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Pennsic Blood Drive 2017

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-07-17 16:49

Greeting good gentles of the Known World.

The Pennsic War will soon be upon us, and while we are ‘playing war’ with our friends, many others are fighting one for their lives. Every blood donation is a chance to save a life, so please remember there will be a Red Cross blood drive during Pennsic.

Place: Zion Baptist Church, 148 Curry Road, Slippery Rock, PA
Dates: Friday, August 4th and Monday, August 7th
Times: 10 am to 3:30 pm

The church is within walking distance of the Pennsic site, but the Red Cross will run a shuttle van (leaving from the south end of the battlefield). We encourage you to ride the van so that you arrive with normal pulse and blood and are not turned away from donating!

Pre-registration: 

If you would like to pre-register to donate, volunteer to help, or would just like more information, please contact me by July 27th.

E-mail to: scahedgehog@gmail.com

You can also preregister on-line. Search for blood drives in zip code 16057, select August 4th or 7th, and choose your appointment time. (Note: we are in the process of registering our drive.)

preregister on-line here

Once War is underway, you can sign up at First Aid Point. Walk in’s are welcome, however, the Red Cross bases their staffing on preregistration numbers, so the more people who preregister before War, the more staff we may get.

Identification is now required for all Red Cross Blood donors.
Preferred methods of ID are:

  • American Red Cross donor card
  • Driver’s license
  • State ID
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • INS “green” card
  • A student ID, corporate ID, or credit card is also acceptable if it contains a photo. There is a secondary list of acceptable identification, available at First Aid Point or you can e-mail me.

Together, we can make a difference. So, “Be a Hero, Save a Life at Pennsic War.”

In Service and Thanks,
Baroness Angelique d’Herisson
(mka: Renee LeVeque)
Pennsic Blood Drive Liaison
Middle Kingdom – SCA


Categories: SCA news sites

Roman domus with mosaic floors found in Auch, France

History Blog - Sun, 2017-07-16 23:50

When a landowner digging a foundation for a new home on his property in Auch, southwestern France, discovered ancient architectural remains less than two feet under the surface earlier this year, he reported the find to the authorities. In April, archaeologists from France’s National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) were dispatched to excavate the structure. They unearthed a layer cake of Auch’s rich history, with a luxurious Roman imperial-era domus as the topper.

The property is just a few hundred feet from the forum of the ancient city of Elimberris, a town founded by the Ausci, an Aquitanian tribe, before the arrival of the Romans. After the conquest of Gaul, the city’s name was Latinized to Augusta Auscorum and became one of the 12 main cities of the province that would become Gascony. It prospered in the late imperial era and the wealthy built increasingly expensive villas or expanded and upgraded existing ones. The latter is what happened to the newly discovered domus.

Even when things got scary as imperial support all but disappeared in the early 5th century, Auch still seemed to be doing okay. It was made the capital after the Gascon city of Eauze was razed by the Vandals, in 409 A.D., but these were the twilight days of the Roman Empire and being the regional capital of a place where the elite had already beaten a hasty retreated and abandoned their fancy villas years, perhaps decades, earlier, was a dubious distinction. The fancy villas were stripped for building supplies and otherwise forgotten.

Very little of ancient Auch has been excavated. Most of the archaeological material we have from Gallo-Roman Auch comes from a single major excavation years ago and scattered finds here and there. This discovery has been an exceptional boon to archaeologists because on this one 800 square meter site, they found evidence of the earliest settlements dating to the second half of the 1st century B.C. through the Late Empire.

Its first iteration was comparatively modest. It was private home with earthen walls. In the 1st century A.D., the site shows signs of an acceleration of urbanization under Rome’s influence. The city grew on an organized grid system orientated by the cardinal points of the map. The forum was built in this period, as were a number of top quality private dwellings. The villa was built in the 3rd century and was significantly expanded and altered twice after that.

In was in the early 4th century A.D. that the domus got its greatest refurbishment. Some time around 330 A.D., baths were added to the home. A home bath complex was the mark of high luxury. The baths in this villa were in their own building about 100 feet long and 30 feet wide. There were at least three rooms heated by underfloor hypocausts and the floors were decorated with brightly colored mosaics in a variety of patterns including geometrics (octagons and squares, waves), florals (ivy, laurel and acanthus leaves), tridents, braids and more. While none are extant in their original form, mosaics also decorated the walls. Archaeologists found black, green and red glass tile fragments amidst the floor rubble; that’s all that’s left of the colorful wall mosaics.

The mosaics are designed in a style characteristic of the area in the late Empire. The Aquitanian style is well known in ancient country villas from this era, but this domus stands out because it was a city home, not a rural estate. Aquitanian style mosaics are far rarer in urban centers, although they have been found before in Bordeaux and Eauze.

It seems the domus endured the same fate as other elite homes did in this region. It was left to its own devices at the end of the 4th century or beginning of the 5th century, and locals salvaged whatever materials from it they could use. The walls were demolished and their stone taken, the marble floors pulled up, even the stacks of tiles used to raise the subfloor for the hypocaust heating system were taken. The mosaics that weren’t destroyed by the process were damaged. The ruins were quickly forgotten and covered with earth, albeit a remarkable thin layer considering it took more than 1600 years for anybody to find what was left of the domus.

INRAP is working at lightning speed to excavate and recover as much of the site as they can. They plan to lift the whole mosaic floors. What will happen to the rest of the remains is unclear. The property owner wants them out by September so he can go back to building his thing, invaluable archaeological treasure be damned. Anything left behind could well be destroyed.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pennsic Cannon Fire: Messaging Project Goes Live This Pennsic

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-07-16 18:18

“Gentles who expressed interest in the messaging project proposed in the [Æthelmearc] Gazette article Whilst the Cannons Fire: Pennsic and PTSD likely will be pleased to learn about the project’s plans for War in two weeks.” Read the rest of this article at The Æthelmearc Gazette.


Filed under: Announcements, Pennsic

Greetings from the East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer/Salutations de la part de la Chancelière de l’Échiquier du Royaume

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-07-16 11:24

En français

Greetings from the East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer,

Many hands make light work.  The office of the Exchequer is once again understaffed and in need of more hands.  Constance De Saint Denis and Jaquelinne Sauvageon have served us well as the Central and Northern region deputies and I thank them both for the time they put into those offices.

The East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer is now accepting applications for the following positions:
Northern Region Deputy
Central Region Deputy
Western Region Deputy (PA/DE)
Warranting Deputy
Training (new exchequers)
Pennsic Steward
Council of the Exchequer (financial committee) – several seats available
Paypal assistants – several positions available
Domesday assistant – end of year consolidated reporting

I am not including descriptions of each position in this letter. Descriptions can be found in the SCA governing docs, EK Law and Financial policy of the East.  For all positions please send letters of interest to the Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer (exchequer@eastkingdom.org), along with proof of legal age (ex: drivers license) and current SCA membership.  For the Pennsic Steward applicants, you should cc their Majesties at TRM@eastkingom.org.  For ALL applications please include in the SUBJECT line ‘Application for ’  and the position name.

Once there are enough regional applicants, I would like to reorganize the areas that the regional deputies cover, as the exchequer office has to deal with groups by state rather than by the regions defined by the East Kingdom.  Each regional deputy covers between 10 and 15 groups.

In Service,
Maestra Ignacia la Ciega,
East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer
exchequer@eastkingdom.org

En français
Traduction: Behi Kirsa Oyutai

Salutations de la part de la Chancelière de l’Échiquier du Royaume,

De nombreuses mains rendent le travail aisé. L’office de l’Échiquier est encore une fois en manque de personnel et aurait besoin d’autres mains. Constance de Saint Denis et Jaquelinne Sauvageon nous ont bien servies en tant que députées des régions Centrales et Nord, et je les remercie toutes deux pour le temps qu’elles ont consacré à ces offices.

Le Chancelier de l’Échiquier du Royaume accepte maintenant les candidatures pour les positions suivantes:
Député de la Région du Nord
Député de la Région Centrale
Député de la Région Ouest (PA/DE)
Député aux Accréditations
Éducation (Nouveaux Échiquiers)
Intendant de Pennsic
Conseil de l’Échiquier (comité financier) – plusieurs sièges disponibles
Assistants Paypal – plusieurs positions disponibles
Assistant au Domesday – Consolidation de fin d’année

Je n’inclus pas les descriptions de chaque position dans cette lettre. Les descriptions peuvent être trouvées dans les documents de gouvernance de la SCA, la Loi du Royaume de l’Est, ainsi que dans les Politiques financières de l’Est. Pour toutes ces positions, veuillez envoyer une lettre d’intérêt au Chancelier de l’Échiquier du Royaume (exchequer@eastkingdom.org), avec une preuve de votre âge légal (ex: permis de conduire) et votre carte de membre SCA valide. Pour la position d’Intendant de Pennsic, vous devriez aussi mettre leurs Majestés en copie conforme a TRM@eastkingdom.org. Pour TOUTES les candidatures, veuillez inclure dans la ligne SUJET “Candidature pour” suivi du nom de la position.

