Sunday, November 29, 2009

So, I don't have a story for you tonight, so here's some pictures of stormtroopers to carry you over for the moment. Enjoy.
Spiderman Stormtrooper.
Samurai Stormtrooper.
French Stormtrooper.
Three Musketeer Stormtroopers.
Elvis Stormtrooper.

Horned Kilted Stormtrooper Dragoncon 2009 by DinanM3atl.
Stormtrooper a la Braveheart.

...No they aren't.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A little political joke.

The Pope and Gordon Campbell are on the same stage in front of a huge crowd.

The Pope leans towards Mr. Campbell and said, "Do you know that with one little movement of my hand I can make every person in this crowd go wild with joy? This joy will not be a momentary display, like those believers in your 2010 Olympics, but go deep into their hearts and they'll forever speak of this day and rejoice!"

Campbell replied, "I seriously doubt that. With one little wave of your hand? Show me"

So the Pope backhanded him.

Pictures and a posting (see post below for more info).

Armenian in pink.

Blue Armenians and some policia.

You go granny! And the black guy is coming in for the take down...

TAKE DOWN FOR MASSIVE DAMAGE! (At least 1d10+4 to those of you who know what I'm talking about.)

Don't fight with monks.

Poking dude: "Does it hurt when I poke it here?"
Hurt dude: "YES. STOP IT."
Black haired due: "Hmmm, interesting."
Old guy: "Poke him again. That was funny."

You can find some more info and a video here. <-- I just learned how to do hyperlinking!!

Also, movie night tomorrow. I have posters around. Go find them. If you find one and come to the movie night I'll have a prize for you.
When: 7pm, November 25th
Where: Clearihue A303
What: Robin Hood: Men In Tights

Here's a preview:

I think that's pretty funny.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy (Belayed) Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Monk Day!

Well, now that I'm no longer sick and stressed I think I'll post again. Oh, wait, I'm already doing that. Aren't I funny?

So now that I'm well let's be at it!

Anywho, where was I? Ah, yes, reportage. A story for you. I have one. Or more. You shall read it. Or them.

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Monk Day.

Jesus is said to have told his followers to "turn the other cheek" when provoked, but it would seem that on November 9th last year this was tested - and found that it applied very well to brawls. (You just have to hit back - that's allowed, right?)

On the ninth of November, 2008, there was a massive brawl in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and man it was a gooder! In the Black Corner we have the defenders, the Greek Orthodox! Aaaaaand in the Blue Corner we find the challengers, theeeeee Armeniaaaaaans!

So, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most important places in Christianity, if not the most spiritually important, as it is the place of Jesus of Nazareth's crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. This church is home to six different sects of monks and priests, two of which are the Greeks and Armenians. These sects often have small squabbles over who gets to do what duties and when, and who gets to officiate and when.

Here's how it went down:

The Armenians were going to celebrate the annual Feast of the Cross which the Armenians always celebrate. This is a celebration of the fourth century discovery of a cross that is believed to be that which Christ made his sacrifice upon. So, dressed in their bright blue habits they proceeded with their procession until they came across a roadblock - one made of large, black garbed Greeks.

The Greeks wanted to place a monk inside the Edicule, a structure built on top of what is thought to be Jesus' tomb, and blocked the Armenian procession as they view this as their divinely delegated task. Well, no surprise, but the Armenian's said "gettaouttahere!" This did not bode well with the Greeks. The Greeks made a churchblock and things just went from there...

It ended with dozens of Israeli riot police forced to come in force, fully armed no less, to break up the fight. An Armenian monk and a Greek (blooding from a nasty gash on his face, no less) were arrested.

Oh, let's not forget about the scuffle between the police and an Armenian altar boy. (The altar boy won, no less!)

Other debates going on in the Holy Sepulchre at the moment:
-The Israeli government wants to build a fire exit, but the monks have been squabbling for over ten years as to where it would be placed.
-A rooftop monastery is in desperate need of renovations as it is about to collapse, but the Coptic Christians and Ethiopians are in a dispute over who the monastery belongs to so no repairs can get under way, even though a few monks have been seriously injured in a few minor collapses.
-And my personal favourite: a ladder has been in the doorway of the church since the 19th century, and it remains there to this day as the sects keep squabbling over who has the authority to move it. *Pushes ladder over.*

Another highly amusing event happened on Palm Sunday. Dozens of Greek and Armenian monks (Them again? Those scrappers!) and worshippers got into a brawl and when the police came to break up the riot everyone turned on the police and started beating them with palm fronds. If anyone has found any photos/video of this event can you please send me a link - I would love to see it!

