Welcome to the November edition of Carnivalesque. I am pleased to be hosting this month and hope you enjoy the round-up.
As we’re heading into the darker and colder months of the year, let’s start with a consideration of keeping ourselves healthy. Helen King at The Recipes Project has a post on what Roman medicine might have been like before it was overshadowed by Greek medicine: ‘Roman remedy books?’. Points: The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society considers the development of pharmacy in the High Middle Ages, asking ‘when does a herb become a drug’? Less concerned with health and more with the lascivious, Laura Mitchell (also at the Recipes Project) considers the ludic aspects of magic, and the nature of medieval comedy.
From medicine and charms we move to Esmeralda’s Cumbrian History and Folklore’s consideration of the Iron-age Crosby-Ravensworth spoons, what they might have been intended for, and why our Iron-age ancestors were so fascinated with watery ground. Heart of the Kingdom provides an interesting discussion of early medieval Scotland and the Barochan Cross, now displayed in Paisley Abbey. Keeping with the archaeological theme, Bones Don’t Lie explores the difficulties of assessing deviant burials in eighth-century Ireland.
The Freelance History Writer has a post about King James II of Scotland and the perils (and politics) of being a boy king, while Megg Goodrich shares her thoughts on the perils of being a foreigner king in her post, Ravaging Cnut: Anxieties of a Conquering King, at Lumberyards and Unsung Heroes. Via Lucis features a consideration of the reputation of Odo (half brother of William the Conqueror) in a beautifully illustrated post detailing the building of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Bayeux.
The search for the remains of Richard III under the tarmac of a Leicester car park prompt a post from L’Historien Errant on the well-preserved thirteenth-century floor tiles of Cleve Abbey. Medieval Bex’s post on St Katherine’s by the Tower is the first stop on a ‘guided walk’ around medieval London, while at Frog in a Well: China Jonathan Dresner revisits an earlier post on Marco Polo to investigate the ‘truth’ of Polo’s experiences of China. His post raises questions about travel writing, unreliable narrators, and authenticity.
Analyzing sources and considering the power of influence, In Thirteenth Century England has a brief post (with nice handout!) on the Medieval origins of the Reformation. Chantry Westwell posts at the British Library about a twelfth century library catalogue from Reading Abbey, suggesting that much can be learned about the property of wealthy institutions from these seemingly insignificant books. Magistra et Mater considers network analysis and how medievalists might construct and/or use networks.
Mike Anderson’s Ancient history blog tells the story of the Lifecycle of the Greek Polis, while A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe explores the links between the three-field agricultural system, economic and social change.
It has been a busy month and I have been thinking to myself a lot recently that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, so W.U Hstry’s post on medieval clocks was timely (excuse the pun!). Following on from a previous post on craftsmanship, Astrolabes and Stuff details the next step in the attempt to make an equatorium according to fourteenth-century instructions. I am interested to see how this project progresses.
At In the Middle, JJ Cohen shares some of his work on fire rocks and lapidaries. Cohen remarks that these stones also make appearances in bestiaries (quite often these texts were bound together), and so it is apt that the British Library’s blog has a post continuing its thread on animals and symbolism. Pop goes the weasel charts the positive and negative discourses of the weasel in various cultures and times. Finally, over at Opinionator, Carlos Fraenkel intimates how medieval philosophy might inform current conversations on multiculturalism, arguing for a stronger culture of debate in (and outside of) the classroom.