Une fois que nous auront reçu assez d’applications pour les postes régionaux, j’aimerais réorganiser les régions dont les députés régionaux s’occupent avec des groupes par état au lieu des régions telles que définies par le Royaume de l’Est. Chaque député régional couvre entre 10 et 15 groupes.

En Service,
Maestra Ignacia la Ciega,
Chancelière de l’Échiquier du Royaume
exchequer@eastkingdom.org

 


Filed under: Announcements, Official Notices, Tidings Tagged: Exchequer, help wanted

Michelangelo river god model restored

History Blog - Sat, 2017-07-15 23:30

A rare and fragile model of a river god made by Michelangelo Buonarotti in around 1525 has been restored to its original condition and placed on public view after years in storage. Made out of wood, clay, sand, wool and oakum fibers on an iron wire framework, the model was an ephemeral work. These were not built to last; models were use objects meant to be discarded after the permanent marble sculptures were finished. In this case, Michelangelo never did get around to making the sculpture, so the model is all we have to show for it. It is one of very few life-sized models ever created by Michelangelo.

The statue in question was a river god or river allegory that was to recline on the right side at the foot of the tomb of Lorenzo de’ Medici, Lord of Florence, Duke of Urbino and the father of Catherine de’ Medici, Queen of France. Michelangelo’s client, Pope Clement VII, insisted that he create life-sized models for the tomb sculptures in the (vain) hope that it would speed up production by allowing the master to delegate some of the execution to secondary artists without loss of quality. Another three river gods were planned for the base of the tomb, but Michelangelo only completed this model and the one for its twin on the left side. None of the finished sculptures of the river gods were ever made.

After he left Florence for Rome in 1534, the two models stayed in the New Sacristy of the San Lorenzo basilica, the grand chapel designed and sculpted by Michelangelo to house the palatial new Medici dynasty tombs, along with all the completed statuary. They were still there two decades later, but by the end of the 16th century, the right model was in the private collection of Cosimo I de’ Medici. The left model was lost. The only known version of it extant today is Michelangelo’s very rough work sketch in the British Museum.

In 1583, the surviving model was donated to the Academy of Art and Design which is today the oldest fine arts academy in the world, founded by Cosimo I in 1563. At the time of the donation, less than 60 years after it was made, the model had condition problems. The first recorded restoration of the work took place in 1590.

Over the centuries, the river god fell down an art historical memory hole until it was rediscovered in 1906 by German sculptor and long-time resident of Florence Adolf von Hildebrand and German art historian Adolf Gottschewski. The new attention the model received spurred the Academy to move it to the Galleria dell’Accademia where it was displayed near the David and other sculptures Michelangelo carved in marble.

The model was on display there until 1965 when it was moved to the Casa Buonarroti museum for its own preservation and to add to the museum’s collection of Michelangelo models. The Academy still owns the piece, however, and three years ago they engaged the services of Florence’s top restoration masters at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure to stabilize the deteriorating model.They mended areas of the surface that had come apart and strengthened the structure to prepare it for future transport and exhibition. They also analyzed the dark paint that gave the work a bronzed effect and discovered it was a later alteration. Michelangelo’s original choice was the paint the model in lead white to make it look like the marble the finished product would be made out of and so that it would match the completed sculptures in the New Sacristy. Opificio conservators painstakingly removed the dark paint, revealing and restoring Michelangelo’s original white lead layer.

The restored model made its official debut at the Refectory of the Basilica of Santa Croce on July 11th. In September it will go on display at a major exhibition on the art of 16th century Florence at Palazzo Strozzi. After that, it will be on permanent view at the Academy of Art and Design.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Rare trade silver found in Michigan colonial fort

History Blog - Fri, 2017-07-14 23:02

Archaeologists have discovered a small but exceedingly rare artifact during this season’s excavation of the 18th century fur trading settlement and colonial fort of Michilimackinac in Michigan’s lower peninsula. It’s a simple silver triangle pierced at the top with a tiny hoop, likely worn as a pendant or earring. It dates to around 1765 and was unearthed in the remains of a fur trader’s house. These modest pieces were trade silver, used as currency in the trading outposts of the colonies.

Trade silver is an excellent marker for the British era of the fur trade. The piece would have likely been used to trade for furs and pelts, Evans said.

She and her team found a smaller piece of trade silver several years ago, but it’s a pretty rare find

“We don’t find a lot of it at Fort Michilimackinac,” she said. “We were really excited.

They don’t find a lot of complete artifacts of any kind at Fort Michilimackinac. Active every summer since 1959, the excavation of Michilimackinac is the longest ongoing archaeological dig in the United States. Over the decades, archaeologists have recovered more than one million archaeological materials, but because the soldiers and traders left Fort Michilimackinac for Mackinac Island gradually over the course of two years, they had plenty of time to ensure nothing useful, valuable and intact was left behind. The vast majority of the items unearthed at the fort are refuse like broken glass, animal bones or lost or discarded items of little to no value like beads and buttons. That’s why it was major headline news when the 2015 dig recovered an intact ivory rosary from the home of a mid-18th century French fur trader.

This season has been even more of a banner year, with two intact artifacts discovered: the trade silver pendant and last month, a brass lock that once sealed a small chest or box. Unearthed in the root cellar of the same fur trader’s home where the trade silver was found, the lock is 2.75″ long and 2.25″ wide at the widest part of its belly. It dates to between 1760 and 1770 and is an unusually decorative, fancy little fixture.

The house itself is older than both objects, having been built around 1730. Rubble on the site indicates the house was demolished in 1781 when the garrison and the traders completed their move to the island. During the 50 years it was standing, it was a bustling part of the trader community. Other items found in the interior of the house underscore that it once belonged to fur traders, something the team knew from the beginning of the dig but was confirmed by the discoveries. Archaeologists unearthed more than a dozen gunflints, four musket balls of trade gun caliber, fishhooks, Jesuit ring fragments and a variety of glass trade beads in a selection of colors and sizes.

The site will continue to be excavated until the season ends in August. Until then, visitors to Colonial Michilimackinac, the open-air museum on the site of the site of the 18th century fort and trading village that is now part of the Mackinac State Historic Parks system, can view the archaeologists in the trenches, ask them about their work, see finds as they come out of the ground.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pennsic Cannon Fire: Messaging Project Goes Live This Pennsic

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-07-14 14:47

Gentles who expressed interest in the messaging project proposed in the Gazette article Whilst the Cannons Fire: Pennsic and PTSD likely will be pleased to learn about the project’s plans for War in two weeks.

According to project co-organizer Amani Ahmed Mash’al al-Sabti al-Dulaymi on the Facebook group Pennsic Messaging System Progress:

  1. The sign-up will be at Silvertree Souq, merchant spot 98, next to Nordic Trader.
  2. We will have you sign a hold/no-harm form to participate. This will be a simple form releasing any of us from liability in the event that your identity becomes known.
  3. We will only collect names on those forms. The messaging system sign-up will only be a telephone number. I will not need names for the actual system.
  4. We are working on getting volunteers to stand with Signal Corps to post the messages as the cannoneers get signals from the marshals to fire. Our volunteers will stand wherever the Signal Corps wishes, as long as they can see or be informed when to send the SMS. Cannoneers/Signal Corps- please contact me ASAP to work this out.
  5. We have one dedicated person to do data entry, but volunteers who wish to help out, please come to the Souq to sign up or help.
  6. Signs will be posted at the shop and we will advertise in the Pennsic Independent. Any donations or help for that is appreciated.
  7. We have phones and a laptop. However, FYI: the current laptop is not great and a little persnickity. It’s an old Macbook that has been on two deployments, so she’s cranky. We will be using Excel to enter numbers. There will also be a notebook sign-up for new numbers. This notebook will be destroyed via fire at the end of War.
  8. I am trying to acquire a box of earplugs for folks. This seems reasonably possible. They will be available at the Souq. I may charge 25 cents to 50 cents for them, or they may be free. All depends on cost.

This is what we have for now. This is the first year, so there are bound to be hiccups. However, the system we are using has been repeatedly tested and works GREAT! You will get a small “ding-dong” or other sound notification. Nothing crazy, but if you are looking out for this sound you will know to brace yourself or comfort your dog/child/spouse/friend/self.

