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Library acquires hand-drawn 1790 map of Detroit

History Blog - Sat, 2016-10-01 17:51

The University of Michigan’s Clement Library has acquired a previously unknown map of Detroit from 1790. The hand-drawn, hand-colored map entitled “Rough sketch of the King’s Domain at Detroit” was found in a home in Almonte, Ontario. The owner believed his grandfather had bought in the 1930s, but he didn’t know anything about it. He contacted experts to find out if it was an original 18th century piece as labeled and they confirmed that its authenticity. The owner wanted an educational institution to have the map so that it could be of use to students, teachers and researchers, and the University of Michigan was the ideal place for an early map of Detroit.

The map is 21-by-40 inches in dimension and shows Fort Lernoult, built by the British in 1779 and ceded to the United States in 1796, top center, its surrounding fields and defenses, the shipyard and associated Navy garden on the Detroit River and, just south of the fort, the grid lines of the early city which by then had a population of about 2,000 people. The town was protected east and west by wooden stockades running from the river to the fort. Drawn on watermarked 18th century paper, it dated September 1790 and signed by “DW Smith Actg Fort Adjutant.” That was Captain David William Smith, the son of Major John Smith, commander of the 5th Regiment of Foot at Fort Lernoult. Major Smith was the chairman of the land board of the District of Hesse (the section of English Canada that included the city of Detroit); his son was the secretary.

It wouldn’t be Captain Smith’s only foray into map-making. The Clement Library has another map of Detroit drawn by him, but he would really go pro once up north. Two years after he put pen to paper on the “Rough sketch of the King’s Domain at Detroit,” he was appointed deputy surveyor general by Canada’s Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe (the real life inspiration for the highly fictionalized and scenery-chewing villain on the AMC’s American Revolution series Turn: Washington’s Spies) and was elected to the 1st Parliament of Upper Canada. In 1798 he was appointed surveyor general of Upper Canada and the next year published A Short Topographical Description of His Majesty’s Province of Upper Canada in North America, with an annotated second edition published at Simcoe’s behest in 1813. He also managed to purchase 20,000 acres of land in Ontario that would form fully half of the original city of Toronto.

Brian Dunnigan, curator of maps and associate director of the Clements Library[:]

“This is a really special find because there aren’t any other maps that depict Detroit at this particular time period, which was about six years before the British peacefully evacuated the town and fort to make way for the arrival of United States troops.” [...]

According to Dunnigan, who is an expert in early Detroit, Mackinac, Niagara and 18th-century Great Lakes history, and author of “Frontier Metropolis: Picturing Early Detroit,” the manuscript plan identifies the east and west boundaries of the “Domain,” an extra-wide ribbon strip of land that Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac, founder of Detroit, granted to himself in 1701.

The map includes many new details of the frontier city. Within the platted ground of the Domain is a very specific plan of the town, its defenses, and Fort Lernoult, constructed during the American Revolution and located (in modern terms) at the intersection of Fort and Shelby streets. It also includes proposed fortifications that were never constructed.

Due to a number of parcels of land bearing numbers, Dunnigan believes the map was once accompanied by a key or a report that has not yet been found.

The map will be the star of an exhibition at the Clement Library in 2017.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

New Heirs for Æthelmearc

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2016-10-01 17:35

The Æthelmearc Gazette reports that the new heirs to the Kingdom are Duke Timothy and Duchess Gabrielle.  A photo and more information about the other finalists and semi-finalists can be found here.

Filed under: Tidings Tagged: aethelmearc

Welcome Your New Prince and Princess!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2016-10-01 14:03

Timothy and Gabrielle invested as Prince and Princess. Photo by Mistress Ekaterina Volkova.

At Crown Tournament in the Rhydderich Hael, Duke Timothy of Arindale defeated Count Andreas Morgan to win the Coronet of Crown Princess for his lady wife, Duchess Gabrielle von Nijenrode. The finals were fought best of five. Duke Timothy took the tournament in three straight rounds with sword and shield, great sword, and polearm.

The other semi-finalists were Sir Gareth Kincaid and Earl Yngvar the Dismal.

Congratulations, Prince Timothy and Princess Gabrielle!

Thanks to Mistress Ekaterina Volkova for her reporting on Crown via Facebook.


Categories: SCA news sites

Unofficial Court Report for Smoking Rocks Investiture

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-09-30 11:52

Following is the unoffical court report from Smoking Rocks Investiture, held this September 3.

