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Tutankhamun’s neglected gold gets its day

History Blog - Fri, 2017-11-17 23:52

When Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922, there was such an immense wealth piled inside the small space that his team focused on the large ticket item and packed the rest up. Even finely embossed gold artifacts weren’t important enough to get attention compared to Tutankhamun’s death mask, especially since they were found in pieces before being stashed in the wooden box. They photographed the contents but that was it; they were left uncleaned, unexamined and otherwise undocumented. One of those wooden boxes has been in the stores of the Egyptian Museum Cairo ever since, still uncleaned and unexamined, for decades until 2013 when a collaboration between the Egyptian Museum and Tübingen University archaeologists set out to remedy this 90-year-old oversight. Four years later, the long-awaited goal has been achieved.

The team found the objects in Carter’s original wood crate and began to document and research each piece. They were restored and drawings made of their shape and decorations. The work was painstakingly detailed (hence the four years). In addition to the restoration, documentation and research, the team also faced jigsawing together of the gold fragments. Conservators Christian Eckmann and Katja Broschat were able to place many of the fragments together, ultimately producing about 100 complete or close to complete gold applications that they think were once fittings mounted on bows cases, quivers and horse bridles. One recomposed in their original configurations, the applications could be studied from an art historical perspective. Images embossed on the gold were studied in detail by team member Julia Bertsch, doctoral candidate in archaeology at Tübingen, who was able to identify Egyptian motifs from Middle Eastern ones.

Among these are images of fighting animals and goats at the tree of life that are foreign to Egyptian art and must have come to Egypt from the Levant. “Presumably these motifs, which were once developed in Mesopotamia, made their way to the Mediterranean region and Egypt via Syria,” explains Peter Pfälzner. “This again shows the great role that ancient Syria played in the dissemination of culture during the Bronze Age.”

Interestingly, he adds, similar embossed gold applications with thematically comparable images were found in a tomb in the Syrian Royal city of Qatna. There, the team of archaeologists from Tübingen led by Pfälzner, discovered a pristine king’s grave in 2002. It dates back to the time of around 1340 B.C., so it is just a bit older than Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt. The archaeologist says, “This remarkable aspect provided the impetus for our project on the Egyptian finds.” Now,” says Pfälzner, “we need to solve the riddle of how the foreign motifs on the embossed gold applications came to be adopted in Egypt.” The professor says that here, chemical analyses have been illuminating. “The results showed that the embossed gold applications with Egyptian motifs and the others with foreign motifs were made of gold of differing compositions,” he says. “That does not necessarily mean the pieces were imported. It may be that various local workshops were responsible for producing objects in various styles — and that one used Near Eastern models.”

On Wednesday the gold embossed fittings went on public display for the first time in almost a century in an exhibition at the Egyptian Museum. When this temporary show closes, the artifacts will find a permanent home at the new Grand Egyptian Museum near the pyramids of Giza.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Cranach painting in Royal Collection authenticated by pigeon tendon

History Blog - Thu, 2017-11-16 23:46

Pigeon tendons have confirmed that Queen Victoria was right and a slew of subsequent Royal Collection curators were wrong: a painting she acquired is an authentic work by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Victoria bought it in 1840 as a Christmas present for her husband Prince Albert who was an avid collector of his countryman’s work and ultimately added a dozen paintings by the master himself or his workshop to the Royal Collection.

Portrait of a Lady and her Son (ca. 1510–40) is a double portrait of an Electress of the Holy Roman Empire and her apple-cheeked son wearing exquisite finery and holding hands. She and Albert did not question its attribution as a genuine Cranach, but by the early 20th century Royal Collection Trust experts reluctantly acknowledged that it was not by Cranach or even by his workshop. Instead, they believed it was painted by Franz Wolfgang Rohrich (1787–1834), who was an extremely successful Cranach forger. He cranked out more than 40 copies of the Electress holding her son’s hand and sold them to deep-pocketed collectors all over Europe. It took decades for people to cotton on to Rohrich’s fraudulent imitation game, and many of his pseudo-Cranachs are still in Europeans private and public collections.

Royal Collection Trust’s reasoning was that the style, principally the tender physical and emotional connection between mother and son, was not something seen in Cranach’s oeuvre. His figures are remote and stylized. Holding Mommy’s hand is not in Lucas Cranach the Elder’s wheelhouse. Also, while the Rohrich versions were everywhere, there was no painting that could be definitively identified as a Cranach original modified by the forger.

The issue returned to the fore recently when the Royal Collection Trust agreed to loan the portrait to an exhibition in Dusseldorf that took place earlier this year. RCT conservators and curators worked with Cologne’s University of Applied Sciences to study the painting in depth with technology that wasn’t invented when the early 20th century curators made the deattribution decision.

In collaboration with TH Köln (the University of Applied Sciences, Cologne), Royal Collection Trust’s conservators and curators examined the work ahead of its loan to the major exhibition Cranach der Alterer: Meister Marke Moderne at the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf in spring 2017. Infrared reflectography was used to look beneath the paint surface, revealing preliminary underdrawing typical of Cranach’s work. Analysis of the pigments, metal leaf and the application of paint provided further evidence that the portrait was a work of the 16th century.

Finally an x-ray of the painting revealed that a fibrous material had been used in the preparation of the panel. Analysis of similar fibres on other works by Cranach has identified them as tendons, and in one instance DNA analysis had shown them to be pigeon tendons. Sixteenth-century glue recipes often included pigeon tendons to strengthen the mixture and counteract the natural warping and splitting of the wood.

The evidence was reviewed by Professor Dr Gunnar Heydenreich of TH Köln, an expert on Lucas Cranach the Elder, who confirmed that the painting was an original work by the master from which it appears all later versions derive.

The Royal Collection Trust conservators are ecstatic at the reattribution of the portrait to Cranach and have wasted no time in giving it a prominent position on public display. It has been installed at eye-level in the King’s Dressing Room at Windsor Castle where it will keep company with its brethren by Cranach and his workshop, including Apollo and Diana (ca. 1526), Lucretia (1530), and The Judgement of Paris (ca. 1530–35).

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report: Harvest Festival/Rapport de la Cour Non Officielle: Festival des Récoltes

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-16 22:16

Scrolls on display after court, an idea developed by Dominus Spirius Genucius Rutilus.
Photo by Godfroy de Falaise‎.

En français

Indeed, there was a festival, held in the Barony of Ruantallan, whereas the Baron and Baroness, Guthfrith and Isobel, did welcome Their Royal Majesties, Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde, to Their shores.
And a great day was celebrated by the peoples of Ruantallan, since it had been so long since a Royal visit had happened in their lands. And as it was, many peoples from Tir Mara did come to witness the event.
Lo, on that said day, a court was held by the Tsar and Tsaritsa, to recognize the people of Tir Mara.