At the end of Pennsic, I will post a brief AAR on this board and will look forward to the feedback from users on how to improve the system.

(Reported by Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France))


Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic Newcomers Pointe Needs Volunteers

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-07-14 14:20

Greetings from the Pennsic Newcomers’ Point Coordinator,

This year, we are coordinating the return of the Newcomers Point, which will be part of the Pennsic Event Resources.

Our goal is to have a place that is open and available to newcomers, where they can feel comfortable and learn more about the event and the SCA in general. Newcomers’ Point will be a set place where Newcomers can come to ask questions or get information about the SCA and/or Pennsic. We will also be able to help Newcomers get involved with their local group after Pennsic.

The Pointe will be will be located under the same tent as the Pennsic Watch (seated at the table, in the shade, with electricity!), and we will need your help staffing the tent. Already Æthelmearc has chosen to sponsor a day, and the Midrealm has too.

Most shifts are still open, and we especially need people during Peace Week. Please email me to volunteer for a shift and help make this a huge success.

  • Sunday, July 30, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Monday, July 31, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Tuesday, August 1, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Wednesday, August 2, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Thursday, August 3, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Friday, August 4, 2017: 10am – 6pm
  • Saturday, August 5, 2017: 10am – 6pm – Sponsored by Æthelmearc
  • Sunday, August 6, 2017: 10am – 6pm – Sponsored by the Midrealm
  • Monday, August 7, 2017: 10am – 6pm
  • Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 11am – 4pm
  • Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 11am – 4pm
  • Thursday, August 10, 2017: 11am – 4pm

In Service to the Dream,
Baroness Desiderata Drake, OP
Newcomer Point Coordinator, Pennsic 46


Categories: SCA news sites

Pietà by pioneer Netherlandish painter loaned to Rijskmuseum

History Blog - Thu, 2017-07-13 23:08

Johan Maelwael, also known by the French version of his name Jean Malouel, was born in Nijmegen in around 1365. Nijmegen was part of the Duchy of Guelders then (now the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands) and had just joined the Hanseatic League in 1364. The prosperity that came with the increase in trade and commerce engendered a flourishing of the arts. Johan came from an artistic family — his father and uncle were successful artists — and he trained in his father Willem’s workshop from an early age.

He started his professional career as a painter of heraldic imagery at the court of the Dukes of Guelders in his hometown of Nijmegen. That experience proved desirable and portable, and in 1396 he moved to Paris where he specialized in painting heraldic and armorial images for Isabeau of Bavaria, Queen of France. Isabeau was a great patron of the arts who during this period had built something of a shadow court thanks to her husband’s increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness. (Whenever the King succumbed to one of his spells, which lasted months at a time, he did not recognize Isabeau and demanded that strange woman be removed from his presence.)

Maelwael’s work for the Queen lasted no more than a year, and by the summer of 1397 Maelwael was in Dijon, capital of the Duchy of Burgundy, where he was appointed court painter to Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The appointment came with the rank of valet de chambre and a hefty salary. Maelwael would keep the job even after Philip’s death in 1404, remaining court painter to his son and successor John the Fearless.

At the Burgundy court, Maelwael again painted heraldic images on banners, pennants, flags and armour, but he also went further afield. Among other works, the dukes commissioned large-scale murals, devotional panel paintings, elaborate altarpieces for the Carthusian monastery of Champmol where Philip’s tomb was located, and the painting and gilding of sculptures. He experimented with new approaches and pioneered what would become known as the International Gothic style.

The greatest surviving example of this is a tondo known as La Grande Pietà, a tempera on wood panel painting that many art historians consider to be the first proper tondo of the Renaissance. The iconography is not typical of later Renaissance pietas because in addition to the dead Christ held by his disconsolate mother Mary, God the Father is also in the picture, holding up the body of his sacrificed Son. Two angels help hold up the body, and a four more balance out the composition on the left side, adding splashes of color and a variety of anguished facial expressions. On the far right is a facepalming St. John.

On the back of the round is an example of the specialty that launched Maelwael’s illustrious career: the coat of arms of Philip the Bold of Burgundy. This suggests the painting was commissioned by Philip before his death, and the unusual combination of a pieta and the Holy Trinity suggests it may have been intended for the Burgundy tombs at Champmol since the monastery was dedicated to the Trinity and the ducal family also evinced a particular devotion to the Trinity.

Besides the imagery, Maelwael also included unusual features in the technical aspects of the painting. The frame of the tondo was carved out of the wood panel, something I don’t recall seeing in any other example of the form. His use of transparent glazes over the tempera was also ground-breaking. Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck, who a decade after Maelwael’s death followed in his footsteps as painter to the Duke of Burgundy (Philip the Bold, in his time), would take those transparent glazes and run with them.

One of the reasons the tondo is so special is that it is one of very few extant works that can be conclusively attributed to Johan Maelwael. Acquired by the Louvre in 1864, La Grande Pietà is one of the treasures of the museum’s early Flemish collection. It hasn’t left Paris since 1962, but come this fall, the greatest surviving masterpiece of the first painter of the Northern Renaissance will be heading to the Netherlands for the first time in its existence when it goes on display at the Rijksmuseum.

At the Burgundian court, Maelwael painted flags, banners and armour; he designed patterns for fabrics; he executed large religious paintings; he created refined miniatures in illuminated manuscripts; he decorated sculptures with gold-leaf and color and he painted small devotional pieces and portraits. Around 1400 Maelwael introduced his three talented nephews as miniature painters in France: the legendary Limbourg brothers Herman, Johan and Paul.

For the first time, Maelwael’s paintings will be exhibited alongside medieval art treasures, manuscripts, precious metalwork and sculpture – from among others, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the MET in New York and the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. Maelwael’s paintings will be juxtaposed not only with the sculpture of his contemporaries Claus Sluter and Claes van Werve, but also with the richly decorated illuminated manuscripts of the Limbourg brothers.

The Johan Maelwael exhibition will run at the Rijksmuseum from October 6th, 2017, through January 7th, 2018.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

After the Writ

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-07-13 14:15

from Mistress Elisabeth Johanna von der Flossenburg

photo by Rob Westfall.

It was Pax Interruptus 2002 (and I did look this up in the order of precedence since I mistakenly keep saying it was 14 years ago). James II and Elina II were sitting the Sylvan Thrones. Baroness Katryne of Bakestonden and I were having a conversation outside the hall, trying to justify ditching court. Since we were both Court Baronesses, we finally decided that we would be setting a bad example and snuck into the back. None too soon either, for I was called before Their Majesties.

Queen Elina started talking to me about how I had promised her that I would make some clothing, and that she had now made a decision as to what she wanted me to make. I was surprised and astonished, for I did not feel that this needed to be discussed in court. It really was nobody’s business other than hers and mine. Then she pulled out this bolt of white fabric with Laurel Wreath all over it, and all I am thinking is: “But Your Majesty what are you doing, You are not a Laurel, I cannot make a Laurel dress for you, the Order will be so angry!” No, I did not say it, but these are the words that went thru my head. They are truly burnt into my memory. 

At this point Master Edmund Tregelles, the herald, called in the Order of the Laurel. It still did not hit me until Her Majesty said “I want you to make a dress with this fabric to wear for your vigil.” It slowly started sinking in. “But I am not worthy. I am not ready for this. I cannot accept this. I am not good enough.” Those were my thoughts as I was being escorted from court. 

In the back of court all the Laurels congratulated me and told me they would see me at Pennsic for the elevation. “But I do not know if I can accept this,” I kept saying. Mistress Alison of the Many Isles was asking me if I would accept her help with my ceremony along with my peer? I was belted to Mistress Rose Marian of Edgewater, a Pelican. And I kept saying “I do not know if I will accept this.” Yes, I put those two peers through hell.

I came from Drachenwald where at that time writs were unknown. You were called into court in the morning, sent to vigil and elevated the same afternoon or evening. Your friends and peers had been notified and they had everything ready for you. I did not realize I had the right to have input into my ceremony, so needless to say I concentrated on whether or not I would accept the accolade, and my oath of fealty. Everything else I left up to the two peers. Yes, I did say I would make my own dress and that I would want other artisans to shine for my ceremony. I finally said who I wanted for my worthies IF I accepted and that remained if for a long time. 

I made the two Ladies plan a vigil and a ceremony without knowing if I would say yes or no! Much later I realized how horrible I was. 

While they were jumping through all kinds of hoops for me I was trying to decide whether or not to accept. I wrote to friends back in Drachenwald for advice. And I started planning, embroidering and sewing the dress I would wear IF I were to accept. Many sleepless nights followed and I just could not decide: Am I worthy? Am I good enough to be a Laurel? Am I ready to accept the responsibility of being a Peer. What IS a Peer? What IS expected of me? I received a lot of good advice and quite a few dressings down for my unwillingness to decide from my friends back in the old Kingdom.