Richard Leviathan and Alys Attewater were made Baron and Baroness of Smoking Rocks; scribe was Solskinn of Smoking Rocks.

Ceawling Alreading was made a Court Baron; scribe was Ignacia la Ciega.

Ana Godefelaugh was given an Award of Arms; scribe was Heather Rose deGourdon.

William Bonesetter was given an Award of Arms; scribe was Tola Knityr.

Evelyn of Easton was given an Award of Arms; scribes was Katrusha Skomorokh.

Justinius Alexander Eternus was given an Award of Arms.  Illumination was by Aelthelthryth Kenricing and calligraphy by Avelina Keyes.

Eleyna Hilton was given a Kings Award of Esteem.

Barabas de Celicia was given an Order of the Tyger Combatant; scribe was Heather Rose deGordoun.

The reporting herald was Alesone Gray of Cranleigh.

Filed under: Court

Want the East Kingdom Calendar Available on Your Calendar?

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-09-30 10:53

Greetings to all from the keeper of the East Kingdom Calendar!

This is to let everyone know that it is now possible to load the Calendar of Events in to your personal Calendar!

No, I don’t mean using a quill and ink well to carefully copy each posting on to your copy of the Beasts of the East calendar, I mean Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, or Microsoft Outlook.  Probably others, too, but those are all I’ve got to test with.

Go take a look at http://www.eastkingdom.org/EventsCalendarSync.php and follow the instructions.  In the future, when you can’t find this post any more, all you need to remember is that it’s on the Events menu on every page of the East Kingdom website!

Filters will come in future revisions.  At the moment, you get everything posted that hasn’t already happened.

Of course, if you want to copy the Events on to your copy of Beasts of the East, don’t let me stop you.

In service,
Joel of Vestfell
Keeper of the Calendar

Filed under: Announcements

Arts & Sciences Research Paper #13: Persian Plants in Miniature: What are the Plants in Persian Illuminations?

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-09-30 10:38

Our thirteenth A&S Research Paper comes to us from Lady Raziya bint Rusa, of the Barony of Carolingia. She examines a question that troubles many people working with illuminated manuscripts: what exactly are those plants in the illuminations? Are they fanciful or are they plants that really existed in history? (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)

Persian Plants in Miniature:  What are the Plants in Persian Illuminations?

Hollyhock. Detail of Shāh-Mozzafar, “The Two Wrestlers”. Sandovar, p. 104.

Four years ago I bought a book of Persian miniatures for reference to help me sew garb.  As I paged through over breakfast one illustration caught my eye – a hollyhock.  I am a gardener by trade, and thought it out of place that a hollyhock, a staple of the English country garden, would be found in Persia.  To satisfy my curiosity I did a quick web-search into Persian Plants.  This line of questioning would be the undoing of my motivation to sew; two years later I had a seven thousand entry horticultural database and no new garb.

Individual Plants from Miniatures

My early research led me to incomplete and unsatisfying websites that were rudimentary in their lists of Persian plants.  Further digging led me to a promising link titled “Flora of Iran”.  Two clicks into the eponymous site was a list of plants alphabetical by genus and species.  The Flora of Iran (FOI) included family names and not much else; it had no common names or any other information on the plants.  However the site did have thousands of entries including a boisterous thirty nine species in the Genus Alcea (hollyhock).  I found many familiar names while reading, which I did with fascination.  The list was large and complete looking; this was the sort of information I was looking for, this was worth digging into.  Unfortunately I was hampered in using the data: this lovely list was a text document, not a spreadsheet.  A couple months later I finished fixing that particular problem.

During the course of data entry I realized that I needed to verify that these plants were all native to the old world.  I cross-referenced the data with several reputable sources that cover plant origins: Hortus Third, and the USDA Plant Database.  I removed nineteen plants from my list.  Species tend to travel from the old world to the new world, and not vice-versa.  I am still ignorant of whether, and when, these plants may have been moved around the old world, since some of them certainly did not originate in Persia.

After winnowing my list slightly, I made a best attempt to identify the plants I was looking at in miniature.  I scoured all the sources I had access to and I entered these plants into my database, noting which ones I was not certain of.  I have looked at Ottoman Turkish miniatures as well, particularly those painted around the time of conquest over Persian territory.  After this step I was left with another important issue: species familiar in cultivation such as fruit trees showed up in pictures but were not listed in the FOI.  I realized the FOI only included species that were naturalized to Iran, not those in cultivation.  I only had a list of those plants that grow themselves in the wild, native or introduced.  I needed a list of domesticated plants.