And into Their court they did invite The Baron and Baroness of Ruantallan, to sit and bear witness with them. And then they did invite Their Excellencies, Baron and Baroness Godfroy and Alisay, from the shores of Havres des Glace, to also sit with them and bear witness.
They did call before them Ulric von Spandau, of whom they knew him to be a good man, who had helped found a shire in the Barony of Ruantallan, and they did make him a Lord of their court and award him the right to bear arms.
Then, they called for Lord Thorrin, who had “encouraged” the visit through ways and means. This gentle was given a task. A task to run with a toybox. Followed by many children! And so he ran until he was brought down by the children with much mirth!
Sir Gareth Grey de Wilton did then approach the throne. He knelt before them, and took the sword of office in his hand, and the chain from his neck and did swear fealty unto the King and Queen.
And then the Tsar and Tsaritsa did have the herald call into court Verdiana di Camerino. She who has done so much in such a short time in the Barony was made a Lady of the court with the right to bear arms. But that was not all, for the Royal couple had also noted the work done on the fencing list fields and did award Verdiana a Silver Rapier as well. And there was much rejoicing!
M’lady Freydis Egilsdottir then did approach with her young daughter and they did kneel in front of the Tsar and Tsaritsa and did swear fealty to the Eastern crown. And after hearing her words, and knowing them to be true, the Tsar and Tsaritsa did see fit to make Freydis a Lady of their court, with the right to bear arms.
Sir Yesungge Altan did then approach the crown. He presented his sword to the Tsar and Tsaritsa, knelt down on his knees, brought his chain to his hand and did swear fealty unto the crown of the East. And the Tsar and Tsaritsa thanked him and knew his words to be true.
And then the Eastern crown did call forth Hillavie of Ynys Y Gwaun, for they had heard that she did provide land for the populace of Ruantallan to gather and celebrate the end of summer. They also heard of her work within her shire, as exchequer and other things. And so they made her a Lady of their court, with the right to bear arms.
And then there was sadness, for a gentle to whom they called out was not in the hall. The Tsar and Tsaritsa did then consult with the Baron and Baroness Ruantallan, and did convey their wishes that this gentle be recognized at a later date, in a Baronial court. And the populace in attendance was sworn to secrecy, that the gentle would not be told until the Baron and Baroness deemed fit.
The Tsar and Tsaritsa did call for Lady Maired Drake, who was carried into court by Lord Garth, with much fare! And when he dropped her gently to the floor, and she did regain composure, the Tsar and Tsaritsa did ask if the clothing she wore was by her own hand. And she agreed that it was and They did
say They had heard she sewed for many in the Barony. And that she wrote Comedia de L’art as well! And this pleased them so that They awarded Maired Drake a Silver Brooch.
Once again, the Tsar and Tsaritsa called forth a gentle who had long been overlooked for an award, but alas he was not in attendance. Once again, They turned to the Baron and Baroness who did say they would tell the Lord of Their words at a future date.
With the Baron and Baroness of Havres des Glace also in attendance, was Lord Rowan Fergus called into court. He had won the Prince’s Rapier Championship at an event in Their Barony, and the Tsar and Tsaritsa wished to recognize that will a long overdue scroll.
The herald then called forward Rosaline Vella, who is a promising young soul in the Barony. They had heard of her skills with fencing, and her ability to cook for the masses, and to sew and do whatever required of her for the populace. And so they awarded her a Silver Wheel. But the order was not complete. So they then called upon Lloyd the Forester, who kept the woods free of villainous folk who might terrorize the unknowing people of Tir Mara. His work and skill with people was noted and he was given a Silver Wheel. And yet the order was still not complete. And so the Tsar and Tsaritsa called one last person, Juliote de Castlenou D’Arry (called Lilou) who was known to work with children, be in charge of knowledge given to the populace, and who happened to autocrat the event, and did induct her into the Silver Wheel as well.
The foresters then begged a boon to acknowledge one of their own in front of the King and Queen and did recognize Yogi Fell as a member of their order.
His Honorable Lordship Angus MacIntosh was then called forward and the Tsar and Tsaritsa did recognize his work with the archery community. As a driving force in the Barony he was recognized with being awarded an Apollo’s Arrow. But the order was not complete, and they did call his wife, Dame Sarra of Birnham to the dais, whereas they also included her in the Apollo’s Arrow for her work as well. And all in Ruantallan knew it to be true, for they benefitted from the hard work of these two individuals.
And as Dame Sarra and THL Angus walked away, they did tell Sarra to return, for they were not finished with her yet. For it had come to their attention that this Mistress, Order of the Pelican, founding member of the Barony of Ruantallan, had never been recognized as a Silver Crescent. And they did rectify that oversight, and call the order of the Silver Crescent forward. And many people did stand and join the King at Queen at the front of the stage and did witness Dame Sarra entering the order of the Silver Crescent.
And when all that rejoicing and welcoming was done, The Tsar and Tsaritsa did call all people who had never attended a Royal Progress to the stage. And lo, nearly half of the people in the room did come forward (including Syr Yesungge, who was corrected of his mischievous ways) and the Tsar and Tsaritsa did acknowledge all these new people and give them a token from the East Kingdom.
And when all was said and done, The Tsar and Tsaritsa did call for court to close, and so it was.

Reporting herald,
Mistress Gwenhwyfar Dinas Emrys



En français


Il y eut un festival, tenu en la Baronnie de Ruantallan, où le Baron et la Baronne, Guthfrith et Isobel, ont reçu Leurs Majestés Royales, le Tsar Ivan et la Tsarine Matilde, en Leurs rivages.
Et un grand jour fût célébré par la population de Ruantallan, puisque cela faisait bien des lunes depuis la dernière visite Royale en leurs terres. Et comme il se faut, plusieurs personnes de Tir Mara furent témoins de cet événement.
En ce jour, une cour fût tenue par le Tsar et la Tsarine, afin de reconnaître les gens de Tir Mara.
Et à Leur cour furent invités le Baron et la Baronne de Ruantallan, afin de siéger et observer avec eux la cour. Puis, ils convièrent Leurs Excellences, Baron Godfroy et Baronne Alisay, des rivages du Havre des Glaces, à aussi siéger avec eux pour être témoins de cette cour.
Ils appelèrent ensuite devant eux Ulric von Spandau, le connaissant comme un homme noble, ayant aidé à fonder un fief en la Baronnie de Ruantallan, et firent de lui un Seigneur de leur cour et lui décernèrent ses armes.
Puis, ils appelèrent le Seigneur Thorrin, qui avait “encouragé” la visite par divers moyens. Ce gentilhomme s’est vu assigner une tâche. La tâche de courir avec un coffre à jouets. Suivi par bien, bien des enfants ! Et donc il courût jusqu’à temps qu’il soit cerné par les enfants, avec beaucoup d’allégresse!
Sire Gareth Grey de Wilton approcha ensuite le trône. Il s’agenouilla devant, prit
l’épée d’office dans sa main, ainsi que la chaine à son cou, et jura suite fidélité au Roi et à la Reine.
Ensuite, le Tsar et la Tsarine firent appeler par leur héraut Verdiana di Camerino. Ayant fait autant, en si peu de temps pour la Baronnie, on lui décerna ses armes, ainsi que le titre de Dame. Mais ce n’était pas tout, car le couple Royal avait aussi remarqué le travail effectué sur le terrain d’escrime et récompensèrent Verdiana avec une Rapière d’Argent aussi. Et la population était en liesse!
Se sont approchées par la suite dame Freydis Egilsdottir, accompagnée de sa jeune fille, et toutes deux se sont agenouillées devant le Tsar et la Tsarine, pour jurer fidélité à la couronne de l’Est. Après avoir entendu ses mots, les sachant véritables, le Tsar et la Tsarine jugèrent bon de faire de Freydis une Dame de leur cour, avec le droit de porter ses armes.
Sire Yessunge Altan s’approcha ensuite de la couronne. Il présenta son épée au Tsar et à la Tsarine, s’agenouilla, amena sa chaîne à sa main et jura ensuite fidélité à la couronne de l’Est. Le Tsar et la Tsarine le remercièrent, sachant ses mots véritables.
Puis la couronne de l’Est appelèrent Hillavie d’Ynys Y Gwaun, car ils avaient entendu qu’elle avait fourni terres pour la population de Ruantallan afin de se rassembler et de célébrer la fin de l’été. Ils avaient aussi entendu parler de son travail en son fief, comme échiquière, entre autre choses. Ils la firent donc une Dame de leur cour, avec le droit de porter ses armes.
Il y eut ensuite de la tristesse, car un gentilhomme appelé n’était pas présent dans le hall. Le Tsar et la Tsarine consultèrent donc le Baron et la Baronne de Ruantallan, et ils transmirent leur désir de voir ce gentilhomme reconnu à une date ultérieure, lors d’une cour Baronniale. La population présente fût tenue au secret, tant que le Baron et la Baronne ne jugent opportun de lui dévoiler ce fait.
Le Tsar et la Tsarine appelèrent Dame Maired Drake, qui fût accompagnée à la cour par Seigneur Garth, en grande pompe ! Quand elle chût doucement à leurs pieds, et qu’elle regagnât sa composition, le Tsar et la Tsarine lui demandèrent si les vêtements qu’elle portait était de sa main. Elle leur dit que oui, et ils lui rétorquèrent qu’ils avaient également entendu qu’elle effectuait de la couture pour beaucoup de gens de la Baronnie. Même, qu’elle écrivait de la Comedia de l’art ! Et ceci leur plût tellement qu’ils donnèrent à Maired Drake une Broche d’Argent.
Encore une fois, le Tsar et la Tsarine appelèrent un gentilhomme qui avait été longuement négligé pour une reconnaissance, mais qui n’était malheureusement pas présent. Encore, Ils se tournèrent vers le Baron et la Baronne, qui assurèrent qu’ils relateraient Leurs mots au dit Seigneur, à une date future.
Puisque le Baron et la Baronne du Havre des Glaces étaient présents, Seigneur Rowan Fergus fût appelé à la cour. Étant devenu le Champion d’Escrime du Prince à un événement de Leur Baronnie, le Tsar et la Tsarine souhaitaient reconnaître cet exploit avec un parchemin amplement mérité.
Le héraut appela ensuite Rosaline Vella, étant une jeune âme prometteuse dans la Baronnie. Ils avaient entendu parler de ses talents en escrime, ainsi que de son habileté à cuisiner pour les foules, ainsi que de coudre tout objet nécessaire à la population. Pour ceci, elle reçut une Roue d’Argent. Mais l’ordre n’était pas complet.
Ils ont donc appelé Lloyd the Forester, qui garda les bois exempts d’infâmes rodeurs, pouvant potentiellement terroriser les gens de Tir Mara. Son travail et son talent avec les gens fût noté, et on lui décerna une Roue d’Argent. Et malgré cela, l’ordre n’était toujours pas complet. Donc le Tsar et la Tsarine appelèrent une dernière personne, Juliote de Castlenou d’Arry (appelée Lilou), qui était connue pour œuvrer avec les enfants, à être en charge de la connaissance donnée à la population, et qui justement était l’intendante de cet événement, et l’introduisirent dans l’ordre de la Roue d’Argent aussi.
Les forestiers ont ensuite demandé à faire reconnaître un des leurs devant le Roi et la Reine; et donc Yogi Fell fût reconnu comme un membre de leur ordre.
L’Honorable Seigneur Angus MacIntosh fût ensuite appelé et le Tsar et la Tsarine reconnurent son travail avec la communauté des archers. En tant que force motrice dans la Baronnie, il fût reconnu en lui donnant une Flèche d’Apollo. Mais l’ordre n’étant toujours pas complet, ils appelèrent sa femme, Dame Sarra of Birnham à s’avancer au dais, où elle fût elle aussi inclue dans l’ordre de la Flèche d’Apollo pour son travail. Tous au Ruantallan savaient que ces faits étaient véritables, ayant bénéficié du dur labeur de ces deux individus.
Alors que Dame Sarra et l’Honorable Seigneur Angus quittaient, ils demandèrent à Sarra de revenir, comme ils n’avaient pas encore terminé avec elle. Il fût porté à leur attention que cette Maîtresse, de l’Ordre du Pélican, membre fondatrice de la Baronnie de Ruantallan, n’avait jamais été reconnue comme un Croissant d’Argent. Et ils rectifièrent cet oubli, et appelèrent l’ordre du Croissant d’Argent à s’avancer. Et bien des gens se joignirent au Roi et à la Reine devant le dais afin de constater l’introduction de Dame Sarra dans l’ordre du Croissant d’Argent.
Lorsque toutes ces célébrations et bienvenues furent terminés, le Tsar et la Tsarine appelèrent toutes les personnes n’ayant jamais assisté à un progrès Royal au dais.
Presque la moitié des gens présents dans la salle marchèrent devant (incluant Syr Yessunge, qui fût corrigé de ses façons espiègles) et le Tsar et la Tsarine prirent note de tous ces gens, et leur donnèrent un gage du Royaume de l’Est.
Et quand tout fût dit et fait, le Tsar et la Tsarine ordonnèrent la fermeture de leur cour.

