A team of archaeologists with France’s National Institute of Preventative Archaeological Research (INRAP) have unearthed shackled skeletons from a Gallo-Roman necropolis in Saintes, southwestern France. The property was slated for construction of a detached home and an archaeological survey of an adjacent plot last year found evidence of ancient funerary usage. From September to November of this year, the excavation discovered 100 graves dating to the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D.
These were very modest burials. Most of the graves contain double burials, two people buried head to toes in rectangular trenches. One grave was a multiple with five people, two of them adult women and two of them children. Only one of them included any grave goods: a small child buried with seven vases and a coin over each eye to pay the ferryman conveying him over the river into the underworld. The vases date to the second half of the 2nd century A.D. which makes this burial with a funerary practice entirely different from the others one of the later graves in the necropolis.
Perhaps the most intriguing discovery were the remains of five shackled individuals. Three of them are adult men, one is an adult of unknown gender and one is a child. Of the four adults, three had iron shackles hot riveted to their left ankles alone. The fourth had a shackle on the right ankle and a larger one, known as a “bondage collar” or “straitjacket,” around his neck. The child had a shackle on his or her left wrist that was more rudimentary than the ones the adults were made to wear into eternity. It’s flat and curved around the wrist where the ends are riveted together.
Individuals with shackles have been found before from this period in France, but this discovery is notable for having five of them. The adult shackled around the neck and ankle is also unusual. Researchers are hoping to find out more about these people’s lives and deaths by analyzing the human remains, artifacts and shackles. Ideally they’d like to discover the cause of death for all the interred, what kind of food they ate, what kind of work they did, whether they lived together in the same community. If they came from the same place, or at least lived in similar conditions, the bones and teeth will attest to that.
Saintes, known in antiquity as Mediolanum Santonum, was an important regional center in the Roman province of Aquitania. It was founded around 20 B.C. when the Roman roads connecting to Burdigala (modern-day Bordeaux) with its copious tin and lead trade to other towns in the region were expanded. Built at the western end of the Via Agrippa, the major artery that linked Lugdunum (Lyon) to the Atlantic coast, Saintes quickly became thoroughly Romanized with monumental public architecture and utilities.
The necropolis is 270 yards west of the great Roman amphitheater of Saintes. Large enough at its greatest extent to seat 12,000-18,000 people, the amphitheater is one of the largest and oldest in France today. Construction began during the reign of the emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.) and was finished around 41 A.D., under the reign of Claudius. As Roman amphitheaters generated significant death both in the construction phases and in their express purpose, it’s possible that the dead of the necropolis were somehow related to the amphitheater.
In July, archaeologists working on excavations in St John's Street in Northampton, England discovered a 13th century malting oven, used to roast grain for brewing. Now a second, even larger, oven has been found at the same site. (photo)
Four bronze angels created for the never-completed tomb of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, lost for centuries, could be scattered again if we can’t raise £1,540,247 by December 31st. As of right now, £3,459,753 has been raised, thanks to a £2 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, £500,000 from the Art Fund and donations from individuals through the Victoria & Albert museum’s Wolsey Angels Appeal. I really cannot emphasize enough how much of a monstrous travesty losing the Wolsey Angels would be.
It was Cardinal Wolsey himself, at the peak of his power in 1524, 10 years after he was appointed Cardinal Archbishop of York, on his ninth year as Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, who commissioned the angels from Florentine sculptor and architect Benedetto da Rovezzano. Benedetto was famous by then as a builder of tombs for the notables of the short-lived Florentine Republic, church reliefs, statues for sepulchral monuments to saints. His Republican sympathies and wholesale loss of patrons after the re-establishment of the Medici rule ultimately drove him out of Florence. In 1519 he moved to London and remained there for 24 years, making sculptures and tombs for the royal court.
Wolsey’s commission was for a monumental tomb in Renaissance style with an angel standing on pillars nine feet tall in each of the four corners, but his end would come before the tomb was completed and in any case his circumstances had changed, to put it mildly. When Wolsey was unable to secure an annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, he wasn’t just fired; he was arrested. In 1529, Henry confiscated Wolsey’s property, including the residence of Hampton Court thenceforth known as Hampton Court Palace and Benedetto da Rovezzano’s four bronze angels and other finished parts of the tomb including the striking black marble sarcophagus. Wolsey died on his way to London to answer to charges of treason in November of 1530.
Henry VIII decided he would use the elements of Wolsey’s tomb to make an even grander tomb for himself, and who better to commission than Benedetto da Rovezzano? Benedetto set up a workshop and foundry at Westminster and set to work on the king’s tomb. By 1543, the tomb still wasn’t finished and Benedetto’s health was suffering so he returned to Italy. According to Vasari, Benedetto experienced vertigo and sight impairment as a result of “standing too long over the fire in the founding of metals, or by some other reasons,” and eventually went completely blind. He died around 1554.