Now, what happened today in the past? THIS DID:

-1429 - Joan of Arc unsuccessfully besieges La Charite. (Go Frenchies!)
-1859 - Charles Darwin publishes On The Origin Of Species.
-1971 - D.B. Cooper jumps off a plane with 200k$ in ransom money and is never seen or heard from again.
-1974 - Donald Johanson and Tom Gray discover a 40% complete skeleton of an Australopithecus Afarensis which is later named "Lucy" after The Beatle's tune "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds."
-2004 - Last male black-faced honeycreeper dies of Avian malaria in the Maui Bird Conservation Centre. The species is now extinct.

-Nobody interesting was born today. I mean it.

-1991 - Eric Carr (former drummer of Kiss) and the Zanzibar-born singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, both died. I do not know you first dude, but Freddie you were sweeeeeeeeeet.

And it's Teacher's Day in Turkey and International Evolution Day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October Events! They Happen! Really!

Dear Reader(s), just to let you know we, the MSCU, have a few events planned for this month! I'll probably post reminders when we get closer to the event, but I'll list them all here right now. Isn't that nice of me? I think its pretty nice. I'm a nice guy.

Anyway, here we go:

This is going to be on the 21st, 7:00, Clearihue A307.
We are watching: King. Arthur. I made posters. They're around somewhere. Look for 'em.

October 22nd, 7:00, Clearihue D130.
We are joining up with our Greek and Roman Studies Course Union buddies, slaughter some innocent pumpkins like the tyrannical warriors that we are, and maybe send them to some oh-so-fortunate profs (you get to pick the prof!). C'mon out!

We also have some joint events with other course unions:

Costume party:
Friday the 23rd, 7-9ish, lots of treats (SUGAR DEAR READER(S), SUGAR!), fun games, costume contest, etc.
Its Classically themed, so throw on a toga or something at the very least. Or not. But that's lame. Like, a blind leprous anchorite penitent monk kind of lame. And that's really, really lame.

There is also a writing contest!
You can read the link yourself. It's pretty straight forward.

Now, time for that awesome thing that everyone seemed to like so much...What Happened Today In The Past?!? (I need a better name for this...)

1066 - the Battle of Hastings/Norman Conquest: William the Conqueror defeats the English army and kills Harold II.
1322 - Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeats Kind Edward II at Byland and forces Edward to accept Scotland's independence.
1582 - once again, because of the Gregorian calendar's implementation, this day does not exist in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.
1894 - ee Cummings is born. (Not medieval, but still important. To me.)

Lots of stuff happened on the 14th of October: lots of births, lots of events, lots of deaths. Few are Medieval. Checkit:

Farewell dear Reader(s),
Your Minister of Propaganda.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A picture, some news, and more updates to come!

Well, that's certainly one way of being saved from the jaws of death...

And in more exciting news:

So, on September twenty-fifth (yes, last month) an amateur treasure hunter (what this constitutes I do not know - maybe an old guy with a metal detector and a shovel like you find on the beach?) discovered an absolutely enormous horde of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artefacts as he was rummaging through a farmer's field (doubtful the farmer gave him permission). This discovery has sent archaeologists, historians, curators and Medievalists alike abuzz the world over. Amongst the treasures found we have: a really pretty helmet crest with a frieze of wild animals running along the side; enamel studded sword fittings; a checkerboard piece with gold and garnet inlays (I wouldn't mind having a set of those!); and a gold band with a Latin biblical inscription that calls on God to drive away the bearer's enemies. Nifty! This cash of lovely artefacts was discovered in what was Mercia, one of the five major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and are thought to date between 675 and 725.

The fellow who found the cache says that it was "more fun that winning the lottery." Oh, I bet it was! "I was going to bed and in my sleep I was seeing gold items," he said after notifying the authorities after five days of searching this farmer's field.