Héraut chroniqueur,

Maîtresse Gwenhwyfar Dinas Emrys

Filed under: Court, En français

Pen vs. Sword VI: Point Taken

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-16 18:42

‘Tis a simple thing to take a man’s life with a sword, and once it’s done, it’s done, but when a man’s life is eviscerated by the pen, it remains that way for eternity. Last year, the Pen won.  Sword: consider this a challenge.

The Shire of Angels Keep will once again celebrate the art of the pen and the arte of the sword on March 17, 2018 and attempt to answer the age-old question; which is mightier, the pen or the sword?

Join us to discover the answer at the Auburn United Methodist Church, 99 South St, Auburn NY. Site will open at 9 a.m. and the first classes will start at 10 a.m.  Classes will end at 5 p.m., Site fee, including day board, is $15, $5 for children under 14, babes in arms are free.  SCA member discount is $5.

We will again be offering a full day of classes featuring two distinct tracks: one for the scribal arts and the other for the art of the sword. Those interested in teaching please contact THL Moniczka Poznanska (Martha Powers). A full list of classes and schedule will be available on the Shire website before the event.

A generous dayboard featuring items designed for grabbing on your way to class, as well as sit-down dishes will be provided. Reservations are encouraged so we can plan for how much food to cook without generating a lot of waste. No feast will be served, but a list of local restaurants is available on our website. Please contact our dayboard steward, Volbjorn Grimmsons (Wayne Sweet) regarding any food-related concerns or allergies.

Autocrat for this event is Dyryke Hastings (Mark Lefler).

Categories: SCA news sites

The Saga of the Burning of Njal

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-16 15:51

The cast of performers for Njal’s Saga. Photo courtesy of Myra Hope Eskridge.

…and Bergþora will make you a promise, which she will keep, that you will be paid for in blood…

On October 14 of this year (AS LII), over fifty performers gathered to tell a story. Not just any story; either. It the biggest, bloodiest saga in all of Icelandic literature: The Saga of the Burning of Njal. A huge, sprawling epic tale of feuds and betrayals, unbreakable friendships and shattered families, the saga stretches over decades, includes hundreds of names and characters, and is tied so tightly to the complex Icelandic legal system that it is even used as a text in law school. The telling would take an entire day.

How to bring such a story to life? Master Toki Skáldagörvir, formerly of the East Kingdom and now of Aethelmearc, had already produced a full and immersive telling of the entirety of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, first in full and then broken into two performance, enacted by dozens of individual performers. He turned to Njal’s Saga as a next and deeply ambitious step. A translation was chosen and broken into appropriately-sized sections, and then he went about recruiting performers from seven different kingdoms.

Rehearsals of various sections were held over the course of almost two years, both in person and via the Internet, and there was much discussion of background reading, pronunciation of Icelandic names, and research, even to the circulation of photos of each of the very real places mentioned in the text. But the very first time that every performer was in the same place was the final day of the telling.

Inside a camp lodge in the Barony of Thescorre, event staff created an immersive eleventh-century hall space, right down to the crackling of logs on the fire. And at ten in the morning, the first speaker began, speaking the Icelandic words of the original. For hour upon absorbing hour, storytellers of every kind handed the tale back and forth, from outright laughter to near weeping, roaring to whispering.

And for an entire day, pausing only for excellent food, Njal and all his story came vivdly to life once more.

To see all the performers for the event, please check out the Performer Bios!

Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Bardic Tagged: Arts and Sciences, Bardic

12th c. silver and gold hoard found at Cluny Abbey

History Blog - Wed, 2017-11-15 23:46

A hoard of hidden medieval treasure, a fortune in gold and silver coins, was an unexpectedly discovered during an excavation at the site of the famed medieval Abbey of Cluny in Saône-et-Loire, eastern France. The team, which includes nine students doing field work as part of the University Lumière Lyon 2’s archaeology masters program, unearthed the hoard in mid-September while looking for the remains of an infirmary believed to have been located there in the Middle Ages.

The medieval loot included 2,200 deniers (or pieces of silver) mostly issued by Cluny Abbey itself as well as 21 gold dinar coins, originally from the Middle East which were stored in a canvas bag.

The bounty also included a gold signet ring marked with the word “Avete” — a “word of greeting in a religious context” — as well as a folded 24-gram gold leaf and gold coin.

“The overall value of this treasure for the time is estimated between three and eight horses, the equivalent of cars nowadays, but in terms of the running of the abbey it’s not that much, amounting to about six days of supply of bread and wine,” said specialist Vincent Borrel.

In terms of archaeological and historical value, this treasure is off the charts. It is the first 12th century Cluniac treasure discovered in its original context during an archaeological excavation. It’s also the largest number of silver deniers discovered in one place and the only single hoard ever found to include Arabic coins, silver deniers and a signet ring. The intaglio stone is ancient Roman and engraved with the profile of a deity. (Religious context or no religious context, ancient engravings were prestige items and often used as signet rings by the medieval elite.)