Henry VIII died in 1547 with the tomb incomplete. He was buried with his third wife and mother of his son, Jane Seymour, in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. His three children — Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I — each said they’d have the tomb completed and Henry interred in it, but it never happened. In 1565, Elizabeth moved the tomb parts to Windsor where they were still being kept 80 years later when the dislocation of Civil War struck them. With the Parliamentarian victories in 1645, most of the tomb was sold off. Only the black sarcophagus remained at Windsor. Charles I wanted to buried in it at Westminster Abbey, but the 59 Commissioners who found him guilty of high treason against himself refused permission. Instead he was buried in Henry VIII’s vault in St. George’s Chapel on February 9th, 1649. A suitable use was eventually found for the black coffin: in 1805, King George III gifted the Wolsey-Henry-Charles sarcophagus to serve as a final resting place for Admiral Lord Nelson’s body in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
As for the angels, they disappeared after the Civil War fire sale. It took 350 years for them to turn up again. Unmoored from their illustrious history and unrecognized by appraisal exports, two of the angels came up for auction at Sotheby’s in 1994. The catalogue described them as bronze angels “in the Renaissance style,” not realizing they were originals of major historical significance by a name artist. They didn’t even include a photograph accompanying the entry in the catalogue. The pair sold for £12,000. A few years ago, the auction pair were finally recognized. Italian art historian Francesco Caglioti came across them in the possession of a Paris antiques dealer. He researched the angels and found an exact description of them in a 1530 inventory of Wolsey’s property.
Caglioti didn’t stop there. He went on a quest to find the other two angels, and against every conceivable odds, he found them in 2008 at Harrowden Hall, a Northamptonshire estate that was acquired by the Wellingborough Golf Club in the 1970s. Nobody knows when the angels got there; they were already in place when the stately home became a clubhouse. All four of them were there, as a matter of fact, because the two that were sold at Sotheby’s in 1994 had actually been stolen from the Wellingborough Golf Club in 1988. The angels were standing on posts flanking the entrance gates back then. The golf club people just figured one pair had been stolen for their lead value (they had no idea the angels were even bronze) so they moved the surviving pair indoors and wrote off the loss. As soon as they found out they had Wolsey’s Angels, the club lent them to the V&A for safekeeping.
Now here is the crux of the travesty. Because of the statute of limitations and the many hands and countries with varying applicable laws the stolen angels have passed through, the Wellingborough Gold Club cannot get the angels back from the Paris dealer. Instead, he’s going to sell his pair to the Victoria & Albert for £2.5 million. He may donate some portion of his filthy lucre to the Golf Club, but then again he may not. The Wellingborough has made the same offer for its pair of angels (they can’t be sold to the highest bidder because they are part of the heritage listing of Harrowden Hall) which is why it will cost £5 million to save the four Wolsey Angels for the nation.
Hilary Mantel, author of the Tudor-era historical novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, had this to say about the rediscovery of the Wolsey Angels:
“Thanks to the discovery of Wolsey’s angels, a great Englishman we have forgotten may have his monument at last. The recovery of Wolsey’s angels is one of those miracles that historians pray for; something that seems irrevocably lost has been there all the time. To claim the angels for the nation would connect us to one of the liveliest eras of our history and one of its most remarkable men.”
I asked Brodie Lyon, the V&A’s Annual Fund and Appeals Manager, if there was another large grant in the works to make up for the alarming shortfall and there was none that he could announce publicly, which I hope means there are arrangements going on in the background but could just as well mean that there is no plan B. We need a last minute fundraising push because if this sale doesn’t go through, it looks like those two Paris angels could wind up anywhere in the world and there isn’t a damn thing the law can do about it even though there is no dispute about the fact that they’re stolen goods of immense cultural significance to Britain.
The Promotions Officer for Estrella War XXXII reports that organizers are seeking applicants for the position(s) of Main Steward(s).
Gunther Canon reports that at Their Mordenvale Malþing event, Their Majesties Niáll and Liadan, of the Kingdom of Lochac, offered elevation to the Order of the Pelican to Orri Vígleiksson.
Don Frasier MacLeod, East Kingdom’s Rapier Marshal, has announced the new Central Region Deputy Rapier Marshal.
“After much consideration I have decided to install Don Lotieri Malocchio as my new Deputy. I would ask you all to welcome him and give him whatever help he may need settling into his new position.”
Filed under: Fencing, Official Notices, Tidings
Archaeologists from National Museums Scotland (NMS) and Aberdeen University’s Northern Picts Project have unearthed a hoard of Late Roman and Pictish silver fragments in a field in Aberdeenshire (the exact location of the hoard of more than 100 pieces is being kept secret to deter looters). It’s a hoard of hacksilver — bits of larger silver objects cut up for use as currency — made from coins, vessels, bracelets, brooches and more between the 4th and 6th century A.D. This is the northernmost hoard of Late Roman hacksilver ever discovered and the Pictish silver is unique.