Over eleven pounds of gold was found, which included weaponry, crosses, and a giant cross that may have been carried into battle, five long golden snakes, and a strip of gold with a crudely written and horribly misspelled Latin Biblical inscription ("Rise up, O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face" - Book of Numbers).

The treasure hunter and his farmer "friend" are up for seven figures of cash once the artefacts are sold to museums, apparently. Not bad as there could be as many as 1,500 items in the treasure horde.

One expert has gone so far as to liken this discovery to the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Interestingly enough, the giant processional/battle cross was folded before being buried.

In case you don't know (!!!) who the Anglo-Saxons were, they were a group of Germanic tribes who invaded England when the Romans left it, they made really, really pretty gold ornaments, and their language, Old English, is the great-great-great grandfather (or some such thing) of our beloved Modern English.

I hope you enjoyed this late update!

Your Minister of Propaganda*

*How's this name? I like it. Do you like it? I like it.

Also, here's the link for the story on this update:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Oh hi, I almost didn't see you there.

As-Salamu Alaykum! Ave! Guten Tag! Greetings! Etc.!

Welcome dear Reader(s) to another eventful year with the MSCU (Medieval Studies Course Union for those of you who don't know that yet). This year we find ourselves with a whole new executive committee and, you may have guessed it by now, a new blogger here on Florilegium. This is the first blog I've ever had so please, bear with me as I try and figure out what I'm doing. (Man, what have I signed up for?!)

I would like to extend my thanks to our previous blogger who is heading off to York University (yeah, the English one) for the awesome work that he's done with this thing. I have some pretty big shoes to fill it would seem.

So, I did some research about bloggers the other day, and this is what I found out:

"Bloggers were invented ca. 300AD, and were originally called 'monks.' Like their distant descendents, monks had shitty haircuts, and never got laid."


Man, now I'm really sewered! My hair's not THAT bad, is it? Okay, maybe it's pretty bad.

So, October fifth, some pretty exciting stuff have happened on the fifths of October in medieval history! Check this stuff out:
-610: Coronation of Byzantin Emperor Heraclius
-869: The Fourth Council of Constantinople is convened.
-1143: King Alfonso VII of Leon recognizes Portugal as a Kingdom.
-1582: because of the Gregorian calendar...this day doesn't exist in Italy, Poland, Portugal, or Spain!

Okay, that last one is pretty awesome.

Well, I've got a few ideas set up for this blog for this year, but I want you, dear Reader(s), to tell me what you would like to see more of on this blog. Y'know, just post a comment on here or something. That'd be sweet.

Well, it's off to the land of sweet slumber for I, so I wish you, dear Reader(s), the best of sleep and some really interesting dreams of lions, witches, and bears, oh no!


The New MSCU Florilegium Blogger Guy*

*Yeah, I'll think up a better name later. C'mon, cut me some slack! It's my first post ever!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Passion of the Chelios?

For those who have not seen either Crank or Crank: High Voltage, these films tell the story of Chev Chelios, a hitman who, for various reasons, must take rather extreme actions to stay alive.

While these films could be written off as bread and circuses for an increasingly desensitized mass audience, they seem to contain hidden depths. Without spoiling the ending for Crank: High Voltage, in the end of the film our hero finds himself in a situation which mirrors the passion of Christ. After being whipped by his prosecutor Chelios ascends a wooden power-line and cruxifies himself between the wires. Chelios, however, does not die. He comes back down to earth bathed in light (albeit light provided from his own burning flesh) and returns to one of his allies, a female prostitute.

Now, I don't mean to imply that the writer of Crank: High Voltage is in any way attempting to convey a spiritual (or even intellectual) message to his audience. The realization that Chelios is a parallel for Christ made the ending to this movie even more amusing. And if you're going to make a sequal to a movie in which the main character falls from an airplane onto cement and lives, how else are you going to top youself?

This does raise an extremely important question, however, how is Crank 3 ever going to top this?

Fistula in Anno

Late New Year's Resolutions

Any of the people who still visit this blog will have noticed a distinct lack of updates in the past few months. Today, however, is the dawn of a new day.

Dear reader(s), you are about to witness the revival of this blog. For too long we have existed under a dark cloud of infrequent updates. For too long savage doldrums have gripped this blog with crippling apathy.

Today, dear reader(s), the clouds of this dark age part and signal the dawning of a new age of enlightenment. You are now witness to a blogging renaissance!