It was getting closer and closer to Pennsic. My dress of course was a Cranach German in my colors, red with gold bands and my SCA history and arms embroidered into the bands and guards, including household affiliations and awards. No, there was no Laurel wreath because for one I was not yet elevated and for two I still had not decided. I am sure the two peers were thinking I was a brat and actually not worthy to be elevated!

The decision however I made was: I will finish the dress which other than the embroidery design was an exact replica of a Cranach painting – down to the beading design on the Brustfleck (the decorated band between the two fronts) – and I will show this dress to a mundane artisan friend who will be the judge. If my dress was museum worthy then I was ready to be a Laurel, if not than I would have to improve my skill, and could accept the award. 

Today I know that this last paragraph shows I really did not fully comprehend what it means to be a Peer. It is not just skill; it is also those elusive hard to define Peerlike qualities that make a Peer and I do not think that anyone can understand what they are until they have been a Peer, and even then they are really really hard to define. It has to do with the responsibilities we take on. The Leadership role we accept when becoming a Peer, trying to always be gracious and encouraging, and critical without hurting feelings. The inspiring without taking over, the knowing when to step back and let others take over, the letting non-Peers make mistakes to learn from and helping to guide them in fixing said mistakes, the gentle guidance and helping newcomers and oldtimers on their way to the goals they set for themselves, and many more things that I cannot even start to name.

But back to my story:
I did present my dress to our friend along with the picture of the painting I used as my inspiration. And our friend says: “Elisabeth I am disappointed in you!” My heart dropped, because I really had gotten used to the idea of being a Mistress of the Laurel, I just needed that final stamp of approval that did not seem to be coming. He went on with: “I really expected more from you! Where is your creativity? This is an exact copy, it could be in a museum as a dress from the 1500s Anyone can do that! I expected you to create a new design something spectacular, not a copy!” I started laughing, which upset him and then I explained the whole thing. And he told me of course you must accept the accolade. And you must teach, but do not forget about the Creativity. Thus, my decision was made and I let the two Peers know.

Fast Forward to Pax Interruptus 2017. Again, I am called into court. Again, I am surprised with a writ. Again, I am escorted by an Order out of the court. This time I know a little bit more what is expected and what I am allowed to do. And no I will not put my peer Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and others through the “will she accept or not” hell. Yes, I will accept the accolade. This time I hope I know what is expected of a Peer. I have been one for 15 years. 

However I have a request to all SCAdians who know me or know of me. I would like to hear from you. I would like a report card as to what I did well as a Peer the last 15 years but even more importantly, what I can improve. The date of my elevation will not be until the fall. But I hope that many of you will seek me out in person when you see me or by email (bostonhahn at aol dot com) or whichever way you feel comfortable counseling me. Because I would really like to use the time from now until my elevation to contemplate on what I can improve. For I am here to serve to the best of my ability. And yes, I know I am blunt and straight-forward and at times intimidating. Please believe me, I am working on that, but it is hard to teach an old dog a new trick.

I hope my story gives you a little insight into what happens after the writ and I look forward to hearing from all of you!

Elisabeth Johanna von der Flossenburg

 


Categories: SCA news sites

Greek theaters had moveable stages on wheels

History Blog - Wed, 2017-07-12 23:20

A paper about a new survey of the 4th century B.C. theater in Messene, Greece, reports that three lines carved in stone next to the stage were track lines used to wheel massive wooden set pieces into place. Researchers from Japan’s Kumamoto University studied the Greek Classical period theater’s stone lines and compared them to similar ones found in theaters built around the same time in the nearby city states of Sparta and Megalopolis. The lines at Messene are 9 to 12 cm (3.5 to 4.7 inches) wide and 3.8 to 5.4 cm (1.5 to 2.1 inches) deep and are almost perfectly level. The grooves are two meters (6.5 feet) apart.

A few years ago, there wasn’t much of a theater left to survey. After six centuries of continuous use, the theater was abandoned in the early 4th century A.D., its marble and stone pilfered for use in local construction. In the early 1990s, excavations began at the site. At first it didn’t look like there was anything left of the theater after so many years of neglect and architectural recycling. There were a few barrier walls visible above ground, but that’s it. Olive groves surrounded the site and thick deposits of earth covered what had once been the orchestra (the circular or horseshoe-shaped space between the audience and the stage where the chorus performed) and the koilon (the bleachers where the audience sat). Archaeologists laboured for more than two decades to excavate every last piece of the theater they could find and restore as much of it as possible. In August of 2013, the theater reopened for the first time in 1,700 years with 2,000 seats, all of them jigsawed together from the scattered ruins.

A large storage room and the three stone lines weren’t discovered until 2007 during a field study by archaeologists from Kumamoto University. They’ve been studying the finds ever since, comparing them with the theaters in Sparta and Megalopolis and attempting to determine what role these structures played in ancient theatrical productions. The Kumamoto University researchers have now published the result of their investigation in Archäologischen Anzeigers, the journal of the German Archaeological Institute.

What was the purpose of these stone rows? In the Hellenistic theater, a one-story building called the “proskenion” was placed on the stage. The Proskenion was used as a stage background and it is thought that actors were also able to speak from its balconies. Behind that was a two story “skene” that was used as both a dressing room and another stage background. In the past, it was thought that the proskenion and the skene were either stone-built and fixed or wooden and wheeled. If they were wheeled, they would have moved as one massive construction along three stone rows. As a result of their investigation, however, the Kumamoto University researcher proposed that the proskenion and skene were separate constructs, each with their own set of wheels, and that there is high possibility that each proskenion and skene was pulled in and out of the storage room on two stone rows respectively.

“A large force would have been required to move stage equipment as large as the proskenion and skene,” said Associate Professor Ryuichi Yoshitake who led the research project. “In previous studies, there was a theory that the proskenion and skene were simultaneously moved along just three stone rows, but I think it is more logical that the proskenion and skene each had their own set of two stone rows to move along. I came to this conclusion due to the positions of three stone rows and the fact that it would have been quite difficult to move the heavy proskenion and skene together using a single axle with three wooden wheels.”

Ancient literature makes it clear that that there were rotating stage devices in both Greek and Roman theaters. The newly discovered stone rows and storage rooms at the Messene Theater are important remains that show the likelihood is extremely high that mobile wooden stages existed in the theaters of the Hellenistic period. Future research is expected to clarify the appearance of a wheeled wooden stage like that in Messene and the influence it had on later stage building.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Oldest madeira collection found in New Jersey museum

History Blog - Tue, 2017-07-11 23:27

Workers renovating Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, discovered a rare collection of Madeira wines, some dating back to Colonial times. Museum staff knew the Kean family had wine storage shelves in the cellar, but they were obscured by a plaster and plywood wall built during Prohibition. When workers broke through the wall and the locked wooden cage behind it, they found a collection of 18th and 19th century wines far larger than they realized. There are three cases containing more than 50 bottles of Madeira, the oldest of which date to 1796. The attic held an unexpected wine cache as well, not in bottles but in 42 demijohns dating to the 1820s. It’s the oldest and largest known collection of Madeira in the United States.

The museum staffers cataloged the cases and jugs of Madeira as they were discovered. While some of the stock needed to be researched online, most of the wine was still labeled with handwritten tags, or could be looked up in the thousands of Liberty Hall documents dating more than 200 years.

“We have the receipts from the liquor store, or the liquor distributor in New York, in Elizabeth or wherever,” [Liberty Hall director of operations Bill] Schroh said. “We can also trace the purchaser, when it was purchased and who it was purchased from.”

Part of the research showed some of the Madeira was imported by Robert Lenox, a millionaire merchant from New York who owned land in the heart of Harlem, which is where the borough’s main avenue gets its name.

Liberty Hall was the country home of William Livingston, scion of a prominent New York family and a successful lawyer. When he bought the land in Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth), New Jersey, he planned to retire to the estate. He was intimately involved in the design of the 14-room Georgian home and of the landscaping and orchards on the 120-acre property. He and his wife settled in to their happy retirement home in 1773, but Livingston’s retirement wouldn’t even last a full year. Revolution pulled him back into political and military action. He was a delegate to both Continental Congresses, was a general in the New Jersey militia and was New Jersey’s first elected governor in 1776.

Livingston was only able to return to Liberty Hall in 1783 and the estate had been rudely treated by the British who trashed the place on the regular searching for him when he was a wanted man. American soldiers also looted the home. Livingston lovingly repaired the home and gardens, even as he continued to serve as governor until his death in 1790.