A good friend of mine had been cooking recipes from Ibn Sayyar al-Warrāq’s “Annals of the Caliph’s Kitchens”.  Good friends let you borrow al-Warrāq.  This text is considered Baghdadi, not Persian, however later Persian cultures did include Baghdad, so it is a good source for information on plant use in the region.  The book contains a few hundred references to specific plants which the translator calls out botanically.  Meticulous chefs are of great benefit to horticulturalists.   After adding these plants I had a list that was nearly complete.  In more recent times I have been looking into information from medical texts, and Andalusian horticultural treatises to further complete the list.

After much pruning, the database currently contains 6964 plants.  I have included: Genus, species, Family, common names, and some Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish names.  I also determined whether or not the plant is available in the United States, and some basic notes on its use.  I have made the information publicly available via my own site: https://sites.google.com/site/raziyasca/services/persian

However this still begs the question: What plants are found in the miniatures?  I have found a number of plants that I can narrow down enough to put familiar names on.  Each time I have discovered a recognizable plant, I check it against suspects in the database.  The following plants are those which I have an educated guess as to their identity. (NB: Clicking on the name of each plant will take you to a modern photo of the plant, while clicking on each manuscript image will take you to a larger version.)

Plants from Miniatures

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

Cypress. Detail from the Houghton Shāhnāma. (1539) Welch, p. 80.

It is difficult to identify many trees in Persian miniatures.  There is a tendency for them to be drawn with the subtlety of a lollipop.  Cypress is a tree which has a very dense columnar form.  Because of references to it in nearby Andalusian texts, and its presence in modern Iran, I suspect it was well known to the Persians.

Daffodil (Narcissus tazetta)

Daffodil. Unknown painter. Detail from the Khamseh of Nizami. (1524/25) Chelkowski, p. 107.

Daffodil, otherwise known as Narcissus, is a species which is very clear in illustrations.  While many species of Narcissus are currently in cultivation, and certainly may have been grown in Persia, N. tazetta is the only species listed as currently naturalized in Iran.  In modern times this species is also grown in a pure white form and called a “paperwhite”.  (Note that there is also another species called paperwhite, N. papyraceus.)  N. tazetta are often found for sale around the holiday season.  It is interesting that it is also grown in a container in period.

Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera)

Date Palm. Khurasan. Detail of “Picnic in the Mountains”. (1560s) Canby, p. 74.

The date palm is an easy identification.  Many illustrations in period are rudimentary, but one jumped out at me in its clarity.  While the miniature is not finished being painted, it shows the fruit and fronds with good detail.  Fruits and flowers form the core of how most plant classification has been done in the past.  Modern research into genomes have clarified previous taxonomy, but flowers and seeds still form the basis of hands-on identification.

Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva)

Daylily. Mosavver, Mir. Detail from the Shāh Tahmāsb Shāhnāme, “Rostam Lassoes Rakhsh”. (1525) Soudavar, p. 166.

Daylilies are a familiar face in modern gardens and were imported from the old world to North America.  The old orange varieties that grow along Maine ditches grew in ancient Persia.

Fruit Trees (Rosaceae)
Almond (Amygdalus)Apple (Malus), Cherry (Cerasus), Hawthorn (Crataegus), Pear (Pyrus), Plum (Prunus)

Two Fruit Trees. 1. Unknown painter. Detail from the Khamseh of Nizami. (1524/25) Chelkowski, p. 30. 2. Detail from the Houghton Shāhnāma. (1539) Welch, p. 80.

There are a number of flowering trees pictured in Persian miniatures, all of which I can only narrow to the family.  They all have five petals and are colored: white, pink, red, or a combination.  For those familiar in identifying trees in the Rosaceae family, there are critical differences in the time of bloom, the structure of the tree, and the size and shape of the leaf.  The structure of the trees and the leaves are stylized to the point where it is impossible to tell if a difference is for accuracy or aesthetics.  One also quickly notices that in Persian miniatures, ALL plants are in bloom at the same time, which is obviously erroneous even to a casual viewer.

Hollyhock and others (Malvaceae)
Hibiscus (Hibiscus), Hollyhock (Alcea), Mallow (Althaea, Malva), Tree Mallow (Lavatera)

Hollyhocketal. 1. Mansur. Detail from “Coronation of Soltān Hosayn Mirzā Bayqarā”. (1469) Soudavar, p. 74. 2. Mirza Ali. Detail from “Preparing for the Joust of the Twelve Rooks”. (1530) Soudavar, p. 169. 3. Detail from a Shahname. (1440) Soudavar, p. 70.