Also of note is the survival of fragments of the original bag the hoard was stashed in. Fragments of it are still attached to some of the coins. There is also a surviving piece of tanned animal hide which was tied around the bundle of 21 gold dinars minted between 1121 and 1131 in Spain and Morocco during the reign of Almoravid sultan Ali Ben Youssef (1106-1143).

Practically from the time of its founding by by Duke William I of Aquitaine in 910 A.D., the Benedictine monastery of Cluny was one of the great monastic centers of Western Europe. They followed a strict interpretation of the Rule of Saint Benedict that within decades had catapulted Cluny to the top of the ranks, making the abbey the undoubted leader in European monasticism. The city of Cluny grew into a city thanks largely to the Abbey and the trade, employment and pilgrim moneys it brought to town. By the second half of the 10th century, the Abbey of Cluny was already well-established as the top monastery in the country and it retained its prominence into the 12th century.

Its influence began to wane when newer, more austere orders stole Benedictine thunder and the idea of remote rule by a single abbot, distant from the satellite houses and largely unaccountable, lost its appeal. In the 16th century the Abbey of Cluny was sacked by Hugenots and never really recovered. Come the French Revolution, the monastic order was dissolved and under Napoleon the abbey itself was demolished and used as a quarry. Today only one of its eight grand towers still stands, which is why archaeologists continue to excavate it today, 90 years after the first archaeological explorations of the site began.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

How to Use the Online Award Recommendation Form

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2017-11-15 09:06

by THL Antoinette DeLorraine

How many times have you thought “Wow! I would love to put so-and-so in for an award, but I don’t know how…”?  Here is a step-by-step guideline on how to find our kingdom’s online form.

Under the drop-down on the Kingdom webpage, look for “Documents and Forms” and poof!  It’s the first hyperlink.

The form asks for basic things like your name and your contact information, as well as any awards you have relevant to the recommendation.

Nervous about the “Relevant Awards”  line?

Don’t be! This line is not required, nor is it necessary for you to have received any awards (or the one you are recommending) in order to submit someone’s name for any award. Your name and contact information helps the Crown, Signet, or order clerks contact you with any questions.

As for the other information needed:  the recipient’s name, years involved, and what award you are submitting him or her for are just a few of the questions involved. 

If you are not sure about some of the answers, in the lower half of the form there is a space where you can write in the name of someone who may have that information (“Other comments”).

It is suggested that award recommendations be submitted a minimum of six weeks prior to an upcoming event where the recipient will be present (longer if the recommendation is for a grant-level or peerage-level award).

If you still have questions, you can always ask local members for help. You too can write recommendations and support Æthelmearc!

Categories: SCA news sites

Earliest evidence of winemaking found in Georgia

History Blog - Tue, 2017-11-14 23:51

Archaeologists excavating the remains of a Neolithic village in the South Caucasus about 20 miles south of Tblisi, Georgia, have discovered the earliest evidence of winemaking in the world. An internation team from the University of Toronto and the Georgian National Museum have been exploring two Early Ceramic Neolithic (6000-4500 B.C.) sites, Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, and sent fragment of ceramic jars unearthed at the sites to specialists at the University of Pennsylvania for residue analysis. Using the latest and greatest technology available, a combination of Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry (FT-IR), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and liquid chromatography linear ion trap/orbitrap mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS), and radiocarbon dating, researchers were able to confirm the presence of wine dating to 6,000–5,800 B.C. in the pots. That’s 600-1,000 years older than the previous contender, wine residue found in the Zagros Mountains of Iran.

The South Caucasus area was an epicenter of the transition from nomadic lifestyles to permanent settlements after the end of the last Ice Age. Now fixed in one place, people were able to grow their own food, planting grains and cereals like einkorn wheat and barely that are trendy again today as heritage foods. They also branched out from those staples, growing fruits, root vegetables, herbs, nuts both tree and legume. Among the fruits they cultivated was the wild Eurasian grape, domesticated during this period in Neolithic settlements and so successfully that it would become the progenitor of all 10,000 or so grape cultivars that produce 99% of the wine in the world today.

Finding ways to convert their crops into mind-altering substances was a natural next step, as was devising vessels in which to store, ferment and serve the harvest products. The firing of shaped clay to make pottery was invented during this period, the early 7th millenium B.C., for this very purpose. The huge jars found at Gadachrili and Shulaveris (or, more accurately, the fragments thereof) are examples of some of the earliest pottery ever made. Archaeologists believe they were used for all of the above purposes — storage of the grapes, fermentation into wine, aging into drinkable wine, and the moment everyone was doubtless waiting for, serving the wine.

Their footprints and walls visible above-ground today, the mudbrick roundhouses of Gadachrili Gora and its next-door neighboor Shulaveris Gora were certainly inhabited by grape-loving people. Pollen and other traces of the prehistoric vines have been found in copious quantities. A large pot from this period discovered at a nearby site is decorated with grape clusters. Intact ceramic pots have not been found at the two sites that are the focus of the study. Pottery production was in its infancy. There was no large scale industry yet, and because these settlements were in continuous use for thousands of years, the pottery that has been found in excavations is fragmentary and scattered.

The team sought out the best examples of sherds from the 2012–13 and 2014–2016 dig seasons, pieces from the base have the most potential to contain residue accumulated over years of use. The final tally was six sherds from the bodies and 13 from the bases of 19 large jars. The pot fragments and samples of the soil in which they were found (to identify/rule out environmental or bacteriological contaminants) made their way to the University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers say the combined archaeological, chemical, botanical, climatic and radiocarbon data provided by the analysis demonstrate that the Eurasian grapevine Vitis vinifera was abundant around the sites. It grew under ideal environmental conditions in early Neolithic times, similar to premium wine-producing regions in Italy and southern France today.

“Our research suggests that one of the primary adaptations of the Neolithic way of life as it spread to Caucasia was viniculture,” says [Stephen Batiuk, senior research associate in the department of Near and Middle Eastern civilizations and the Archaeology Centre at the University of Toronto]. “The domestication of the grape apparently led eventually led to the emergence of a wine culture in the region.”

Batiuk describes an ancient society in which the drinking and offering of wine penetrates and permeates nearly every aspect of life from medical practice to special celebrations, from birth to death, to everyday meals at which toasting is common.

“As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopeias, cuisines, economics, and society throughout the ancient Near East,” he said.

The results have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and can be read online free of charge here.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Greetings unto the Populace of the East from the Office of the Webministry!

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-11-14 11:54

It has been posted here previously that we are embarking on a quest to migrate the email services of the East Kingdom from our existing system to Google for Non-Profits. We felt it would be appropriate to give a public update to the status of that quest.

As of yesterday evening, we have fully migrated our first branch, Nordenfjord, off of the old server.

Last Friday Master Mael Eoin sent out requests for information to all of the branch Senechals in the Kingdom. When we receive those back we will then be able to start creating accounts in preparation for migrating. This will give our Officers the opportunity to get set up reading their new email account prior to the actual cutover of their branch. Holders of multiple offices will only receive one account, with multiple office email addresses all delivering to it.

There are three emails that will get sent to our users at both their current officer addresses and their personal addresses. The first welcome letter has instructions for setting your password and checking your email. The second will inform you as to the scheduling of your branch’s migration. The third is to let you know that your migration is completed.

If you have any questions about the project or the process, please feel free to ask here, or to send email to gfnp@eastkingdom.org.

In service,
Joel Messerer
East Kingdom Deputy Webminister for Services

Filed under: Announcements Tagged: webminister

Unofficial Court Report: St. Eligius Arts & Sciences Competition

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-11-14 10:07

On November 11, AS 52, Tsar Ivan and Tsartisa Matilde ventured to their Barony of Dragonship Haven, to witness the Saint Eligius Arts and Sciences Competition.

After an excellent day observing the works of many of the East Kingdom’s finest artisans, Their Majesties convened court.

Their Excellencies Dragonship Haven, Baron Joseph of the Red Griffin and Baroness Bronwen Rose of Greyling, named the winners of the competition.  They also presented awards to numerous gentles of the Barony.

Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde resumed their court, and invited Dionisia of Haus Ragnarsson to attend.  Having previously received her Award of Arms, they presented her a scroll with calligraphy and words by Kay Leigh Mac Whyte, illuminated by Mairi Crawford.