The hall was purchased by Peter Kean, the son of Livingston’s niece Susan, in 1811. Peter and his mother maintained the estate for the next 22 years. In 1833, Susan’s grandson Colonel John Kean inherited it and over the course of six decades, transformed the Georgian home into a 50-room Victorian mansion. It has remained in the Kean family who have worked to preserve it and open it to the public as a museum displaying original artifacts from the Livingston and Kean families in rooms dedicated to different time periods.

It seems the wines were collected by both the Livingstons and the Keans.

Some of the original Madeira stock was shipped to the second generation who lived at Liberty Hall, in anticipation of John Adams’ presidency. Although Liberty Hall President John Kean was well aware of the wine collection, he couldn’t have imagined its historical significance.

“We knew there was a lot of liquor down here, but we had no idea as to the age of it,” said Kean, first cousin to New Jersey’s former governor. “I think the most exciting part of it was to find liquor, or Madeira in this case, that goes back so far. And then trying to trace why it was here and who owned it.”

Madeira was a popular tipple for the early American upper crust, because unlike most wines at that time, it can take a lot of jostling of the kind sure to be experienced on a trans-Atlantic ocean voyage. The fortified dessert wine also lasts far longer than other wines without spoiling or turning to vinegar. In the 18th century, the 13 colonies bought 95% of the Madeira produced on the Portuguese archipelago and gentlemen of wealth and good taste would have a selection of Madeiras in their cellars (or attics). The Liberty Hall collection has six different kinds of Madeira.

The newly liberated cellar space with its original wooden shelves, now restored and structurally reinforced, is open to the public, along with some of the bottles and demijohns. John Kean had the opportunity to taste a sample from one of the Madeiras and he said it tasted fine, like a sweet sherry. The bottles from 1796 have not been sampled. They might be whipped out for an appropriate special occasion in the future: a visit from the President of Portugal.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Hospitality at Royal Encampment Needs Your Help!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-07-11 20:24

Æthelmearc Royal encampment, a few years past. Photo by Aoife

Greetings unto the populace of Æthelmearc!

Our names are Dubheasa inghean Dubgaill and Lasairfhiona inghean Aindriasa, and we have been asked by Their Royal Majesties to take charge of coordinating hospitality at the Æthelmearc Royal encampment for Pennsic XLV.

For those not in the know, hospitality is in charge of the populace pavilion at the AE Royal Encampment where we provide anyone who would like a place to sit, cool/dry off, hydrate, and socialize. We make sure people get answers to their questions, are directed to wherever they need to go in the Royal Encampment, have messages taken, and we accept gifts to the crown.

Due to the popularity, we will be able to recharge small electronics. These are open to anyone who is in the populace pavilion, in a meeting or other business in the encampment, guarding the gate, or working hospitality. You are, of course, responsible for your own devices.

We are looking for volunteers to fill shifts throughout the war. We like to have two people manning the desk during open hours. We always make sure to schedule at least one experienced person in a shift, so if you’re new to hospitality, feel free to sign up, and we’ll get you up to speed in no time.The first day of hospitality is on Sunday, July 30 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., during which time we will finish setup.

Peace Week shifts are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday, July 31 through Friday, August 4.

War Week shifts are from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday, August 5 through Thursday, August 10. We have two shifts in the morning of August 11 to pack up prior to tearing down the royal encampment.Shifts are two hours long.

Hospitality will be closed during Kingdom Court, and adjustments will be made for other activities taking place in the royal encampment or as demand requires it.

If possible, please sign up in advance! We have a total of 108 slots to fill throughout Pennsic to provide the level of hospitality and service we have become known for.

Dubheasa can be reached at this email address. Lasairfhiona can be reached at this email.

If you can’t commit yet to a time, the hospitality schedule book will be at the hospitality desk to sign up in once you get to Pennsic. Of course, early choice means the best times are available.

Thank you very much!

Lady Dubheasa inghean Dubgaill
Lady Lasairfhiona inghean Aindriasa
Hospitality Coordinators
Categories: SCA news sites

New cache of Roman writing tablets found at Vindolanda

History Blog - Mon, 2017-07-10 23:13

Archaeologists excavating the Roman fort of Vindolanda have discovered a new cache of 25 Roman writing tablets. The wood tablets were unearthed in a sodden trench (it’s been raining a lot up there) on June 22nd in a small section less than 10 feet long. These invaluable records of daily life in a Roman fort on the far northern border of the empire date to the end of the 1st century A.D., which means they were written no later than 15 years after the first version of the fort was built.

Many of them less than two millimetres thick, simple slivers of birch rather than the notebook-like rectangles you might think of when you see the word “tablet,” this incredibly rare group of letters, lists, official and private correspondence were likely part of an archive that was lost or unceremoniously discarded, albeit in a weird way. The tablets weren’t grouped together as they would be if they’d be enclosed in a bag or dumped in one spot. They were found spaced out along the trench at regular intervals. The archaeological team speculates that they may have fallen out of a bag with a hole in the corner, or else someone took the time to remove individual tablets and toss them into the rubble of a foundation layer every other step.

Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort and associated vicus (an independent civilian settlement) in Northumberland just south of Hadrian’s Wall. Multiple iterations of the fort were built starting with simple wood and turf structures in the late 1st century through to the stone forts of the late 2nd and early 3rd century. That last stone fort was repaired and occupied in fits and starts until the end of the 4th century in the twilight years of Roman Britain.

That long, varied record of occupation was preserved for nigh on 2,000 years by the site’s anaerobic soil. Organic materials that would normally decay survived in the waterlogged mud of Vindolanda in exceptional condition, among them wood plumbing pipes, an inscribed barrel stave, the only known Roman wooden toilet seat, leather shoes by the thousands and of course, the artifacts voted the UK’s top archaeological treasure by British Museum curators, more than 1,700 fragmentary and complete wooden writing tablets.

Ever since the first writing tablets were discovered at Vindolanda in 1973, individual tablets have been found during the ongoing excavations. One small but important fragment with four lines of ink writing clearly visible to the naked eye (many tablets have no visible ink remaining and can only be deciphered using infrared photography) was just unearthed on June 15th. It dates to between 92 and 105 A.D. Not exactly a writing tablet because there is no ink or lettering on the surface, but just five days later archaeologists found a wooden stylus tablet that once held a wax layer on which letters would be written.

A cache of writing tablets is a much different and rarer animal, however, even in the miraculously soggy soil of Vindolanda. The last time a tablet hoard was found was in 1992 and it was massive, containing hundreds of writing tablets. This batch is far more modest in size, but it has some singularly important features.

As the archaeological team, carefully and painstakingly extracted the delicate pieces of wood from the earth they were delighted to see some of the letters were complete and others had partial or whole confronting pages. The confronting tablets, where the pages are protected by the back of the adjoining pages, are the most exceptional discoveries as they provide the greatest chance of the ink writing being preserved.

Dr Andrew Birley, CEO of the Vindolanda Trust and Director of Excavations spoke about the day the tablets were recovered “What an incredible day, truly exceptional. You can never take these things for granted as the anaerobic conditions needed for their survival are very precise.

I was fortunate enough to be involved when my father, Dr Robin Birley, excavated a bonfire site of Vindolanda tablets in 1992 and I had hoped, but never truly expected, that the day might come when we would find another hoard of such well preserved documents again during a day on our excavations.

I am sure that the archaeological staff, students and volunteers who took part on this excavation will always remember the incredible excitement as the first document was recognised in the trench and carefully lifted out. It was half a confronting tablet, two pages stuck together with the tell-tale tie holes and V notches at the top of the pages. The crowd of visitors who gathered at the edge of the excavation fences were also fascinated to see tablet after tablet being liberated from a deep trench several metres down”.

Like the fragment discovered the week before the cache, several of the writing tablets in the group have readable ink. This is immensely exciting to archaeologists because they don’t have to wait for the painstaking process of conservation followed by infrared photography before they can even attempt to decipher the spikey Latin cursive. The oak confronting tablet is not legible at the moment because oak darkens over time much more than birch, but the team is optimistic there may be sufficient ink on the surface to be detected by infrared imaging.

Some of the names in the letters have been deciphered already because they’re known from previously deciphered tablets. One character named Masclus makes a second appearance after a very memorable first one. In the first letter from Masclus discovered at Vindolanda, he asked his commanding officer to send more beer to his outpost on Hadrian’s Wall. In the tablet discovered last month, Masclus is asking to be granted leave (commeatus), possibly due to a crippling hangover.