Hollyhocks started me on this journey, but are another group difficult to pinpoint.  The mallow family (Malvacaea) corresponds well to the general depiction: five petaled flowers born on long stems amid five lobed leaves, flowers are usually two-toned: red, white, or pink.  Based on the large number of species listed in the FOI in each of these Genera, it is likely that all of these are native to Persia, and they have spent millennia evolving into different species.  Pictured is the traditional hollyhock; it is not in the FOI list but that exclusion does not exclude it from being a species cultivated in Persia.

Iris (Iris spp.)

Iris. Mosavver, Mir. Detail from the Shāh Tahmāsb Shāhnāme, “Rostam Lassoes Rakhsh”. (1525) Soudavar, p. 166.

Iris is easily identified, and is likely Iris germanica or I. kashmiriana.  While not all illustrations match, seen here is a common depiction of: two-tone color, yellow bearding, and wide leaves.

Oak (Quercus spp.)

Oak. Detail from the Houghton Shāhnāma. (1539) Welch, p. 80.

It is difficult to notice oaks in miniatures if one is only familiar with the pointed lobes of red and black oaks.  While I cannot confirm the pictures are in fact oak, I think it is very likely. These trees can have a variety of leaf shapes including rounded lobes.  Pictured here is Quercus robur, English oak.

Plane Tree (Platanus orientalis)

Plane Tree. Detail from a Shāhnāma. (1586) Titley, p. 10.

Plane tree, or sycamore, is a river species known for its peeling bark.  As the bark peels, it reveals a light under layer as it peels off the tree.  It has deeply lobed leaves, much like a maple.  Due to variety in some illustrations, Maple-like leaves with brown bark, or white bark and non-lobed leaves I was unsure as to the identity of this tree for a time.  Fortunately in one of the periods of more meticulous scribal work I found a specimen in fruit.  The fruits of the plane tree are distinctive burr-like balls that hang from a stem.  In period this tree is often pictured growing on the edge or a river or stream.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Pomegranates. 1. Ibn Badr, Muhammad. (1341)  Detail from Mu’nis al-ahrar. Swietochowski, p. 37 2. Selimi, Ṣahsuvar. (1520) Detail from Divani-i Selimi. Atil, p. 70.

Pomegranate can be hard to tell from other fruit trees.  Many fruit trees are only shown as having round fruit of either red, yellow, or orange in color.  Pomegranate stands out because of the sepals which stick out of the end of the fruit.

Poplar (Populus spp.)

Poplar. Behzād. Detail from “Birth of a Prince”. (1485) Soudavar, p. 99.

While these trees look superficially like birch, birch is not a Persian genus.  Instead these are poplar.  P. alba and P. caspica have the characteristic white bark, a similar shape of leaf.

Poppy (Papaver spp.)

Poppy. Detail from the Houghton Shāhnāma. (1539) Welch, p. 80.

There are too many poppies to guess which species is pictured; photographed is P. orientale, a common garden variety.  Most species in the FOI have the characteristic reddish-orange petals and black “eyes”.

Reed (Arundo donax or Phragmities australis)

Reed. Mosavver, Mir. Detail from the Shāh Tahmāsb Shāhnāme, “Rostam’s First Ordeal: Rakhsh Slays a Lion.” (1525) Soudavar, p. 168.

Pictured is a plant easily identified as a large reed.  It is shown both growing on the edge of water and much larger than surrounding objects.  Arundo and Phragmites are similar enough that I cannot differentiate between the two in miniature.

Rose (Rosa spp.)
(Rosa damascenaRosa caninaRosa spinosissimaRosa centifolia)

Roses. 1. Soltān-Mohammad. Detail of “Divān of Hāvez: Celebration of ‘Id”. (1527) Soudavar, p. 1602. 2. Detail from the Houghton Shāhnāma. (1539) Welch, p. 146. 3. Unknown artist. Detail from “Festivity at a Princely Court”. Hagedorn, p. 65. 4. Tuni, Mir Afzal. Detail from “A Lady Watching her Dog Drink Wine from a Bowl”. (1640) Hagedorn, p. 79.