As part of the Glenmorangie Research Project, an investigation into the history of early medieval Scotland funded by the Glenmorangie whisky company, National Museums Scotland experts will analyze, document and catalogue every silver fragment in the hoard. The project’s aim is to gain a better understanding of how silver went from a new, exotic Roman material to the most prestigious precious metal used to decorate high status objects in early medieval Scotland.
The discovery fits in to a sequence of silver use and re-use over several centuries that can now be studied alongside two other Scottish hacksilver hoards, the purely Late Roman silver from Traprain Law, East Lothian and the Pictish silver from Norrie’s Law, Fife.
These hoards contain a range of interesting material: earlier items from all over the Roman Empire, but also some unique objects and other later objects which have links to Ireland, the near continent and Anglo-Saxon England and give a snapshot of Scotland in Early Medieval Europe.
NMS researchers hope the comparison of the hoards will help illuminate the interactions between the late Romans and Picts. So far, the project’s investigations in northeastern Scotland have found that the area Picts were part of powerful early medieval kingdoms.
This phase of the project is expected to take three years, but you won’t have to wait that long to see some of the Aberdeenshire hoard in person. Select pieces from the hoard will go on display at the University of Aberdeen’s King’s Museum January 20th to May 31st, 2015.
Now that the Gazette is up and running, we’d like to encourage submissions!
The important points are these:
The Gazette is fast becoming the place to go for all the news of Æthelmearc – add your voice!
Archaeologists and theologians are excited about the discovery of a 4th century engraved glass plate depicting an unbearded Jesus. The plate, discovered during an excavation near the southern Spanish city of Linares, is believed to be one of the earliest known images of Christ. (photos)
Marilyn Monroe, News Editor of the Southwest Daily News in Sulphur, Texas, is still having fun at the Texas Renaissance Festival years after her actor boyfriend dragged her there. She reports on the Ren Faire world in an article for the Leesville Daily Leader.
Atsókn vetrar – Winter’s Attack,
This poem in Old Norse is in the form called dróttkvaett which has the following main characteristics:
This particular verse is intended to celebrate the coming of winter. Following the verse, there is a word-for-word translation, a prose version in proper English, and a list of kennings used in the poem.
Þagnaðu er þegnar
Prose order translation of the poem:
Grew silent when thegn of Thorri birds schemed; Chains of winter tightly fair choked fields; Clutched at rime-thurses rings of the ground white-browed; The mares froze of Jokull haddock’s over fish-hall.
Regular prose order translation:
Birds grew silent when Thorri’s thegn schemed. Chains of winter tightly choked fair fields. White-browed rime-thurses clutched at ground-rings. Jokull’s mares froze over the haddock’s fish-hall.
Kennings used in this poem:
þegna Þorra – Thora’s thegn – Thorri is the goddess of winter, her thegn is winter weather.
festar vetrar – chains of winter – snow drifts & ice.
hrímþursar – rime-thurses (ice-giants) – winter storms
hringagrundar – rings of the ground – fields
jálkar Jökulls – Jökul’s mare – ice floes. Jökull is the name given to the glaciers. His horse (mare) is the ice he rides into the valleys.
lýskála – fish-hall – a lake or pond.
Rome, from Mount Aventine, one of less than 10 paintings by Joseph Mallord William Turner still in private hands, sold at Sotheby’s in London for £30.3 million ($47.5 million). It’s a new record auction price for the artist, surpassing the previous record-holder, the sublime Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino by $2 million and leaving its pre-sale estimate of £15-20 million ($24,530,000 – $32,707,000) in the dust. In fact, it’s the highest auction price for any pre-20th century British artist.
A landscape of Rome viewed from the Aventine Hill looking north over the Tiber, the 1835 painting wasn’t done live, but rather from the sketches Turner did of the city during his 1828 visit. It’s an unusual prospect: the bustling Porto di Ripa, the Trastevere dock yards in front of the Ospizio di San Michele, in the midfield left, with Saint Peter’s dome in the far distance, the Ponte Emilio in center, and the Capitoline Hill with the bell tower of the Palazzo del Senatore crossing the horizon to the right. On the curve of the Tiber’s right bank stand the ruins of the ancient city: the Roman Forum, the Circus Maximus, even the arches of the Colosseum visible in the misty light of dawn between the trees of the Aventine on the far right of the canvas.
It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1836 to much acclaim. It remained the property of the man who commissioned it, Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro, until his death. It was purchased from the estate in 1878 by Archibald Primrose, the Fifth Earl of Rosebery and future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (March 5th, 1894 – June 22nd, 1895), who also bought Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino. The Primrose family owned both paintings until they sold Campo Vaccino four years ago to fund an endowment that will support the Rosebery estates indefinitely.
The painting’s rarity, classic subject matter, impeccable provenance and exceptional condition engendered the bidding war. The award-winning success of the movie Mr Turner, starring Timothy Spall as the artist, may have played a part too, at least in keeping Turner’s name on people’s lips.
