The gruesome death of Thomas Becket
One of more graphic depictions of this moment. Three of the four knights attack the archbishop, who is kneeling in prayer before the altar. One of the knights kicks Thomas to the floor, and sends his miter flying as his sword cracks open Thomas’s head.
Edward Grim, who was himself wounded in the attack, wrote down what, according to his account, are the last words of Thomas:
‘For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.’
Frame: silver gilt on wood, Constantinople 11th/12th c.
Nativity ivory: probably Venice, 12th/13th c.
Conversion to reliquary with horn: 14th/15th-c. Germany
The White Horse
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. ( Revelation 6:1-2)
The Red Horse
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come and see!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. ( Revelation 6:3-4)
The Black Horse
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” (Revelation 6:5-6)
The Pale Horse
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8)
Image: Illustration from the Beatus Facundus (1047 AD), a “Commentary on the Apocalypse”
ATTENTION DEAR FOLLOWERS
Do you love Latin? A very interesting project is developing, and you could contribute.
Medieval Latin: Call for contributions
I am currently gathering materials for a blog in which I plan to translate and comment upon Medieval Latin texts of which there exist no published translation popular circulation.
There are no specific guidelines to the materials submitted. However, as I intend to make regular posts, I am primarily interested in shorter texts such as letters, treatises, or official documents. I am also open to chapters or excerpts from larger works.
Electronic versions of texts are welcomed, but if none is available, then please send the titles and bibliographic information on books in which the text appears.
I hope to begin work on the project some time around mid June.
There you are. Note: he won’t do your homework, though. I think.
Thanks for reading. I’m really excited about this.
Oooh, I like this:
Almost all medieval feast foods were conveyed to the mouth by elaborate, and often elegant, finger choreography…However, both pinky fingers were extended, never touching food or gravy or sauce, reserved as spice fingers. Dipped into the salt, sweet basil, cinnamoned sugar, or ground mustard seed, then raised to the tongue, the spice fingers displayed a feaster’s digital finesse while adding another sensual pleasure: touch of food’s texture.
Some modern polite extensions of pinky fingers, serving no physical purpose, are cultural remembrances of medieval spice fingers. In fact, a medieval clerical encouragement for use of the fork was to eliminate the pleasure of touch. The fork was generally ignored until the late 16th century as a superfluous and foppish metallic intrusion between sensual food and willing mouth.
-Historian Madeleine Pelner Cosman
image: The Marriage Feast At Cana, traditionally attributed to Hieronymus Bosch
How Science Found the Loch Ness Monster
Walter of Bingham (d. c. 1197) was a minor cleric from Nottinghamshire who, unable to fulfill his vow to go on the Third Crusade, made a pilgrimage to the holy sites of Scotland.
Walter’s encounter with Nessie came one summer evening, as he approached the banks of the River Ness…But what is perhaps more remarkable is the drawing of Nessie, now severely faded and barely visible with the naked eye.
Using a pioneering technique known as Re-Zoom Spectroscopy (RZS), scientists took multiple photographs of the page in question, which were overlaid and processed using a “Guggenheim manipulator”. The resulting image demonstrates that Walter of Bingham made a careful depiction of Nessie, and can now be revealed as the earliest known picture of the Loch Ness Monster.
FUN FACT: Nunneries tried and failed to ban the keeping of dogs as pets in various convents. Nuns were warned not to bring their pets into church and the pets included dogs, hunting dogs, rabbits, squirrels, birds and even monkeys.
image: Miniatures of a sheepdog, a hunting dog in pursuit of a stag, a hunting dog in pursuit of a hare, and (bottom) the story of the dog mourning by the body of his murdered master and identifying the killer; from a bestiary, England, 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 13th century (after 1236), Harley MS 3244, f. 45r
Medieval recipes unearthed in Durham manuscript to be tasted once again
A SELECTION of recently uncovered 800-year-old recipes, believed to be the oldest ever found, will be served up at a special event next week.
The re-examination of a Latin manuscript, written in the Priory of Durham Cathedral around 1140, revealed several food recipes hidden among instructions for medical ointments and cures. The recipes predate the previous oldest examples by 150 years.
A brief history of the EARLY CIRCUS
With the decline of the Roman Empire many of its former vassal states were left defenseless and unable to protect themselves from invasions from aggressive people. Communications broke down and left small communities isolated.
Groups of traveling entertainers began appearing - going from village to village bringing news, singing songs, and telling stories, after the Saxon fashion. For many these travelers were the only source of information and became very popular. In England these performers were called “gleemen”; eventually known as minstrels.
Later in the Middle Ages, after the 1066 invasion by the Normans, a new entertainer appeared - the jugglour or jongleur. They supplanted the minstrels in popularity, but, like the rest of the country, the Saxon and Norman performers soon combined their skills and language.
image: Festival of History 2009, Kelmarsh Hall by Etrusia UK.
Eight-Pointed Star Tile with a Gazelle
In the medieval Iranian world, the deaths of Sufi shaykhs led to the building of tomb complexes; these became sites of veneration as well as spaces for prayer, teaching, and living. Star tiles with figural motifs are not unusual in popular religious complexes of Shica Muslims.
This tile, depicting a deer and framed by a border with a luster-painted inscription, would have formed one unit of a star-and-cross tile dado that may have embellished such a Sufi shrine. It includes texts from two poets, the first, unidentified, and the second apparently by the twelfth-century mystic Awhad al-Din Kirmani. The pairing of mystical inscriptions with luster created a shimmering effect that must have greatly enhanced the mystical and sensory experience of the Sufi pilgrim.