Roses are quite possibly one of the most canonically Persian flowers.  Unlike many of the other plants, roses are not shown pictured consistently.  I have included four unique depictions of roses.  It is interesting that while other plants were copied or traced, the scribes took time to illustrate roses anew each time.  Some roses have a simple 5 petaled form, others seem to have double petals, and some have a form with more than double.  This diversity suggests that a variety of different rose types were being grown in period.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon. Unknown artist. Detail from “Festivity at a Princely Court”. Hagedorn, p. 65.

Rose of Sharon is the weakest illustration that I have found; it is a stretch to identify this as the plant in question.  I hypothesized that it was not a rose because despite having five petals the illustration has two-tone color to the petals.  The plant pictured is woody not herbaceous, which rules out Malvacaea.

Tulip (Tulipa spp.)

Tulip. Mohammadi. Detail from “Throwing Down the Imposter”. (1581) Soudavar, p. 233.

While we associate tulips with Holland, they were originally a species found in the Mediterranean, the Middle-East, and Central Asia.  They are very happy in a much drier climate than what we typically raise them.  Due to the plethora of species found in the FOI, I am unsure as to species: many look very similar. Several species have colors like those in the miniatures. Pictured is T. linifolia.

Willow (Salix babylonica)

Willows. ‘Ali-Ashgar. Detail from “Alexander Building a Wall”. (1576-77) Soudavar, p. 253.

Willows are seen in two basic forms in the miniatures: upright and weeping.  This suggests at least two separate species.  Pictured is a weeping species.

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Al-Muzzafar ibn Nasr Ibn Sayyar al-Waraq. 2007. Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens: Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq’s Tenth Century Baghdadi Cookbook. Trans. Nawal Nasrallah. Boston: Brill.

Atil, Esin.  1987.  The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent.  New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Baily, Liberty Hyde, and Ethel Zoe Bailey. 1976. Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Canby, Sheila, R. 1993. Persian Painting. Northampton Massachussetts: Interlink Books.

Canby, Sheila, R. 1999.  The Golden Age of Persian Art 1501-1722.  London: The British Museum.

Chelkowski, Peter J. 1975. Mirror of the Invisible World: Tales from the Khamseh of Nizami. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Conan, Michael.  2007.  Middle East Garden Traditions: Unity and Diversity.  Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks.

Hagedorn, Annette, Norbert Wolf. 2009. Islamic Art. Germany: Taschen.

Plant Families” in Flora of Iran [database online]. [cited May 8, 2013].

Plant Finder” in Missouri Botanical Garden. [database online]. [cited May 24, 2013].

Robinson, B.W. 1991. Fiftteenth-Century Persian Painting Problems and Issues. New York: New York University Press.

Soudavar, Abolala. 1992. Art of the Persian Courts: Selections from the Art and History Trust Collection. New York: Rizzoli.

Swietochowski, Marie Lukens, and Stefano Carboni, with essays by A. H. Morton and Tomoko Masuya. 1994. Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images: Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Titley, Norah M. 1983. Persian Miniature Painting and its influence on the art of Turkey and India. Austin: University of Texas Press.

USDA Plant Database [database online]. [cited May 8, 2013].

Welch, Stuart Cary. 1972. A King’s Book of Kings: The Shah-Nameh of Shah Tahsmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wikipedia [database online]. [cited May 8, 2013].

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Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences

Throwback Thursday – HRM Semjaka

PainBank - Thu, 2016-07-14 03:00

This was our last PainBank episode from 2005-6 timeframe. We interviewed His Royal Majesty (at the time) Semjaka, King of Calontir.

It was enjoyable and we never intended to stop podcasting, but alas we did. Maybe one day we will get going again.


Categories: SCA news sites

Throwback Thursday – Duke Felix – aka Scott Frappier

PainBank - Thu, 2016-07-07 03:00

This throwback episode goes back to an interview I did with Duke Felix (Scott Frappier).

It was a great time and our friendship has only flourished since then. In the image though is Duke Edmund and Duchess Katrina.



Categories: SCA news sites

Re: Names

SCA Newcomers list (Yahoo!) - Tue, 2013-07-23 23:09
Lalleshwari Sah, called Lalla commented: <<< P.P.S. What I meant, by doing research and documentation and checking with the college of heralds, is that you
Categories: Newcomer Information

More things than not only newcomers might not know

SCA Newcomers list (Yahoo!) - Mon, 2013-07-22 22:59
Erlina said: <<< Greetings Lord Mithgiladan, I have asked questions and have found some of the information you just provided. I am learning from the officers
Categories: Newcomer Information