Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In sickness...

We've actually taken to sniffling in unison. Love, true love....

Monday, September 28, 2009

More medievalists regarding the hoard

This is a good collection of various medievalists' reactions to the hoard - rather more interesting than the general press' statements, I thought.

I particularly liked this one. The hoard included a folded-up gold cross inscribed with Psalm 67:2 (Psalm 68, as our English Bibles number them), about "Rise up, O Lord, and dispel your enemies." etc. This blogger notes that the main place in Anglo-Saxon literature that this verse survives is from the Life of St. Guthlac, about a Mercian warrior saint from roughly the right period. It's particularly interesting because Guthlac used this verse to ward off evil spirits. So, is this Guthlac's Hoard???

Well, probably not. But that would be cool.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Watch out for dragons

Dr. Veith had up this story about an Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard just discovered in a field in Staffordshire.

And -- to my very great excitement -- the scholars in charge of the hoard have started a website and apparently mean to put up their research - photos, catalog, x-rays, discussions, the works. So far there's not a whole lot.

They're dating the contents to the mid-600s, which is about 200 years before King Alfred. Staffordshire, come to find out, was the middle of the old kingdom of Mercia, which I don't know much about. They say Mercia was busy expanding about that time under kings Wulfhere and Penda. I think I need to go do more research.

My medievalist bloggers are all pleased as Punch. This link has several nice embedded news stories.

Apparently the treasure was found in July, but it went on display September 25th (yesterday). Not surprisingly, long lines of people want to see it. I sure would!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Overheard in the elevator

"We're going to have LOTS of fun today!" she said.

The skepticism in the atmosphere thickened. You might even call it doubt.

Finally, someone answered: "You clearly don't know what we do here."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sir Pelleas

I just adore Morte D'Arthur. It's so... matter-of-fact about very random and bizarre things.

Take, for instance, the bit with Sir Pelleas. Sir Gawaine is out adventuring, the way these knights will, and comes across a Dolorous Knight (Sir Pelleas). He's just wailing and carrying on, and Gawaine watches him roundly defeat a whole gaggle of other knights, and then he lets them tie him up in a most humiliating fashion and haul him away.

Why would a reasonably competent knight do such a thing? It appears that he is hopelessly in love with one Lady Ettard, who can't stand the sight of him. He fights the knights she sends against him every day, but doesn't mind being arrested by them because that's the only way he gets a glimpse of her.

So in steps Nimue, the Lady of the Lake that just finished shutting up Merlin in a rock. Nimue casts a few love spells so that Sir Pelleas gets over his infatuation with Lady Ettard, and so that Lady Ettard falls hard for Sir Pelleas. Enter the following quote.
"Sir knight Pelleas, said the Damosel of the Lake, take your horse and come forth with me out of this country, and ye shall love a lady that shall love you.

"I will well, said Sir Pelleas, for this Lady Ettard hath done me great despite and shame, and there he told her the beginning and ending, and how he had purposed never to have arisen till that he had been dead. And now such grace God hath sent me, that I hate her as much as ever I loved her, thanked be our Lord Jesus!

"Thank me, said the Damosel of the Lake. Anon Sir Pelleas armed him, and took his horse, and commanded his men to bring after his pavilions and his stuff where the Damosel of the Lake would assign.

"So the Lady Ettard died for sorrow, and the Damosel of the Lake rejoiced Sir Pelleas, and loved together during their life days."
Book IV, Chapter XXIII. I'm so glad that worked out well for everyone, aren't you? As for Lady Ettard, well, I guess we're not supposed to feel sorry for her because she didn't have the sense to like Pelleas when he first started liking her? And I'm not even touching the theological bit in the middle.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A new book

Tonight I became acquainted with Hilaire Belloc's The Bad Child's Book of Beasts. They don't write children's books like that nowadays, no they do not.

Whether that's a bad thing...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Le siege parfait

Last week I was taking my lunchtime constitutional when I noticed that the corner furniture store had a display of chairs with a big sign, "Le siege parfait pour [something or other]." I meditated on this for a minute.

Aha! "Siege" must mean "seat" or "chair" -- like in Morte D'Arthur, the Siege Perilous! And that would make sense, because Morte was written during the Hundred Years War, when a massive chunk of English people spoke French anyway. And then I got off thinking about how Morte was the second book Caxton printed, after the Bible, and then thought about early printing in general, and then I was back to my office.

That evening, I shared my discovery with Jonathan. "So 'siege' must mean 'seat'"--
"Like the Siege Perilous?"
"Yes, exactly!" (We must hang out together too much. )

After that, of course, I had to start re-reading Morte D'Arthur. I even carried it to work with me. And today I made another discovery.

You see, my work chair and my back have been quarreling of late. I keep meaning to take a pillow or something, but haven't yet. Today I stuffed my nice hefty softcover Morte back there, and found it quite comfortable. As we learned in college, a thick book makes an excellent pillow. Le siege parfait, indeed. :-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

General update

Yipes, I hadn't realized it had been so long since I posted. Sorry, all (those of you who still check).

I have, of course, been busy. Jonathan's started classes and a law clinic thing downtown, which basically ate all his time and was trying for the soul too, and somehow mine too, but that seems to be better now. We like our souls where they are, thank you. (You know it's been quite a week when I have the law school dreams.)

But then we got to go out to NM for Labor Day! That was a lot of fun. My grandparents were having their 60th anniversary party and we got to see a lot of relatives, and even meet some of their friends we've heard about all our lives. We also spent quality time with the cat Nefret, who may behave like a warthog but she's so cute about it somehow you adore her madly. Even Grandma likes her.

Then we trotted back to my parents' house (a mere jaunt of five hours on NM roads, which is SO much more tolerable than an hour on I-95), where the church ladies put on a baby shower for me! It was a beautiful little party, and everybody was so sweet--and generous, too. Golly. We also stopped by the Finneys' house and chatted with them briefly. Then on the way to the airport the next day, Mama took us by the Coffee Booth, and we ran into more people we knew. It was very good to see everyone.

This weekend we did a few things that needed doing, and have resoundingly failed to do others. Ah, well. The most exciting thing in the first category: we bought a baby chest of drawers/changing table off Craigslist! It was very reasonably priced, and we brought it home and scrubbed it well, which cleaned off most of the marks, and sanded it down, which got off most of the rest, and painted it, which dealt quite effectively with the remainder. It's so cute. It was decent wood construction and I think it'll hold up well -- and if we decide we hate it, we aren't out that much. I'm meditating adding pink-and-chocolate trim.