Alex Bell, joint international head and co-chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department, said: “It is hard to overstate the importance of Rome, From Mount Aventine. There are no more than half a dozen major works by Turner left in private hands and this work must rank as one of the very finest.
“This painting, which is nearly 200 years old, looks today as if it has come straight from the easel of the artist; never relined and never subject to restoration, the picture retains the freshness of the moment it was painted: the hairs from Turner’s brush, his fingerprint, the drips of liquid paint which have run down the edge of the canvas, and every scrape of his palette knife have been preserved in incredible detail.”
The buyer is an anonymous phone bidder who went up against three strongly motivated bidders on the floor. I’m hoping we’ll get a press release from a museum claiming responsibility. If the buyer plans to take it out of Britain, he or she can expect a temporary export ban like the one that delayed, but ultimately was unable to block, the Getty’s acquisition of Campo Vaccino.
Kameshima Zentarou Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, reports that at Their Court at Agincourt Their Majesties Titus and Anna Leigh of the Kingdom of AEthelmearc placed two of Their subjects on vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Pelican.
Master Caelin on Andrede reports that he has created an album of photos from the Barony of Elfsea's Library Demo which took place recently in the Kingdom of Ansteorra. The photos are available on Flickr.
At Kingdom Twelfth Night, being held on January 10th in Abhainn Ciach Ghlais, the next Sylvan Bard of Æthelmearc will be decided. The following announcement concerning the competition is posted with the permission of Lady Alianora Bronhulle, the current Sylvan Bard. Greetings from the Sylvan Bard! Kingdom Twelfth Night (on January 10, 2015) is approaching, and the competition to choose the next Bardic Champion will be held at that time. Dust off your song books, tune up your instruments, and throw your name in the hat! The format will be as follows: For the competition, Their Royal Majesties stipulate that the participants rotate forms (like in the final round of crown), meaning that they cannot do two pieces of the same type in a row (i.e. two songs, stories, poems, etc.)
This round will be held before court. The Champion will be announced in court that evening. Please note that this is a 1-year term as Sylvan Bard, and you get some swanky regalia. Even if you don’t want to compete, there will be time and space available between rounds for performances…on a real stage! Come perform, or support those that are performing. It looks like it will be a very entertaining time. In service to bardic awesomeness, Lady Alianora Bronhulle
You can contact Lady Alianora at <e_whitcomb at yahoo dot com> with any questions about the competition The event announcement for Twelfth Night is here.
In 2011, archaeologists exploring the rapidly melting Lendbreen glacier in Norway’s Breheimen National Park discovered an intact woolen tunic dating to between 230 and 390 A.D. It is the oldest garment ever found in Norway, and it wasn’t new when for unknown reasons it was left on a glacier to freeze solid. There are several patches and the sleeves were sewn onto the tunic after the original manufacture. Although it could have been decades old, it was still entirely in wearable condition, and yet it was found bundled up and covered in horse manure. Archaeologists speculated that its 5’9″ wearer removed it believing himself to be hot, a common delusion caused by hypothermia, but it may also have been put to some other purpose rather than as clothing.
Its exceptional condition and the visible repairs afford researchers a unique chance to examine Iron Age wool, textile production and garment construction. To learn more about how the tunic was made, two museums — the University of Olso’s Museum of Cultural History and the Norwegian Mountain Museum in Lom — will create reproductions using traditional techniques. It’s going to be a highly detailed and complex process that enlists the labour of expert craftsmen.
First they have to source the proper wool. Ancient Norwegian sheep breeds had two kinds of wool: the long, stiff, water-resistant outer coat known as overhair, and the soft, fluffy inner layer known as underwool. The two layers were used to make different kinds of garments. The overhair was ideal for outerwear to protect from the elements, but the Lendbreen tunic was made almost entirely from underwool.
Wool from most modern sheep breeds is akin to the ancient underwool, but wild breeds still have the two layers. Researchers are therefore securing the wool of Norwegian wild sheep from a farmer at Hareid in northwestern Norway’s Sunnmøre region. Then traditional wool spinnery at Selbu Spinneri wll separate the overhair from the underwool by hand. They have no idea how long this painstaking work will take (my guess is a long damn time). Once the overhair has been plucked out, the spinners will spin some of the underwool on a hand spindle just as it would have been done in the Iron Age. (Spinning wheels were invented in the 18th century. EDIT: According to the linked release about the project, that is, but several erudite commenters below have corrected the contention. I suspect is a translation error and they were referring to mechanized spinning.) The project can’t afford to spin all the wool they need by hand, so some of it will be spun mechanically.
Because the tunic was woven in a diamond twill pattern, the Selbu Spinneri will sort the underwool into shades of grey so the darkest and lightest wool can be woven into this distinctive pattern. Once spun, the yard will be woven into the diamond twill textile on a vertical warp-weighted loom, an ancient machine that is simple, functional and slow.