Cleaning and conservation of the tablets has already begun — you can’t waste any time when keeping organic archaeological materials from decay once they’ve been exposed to the air — and once they’re clean and stable, the writing tablets will be analysed using infrared photography so the ones with faded ink can be read and translated.

For more about the endlessly fascinating (and endlessly wet) work of the Vindolanda archaeological team, follow Digging Vindolanda, a blog of the seasonal digs by one of the volunteer excavators.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Consultation Tables at Pennsic A&S Display/Tables de consultation à l’exposition d’Arts et Sciences de Pennsic

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-07-10 19:35

Queen Avelina, accompanied by Mistress Amy Webbe examines entries at an earlier Pennsic.

En français

 NEW THIS YEAR!

A&S Consultation Tables!

Coming to Pennsic War: Known World Arts & Sciences Display, Sunday, August 6, 2017, 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Entrants can voluntarily request feedback based on the higher degree of expectations that happen at more competitive levels.

The focus is on extensive research, historical understanding, and exemplary execution. These are all important for A & S Champions entries, but also for other activities throughout the Society. Even if you never plan to enter A & S competitions, you can use these tables as opportunities for feedback.

Entrants: After you have gone through the registration table, you may sign up at the A&S Consultation Tables for constructive feedback. (This is in addition to your other A&S Display activities and is no way required.)

• You will not receive a score and there is nothing to win. • You will have a chance to talk to experienced judges and walk through their thought process as they examine your entry.

• We can give you directed feedback and we can also walk you through example judging rubrics. It depends on what help you are requesting.

• We will attempt to accommodate as many entries as possible. We will visit you at your table to view your display and talk to you. We can also work with you on scheduling a specific time. Judges: We also welcome volunteer judges. Want to help? Let us know! It’s you who will help make the A & S Consultation Tables successful.

• We’d welcome you for the full four hours; two hour shifts would also help. Let us know what you can do and we’ll work with you.

• Never judged before and want to learn? Let us know. You can be a shadow judge. We’d welcome the company.

• We also hope that this will make the judging experience more constructive and more enjoyable. If you are interested in helping, please contact Honorable Lady Kataryn Mercer.

En français
Traduction: Behi Kirsa Oyutai

NOUVEAU CETTE ANNÉE !
Tables de consultation d’Arts et Sciences !
Bientôt à la Guerre de Pennsic: Exposition d’Arts et Sciences du Monde Connu, dimanche le 6 août 2017, entre 1:00 et 5:00 pm
Les participants peuvent volontairement demander de la rétroaction basée sur les plus hautes attentes exigées aux compétitions plus avancées.
L’accent sera mis sur la recherche exhaustive, la compréhension du contexte historique, ainsi que l’exécution exemplaire. Tous ces sujets sont importants lors d’une entrée de compétition, mais ils le sont aussi pour plusieurs autres activités au travers de la Société. Même si vous ne planifiez jamais participer à une compétition d’Arts et Sciences, vous pouvez utiliser cette opportunité d’obtenir de la rétroaction.
Participants: Après avoir visité la table d’enregistrement, vous pouvez vous inscrire aux tables de Consultation d’Arts et Sciences afin d’obtenir de la rétroaction constructive. (Ceci est en plus de vos autres expositions d’Arts et Science et n’est pas requis d’aucune façon.)
• Vous ne recevrez aucun score et il n’y a pas de prix à la clef.
• Vous aurez la chance de parler à des juges expérimentés et d’expérimenter leur processus d’évaluation étape par étape, alors qu’ils examinent votre item.
• Nous pourrons vous donner de la rétroaction dirigée et pourrons vous guider au travers d’exemples de feuilles de critères de jugement. Ceci varie selon le type d’aide demandé.
• Nous tenteront d’accommoder le plus d’entrées possible. Nous vous visiteront à votre table afin d’examiner votre exposition et vous parler. Nous pouvons aussi travailler avec vous afin de planifier une visite à un moment spécifique. Juges: Les juges volontaires sont les bienvenus. Vous souhaitez aider ? Laissez-nous le savoir ! Les tables de consultation d’Arts et Sciences ont besoin de votre aide afin d’être un succès.
• Nous vous accueillerons pour les quatre heures complètes; mais des disponibilités de deux heures aident aussi beaucoup. Laissez-nous savoir vos disponibilités et nous ferons ce que nous pouvons pour travailler selon votre horaire.
• Vous n’avez jamais été juge et souhaitez apprendre ? Dites-le nous. Vous pourriez observer un juge en action. Nous aimons la compagnie.
• Nous espérons aussi que ce projet rendra l’expérience de l’évaluation plus constructive et plus plaisante. Si vous êtes intéressés d’aider, veuillez contacter l’Honorable Dame Kataryn Mercer.


Filed under: Arts and Sciences, En français Tagged: A&S Consultation, Pennsic

US returns looted royal seals to Korea

History Blog - Sun, 2017-07-09 23:27

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned two looted royal seals from the Joseon Dynasty to the Republic of Korea at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., on June 30th. The repatriation ceremony was planned to coincide with South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s visit to Washington so that Thomas D. Homan, acting director of ICE, could formally hand the seals over to the President who then carried them back to South Korea personally.

The two royal seals are the same size — four inches square — and both have handles shaped like turtles, but they were made a century apart from different materials. The oldest of them is the royal seal Queen Munjeong (1501-1565) which was made in 1547 out of gilt bronze. Technically 1547 was the second year of her son’s reign, but King Myeongjong was just 12 years old when he ascended the throne after his half-brother’s death under suspicious circumstances, so Queen Munjeong acted as regent. The seal uses a title given to Munjeong during her early regency.

(It was widely believed that Myeongjong’s half-brother King Injong, who reigned for only one year after his father’s death and was 30 years old when he died, was poisoned to death. Queen Munjeong was the prime suspect for the ringleader of the conspiracy to remove the young, reform-minded, active king and replace him with his kid brother whom she could easily manipulate. She stayed on as regent long past her son’s majority, remaining queen until her death 20 years later. Myeongjong was 32 years old when he finally became king in more than name.)

The second royal seal was made for the future King Hyeonjong (r. 1659-1674) to commemorate his becoming the crown prince in 1651. It’s carved out of highly prized white jade and is taller and more massive than the Queen’s seal.

Both of these are of a type of royal seal known as an “eobo,” used for ceremonial purposes rather than for official government documents which were the province of the “guksae” or the great seal. Because they were the official stamp of royal authority, the production, deployment and retirement of royal seals were stringently regulated by the Jongmyo, the Confucian shrine dedicated to the preserving the memory and rituals of the Joseon royals. The Joseon Dynasty is one of the longest ruling dynasties in the history of the world (1392 to 1897), so you might be forgiven for thinking they were lousy with royal seals after all that time, but because of that strict oversight, during the 500+ years of the Joseon Kingdom and Korean Empire only 37 guksae and 375 eobo were made.

They were all present and accounted for until the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945). The seals were hot items for looters and pillagers, and continued to be actively stolen during the Korean War (1950-53). The two returned seals are microcosms of the larger syndrome. Queen Munjeong’s seal is believed to have been stolen during the Korean War, King Hyeonjong’s during the Japanese occupation. The Korean government has vigorously pursued all leads to track down their precious cultural heritage since the 1950s. Four of the great seals have been recovered and seven of the royal seals. There are still 29 great state seals and 46 royal ones unaccounted for as of today.

The seals are a microcosm of Korea’s assiduous attempts to reclaim their lost treasures too. There are US State Department records going back to the mid-1950s that document requests from the Korean ambassador to locate the stolen seals of Queen Munjeong and King Hyeonjong. There is no evidence of any investigation taking place at that time. That would have to wait until 2013 when ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division opened an investigation into Queen Munjeong’s royal seal at the request of South Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) who had found out the seal at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and had been for 13 years. The Korean Broadcasting Service did a little digging and identified the private collector who sold the Queen’s seal to LACMA in 2000. They found the King’s seal at his house.

The seals will be conserved and stored at the National Palace Museum of Korea in Seoul. They won’t go on display right away. The CHA is currently planned a special exhibit in August that will put the royal seals on public view.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Eastern Results from the May 2017 LoAR

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-07-09 21:39

EASTERN RESULTS FROM THE MAY 2017 LoAR

The Society College of Arms runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.

An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.

The following results are from the May 2017 Wreath and Pelican meetings.

EAST acceptances

Anneke Valmarsdotter. Name and badge. (Fieldless) A pinecone with stem to chief azure.

Jean Oste de Murat. Badge. (Fieldless) A prawn Or.