Ridley Scott presents "Robin Hood"

"He doesn't have the old Robin Hood tights," says producer Brian Grazer. "He's got armor. He's very medieval. He looks, if anything, more like he did in Gladiator than anything we're used to seeing with Robin Hood."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

'Negative' attitude to Robin Hood

A Scottish expert has uncovered a medieval document suggesting negative attitudes towards Robin Hood.

The story of how Robin and his men stole from the rich to give to the poor has long been part of English folklore.

However, Julian Luxford of St Andrews University found a dissenting voice in a Latin inscription from about 1460 in a manuscript owned by Eton College.

The previously unknown chronicle entry says Robin "infested" parts of England with "continuous robberies".

Dr Luxford, an expert in medieval manuscript studies, said: "Rather than depicting the traditionally well-liked hero, the article suggests that Robin Hood and his merry men may not actually have been 'loved by the good'.

"The new find contains a uniquely negative assessment of the outlaw, and provides rare evidence for monastic attitudes towards him."

The pre-Reformation article is the only English chronicle entry to have been discovered which mentions Robin Hood.

Three Scottish medieval authors are also thought to have set Robin in a chronological context.
Partners-in crime

Dr Luxford said: "The new find places Robin Hood in Edward I's reign, thus supporting the belief that his legend is of 13th Century origin."

A translation of the short inscription, which contains only 23 words in Latin, reads: "Around this time, according to popular opinion, a certain outlaw named Robin Hood, with his accomplices, infested Sherwood and other law-abiding areas of England with continuous robberies."

Dr Luxford said, "While Little John is not mentioned here, Robin is assigned partners-in crime.

"And the inscription's author does at least acknowledge that these men were active elsewhere in England.

"By mentioning Sherwood it buttresses the hitherto rather thin evidence for a medieval connection between Robin and the Nottinghamshire forest with which he has become so closely associated."

An article on the discovery will be published later this month in the Journal of Medieval History.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Today in the Middle Ages

21 February, 1173 -- Thomas Becket is canonized...

... see, it isn't hard to get ahead (*rimshot*)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's reading break! Hurray!

Hello everyone!

We don't know about you, but we're pumped to have some time off! By that we mean, of course, we're excited to pour over our notes, scrutinize the CMD and write prolific essays! However, should you speedily finish all of your work, or are looking for a short escape, why not consider some of these fine activities?

1. Viking Worlds -- the Maritime Museum of Victoria has a viking exhibit on display now. Come to the Maritime Museum on Sunday February 15th as veteran undersea archaeologist Rob Rondeau uncovers the story of the Vikings, some of the finest mariners and explorers of any era.
Over the past 20 years Rondeau has dived to many shipwrecks all over the world . His review of Viking seafaring is based on research gathered from the Old and New worlds, including recent projects in the coastal waters off Norway. Rondeau, who has been profiled in many magazines and on television will speak at 2 p.m. The cost is $8 for students.
If you are interested in attending this event there will likely be several MSCU members there to take in the experience. For more information or directions please visit the following website:

2. Commune with Nature -- Each reading break the MSCU likes to organize a event in the great outdoors. On Wednesday February 18th the MSCU is taking a trip to French Beach in Sooke. This will be a great chance to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and beautiful scenery. If you would like a ride please RSVP by the evening of Monday Feb. 16th at the latest, space is limited. We will meet in front of the computer labs in Clearihue at 9:50 am and departing at 10:00, arriving at French Beach around 11:30. Please pack a lunch. Dress for the weather because Frisbee may be involved.

Also, remember that the week after reading break is the 1st Annual Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Conference (February 27-28). This conference will showcase the work of your fellow peers on the Mediterranean region, so be sure to come out and support them! There is a Facebook group for the conference as well, so be sure to check it out! Since it will help our ability to organize could you send a quick RSVP if you intend to come.

Thanks and we hope to see you soon!


Today in the Middle Ages

14th February, 1076 -- Pope Gregory VII excommunicates King Henry IV

And thus one of history's most epic bromance is born...

St Valentine

The first thing you need to know about the real St. Valentine is that not much is known about him. Including whether there was one, two or three St. Valentines, or one guy with more than one name, or whether he existed at all.

