Saturday, October 31, 2009
Gather round the fire and turn out the lights, for it’s time to share tales of the spooky, strange and unexpected in this Halloween edition of ancient/medieval Carnivalesque…
A gold hoard fit for a goblin king
The historical blogosphere has been abuzz recently with news and speculation about the discovery of the Staffordshire hoard. This pile of gold and silver goodness must have goblins everywhere cackling with glee. Meanwhile, medievalists are alternately waxing lyrical about the romance of treasure, and debating the origins and possible interpretations of the find. (As for me, I reckon it’s a deposit scheme set up by the chaps at Gringotts.)
Vampires and werewolves and Chaucer, oh my!
In parts of rural France, twilight is known as ‘the hour between the dog and the wolf’. For Geoffrey Chaucer, though, twilight is all about the ‘sparklie vampyres’.
And speaking of vampires, if you’re after a nice sharp wooden stake…
You could do worse than check out the Anglo-Saxon wooden architecture discussed here. Using the example of a surviving 12thC stave-church in Norway, Carla Nayland makes the important point that we might need to use a bit more imagination envisioning the upperworks of Anglo-Saxon wooden buildings. (Bonus - Carla includes a stunning photo of said Norwegian church.)
Haunted by the ghost of Conference Past
The Ruminate has a thoughtful piece up that forms part of recent debate over the present and future of the International Congress on Medieval Studies, more fondly known as Kalamazoo. Included is a chilling cautionary tale about the consequences of giving a bad paper. Read on, if you dare…
Stalking and slaughter
Of deer, that is, as described in S.A. Mileson's Parks in Medieval England, a newly published historical study in a still relatively undeveloped field. It's reviewed here by Philobiblon.
If you work for Caligula, chances are that sooner or later, things are going to go belly-up (or should that be belly-open?) for you. Executed Today tells the story of the execution of former Roman Consul Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Gaetulicus as the result of a dark plot. The extract from Roman historian Cassius Dio puts another nail in the coffin of Caligula’s reputation.
Revelations of Divine Love and Zombies
Speaking of coffins, In the Middle contemplates a rewrite of Julian of Norwich with zombies, while the commenters contemplate buried-alive anchoresses as the ultimate undead.
It’s not Halloween without some good old-fashioned witch persecution (or in this case, heretics)
Muhlberger’s Early History reviews A Most Holy War: the Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom by Mark Gregory Pegg. Pegg’s work opens up a whole new perspective on the thirteenth century Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar heretics of southern France.
For less scary bedtime stories
Wormtalk and Slugspeak announce that "For the first time in 1000 years, the Homilies of Wulfstan are recorded and available on the internet. Take a listen and enjoy all the ranty goodness of Wulfstan."
Eat the rich
And finally, while you’re here you might enjoy this gruesome little tale of clerical cannibalism. If Zombie Cannibal Priests From Hell isn’t already a movie, it should be!