Consisting of a simple upright frame with two horizontal beams, the loom is leant against a wall. The vertical warp threads hang freely from the upper beam. To keep the warp threads taut, stones or other heavy weights are hung from the bottom of bundles of warp threads. The weaving is done from the top of the loom downwards and every line of weft thread is beaten tightly in place with a sword beater.
The textiles will be woven by handweaver Lena Hammarlund from Gothenburg. Lena specializes in reconstructing prehistoric textiles.
Lena Hammarlund from Gothenburg, you are so cool.
After Ms. Hammarlund does her thing, the woven textile will be sewn into two tunics by traditional tailors from Heimen Husflid in Oslo. Once the tunics are completed, they will go on display, one at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, the other at the Lom museum. The latter is just six miles east of the Lendbreen glacier and has a large collection of artifacts recovered since the thaws began accelerating in 2006.
Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo, hopes the reconstruction won’t just give us a new understanding of the manufacture of ancient woollen clothing, but will also have an impact on Norwegian clothing design today.
“Clothes were not consumer items in the Iron Age. It was important to be able to re-use clothing, and in those days clothes lasted a long time. Today, we spend enormous resources on clothes. And modern clothes are not durable. If we can use local raw materials and create clothing of high quality, it will be good for us all. We are therefore hoping that designers will be inspired by this example of old, Norwegian design. If we can create modern textiles from a prehistoric design, we hope also to be able to give a boost to the Norwegian wool industry. Sadly, much of the wool from the old sheep breeds currently goes to waste.”
I’m picturing a Norwegian wild sheep overhair trench coat. I know I’d wear one.
The Court of our most excellent prince and lord, Edward, by right of arms most illustrious King of the East, third of that name, and Thyra, his Queen by agency of that same right, second of that name, held upon 28 November in the forty-ninth year of the Society in the Barony of Ruantallan; on which day were called all and sundry the lords of the realm and the great persons of the kingdom to hear the following publicly proclaimed:
Item. In the first sitting of Their Majesties’ Court, Their Majesties gave thanks to Donal O’Neill and Allessandra Francesca di Milano for their good, faithful and notable service holding the lands as Baron and Baroness of Ruantallan and, as tokens of their merit and great nobility, elevated the said Donal and the said Allessandra to the ranks of Baron and Baroness of the Court, and granted them Arms, the which deeds were confirmed in documents created by Nest verch Tangwistel, Alisay de Falaise and Margaret Twygge of Sky Hill.
Item. Their Majesties summoned before the Tyger Thrones the East Kingdom Seneschal, Dueña Mercedes Vera de Califia, who announced that the Incipient Shire of Avonmore had fulfilled all of the requirements for becoming a full and official Shire.
Item. Their Majesties called before them Briana Douglase and instructed her to go forth to the place prepared for her to sit vigil and prepare to answer the question whether she would join the Order of the Pelican.
Whereupon, Their Majesties adjourned their Court until the hour of tierce, at which time such further business was done and caused to be done:
Item: Their Majesties invested Guthfrith Yrlingsson as Baron of Ruantallan and Isobel Mowbray as Baroness of Ruantallen, and accepted the fealty of the same for the lands held of the Crown, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Mergriet van Wijenhorst.
Whereupon, with Their Majesties’ leave, Their Excellencies Baron Guthfrith and Baroness Isobel conducted such business as was necessary and fitting.
Whereupon, with the leave of Their Majesties, the Prince and Princess of Tir Mara, Darius and Etheldreda, did and caused the following to be done:
Item. The Prince and Princess of Tir Mara thanked their Rattan Champions, Robert Gower and Cornelia van der Brugge, for their worthy and excellent service, and dismissed them according to custom.
Item. The Prince of Tir Mara invested Spurius Genucius Rutilus as his Rattan Champion, the which deed was confirmed in a document calligraphed by Juliote de Castlenou d’Arry and illuminated by Conn Rosendubh.
Item. The Princess of Tir Mara invested Pellandres dit le frère as her Rattan Champion, the which deed was confirmed in a document calligraphed by Juliote de Castlenou d’Arry and illuminated by Conn Rosendubh.
Item. The Prince and Princess of Tir Mara thanked their Arts and Sciences Champions, Mergriet van Wijenhorst and Katherine Murray, for their worthy and honorable service and, according to custom, dismissed them.
Item. The Princess of Tir Mara invested Inga Thorgansdottir as her Arts and Sciences Champion, the which deed was confirmed in document created by Mergriet van Wijenhorst.
Item. The Prince of Tir Mara invested Katherine Murray for a second time as his Arts and Sciences Champion, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Mergriet van Wijenhorst.
Whereupon, Their Majesties reconvened the Court previously adjourned and did and caused to be done the following:
Item. Their Majesties summoned the good lad Jack of Ynys Y Gwaed before the Court and inducted him into the Order of the Tyger’s Cub, the which deed was confirmed in document authored by Alys Mackyntoich, calligraphed by Eva Woderose and illuminated by Gianna di Aurelio.