Their Majesties invited the Children attending the event into their court.  They called forth Angus Pembridge to take the basket of toys and lead the children on a merry chase.

Next did the Tsar and Tsaritsa invite into court Mikkel Bildr.  Having previously received a Silver Rapier, they presented him with a scroll by Eva Woderose with words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Their Majesties next called before them those in attendance of their first, second or third event to receive tokens.

Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde invited into their court Mýrún Leifsdóttir, Olaf Shieldbreaker, Finnguala ingen Neill meic Chuicc and Bartholomew of Northampton.  Speaking of their excellent artistry, Their Majesties did present to each an Award of the Golden Lyre.

Their business complete, Their Majesties closed court.  Long Live the King and Queen!  Long Live the Prince and Princess!  Long Live the Kingdom of the East!


Malcolm Bowman, Brigantia Principal Herald

Filed under: Court

Competition rules announced for King’s & Queen’s Arts & Sciences Championships

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-11-14 07:55

Greeting from Master Philip White, Kingdom minister of Arts and Sciences,

We’re excited to have completed the materials for King’s and Queen’s Arts & Sciences Champions that will be held on February 10, 2018 in the Crown Province of Ostgardr.

This includes:

* Competition entry rules
* Competitor expectations
* Competitor entry form
* Judges rules
* Judges expectations
* Judges volunteer form
* Rubric – General Score Sheet
* Rubric – Research Score Sheet
* Rubric – Performing Arts Score Sheet

All of this information can be accessed through the East Kingdom A&S Officer website.


Thanks and appreciation to:

  • The Kingdom A&S Special Deputies who led (and continue to lead) this effort, Mistress Elysabeth and Master Magnus along with their team who helped with feedback and editing.
  • Support and feedback from Mistress Sofya Gianetta di Trieste , Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences, and Lady Raziya bint Rusa ), King’s Champion of Arts and Sciences.
  • Support and feedback from Their Majesties, Tsar Ivan Ivanov Syn Dimitriov Vynuk Tzardikov and Tsaritsa Matilde de Cadenet.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!



Filed under: Events, Official Notices Tagged: Arts and Sciences, competition, kings and queens, Kings and Queens Champions, rules

Temple with oldest mural in Peru engulfed in flame

History Blog - Mon, 2017-11-13 23:18

The remains of a 4,500-year-old temple in Peru’s pre-Incan Ventarrón archaeological complex was devastated by fire on November 12th. As estimated 95% of the temple complex has suffered heavy damage as high winds fanned the flames faster than the archaeologists on site and the firefighters could contain them. One of the walls of the temple was decorated with a gripping mural of a dear being caught in a net. At about 4,000 years old, it’s the oldest known mural in Peru and the oldest in the Americas that has been absolutely dated and archaeologically excavated. It has been severely damaged by the smoke and heat. Whether there’s any hope of repair or recovery is uncertain at this time. While most of the fire is out now, we won’t know more until it has been entirely extinguished and archaeologists have the chance to examine the devastation.

Huaca Ventarrón was discovered in the Lambayeque region of northern Peru in 2007. Radiocarbon dating of the mud brick structure and artifacts revealed that the large complex was built in three phases, each named after the decorative motifs in the artwork — the “Temple of fish and opossum,” “Red-White Temple or Deer Hunting,” and “Green Temple” — over the course of the thousand years between 2,600 and 1,600 B.C. This is very early in the Mesoamerican timeline, a period now known as the Initial Formative or Preclassic Era, and the murals and objects discovered there feature iconographic and architectural approaches that have not been found anywhere else.

Since the site was opened to visitors in 2014, the monumental architecture, a matrix for later cultures who inhabited the coastal desert region of northern Peru, and the murals have made Ventarrón an important stop on archaeological tours of the Lambayeque region. More than 15,000 people, the overwhelming majority of them Peruvian nationals, have visited the site, often in conjunction with a trip to see the famed Lords of Sipan Moche tombs and museum nearby.

Indeed it was the director of the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum Walter Alva, who in 2007 led the excavation that discovered the Ventarrón temple complex, tasked with announcing the horrifying news.

“I have received the lamentable and tragic news of a fire that has destroyed the archaeological monument of Ventarron,” museum head Walter Alva said in a statement. […]

The fire devastated the ancient mural as well as pottery vessels and records of the Ventarron Archaeological Comoplex in Pomalca, in the Lambayeque region, television images showed.

Workers from the Pomalca agribusiness company triggered the blaze when they ignited a sugarcane field.

“We are losing an exceptional monument unique to its generation,” said Alva, who discovered the site in 2007. “I hope there is an investigation and responsibility established.”

“I can only express my outrage and sadness for this irreparable loss.”

The temple’s central staircase leads up to an altar that archaeologists believe was used to make offerings to the gods and to worship fire. Never disrespect the local gods, people. If history teaches us anything it’s that they’ll get back at you with as painful an irony they can devise.

The Culture Ministry in Lima is investigating the fire and will file charges based on cultural patrimony protections should they find there was any negligence or failure to adhere to all statutes regarding potentially dangerous activities near historically significant sites. I can’t say I’m holding my breath on this one.

If you can stomach it, here is video of the fire ripping through the temple complex. It was shot by archaeologist Ignacio Alva Meneses.

Incendio en la huaca Ventarrón: los murales más antiguos de América se encontraban allí (Video: Ignacio Alva Meneses) https://t.co/OWLLqfmwdF pic.twitter.com/fY7iDqdozr

— Agencia Andina (@Agencia_Andina) November 13, 2017

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gold Chain Muster Thanksgiving Weekend

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-11-13 19:23

Sir Ariella vs. THLord Rouland at the Gage Meet ‘n’ Beat, War Practice 2015. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Greetings All Fighters!

The Chivalry of Æthelmearc invite you to join us for a regional fighting practice in the Shire of Hunter’s Home on Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving, November 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The site has indoor and outdoor fighting space, including room for long weapons. It is not far from I-79 at 1898 Grant Street, Utica, PA 16362.

Please drop armor at the site and then park at the Fire hall at Grant and Academy Streets one block away. Sir Arnthor lives nearby and is available for questions about the site or directions. For questions or suggestions, please contact Sir Ariella by email or on Facebook (Cara McCandless) or Sir Arnthor.

We hope to see you all there!

Categories: SCA news sites

Notably unromantic portrait of Admiral Nelson found

History Blog - Sun, 2017-11-12 23:46

A portrait of Admiral Horatio Nelson depicting his war wounds in all their unvarnished glory has been rediscovered after 100 years out of public view and knowledge in private collections. It will go on display at Philip Mould & Company’s Pall Mall gallery starting November 13th. To celebrate its return, it will be displayed next to meticulous replicas of the fanciest accessories depicted in the painting: Admiral Nelson’s iconic bicorne hat, recreated according to his precise instructions Lock & Co. Hatters of St James’s who made the original hat by Nelson’s commission, and the still-lost Chelengk jewel very conspicuously pinned to the front of the hat in the portrait.

It was painted in 1799 by Leonardo Guzzardi, an artist at the court of Queen Maria Carolina and King Ferdinand of Naples and Sicily. Maria Carolina, 13th child of the formidable Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I of Austria, sister to Marie Antoinette of France, was a great patron of the arts and had a particular fangirl admiration for Admiral Nelson. She herself may have commissioned Guzzardi to capture Nelson’s likeness when the hero, painter and monarchs were in Palermo after their majesties’ hasty departure from Naples with French troops hot on their heels. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d sought a portrait of the admiral. Earlier in Naples she had told her son she’d have a portrait painted of Nelson so he could stand under it every day and say “Dear Nelson, teach me to be like you.” (Maria Carolina had a lot in common with her mother.)