The question was raised in commentary about whether a prawn would conflict with a crab, which would bring this badge into conflict with the device of Mór Ruadh: Gules, a crab Or. Crabs and lobsters have been demonstrated to be interchangeable in period, and we do not grant a DC between the two crustaceans. Some commentary suggested that charges that look like lobsters might have been described in cants as prawns, though evidence for that has not yet been provided.

However, the submitter has received permission to conflict from Mór. We therefore decline at this time to rule whether a prawn has a DC from a lobster. We also decline to rule on the precise relationship between prawns and crabs, prawns and lobsters, and crabs and lobsters so far as difference is concerned.

Jean Oste de Murat. Badge. Per bend argent and azure, a hop cone slipped and leaved Or.

This does not conflict with the device of Turold of Normandy, Purpure, a New World pineapple Or leaved vert. The substantial leaves of a New World pineapple sufficiently separate it visually from a hop cone for there to be DC between them.

Lijsbet van Catwiic. Badge. (Fieldless) A mortar and pestle sable charged with an elderflower argent.

Lijsbet van Catwiic. Badge. (Fieldless) An escallop purpure winged Or.

Ravensdale, Stronghold of. Branch name.

Ruantallan, Barony of. Badge for Populace. (Fieldless) On a dolphin haurient argent a tenterhook azure.

Ruantallan, Barony of. Badge for Populace. (Fieldless) On a dolphin haurient contourny argent a tenterhook reversed azure.

Ryan Mac Whyte. Heraldic title Skunk Herald.

Skunk is the lingua Anglica form of the Early Modern English term Squuncke, the plural form of which is found in the OED s.v. skunk dated to 1634.

Samuel Peter Bump. Badge. (Fieldless) A fess wavy within and conjoined to a mascle sable.

Thomas de Marr. Badge. (Fieldless) On a barrel sable a dragon passant Or.

Thomas de Marr. Badge. (Fieldless) In fess a dunghill cock Or conjoined at their tails with a bull rampant contourny gules.

Thomas de Marr. Badge. Per chevron inverted gules and azure, in chief a cockatrice Or.

Whyt Whey, Canton of. Device change. Argent, an apple gules slipped and leaved within a laurel wreath vert and an orle sable.

Nice device change!

Canton’s previous device, Sable, a cockroach tergiant within a laurel wreath and on a chief embattled argent, a pomme, is retained as ancient arms.

Whyt Whey, Canton of. Badge for Populace. Argent, an apple gules slipped and leaved vert within an orle sable.

Nice badge!

Zoya the Orphan. Name (see RETURNS for device).

The byname the Orphan is the lingua Anglica form of the Russian byname Sirot or Sirota, both of which are found in Paul Wickenden of Thanet’s “A Dictionary of Period Russian Names” (http://heraldry.sca.org/paul/).

 

EAST returns

Christiana Crane. Badge. (Fieldless) Six caltrops conjoined in annulo points to center argent.

This badge must be returned for visual conflict via SENA A5D2 with the badge of Clovia Lumi: Sable, a snowflake argent, and with the device of Thorbjorn Wulfgrimmssøn, Per fess azure and Or masoned sable, in chief a snowflake argent. The arrangement of the caltrops left a distinct impression of a snowflake for most commenters, and when considered as a snowflake, there is only one DC from each piece of registered armory for removing the field.

Additionally, this must be returned for lack of identifiability. The overlapping tips of the caltrops caused visual confusion which made the charges themselves difficult to identify, which further led to the assumption by most submitters that the design is a snowflake.

Snowflakes have not been allowed as heraldic charges since August 1994, with subsequent registrations falling under allowances found in SENA A2B3 and similar rules in RfS.

Vígþorn Vetsson. Name.

Submitted as Vígþorn Vetsson, the patronymic does not use the correct genitive (possessive) form of the father’s name. The proper construction is Vetrarson or Vetarson. We would change the name for registration, but the submitter does not allow any changes.

On resubmission, the submitter should be prepared to demonstrate that the name Vetr was used by real people. The only use of Vetr as a personal name in Cleasby-Vigfusson is for a mythological giant who was the son of Vindsvalr or Vindlóni in the Eddas. Without evidence of usage by real people, a name claiming to be the son of a giant is likely to be prohibited by PN4C of SENA as improperly claiming powers.

Zoya the Orphan. Device. Purpure, three Arabian lamps argent.

This device is returned for conflict with Celestinus MacCriomthainn: Vert, three pitchers flammant at the mouths argent. There is a DC for changing the field, but none for enflaming the pitchers. We don’t grant difference between pitchers, ewers, laverpots, and other spouted, handled vessels; the Arabian lamp, not being a period charge, doesn’t get the allowance for period differencing.


Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: heraldry, LoAR

Heronter Pewter Class

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2017-07-09 21:10

Pewter Class by TH”Fool” Dagonell Juggler

The Shire of Heronter has regular A&S gatherings. For our most recent gathering, Lady Edana the Red came up from Debatable Lands to teach pewter casting.

On Saturday, June 24th, 2017, members of the Shire assembled at the home of THL Keinven Ragnarsdottir and Baron Malcolm Fraser at 10 AM. Fortunately, it was a clear and sunny day, pewter hates rain and high humidity. Everyone had glasses or other eye-protection and paper dust masks were issued to all. Soapstone creates dust easily and it’s not something you want to breathe in. Long hair was tied back and everyone had been instructed to wear long sleeved tops to expose as little skin as possible. We worked outside to not leave stone dust on the furniture. Picnic tables were covered in old towels for easier clean up.

We were each issued a ‘carving kit’, a small Tupperware tub containing a marker (black), a plastic template for drawing circles (quarter and dime sized), a mechanical pencil (red shaft), a carving tool (wooden handle, scraper at one end, point at the other), a dental pick (brass), a crayon (red) a few scraps of paper (blueish due to shadows), a small piece of soapstone (I’ve already started carving mine), a few curls of sandpaper (at base of mechanical pencil) and a coin level (at top of box, on its side). The latter is a small piece of metal mounted to a small scrap of wood.

The first step is to design the badge. It had to be something small enough to fit on a quarter sized coin. The final token will be the mirror image of the drawing, so anything like letters should be done backwards. Geometrics, unless perfectly carved, tend to look a little lopsided. For this step, we used the scraps of paper, the template, and the mechanical pencil. My design can be seen in the picture above, my badge is a slipper charged with a vair bell. (Yes, it’s a pun, work on it!)

The next step is to start carving the mold. Above, Lady Edana demonstrates how to use the plastic template and the carving tool to inscribe a circle on the soapstone mold to about the depth of a quarter. Once the circle has been inscribed into the mold, the coin level is inserted into the groove and gently pulled toward the center of the circle. The small block of wood rides across the face of the stone while the metal point scrapes the coin shape to a uniform depth. Do not force the level, it will leave a groove. Just keep lightly scraping a thin layer at a time until the coin shape is complete. Lady Edana demonstrates using the coin level to Duchess Dorinda. Dorinda’s token design, a cross bottony from her badge, is by her left wrist. In the first photo above, my completed coin shape can be seen on the mold next to the kit. The pile in the center is the soapstone dust from carving the coin and will be brushed out with the paintbrush onto the towel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirate Ginevra (left) watches as (right, front to back) Duchess Dorinda, THL Keinven, and m’lady Apollonia all work on carving their molds

Once the coin blank is complete, the next step is to carve the design onto the coin. Remember that the design is backwards, so letters need to be reversed. The deeper into the mold, the higher the image will be above the coin blank. A single layered design is best for a first attempt, however my design was a vair bell on a slipper, so the slipper was carved into the coin, then the vair bell was carved inside the shoe, deeper into the mold. The small curls of sandpaper are used to smooth out designs and erase tool marks on the mold. To test your carving, Play-doh™ is your friend. Press a small piece into the mold, then gently pull it out by the edges. Shown below, a small piece of red Play-doh™ is pressed into Dorinda’s mold and gently pulled out to reveal the final design. If you are not satisfied with your design, you can continue working on the mold and testing until you are content with the design.

The next step is to create the sprue, the channel that the pewter will be poured through. Lady Maggie Baxter, above uses a large metal file to begin the sprue. Knife cuts will bring the channel up to the design without damaging it. The location of a sprue hole depends on the design. You want the pewter to pour into the entire mold, not rise into the smaller details. If you’re going to have a loop on top of your token, the sprue should probably enter the bottom of the coin.