Item. Their Majesties caused gifts of toys to be distributed to the children of the realm.
Item. Their Majesties summoned Onora Glencairn before the Court and homolgated the deed of Their ancestors of blessed memory, Brennan and Caoilfhionn, by awarding the said Onora Arms, the which deed was confirmed with a gift of embroidery created by Gwenlliana Vachan.
Item. Their Majesties brought before the Court the fair Artemizia di Niccolo della Fabro, to whom they then awarded Arms, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Shadiyah al-Zahra’.
Item. Their Majesties brought Lloyd Smith before the Tyger Thrones and awarded him Arms.
Item. Their Majesties summoned before them the worthy Rozalin Vella and awarded her Arms, the which deed was confirmed in a document authored by Alys Mackyntoich, calligraphed by Eva Woderose and illuminated by Aesa feilinn Josursdottir.
Item. Her Majesty called the noble Sarra Graeham of Birnham from her labors in the kitchens and, thanking her for her many good works, bestowed upon her the Queen’s Honor of Distinction.
Item. Their Majesties called Sage O’Rose before the Court and awarded Arms to that worthy
Item. Their Majesties called before them one Jonathan Rankin O’Rose, known to be a captain of ships, and endowed the said Jonathan with a license to seek out new and undiscovered lands and to claim and rule the said lands in the name of the East, with certain rights and responsibilities attendant thereupon, the which license was confirmed in a document authored by Alys Mackyntoich and calligraphed by Eleanor Catlyng.
Item. Their Majesties caused Isobel Bickerstaff to be brought before them, whereupon, praising her story-telling, they inducted her into the Order of the Troubadour, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Fiona O’Maille.
Item. Their Majesties called into the Court the good man Percival Gower and, praising his talents in shoe-making, invested the said Percival with the Order of the Maunche, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Sarra Graeham of Birnham.
Item. Their Majesties summoned into the Court the good lady Danuta Czarowna, and, praising her work in illumination and the scribal arts, inducted the said Danuta into the Order of the Maunche, the which deed was confirmed with the gift of a book created by Robin dit Dessaint, with text by Gwenhwyfar Dinas Emrys.
Item. Her Majesty called into the Court the noble and gentle Hedda Bonesetter and endowed the said Hedda with the Queen’s Order of Courtesy, the which deed was confirmed in a document authored by Ygraine of Kellswood and calligraphed and illuminated by Eva Woderose.
Item. Their Majesties called the fine and worthy Castellanna Nazario d’Azzana before the Tyger Thrones and awarded her Arms, the which deed was confirmed in a document authored by Marion of Ruantallan, calligraphed by Elena O Sirideain and illuminated by Isa of Ruantallan.
Item. Their Majesties invited into their presence the noble Theresa de Chats, whereupon they awarded Arms unto the said Theresa, the which deed was memorialized in a gift of a carved wooden plate created by Hawise ferch Meredith, with words by Eleanor Catlyng.
Item. Their Majesties brought into the Court the worthy lady Kat of Ruantallan and awarded her Arms, the which deed was memorialized in a document created by Nest ferch Tangwystl.
Item. Their Majesties summoned into their presence the good man Rowan Fergus and, so doing, inducted him into the Order of the Silver Rapier, the which deed was confirmed in a document calligraphed by Constance de Saint Denis and illuminated by Marietta Charray.
Item. Their Majesties summoned Guthfrith Yrlingsson again into their presence and inducted the said Guthfrith into the Order of the Silver Rapier with the acclaim of the court.
Item. Their Majesties spoke of the good and notable deeds of Margaret Twygge of Sky Hill and granted Arms unto the said Margaret as a sign of her worth, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Kayleigh Mac Whyte.
Item. The excellent demoiselle Emma, daughter of Wolfgang, aged four years, presented unto His Majesty Edward artwork she had created for him.
Item. Their Majesties summoned Briana Douglase into the Court to hear her answer to the question before her; the said Briana answering in the affirmative, Their Majesties heard testimony from notable Peers of the Realm concerning the merits of the said Briana; upon that testimony, Their Majesties did then invest and endow the said Briana with the Order of the Pelican and Arms by letters Patent, the which deed was confirmed in a document authored by Zaneta Gavlinne Angioliere and calligraphed and illuminated by Danuta Czarowna.
I, Alys Mackyntoich, Eastern Crown Herald, wrote this to memorialize and make certain all such things that were done and caused to be done as above stated.
Lord Martyn de Haliwell
Filed under: Court, Events
November 30, A.S. XLIX in St. Swithin’s Bog
The Southern Watch fencing unit could once have been called the Dame Vivienne Marie de Beauvais Fan Club.