In this portrait Nelson is emaciated and battle worn, with a scarred head, a missing arm (undetectable in the rendering), a blood-shot eye, and largely missing eyebrow. The portrait is uncompromising, so much so that one past owner, no doubt discomforted by the broken eyebrow, had it painted in to match that on the right. The wound had happened during the heat of engagement with the French at the Battle of the Nile at Aboukir Bay in Egypt in August 1798, whilst standing on the quarter deck with Edward Berry. A shard of iron struck Nelson’s forehead, slicing the skin and leaving an inch of skull visible. The piece of flesh, cut at jagged angles as seen in this portrait, hung down over his right eye, leaving him momentarily blinded. Such was the shock that Nelson, caught in the arms of Berry, famously cried out “I am killed. Remember me to my wife”. He was taken below deck, where the surgeon treated the wound with adhesive strips and gave Nelson opium to reduce the pain. His treatment, however, was supposedly interrupted by news that the French flagship L’Orient was on fire, at which moment Nelson ran back up on deck. This moment is captured by a theatrical portrait attributed to Guy Head [National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, BHC2903], in which Nelson is shown on deck with a burning ship beyond, blood dripping from his bandage onto the shoulder of his white shirt. The injury left Nelson disorientated and severely concussed, and the pain of the wound was such that he was forced to wear his hat tilted back, as seen in the present work, for some months.

Positioned conspicuously on top of his hat is the legendary Chelengk jewel. The jewel, made of diamonds, was gifted to Nelson by the Grand Sultan Selim III on 13 December 1798, in appreciation for saving Aboukir Bay (then part of the Ottoman Empire) from assault by Napoleon. The impressive jewel attracted wonder but also adverse comment, especially when Nelson took to wearing it – unofficially – on his naval uniform hat in a show of undaunted vanity. The gift also included a scarlet pelisse lined with sable fur and two thousand sequins (a type of small gold coin), to be shared amongst the wounded.

All of Guzzardi’s portraits of Nelson derive from a single head-type painted in early 1799 in Palermo, where the artist and subject had flown following the Jacobin revolt in Naples in December 1798. Guzzardi, about whom very little is known, was described at the time as a ‘Celebrated Artist at Palermo, Portrait Painter to the King’, and although few of his works have survived, the existing examples reveal a highly distinctive style with a preoccupation for vivid flesh tones, bold colouring and sharp treatment of facial features.

The first painting Guzzardi did of Nelson was a full-length portrait depicting him in the full dress uniform of a rear admiral. He stands in the foreground on the deck of a ship, his left hand pointing in a weirdly awkward way towards a naval battle behind him on the right, a representation of the Battle of the Nile. The scarlet pelisse is draped over a chair under his pointing finger and the Chelengk jewel takes up half the front of his pushed-back hat.

There are 14 replicas of this portrait known to exist, some painted by Guzzardi, and the group can be split into two according to the admiral’s accessories. In the first iteration, he wears only the insignia of the Order of the Bath and the St Vincent naval medal around his neck. The later works include the star of the Turkish Order of the Crescent, a private issue gold medal for the Battle of the Nile and the official naval gold medal for the Battle of the Nile. While the newly rediscovered painting has the full complement of medals, experts believe they were later additions, that this portrait is one of the early group.

Art historians have known about this particular version of the portrait from archival records and photographs, but the last time its location was known was 1897 when it was documented in the collection of Alfred Morrison, an avid collector of Nelsoniana. He had bought it from Thomas Gullick, a London art dealer who had found the painting rolled up and gathering dust somewhere in Italy in the early 1880s. Even though less than a century had passed since it was painted, and even though the sitter has some very unique distinguishing features and was once one of the most famous people in the world, both the artist and the subject were unknown at that time. Gullick identified it right quick and tried to sell it to Earl Nelson (he passed) and the National Portrait Gallery (they also passed).

Morrison’s vast collection was broken up and sold by his widow. Some pieces went up for auction, others were sold privately. There are extant records of these sales but none of them mention this painting. It made its way to the United States where it was acquired by George M. Juergens of New York. A friend of the family bought it after Juergens’s death in 1987. That friend still owns it today. It seems he’s willing to sell it, however, as Philip Mould & Company is accepting purchase inquiries.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Ex-grasshopper found in Van Gogh painting

History Blog - Sat, 2017-11-11 23:26

Conservators have discovered the body of a definitely deceased grasshopper resting in disarticulated peace among Vincent van Gogh’s Olive Trees. Mary Shafter at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, was examining the work under a microscope as part of a research project for the upcoming catalogue of the museum’s collection of 104 French paintings when she spotted the little guy entombed in the deadly embrace of van Gogh’s thick impasto in the shadow of the first olive tree on the right. At first she couldn’t tell what it was; she thought it might be the leaf debris or an imprint left by leaf on the paint when it was still wet. A closer inspection at the foreign body revealed that it had a head (a decapitated one) and was animal, not vegetable.

Van Gogh liked to paint out of doors, en plein air, as the French (and art historians) call it. Conservators working on his paintings often find leaves, sand, specks of dirt, even small bugs embedded in the canvas. Grasshoppers are not so common. The members of the Nelson-Atkins team were excited by the grasshopper find, and at the prospect of the creature adding new information to the record about when Van Gogh painted Olive Trees. The general date is known, 1889, which was a troubled time for the artist. The year before he’d had his massive break-up out with his former bestie Gauguin followed in short order by the ear cutting incident. In 1889 Van Gogh checked himself into the asylum at the Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and remained there into 1890. The team hoped that if the grasshopper’s date of death could be identified from its stage in the growth/reproductive cycle or seasonal changes, then they might be able to conclusively determine whether Van Gogh painted Olive Trees during his stay in the mental health ward.

Paleoentomologist Dr. Michael S. Engel of the University of Kansas and American Museum of Natural History in New York City, came to their aid. He observed the insect under the microscope and realized that it was incomplete. The scattered body parts were missing the thorax and abdomen. He also was able to discern no sign of movement in the paint where the grasshopper’s bits were embedded, which means it was dead and dismembered before it hit the wet paint. This grasshopper was not pining for the fjords anymore by the time it landed on its eternal resting canvas. It therefore had nothing to contribute to the dating of its now thoroughly glamorous coffin.

So the trapped grasshopper came to nothing, new data-wise, but it’s still a thrilling little slice of Van Gogh’s process frozen in time. He was deeply passionate about capturing life in movement in its natural setting. In one letter to his brother Theo from 1885, he went off on an extended rant about artists who reuse the same old backdrops, tableaux vivants, orientalist and heroic themes, rehashed styles, even models in their studio set pieces, how phony and lifeless their depictions were. He named names too.

Perhaps you think that I’m wrong to comment on this — but — I’m so gripped by the thought that all these exotic paintings are painted in THE STUDIO. But just go and sit outdoors, painting on the spot itself! Then all sorts of things like the following happen — I must have picked a good hundred flies and more off the 4 canvases that you’ll be getting, not to mention dust and sand &c. — not to mention that, when one carries them across the heath and through hedgerows for a few hours, the odd branch or two scrapes across them &c. Not to mention that when one arrives on the heath after a couple of hours’ walk in this weather, one is tired and hot. Not to mention that the figures don’t stand still like professional models, and the effects that one wants to capture change as the day wears on.

That passage, which is not really a complaint so much as a recognition of how valuable working outdoors was to him despite the million irritants, explains exactly how the grasshopper likely got into the paint. He was either blown onto the wet canvas by wind or perhaps got stuck on it when Van Gogh lugged the large, heavy painting back home.

Visitors to the museum have been fascinated by the find. The grasshopper bits are less than half an inch in size and can’t possible compete with the density, vibrancy and complexity of Van Gogh’s brushstrokes, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from doing their utmost to spot the wee body parts in the shadow of that tree.

While the grasshopper becomes an engaging topic for museum visitors, more significant research on Olive Trees is underway. Analysis by Mellon Science Advisor John Twilley confirms that van Gogh used a type of red pigment that gradually faded over time. These findings suggest that areas where van Gogh employed this red, either alone or mixed with other colors, appear slightly different today than when the painting was completed.

“Color relationships were central to van Gogh’s practice,” said Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Art. “Since we now know that portions of the canvas where van Gogh employed this particular red pigment have faded, those color relationships are altered.”

The artist’s letters often referred to his works by their dominant colors, which means the more recent changes in appearance can present uncertainty as to which painting van Gogh alluded to in his descriptions. With funding through the museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Endowment for Scientific Research in Conservation, more research is being conducted to evaluate the impact of these color shifts. The research is expected to clarify the original appearance of Olive Trees and to offer a clearer understanding of its place within van Gogh’s series of works on this theme.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report: Fall Crown Tournament 2017

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2017-11-11 18:09

Their Majesties, Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde, rulers of the East, did determine they needed heirs.  Thus it was on the 4th day of November, AS LII, they ventured to their Barony of Bergental, and held their Crown Tournament.