Even the Vatican can't make up its mind on that one.

But other than that, there are lots of good stories that play nicely into our modern sense of what Feb. 14 is about. Which, for scholar Giulio Silano, is all the more reason to be skeptical.

"As far as I can tell, the stories have nothing to do with the saint," says Silano, a professor of medieval studies at the University of Toronto's St. Michael's College.

Silano is convinced that St. Valentine is largely a medieval invention. In fact, you can pretty much blame poet Geoffrey Chaucer for the whole thing.

"There's no evidence of Valentine before Chaucer," Silano says.

In 1381, Chaucer composed The Parliament of Fowls to honour the engagement of teenaged King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. Silano says it was customary at the time to associate such occasions with a saint's feast day, but there were fewer saints to choose from in the 14th century.

So Chaucer picked Valentine.

"For this was on St. Valentine's Day," Chaucer wrote, "when every fowl cometh there to choose his mate."

Coincidentally, Richard is believed to have died on Feb. 14, 1400, in the Tower of London.
To modern Canadian sensibilities, the idea of picking mates and declaring young love on a spring-like day in February seems odd, at best, but made some sense in the 14th century, Silano says.

England is a more temperate place, for one thing, and the weather on Feb. 14 in Chaucer's time was more like today's late February or early March. The calendar was changed in the 16th century.

Spring, says Silano, is a poetically perfect time to declare young love. Flowers bloom in spring, but it's impossible to tell which ones will make it to summer. The same, he says, can be said of a new love.

"The love you declare in spring is different from the one you declare in summer. It's more fragile, more uncertain of how well it will survive."

Which makes it all the more romantic, he says.

As well, for centuries a pagan festival had been held in mid-February called Lupercalia that, among other things, celebrated fertility. Silano agrees with other scholars that, like other Christian holidays, St. Valentine's Day came to supplant earlier pagan traditions.

At any rate, Silano says, Chaucer had a rich tradition to draw on when he began to write about love and Valentine in the middle of February. There are, after all, three who share Feb. 14 as their feast day: St. Valentine of Rome, St. Valentine of Terni and a saint who was martyred in Africa.

Some scholars have argued that Rome's and Terni's were the same man. All that is known about the third is where he died: somewhere in Africa.

The Valentine of Rome is believed to have been a priest during the reign of Claudius II. The emperor, worried that young men with families would not want to leave Rome for extended periods to fight his wars, banned marriage.

Valentine responded by marrying couples in secret. Very romantic, but it got him arrested.
One legend says that, while awaiting his execution, Valentine restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter, with whom he had fallen in love.

Another legend has it that on the eve of his execution, he penned a farewell note to the daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."

Making it, of course, the first Valentine.

This Valentine was martyred around 269 (1,100 years before Chaucer wrote about him) in Rome and was buried on the Flaminian Way, just outside the city.

Valentine of Terni was a bishop and also lived during the reign of Claudius II. This, and the fact that he was also buried on the Flaminian Way after his martyrdom, have led to speculation that he and the Roman Valentine might be the same man.

The Terni Valentine is linked to love because he is believed to have performed the first marriage between a pagan and a Christian.

Before the name Valentine was removed from the official list of saints' feast days in 1969 (for lack of evidence he ever existed), he was the patron saint of engaged couples, bee keepers, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, travellers and young people and was also invoked to help with epilepsy, fainting and plague.

In the middle of a discussion about whether Valentine existed, or did any of the things associated with him, Silano pulls out a heavy volume from a top shelf behind his desk and starts leafing though it.

It's the 1962 edition of the Catholic Missal, outlining the prayers to be used during Mass, and, he says, it shows what the church thought of Valentine.

"There is no mention of love here. He was a saint who saved us from evil. It's a very generic prayer to be made on the feast of the saint."

Today, Valentine's Day has largely lost its religious significance and, in many ways, has morphed into a children's holiday filled with school-made hearts for mom and dad, and Disney-themed cards for classmates.

"That's probably fine," Silano says.

"It was never a real holiday, anyway."