According to Don Bastiano di Jacopo, the unit began almost 20 years ago in St. Swithin’s Bog in honor of Dame Vivienne, who was the first peer made in the Bog and is a former Baroness. “We were a ragtag group of fencers, not winning tourneys, none of us White Scarves, but we decided to form a team in Vivienne’s honor,” said DonBastiano. Don Quinn Kerr continued, “After teaching ourselves to fight as a unit, we went on to beat larger teams with better fencers, because we were focused on teamwork. That’s how the Romans ruled the world – they were all about teamwork.” The Bog’s fencers gained a lot of attention with their victories, and the results were clear at Pennsic 32 when a Rapier Battle was included in the War Point count for the first time.
Later, Don Donnan the Solitary, then Æthelmearc Rapier Marshal, asked the fencers of the Bog to form the nucleus of what is now the Southern Watch, which includes fencers from throughout southern Æthelmearc. “As time went on,” Don Quinn commented, “Fencers from the Midrealm would come to the Southern Watch musters to learn unit tactics from us.” Don Iago Benitez, current Baron of the Bog, added that individual Southern Watch members have gone to events in other areas and trained their fencers in the group’s unit ideas and commands.
This year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 16 fencers from the Bog, Steltonwald, Debatable Lands, Silva Vulcani, and Sylvan Glen gathered in Don Bastiano’s Johnstown, PA loft for their annual muster. According to Doña Emily of Dunvegan, the fall muster has been held for well over a decade. It started as a way to celebrate the birthdays of Don Quinn and Don Bastiano with the traditional fencers’ “birthday smacks.” Originally fencers were expected to fence as many bouts as their age, but a while ago Don Iago upped the ante by requiring the birthday fencers to win as many bouts as their age. This year, that meant 53 bouts won for Don Quinn and 55 for Don Bastiano.
In addition to the birthday smacks, the muster focused on melee tactics. Initially working without masks or blades, the group practiced closed and open unit formations and movement under the tutelage of Don Bastiano and Don Quinn. Then the combatants armed themselves and the outgoing commander of the Southern Watch, Doña Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen, ran them through melees in 3-, 4- and 5-man units while other White Scarves trained the newer fencers.
Over a potluck lunch, Doña Fredeburg said, “It’s about teaching newer fencers the melee basics, so we have a common language of commands and movements.” Doña Emily added, “We all need to be comfortable fighting together.” The group took the opportunity during the break to elect Don Quinn Kerr as the new Southern Watch commander.
Don Orlando di Bene del Vinta, who currently serves as Æthelmearc Rapier Warlord as well as Kingdom Rapier Champion, says there will be other musters over the next few months to take advantage of the winter off-season. He explained that they’ll mostly be stand-alone practices with a training focus like this one, since he doesn’t want to “hijack” regular events. He plans to encourage the development of small units that are accustomed to fencing as a team, which he believes is the key to winning Pennsic Rapier Battles. As Don Orlando told the Southern Watch fencers, “It’s not grand sneaky tactics by the entire army that win wars, it’s cohesive units in the right place.”
Or as Don Quinn stated, “We don’t want to be individual fencers on the battlefield, we want to be Æthelmearc.”
Submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope
The Gazette asked Count Jehan de la Marche, eighth King of the East, for memories of some of his early SCA experiences.
The Gazette asked Count Jehan de la Marche, eighth King of the East, for memories of some of his early SCA experiences. He sent us this first installment with the note that it is written from memory and others may well remember events differently.
I joined the SCA on October 31, 1969 at the Second Tolkien Convention in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I was living in Bowling Green, Ohio, at the time, and what I joined was the Middle Kingdom, at that time a small group in Chicago led by King (and later Duke) Cariadoc of the Bow. I went home and started the first SCA group in Ohio in 1970, the March of the Marshes, which later joined with a group in Cleveland to form the Barony of the Middle Marches, which has now devolved into several baronies.
My first contact with the East Kingdom involved an event in Cleveland, Ohio in early May 1971. We had been negotiating by telephone for some time for a joint event, and a carload of Easterners came out for this one. They were delayed, so we fought the first part of the tourney outside — it was very cold for May, and there were even a few flakes of snow in the air. The winner of the Middle Kingdom portion of the tourney was Andrew of Seldom Rest (later Duke, now, alas, dead). When the Easterners did get there we moved inside; they fought a separate tourney among themselves, which was won by Rakkurai of Kamakura, and then he and Andrew met for the championship of the day, won by Andrew.
I witnessed the beginning of the Pennsic Wars (which has often been retold wrongly). Cariadoc had moved to the East and been named the Ambassador to the East by the reigning Middle King Iriel of Branoch. At MK Twelfth Night, Cariadoc came back and recited a long poem of his own composition inciting war with the East — I recall he mentioned that the border barons (meaning me) wanted war, and the poem ended with “My word is war.” and we all banged out tankards on the table and shouted “War, War, War!” and King Iriel gave the War Arrow to Duke Cariadoc to take to Rakkurai, who was Shogun of the East at that time. I was not present for the reception of the arrow in the East, but I understand Rakkurai duly received and broke it to accept the challenge. Cariadoc stepped up and won the East Kingdom Spring Crown Tourney. (In those days there were no limitations on how long one had to have lived in a kingdom before competing for the Crown).
