visit website which has up-to-date information on the Cathedral's 750th celebrations, including a Medieval Fair on May 4-5 and a flower festival from June 17-21.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Soon to be home of our very own Matt McHaffie...

Medieval Studies centre launched

Parliament records. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of St Andrews
Scottish Parliament records are being digitised by the department
One of the largest centres in the world for Medieval
Studies has opened at the University of St Andrews.

The new institute will house 30 staff from departments across the university, including English, history, modern languages and divinity.

St Andrews already has a Medieval History department but the new facility will cover a wider subject area and will result in staff numbers doubling.

The department has been involved in a project to digitise parliament records.

When it ends this year, it will create one of the most comprehensive records of Scottish Parliamentary proceedings ever made available.

The project has lasted almost 10 years.

Unique offering

The new centre will cover research and teachings from across the Medieval world.

It will range from the Middle East and the Mediterranean to the British Isles and Scandinavia.

Institute director Dr Frances Andrews said, "We currently have one of the largest centres for the study of Medieval History in the Anglophone world, but there has been an increasing trend in recent years to develop interdisciplinary studies in this area.

"The teaching will include an extraordinary chronological range and by combining Byzantine and Middle East Studies with study of the medieval west, make us unique in the UK.

"The development will not only bring world class researchers to St Andrews but will encourage creative collaboration between colleagues in different schools across the university."

The centre's opening is being marked by a public lecture by a world renowned expert on the middle ages.

Professor Gerd Althoff, from the University of Munster, will speak about forms and functions of irony in Medieval politics.

BBC News, Wednesday, 13 February, 2008,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Universities, Libraries, and Englishmen

Intellectual integrity and our "snide university ways."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Virtual Trebuchet

Combine your interests in Medieval warfare, physics, and homework avoidance with this link to a virtual trebuchet challenge. Hey, you never know when your time spent practising this may come in handy.

The Treb Challenge

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Word of the Week

This week's word: Flyleaf

Flyleaves at the beginning or end of a book serve to protect the text in the event of worming or damage to the binding. They often carry pen trials and inscriptions concerning provenance. Flyleaves were sometimes used for trying out designs.

From: Michelle P. Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts, 57.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Best band name evah: Flyleaf

Sure they make me want to tear off my own ears, but they're name after a MS term.

Seriously though, what else could Flyleaf mean?

Kids these days and their slang...