The entrants presented themselves to their Tsar and Tsaritsa.  Then, they received words from the Kingdom Marshal of Armored Combat, and the rules of the list from the Troubadour Herald.  Their Majesties did say some words, and opened a court.

Ivan and Matilde called before them Alton Hewes.  They spoke of his prowess in combat, and called forth the Order of the Silver Tyger.  He received a medallion, and a scroll by Palotzi Marti.

The Tsar and Tsaritsa next invited before them Dmitri Stephanovich.  They spoke of his artistic skills, and called for the Order of the Silver Brooch.  He received a medallion.

Next, their Majesties called before them Thomas of Effingham.  Having previously received a writ, they placed him on vigil for the Order of Defense.

Ivan and Matilde called before them Viktor Dominik.  Having previously received a writ, they placed him on vigil for the Order of Chivalry.

Their Majesties invited Briony of Chatham into their court.  She reported that her term as Mistress of the Guild of Athena’s Thimble was over, and named Vienna de la Mer as her successor.


Their Majesties suspended their court, and the Crown Tournament began.


Photo by Leonete D’Angely

It was a day of impressive, honorable and chivalrous combat, and at the end Brennan mac Fergus faced Matthew d’Arden.  Both fought well, but Brennan emerged victorious.


Their Majesties crowned Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaolain Princess of Tir Mara, and Brennan mac Fearghus Prince of Tir Mara, and the heirs to the Crown of the East. 



Not long after the end of the tournament, Their Majesties held court.


The Tsar and Tsaritsa invited the Ladies of the Rose to join them.  The nine Roses did select and award tokens to gentles who had impressed them.  Further, they presented the Shield of Chivalry to Euric Germanicus.

Next was Matthew d’Arden called into Court.  For placing second in their Crown Tournament, they named him Admiral of the Armies, and he received the traditional hat.

The Admiral of the Armies with his very fine hat -photo by Brendan

Their Majesties next invited Damian Isolfsson into court.  The named him a Lord of the Court, presenting him with an Award of Arms, and a scroll by Aradyn Ghyoot.

Ivan and Matilde next welcomed before them Duncan Kerr.  They spoke of his prowess as an equestrian, and called for their Order of the Golden Lance.  They inducted him into the order, presenting him with a medallion and a scroll featuring illumination by Carmelina da Vicari and calligraphy by Harold von Auerbach.

The Tsar and Tsaritsa called forward the children.  As always, they entertained the populace in attendance as they chased the toybox. 

Matthew d’Arden is tasked with running the toy box

Their Majesties welcomed into their court Kellenin de Lanwinnauch.  She was made a Lady of the Court, receiving an Award of Arms, and a scroll by Wulfgar Silverbraid with words by Theodora Bryennissa, called Treannah.

Ivan and Matilde invited Kai of Mountain Freehold to attend their court.  He was made a Lord of the Court, receiving an Award of Arms with a scroll by Aelisif Hoarr Kona.

The Tsar and Tsaritsa did welcome into their court all those attending their first, second or third event.  The newcomers received tokens, and were welcomed into the SCA.

Next was Þórý Veðardóttir invited into court.  Their Majesties invited the Order of the Silver Wheel to attend.  Þórý was presented with a medallion, and a wood scroll by Elen Alswyth of Eriskay.

Ivan and Matilde next invited Eloise of Coulter to attend then.  She was accompanied by several members of the Order of the Laurel who were present, and read a petition signed by numerous members of the Order of the Laurel of the East, denouncing the actions of Mord Hrutsson.

That unfortunate business complete, Their Majesties invited the Kingdom Exchequer, Ignatia la Ciega, to attend them.  Her term of office was up, and they presented her with a sock, the symbol of her freedom.  They called for Hugh Tauerner, who spoke his fealty, and became Kingdom Exchequer.

The Tsar and Tsaritsa invited before them Bryon De Burgh.  They spoke of his prowess with Thrown Weapons, and presented him with a medallion for being the 2nd in the kingdom to achieve the rank of Master Thrower.  Not finished yet, they inducted him into the Order of the Silver Mantle.  His induction into said order made him a Lord of the Court, and Awarded him Arms.

Their Majesties called before them Thomas of Effingham, to answer the question for which he’d sat vigil.  Thomas was inducted into the Order of Defense, receiving a Patent of Arms, a coat, three separate collars and a pair of gloves, as well as a scroll illuminated by Camille des Jardins, with calligraphy by Eva Woderose and words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Next was Marieta Charay invited before the Court.  Her scribal works noted, their Majesties called for their Order of the Silver Brooch.  Marieta received a medallion, and a scroll by Eva Woderose with words by Alys Mackyntoich. 

The order not yet complete, the Tsar and Tsaritsa invited before them Antonii Machinevik.  They inducted him into the order, presenting him with a medallion made by his own hand, and a scroll with illumination by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova,

photo provided by Antonii

calligraphy by Þóra Eiríksdóttir, and words by Merrill Wyntere.

Though the order departed from the presence, their Majesties had further business with Antonii Machinevik.  

photo by Leonete

Speaking of his prowess in armored combat, they called for their Order of the Chivalry.  Antonii was presented a writ to sit vigil at A Market Day at Birka, and received a scroll by Tola knitýr. 

photo provided by Antonii




Ivan and Matilde called for Viktor Dominik to answer the question for which he’d sat vigil.  Viktor was knighted, receiving a Patent of Arms as he was inducted into the Order of Chivalry with belt, spurs and chain.  He received a scroll by Aleksei Dmitriev.

Court complete, Their Majesties and their newly crowned heirs departed.  Long live the Tsar and Tsaritsa!  Long life the Prince and Princess!  Long live the Kingdom of the East!

In Service,

Malcolm Bowman, Brigantia Principal Herald

PS – Thank you to the heraldic staff for the day.  Kirsa Oyutai, Maria von Ossenheim, Lucien de Wyntere,
Lorenzo Gorla, Audrye Beneyt, and Lorita da Siena for working as the sign herald.

Photos taken by Brendan Crane, except where marked otherwise. 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Hilarious exhibition at Frans Hals Museum

History Blog - Fri, 2017-11-10 23:34

The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, northwest Netherlands, will tickle visitors’ funny bones with an exhibition dedicated to depictions of laughter in the paintings of Dutch Golden Age masters. The Art of Laughter: Humour in in the Golden Age is the first museum exhibition to treat the subject of hilarity in 17th century artworks with the seriousness it deserves. It’s the first show to focus on the topic at all, which is curious when you consider how rich a vein of it runs through the artworks of the period.

Frans Hals is often called ‘the master of the laugh’. More than any other painter in the Golden Age, he was able to bring a vitality to his portraits that made it appear as if his models could just step out of the past into the present. Hals was one of the few painters in the seventeenth century who dared portray his figures – often common folk – with a hearty laugh and bared teeth. Merriment and jokes are prominent features in his genre paintings; artists in the Golden Age frequently used it in their work. Now – centuries later – the visual jokes are harder to fathom. A great deal of new research into the field has been carried out, particularly in the last twenty years, and we are beginning to get an idea of the full extent of seventeenth-century humour. […]

The exhibition showcases some sixty masterpieces from the Low Countries and beyond by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Judith Leyster, Adriaen Brouwer, Gerard van Honthorst, Jan Miense Molenaer and Nicolaes Maes. Works by these and other artists will be shown in the context of an introduction and seven specific themes, including mischief, farce and love and lust, and one room is devoted to each of them. The exhibition ends with the comical self-portrait, in which painters feature in their own jokes. Thus humour eventually arrives at the artists themselves, creating an intriguing finale. There will also be a small selection of joke books, incredibly popular in the seventeenth century, which confirm the reputation of the Dutch as an unusually cheerful and humorous people. According to an Italian contemporary, the writer Lodovico Guicciardini, who was living in the Low Countries at that time, the Dutch were ‘very convivial, and above all jocular, amusing and comical with words, but sometimes too much.’