I'm trying to think of a good Dante reference, but I can't

From: Penny

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Hour of the Pig (1993)

Part 1 of 10

Obscure Latin Word of the Week

This week's word: grunnio (grundio), -ire

def. to grunt (or squeal) like a pig

How to use this word in everyday speech:

1. As a command: "Grunni like a pig, boy!"

2. As an intimidation: "If you grunnatis to the cops, you'll sleep with the fishes."

3. As part of a song: "And the pigs on the farm go grunnio, grunnio, grunnio."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

James Purefoy goes medieval

He’ll star in action thriller Ironclad

Now that film has found its financing James Purefoy can star in 13th century-set thriller Ironclad.

He’ll play a Knight Templar who, along with his heroic band of seven warriors, defends Rochester Castle against the tyrannical King John. Paul Giamatti has signed on to play the king, and the cast now includes Bob Hoskins, Richard Attenborough, Pete Postlethwaite, Colm Meany, Angus McFadyen and Narnia’s William Moseley. The film had been gearing up to shoot late last year when the money to make it fell through.

But now, with rights company ContentFilm International pushing at the Berlinale market, the movie is back on track for a summer start. Our concern is that the frenzy for swords ‘n’ sandals action epics has been past for a while – even Ridley Scott couldn't make Kingdom Of Heaven (above) win at the box office.

Can Ironclad succeed?

From: Total

The Medieval Studies Workshop

Hey everyone!

Today's the day! Make sure you come out for all or part of the Medieval Studies Workshop: The Medieval Mediterranean! It's sure to be a blast! The fun begins at 9 and lasts until 4 in the new Earth and Ocean Sciences Building (Bob Wright Centre). Hope to see you all there!




9:00-9:10 Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:10-9:30 Dr Iain Higgins, UVic, Introduction: The Medieval Mediterranean

9:30-10:00 Dr Marcus Milwright, UVic: From Cullet to Ginger: International Trade in the Medieval Mediterranean

10:00-10:15 Questions/Discussion

10:15-10:45 Refreshment Break

10:45-11:30 Dr Alain Touwaide, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute: Plants and Medicine in the Medieval Mediterranean

11:30-11:45 Questions/Discussion

11:45-1:15 Lunch on your own, and film presentation: "Pilgrims in Arms" by Terry Jones (from The Crusades and Monty Python!)

1:15-1:45 Dr Lloyd Howard, UVic: Dante's Mediterranean World: Exodus Home and Away from Italy's Shores

1:45-2:30 Dr Karla Mallette, Miami University: The Literatures of Medieval Sicily: Greek, Latin, Arabic and Italian

2:30-2:45 Questions/Discussion

2:45-3:15 Refreshment Break

3:15-3:45 Dr Eva Baboula (Bampoula), UVic: The Holy City of Jerusalem and Constantinople in the Medieval Imagination

3:45-4:00 Questions/Discussion

4:00 Closing Remarks

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Medieval Mayhem!!

Greetings fellow medievalists!

February is turning out to be busier than expected! Dr Eva Baboula has invited all interested medieval studies students to join her Medi 305 Workshop class for an informal lecture given by Dr Karla Mallette this Thursday, February 5 from 2:30-3:30 in CLE A206. She will discuss the research and challenges of being a literary historian of the Mediterranean. Dr Mallette's work has focused on the multilingual environment of Norman Sicily, but she has also written on issues such as Mediterranean Orientalism, Islam and Dante.

It's sure to be a great lecture and we'd love to see you there!


Monday, February 2, 2009

A Medieval February

Hello everyone,

February is shaping up to be a very eventful - and medieval - month! Here's a list of must-attend activities for you to enjoy!

1. As mentioned below, the MSCU will be holding another movie night on Feb. 4 at 7:00 PM in CLE A303. Bring along some friends to enjoy a night of laughter with Heath in "A Knight's Tale."

2. On Thursday, February 5, 2009, DSB C126, 7:30 PM, Dr Karla Mallette will be giving a lecture on "Poetry on Paper in Medieval Italy." She is one of the guest lecturers at this weekend's workshop, so be sure to come on out!

3. Speaking of Workshop, the 22nd Annual Medieval Studies Workshop is this Saturday, February 7, 2009. The program starts at 9:00 AM and will run until 4:00 PM. Be sure to stop by the Medieval Studies office to pick up your registration form (CLE D264)! The theme of the workshop this year is the Medieval Mediterranean (Be sure to join the Facebook page for this event!!)