Next, vent holes are cut into the mold to allow air to escape as the liquid metal enters. Otherwise, air pockets and bubbles will form and the pewter won’t fill the entire mold. For safety considerations, Lady Edana’s assistant did all the pouring. A second piece of soapstone was held against the first, to provide a back to the medallion. The second piece had a cross-hatch design which created a texture on the back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A metal catch basin to hold the pewter while it cools, a camp stove starter, wire cutters for cutting sprue, and several bars of pewter waiting to be melted. Notice that we are using an ordinary camp stove to heat bricks of pewter in a steel crucible. Pewter has a melting point around 230* Celsius. The exact temperature depends on the specific blend of metals that make up the alloy. The pieces are small enough that they can be held them together in a welder’s gauntlet. If we were doing a larger piece, the mold halves would be tied together and placed on a table. Note that there is another mold on the stove near the burner. A warm mold keeps the pewter liquid for a few moments longer and allows it to flow more easily into small details in the mold.

The pewter solidifies within a minute and the mold is opened. This is Lady Helena’s stylized H and the sprue enters the medallion at the bottom. The medallion is dumped into the metal basin and allowed to cool to the point it can be handled with bare hands. The excess metal that fills the sprue hole, and vent holes, is also called sprue and must be removed with tin snips or wire cutters. The edges of the medallion are then filed or sanded smooth. The cut off sprue, and mis-cast medallions, are simply dropped back into the cauldron to be melted down for the next medallion.

Below we see Duchess Dorinda’s finished pewter tokens. The loop will need to be drilled out on a few of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shown below is a medallion that has both a front and a back. Notice the pins and pinholes in the mold so that the images line up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the two medallions cast from the mold above, showing the back and front of the completed design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shown below is a mold allows you to pour five medallions at once. Again, note the pins and pinholes to make the front and back line up correctly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completed tokens from every member of the class.
Left: m’lady Othilia’s candle in an archway, Lady Helena’s stylized H
Center: top; Duchess Dorinda’s cross bottony, l-to-r; THL Keinven’s triquetra, Lady Maggie’s linden leaf, Lady Ginevra’s swan, m’lady Diane’s fret
Right: top; Lady Cigfran’s raven, m’lady Apollonia’s wolf, THFool Dagonell’s vair slipper

 


Categories: SCA news sites

Aztec golden wolf burial found in Mexico City

History Blog - Sat, 2017-07-08 23:42

Excavations in Mexico City run into momentous finds every other week, it seems. It’s like Rome. As soon as anyone puts a shovel a couple of feet into the ground, they bump into a treasure trove of the city’s ancient history. The latest announcement is of a discovery made by archaeologists in April of this year: the remains of a sacrificial wolf literally draped in gold. The final tally is 22 intact pieces of jewelry made from thin sheets of gold elaborately decorated with symbols. Most were pendants, the tie that held them together long since decayed; there’s also a nose ring and a chest plate.

The wolf was about eight months old when it was ritually killed. Its body was adorned with gold ornaments and a belt of shells from the Atlantic. It was then placed on a bed of flint blades inside a stone box and buried near the staircase of the Templo Mayor (behind the colonial-era Metropolitan Cathedral), the primary center of worship in the sacred precinct of Aztec Tenochtitlan. It was buried facing west and was meant to represent Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war and of the sun. Archaeologists found layers of offerings in the burial pit, items representing air, earth and sea and laden with religious meaning.

In forty years of excavations around the Templo Mayor area in Mexico City’s Zocalo, or central square, the gold covering this little wolf is far and away the finest in both metal quality and in its crafting. More than 200 ritual sacrifices and offerings have been found over the four decades. Only 16 of them contained gold, and little wonder since the Cortes and his successors took every last atom of Aztec gold they could find and melted it down for the Spanish treasure ships. Looters, both deliberate (treasure hunters) and incidental (workmen stumbling on something and pocketing it for sale on the black market), despoiled what was left underground. The Aztec, famous for their prized gold work, have been archaeologically denuded of it in Mexico City, the modern city built over their great capital of Tenochtitlan.

This small wolf burial, therefore, is of oversized historical importance as well as great pecuniary and artistic value. It came very close to disappearing from the archaeological record before it was ever documented. A city sewage line built in 1900 interfered with the burial, damaging the box. Thankfully the contents were not exposed, because one little glint of gold and the crew would have helped themselves to all of it, leaving nothing but scattered bones.

The golden wolf was buried during the 1486-1502 reign of King Ahuitzotl, the most feared and powerful ruler of the Mexica, who extended the empire as far south as present-day Guatemala. The reign of Ahuitzotl was particularly brutal, which may also explain the fate of the young wolf.

[Lead archaeologist Leonardo] Lopez said tests on its ribs will be needed to confirm his theory that the animal’s heart was torn out as part of the sacrifice, just as captured warriors were ritually killed on blood-soaked platforms of Aztec temples.

But this was no ordinary violence, noted [Harvard historian and Aztec expert David] Carrasco.

“These people didn’t just kill these things. They didn’t just kill people and throw them away,” he said. “They took elaborate, symbolic care for them because they knew that the presence that they represented, the presence of god, had to be nurtured.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Breakthrough on the dating of Borgring

History Blog - Fri, 2017-07-07 23:36

The ring fortress discovered on the island of Zealand, Denmark, in 2014 seemed from the first geophysical surveys of the site to fit a very rare and important type of fort built by King Harald Bluetooth (r. 958 — ca. 986). The circular design, the imposing size (475 feet in diameter), the four gates placed at the cardinal compass points, thick inner ramparts encircled by a spiked wooden palisade are all characteristics of Trelleborg-type fortresses, a network of powerful ring forts built by Harald in around 980 A.D. to form a defensive line against Germanic incursions. Only eight Trelleborg-type forts have been found in what is now Denmark and the southern tip of Sweden.

The 2014 excavation was limited in scope. Only a few trenches were dug revealing small sections of what archaeologists believed to be the north and south gates and some of the ramparts. The geophysical data was significant, but open to interpretation. Scholars were reluctant to accept that the Zealand structure, dubbed Borgring, was a fortress of the Trelleborg type based solely on these initial discoveries.

In order to conclusively identify it as one of Harald’s Trelleborg-type forts, archaeologists needed to narrow down the date of its construction as accurately as possible. These forts were built during a short window of a few years at the end of his reign, so pinpointing its age was essential. In the initial excavation, large oak timbers were unearthed at the north gate, charred in a fire that had engulfed the gate after its construction. Preserved by the flames, the wood could be radiocarbon dated, and because the timbers were so large, archaeologists were optimistic that they could be tree-ring dated as well. Carbon-14 testing can only return a date range, but dendrochronological analysis can, in the best case scenario, pinpoint the precise year in which a tree was felled.

Two samples taken from the north gate timbers were radiocarbon dated and produced pleasingly consistent dates. The oak logs dated to between 895 and 1017 A.D. Those dates fit squarely within the hoped-for range, but there was still too much wiggle room to prove that Borgring was a Trelleborg fortress. Archaeologists hoped the timbers could be dated dendrochronologically as well, but the charring impeded the analysis.

That was three years ago, and while excavations have been ongoing, the radiocarbon dating results from the north gate timbers have remained the only absolute dates on the table. That changed on June 26th, 2017, when the archaeological team from the Museum of South East Denmark and Aarhus University dug new trenches in the field next to the fortress. Just over eight feet below the surface, the team unearthed a piece of wood about three feet long. The carved oak plank was drilled with holes, some of which contained wooden pegs still in place. There is evidence of wear, but it’s unclear what exactly the plank was used for before it wound up discarded just outside the south gate.

Getting discarded was the best thing that could have happened to it, archaeologically speaking, because that field is composed of layer of peat, that blessed substance, preserver of organic remains large and small. The peat kept the wood from rotting and kept its rings in counting order.

Leading specialist in dendrochronological dating, Associate Professor Aoife Daly from the University of Copenhagen and the owner of dendro.dk, has just completed his study of the piece of wood and says: “The plank is oak and the conserved part of the tree trunk has grown in the years 829-950 In the Danish area. A comparison with the material from the Trelleborg fortress in Sjælland shows a high statistical correlation that confirms the dating. Since no splints have been preserved, it means that the tree has fallen at some point after year 966 “.

Research leader Jens Ulriksen says: “The wood piece was found on top of a peat layer, and is fully preserved as it is completely water-logged. We now have a date of wood in the valley of Borgring, which corresponds to the dating from the other ring fortresses from Harold Bluetooth’s reign. With the dendrochronological dating, in conjunction with the traces of wear the piece has, it is likely that the piece ended as waste in the late 900s, possibly in the early 1000’s. ” […]

Søren M. Sindbæk, professor in Archaeology at Aarhus University and part of the excavation team says: “This find is the major break-through, which we have been searching for. We finally have the dating evidence at hand to prove that this is a late tenth century fortress. We lack the exact year, but since the find also shows us where the river flowed in the Viking Age, we also know where to look for more timbers from the fortress.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History