I wonder if the Frans Hals Museum has detected any hidden poopers in the artworks on display. The Edwardian curators of the Royal Collection were not amused by the Dutch penchant for ribald humor as expressed in their Golden Age paintings. It’s funny to think of the vast chasm in curatorial outlook between the priggish post-Victorians and the modern Dutch who take such pride and pleasure in the joie de vivre evinced by their Old Masters, even to the point that they’ve thorougly researched the paintings so we too can get the jokes that viewers in the 17th century would have gotten at a glance.

The paintings on display are a deep bench, loaned from institutions all over the world. In order to defray the cost of shipment, insurance, installation and security, entrance to the exhibition will cost an additional €5 on top of the general museum entrance fee. It’s still a bargain, though, because one ticket to The Art of Laughter will also get you into the companion exhibition, A Global Table, which looks at Golden Age still lifes with their tables and sideboards groaning with food, as primary sources of information on the effect of the Netherlands’ colonial holdings and global trade network on how people ate back home.

One of the 53 paintings in the Laughter exhibition, Gerard van Honthors’ absolutely charming Smiling Girl, a Courtesan, Holding an Obscene Picture, which is totally a meme waiting to happen (suggested caption: “Guess what? THIS GUY’S BUTT!”), is still in the process of being moved from the Saint Louis Art Museum. It won’t get to Haarlem until the end of the month. For now, her mischievous grin is represented by a reproduction created by artist Rinus van Hall in 24 hours. Here’s a nifty time-lapse video of him at work:

The The Art of Laughter runs from November 12th, 2017 through March 18th, 2018. A Global Table opened late last month and runs through January 7th, 2018.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

BBM Bergental Yule Feast Announcement

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-11-10 10:20
The days grow shorter, the leaves fall, and the mornings bring frost on the ground.  Our thoughts turn to… mustard soup?
Remember the Feast of Simple Fare?  The smells, the tastes, the sensation that you won’t need to eat for about a week?  Mustard soup… roedd grodd mit floedd (cold berries and cream)… spinacci… bockwurst… mustard soup…  For many of us, Simple Fare was a tradition – cherished for decades, and remembered fondly afterwards.   Good lords and ladies, we are offered an opportunity to revisit happy memories – and tastes – that few people are afforded.  As a special favor to Eloise, Baroness Beyond the Mountain, Mistress Elizabeth Vynehorn has agreed to bring us the highlights of the Simple Fare feast for BBM/Bergental Yule.  All the best dishes will be there: will you?   Feast spots are still available, but going quickly.  Send in your reservation today – you can even do it via PayPal.   It has been five years since the last Feast of Simple Fare was held.  Who knows how long it will be before we do it again?  If you remember it fondly, come revisit old times.  If you never had the opportunity to attend, come see what we’re talking about.   We look forward to welcoming you to our Barony.  Come hungry. Event details can be found at: Yule 2017
Filed under: Events, Uncategorized

London Mithraeum is finally home again

History Blog - Thu, 2017-11-09 23:43

The remains of the Temple of Mithras discovered under central London’s Walbrook Square in 1954 has returned to its original location and it looks great, better than it has in 50+ years. The temple, first built around 240 A.D., was unearthed by archaeologists William Francis Grimes and Audrey Williams in the very last days of a two-year archaeological survey of the site before the construction of new office buildings. The temple was identified as a Mithraeum when the beautifully sculpted head of Mithras, complete with Phrygian cap, was found. A reporter happened to be there and took a picture. Mithras’ beauty caused a sensation and almost half a million people came to visit the excavation.

The ensuing public outcry forced the city to abandon its original plan — the demolition of the temple to make way for ugly concrete squares of cheap mid-century offices — and come up with a compromise solution. The excavation would be extended and once the archaeologists were done, the temple remains would be removed and reinstalled a few hundred feet away at ground level so the public could enjoy it. In 1962, plan B was completed and London’s Mithraeum was reconstructed on an empty patch of land on Victoria Street. The objects discovered would go the Museum of London, except for the incredibly rare surviving wood benches and joists from the temple’s original floor, preserved in the waterlogged soil where the lost Walbrook River had once coursed. They were thrown out like so much trash.

Unfortunately plan B was poorly executed. Modern concrete was used to patch up holes and build up some of the lost masonry. The temple was not installed in its original configuration and was basically unrecognizable compared to how it had looked in situ. Things did not improve as the city grew up around it, leaving it looking like a random, weird, squat rectangle of brick and mortar benches.

In 2010, the Walbrook Square site was bought by Bloomberg LP who planned to build a grand new European HQ there. Of course they knew about the potential for archaeological remains under the site, so an in depth survey was commissoned and this time the soggy muck of the lost Walbrook River turned in an even more spectacular feat of preservation. The excavation unearthed entire city streets, large slices of Roman London from its earliest days in 40 A.D. to the final withdrawal of Roman troops in the 5th century. Wood streets, wood walls, wood wells, a wood door, thousands and thousands of assorted objects made of leather, wood, textiles as well as metal and stone. The oldest dated writing ever found in Britain was discovered on one of hundreds of Roman wood tablets from the Bloomberg dig.

The Bloomberg coporation has far deeper pockets than the small potatoes real estate developers in 1954, so it made ambitious plans to include all of these archaeological marvels in an underground display space in the Bloomberg. Not only would Roman London’s many layers be viewable to the public, but it would foot the bill to rescue the poor, benighted reconstructed temple remains from their incongruous street-level location and overmortared neglect. The temple would return to its original location, dismantled, cleaned of modern interpolations and reinstalled in situ as it had once been. There it would have the chance to be seen in its proper context, safe from the elements, and would even be reunited with another piece of the temple that was discovered during the recent excavation.

Tha planned opening date for the new Bloomberg building and its greatest of all basements was 2017, and right on schedule, the London Mithraeum at Bloomberg SPACE opens November 14th.

Michael Bloomberg, the founder of the company, said they were stewards of the ancient site and its artefacts. “London has a long history as a crossroads for culture and business, and we are building on that tradition.”

The Mithraeum incorporates a new daylit art gallery at ground level with an opening installation, Another View from Nowhen, by the Dublin artist Isabel Nolan. A huge glass case displays more than 600 of the 14,000 objects found on the site, including a wooden door, a hobnailed sandal, a tiny gladiator’s helmet carved in amber, and a wooden tablet with the oldest record of a financial transaction from Britain.

You can’t just walk in to see this archaeological treasure. Entrance is free of charge, but you must book first to guarantee entry. Click this link to book tickets, and have a poke around the website while you’re at it because it’s really very good. They worked hard to collect images and footage of the 1950s excavation and have incorporated them effectively on the site.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Call for Applicants – Society Webminister

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-09 15:30

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is seeking candidates for the position of Society Webminister.

This position reports to the SCA Board of Directors through the Office of the President. The Society Webminister is a supervisory position of Kingdom Webministers, and is not involved in maintenance of the Corporate website (www.sca.org).

The Society Webminister is responsible for the following duties:

1. Ongoing development and revision of the Society Webminister’s policies and procedures, as detailed in the Society Webminister Handbook. This work will include solutions for website issues as they develop; observing trends; awareness of potential issues and streamlining webministry policies to provide better service to the SCA.

2. Develop and enforce clear guidelines for local SCA group websites based on the standards found in the Society Webminister’s Handbook.

3. Warranting of kingdom-level Webministers.

4. Supervision of all kingdom-level websites, including proper use of domain names, monitoring content, regular reporting from Kingdom Webministers, and enforcement of the Society Webministry policies and procedures.

5. Acting as a subject matter expert and resource regarding issues related to websites at the kingdom and local levels.

6. Quarterly reporting to the Board of Directors for the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

Required Qualifications:

* Moderate to expert proficiency in web-related technologies (e.g. HTML, Java, PHP, ASP, web hosting issues, etc.);
* Microsoft Word proficiency;
* The ability to clearly communicate via email, phone, and in written reports; and
* Dependable email access, internet, and phone access.

Desired Qualifications:

* Prior experience as a Webminister in the SCA; and
* Prior experience as an officer at the Kingdom or Baronial level.

Those interested in the position of Society Webminister should submit hard copies of résumés (both professional and SCA related, including offices held and honors) to the attention of ‘The Board of Directors’, SCA, Inc., P.O. Box 360789, Milpitas, CA 95036-0789. Electronic courtesy copies should also be sent to resumes at sca.org and it at sca.org. The deadline for applications is extended until December 31, 2017.

Filed under: Corporate, Official Notices