4. Also in February is the 1st Annual Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Conference (February 27-28). This conference will showcase the work of your fellow peers on the Mediterranean region, so be sure to come out and support them! There is a Facebook group for the conference as well, so be sure to check it out! A program for the conference will be posted on the shortly.

5. Have you ever wanted to be more involved with the MSCU? If you answered 'yes' then have we got a proposition for you! We are currently looking for students who are interested in helping run the MSCU. Involvement is a great way to make friends and get to know your professors. On top of all that, extra circular activities look excellent on scholarship and grad school applications. If interested, come and see us after the movie on Wednesday night. If you're interested but cannot make it, please send us a quick email.

6. Very soon, the reading room will be staffed one hour each weekday by a member of the MSCU. We'll be your "peer tutors" should you need to bounce ideas off of us or have someone read over your paper. Come by and say hi! Our schedule will be up soon.

7. If you would like more information about any of the medieval events happening on campus, send us an email at, or join our Facebook group (UVic Medieval Studies Course Union). We hope to see you out at all of these fun events!


P.S. If someone lost a Russian language textbook at our last movie night, we have found it.

Medieval Movie Night: A Knight's Tale

Join us on February 4th for a showing of the 2001 film A Knight's Tale. The film will start at 7:00 PM in Clearihue A303, but feel free to come later if it suits you better! As always, light refreshments will be provided, along with healthy doses of anachronism. We encourage you to bring friends, family, loved ones etc, because the more, the merrier.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Medieval Mediterranean

Hello everyone,

Have you signed up for Medi 305: The Medieval Mediterranean yet? No? Then you must! This class is taught by Dr Eva Baboula ( and runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:30. There is plenty of room left in the course and we'd love to see some new faces among us!

The class is based around a series of projects which focus on a medieval Mediterranean city. These projects will coincide with the annual Medieval Studies workshop which will be held on February 7, 2009. The theme of the workshop this year is the Medieval Mediterranean, as is the 1st Annual Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Conference (February 27-28). Be sure to sign up to come to the workshop and the Conference!

If you've always wanted to take a class on the "heart" of the medieval world, or if you're simply wanting to bone up on the Mediterranean before our workshop and conference, sign up and stop on by this Tuesday! Over the next four months, the class will be discussing how the sea shaped the cultures surrounding it and how the sea helped spread Islam, Christianity and Judaism. We will also discuss the plausibility of a "medieval Mediterranean identity." This class is truly interdisciplinary and will cover many topics, which means there will never be a dull moment!

If you'd like further information, you can either email Dr Baboula, Stephanie (, or the MSCU ( The timetable information for the class is as follows: Medi 305 (TT 23659) A01. Hope to see you Tuesday!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Medieval prince overtakes Stalin as greatest Russian

The medieval prince Alexander Nevsky has been named the Greatest Russian of all times in a nationwide poll, leaving behind early 20th century reformer Pyotr Stolipin and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Prince Nevsky, canonised by the Orthodox Church as saint in 1574, had a winning score of 524,575 votes, overtaking the early 20th century reformer Imperial Premier Pyotr Stolipin with 523,766 nominations trailed by Stalin with 519,071 votes.

The voters had more than six months to choose from among 500 names before the winner was announced last night.

The voting in the poll was suspended in August after Stalin clearly had a majority of the ballots cast the previous month.

The organisers 'zeroed' in the vote, claiming that spammers had attacked the site in order to give Stalin the victory.

This time viewers had a choice of voting method. They could use the phone, text message or the internet. Technically, however, each voter was not limited to one vote casting doubt on the fairness of the poll, conducted for the first time in the history of the country.

The organiser of the Greatest Ever Russian contest, Alexander Lyubimov, said Nevsky's victory in the poll "demonstrates that Russians are dedicated to their ancient history, starting 1,000 years ago."

A Russian prince from Novgorod, Alexander got the nickname "Nevsky" after his victory over an army of Swedes in a battle near the Neva river (in present day St Petersburg) in 1240.

One of the arguments for voting Nevsky was that he took the help of the Golden Horde to fight the West making Russia's choice for a Eurasian identity for the ages to come.

Organiser Alexander Lyubimov said there was awareness in modern Russia that the nation's ancestors "created a multi-ethnic community within the Russian State."