I did not come to the East until the summer of 1972, when I moved to New Haven, CT to enter Yale Graduate School (working for a Ph.D. in medieval studies, naturally). My first official event was a tournament in the Barony Beyond the Mountain (which at the time was responsible for all of Connecticut), and led by Baron Balin the Fairhaired (later one of the first Eastern Pelicans). I recall that it looked like rain and Mistress Elfrida recited a Norse prayer for rain which she said worked in reverse for her, and apparently it did. The rain held off long enough to get in the tourney fighting. All I really remember of the fighting was that I lost a fight to Garanhir of Ness who was later knighted, and is now the second senior-most knight in AEthelmearc after me.
The next event I recall was the summer Crown Tourney (in those days there were supposed to be three Crown Tourneys a year, though the actual sequence was somewhat irregular). As I said, there were no residency limitations on fighting for the Crown and Cariadoc encouraged me to enter. It was a small field, essentially an 8-man single elimination tourney, I believe. My first round I defeated Garanhir (benefiting from having fought him before). My second round I met a very active young warrior from Duke Akbar’s household (I think the future Sir Ismael). He came out very fast and nearly got me, but I was able to take him after a very brisk fight. The third and final round, I met Shlomo ben Shlomo, whose persona was a Palestinian mercenary of Roman times — he fought Roman-style, with a shield and short-sword. In those days, I always fought mace and shield, so we had a very active fight at close quarters. At one point he narrowly grazed my groin cup, and Cariadoc, who was marshaling, ruled I was still alive though perhaps without the prospect of progeny. I think as the rules are interpreted nowadays, I would have been dead. Then I came charging in — Shlomo went for my leg and got a very hard stroke on my knee as I came in; knowing it was knee, I kept coming and got him a solid blow in the side with my mace. He agreed that my blow was a killing blow, but wondered whether he had gotten my leg first, so the current Seneschal of the East, El of the Two Knives (another of the first Pelicans later), took me into men’s room and examined my leg. I had a very obvious purple bruise on my knee (in those days the only leg armor I wore was a soft basketball knee pad) and he said to me in effect “You’re the Prince of the East, and you’d better get some ice on that leg.”
At the feast that night, I toasted Shlomo’s valor and we had a long celebration. I recall a lady singing “Follow the Bonnets of Bonny Dundee” — not quite period, but lively. So we had the curious situation that both the King and the Prince of the East were from the Middle, but we were committed to war with the Middle. By that time the King of the Middle was Andrew of Seldom Rest and the Prince was Sir Bearengaer hin Raudi (who went on to be a sovereign Prince of Drachenwald when it was a principality, and died some years ago as the senior knight of AEthelmearc).
The war itself took place that September, not at Cooper’s Lake but at another site in that general area. My Princess, Lauryon Helhath (who lived in the barony of North Woods in Michigan) had not been present when I won the Crown, so I formally recognized her as Princess and gave her a necklace I had commissioned for her, and I was knighted by King Cariadoc. (In those days winning the crown automatically carried the honor of knighthood, and he had asked me if I wished to be knighted as soon as I won, but I had asked for it to happen at a later time).
There was a live chess game in which the pieces fought to see who took who – as Prince, I was the chess Queen (leading to vulgar jests) and met Sir Bearengear, who killed me. As I recall, the only Eastern victory was won by (the late) Sir Patri du Chat Gris, who had arrived in a carload of Carolingians just in time — shouting what became, for a while, the Carolingian warcry “We’re late! We’re late!”
The “war” itself consisted of a woods battle. The East was badly outnumbered, despite the aid of the Dark Horde led by Yang the Nauseating/Robert Asprin. The battle was a timed event (I think one hour) and so the Eastern strategy was to go into the woods, find a hidden defensible position (largely protected by fallen trees) and hope to hold it till the end of the hour. It nearly worked, as it took most of the hour for the Middle to find us, but the Middle found us with about ten minutes to go. A partly fallen tree formed a sort of natural gateway to the Eastern position, which Asbjorn the Fairhaired held very gallantly for a long time (for which I later knighted him; he went on to become a Duke). Andrew of Seldom Rest speared King Cariadoc and called out “The King is dead!” and I shouted “The King is dead, long live the King” and three Middle knights came over me in a wave, so that was the end of my fight. The last Eastern fighter standing was Alain du Rocher of the barony of Myrkwood (Baltimore) — a large man who fought mace and buckler. He got up on a little mound and held the Middle off as long as he could, but finally fell, and the Middle had won the war. It had rained, so we then spent a long time digging the cars out of the mud.Do you have information to share or a question about a post? Contact the Gazette staff at email@example.com
Filed under: History, Interviews, Pennsic Tagged: History