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17th c. Spanish shipwreck found off Panama coast

History Blog - Thu, 2015-05-14 05:35

A shipwreck discovered off the coast of Panama in 2011 has been identified as the Nuestra Señora de Encarnación, a ship from one of Spain’s famed silver fleets that sank in a storm in 1681. The Encarnación was a nao, a merchant vessel loaded with cargo from the New World that was one of several ships from the Tierra Firme to sink in the Caribbean Sea just off the north central coast of Panama while travelling from Portobelo, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia.

The shipwreck was found by a research team from The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University who were exploring the area in the hopes of finding wrecks of five ships lost by Captain Henry Morgan on his way to sacking Panama City in 1670. When magnetic sensors alerted to the presence of metal objects, researchers dived down and found the wreck of the Encarnación, the lower part of its hull intact and the cargo still in the hold. They presence of so much cargo suggested this was not one of Morgan’s ships since they were heading to Panama City to fill their coffers when they sank.

The ship’s cargo includes wooden barrels, more than 100 boxes of sword blades, mule shoes and lead cargo seals that once marked perishable goods. While less glamorous than the gold and silver cargos that made the Spanish fleets famous targets for pirates from the early 16th century through the early 19th, this well-preserved merchant cargo is invaluable to historians. Only 16 Spanish shipwrecks have been found in the New World, and all of them have suffered the depredations of looters, the elements and shipworm. With no architectural designs extant, we know very little about the construction of 17th century Spanish ships. The Encarnación has already filled in some blanks.

An initial examination revealed the use of a material called granel, a kind of permanent ballast, says Chris Horrell, a maritime archaeologist working with Hanselmann. It’s “basically a cement consisting of sand, lime, and pebbles,” he explains, that shipbuilders used to coat a ship’s hull with a thin veneer.

Researchers think granel stabilized ships and was also used as a construction material for buildings throughout the New World. Horrell is not yet sure whether granel was a New World invention or an Old World import, but finding out is part of his research agenda.

The cargo also bears witness to the economic life of Spain and its colonies. The mule shoes indicate the ships brought supplies that would enable their hulls to be stuffed with goods delivered to the Spanish crown. The shoes would have been necessary to equip the mule trains that carried silver, gold and other valuables via overland trade routes from South American territories to the Isthmus of Panama where they would be loaded onto the ships of the fleet and transported to Spain.

Research on the ship and its contents continue. The artifacts, which by law belong to Panama, are currently being conserved at the laboratory of the Patronato Panamá Viejo, a non-profit organization that manages the historical site and museum of old Panama City.

Here’s some beautifully clear video of the wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Encarnación:

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Featured Blog: Laurencia of Carlisle

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-05-13 21:58

Looking for a period way to cover your jars and containers to keep the contents in and the bugs out? Try the waxed linen jar covers featured this month in Across the Ages, a blog about life in the late 14th century.

Across the Ages is the blog of Bonnie McCarthy Martin, known in the Society as Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle, an Æthelmearc subject and an English woman of the late 14th/early 15th century.

The blog also features class handouts and a photo gallery. Take a trip Across the Ages today!

 


Categories: SCA news sites

Jim’s Self Storage at Pennsic

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-05-13 19:48

Baroness Theodora Brynnissa, called Treannah reporting:

For anyone who has a storage unit at Jim’s Self Storage

Many of you may be aware that Jim had been very ill last year, sadly he has since passed away. He was a kind man who was always very good to his Pennsic customers, and he will be missed.

The new owner is named Brian, and is trying very hard to keep things moving along as smoothly as possible, however if your usual method of corresponding with Jim was email, he does not have access to the old email account and asked that you use his address moving forward.


Filed under: Pennsic

Court Reports from Celebration of Rapier and Spring Crown Tournament

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-05-13 08:23

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Majesties’ Court at A Celebration of Rapier, 1 May Anno Societatis L, in the Shire of Herontir. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, with the assistance of Drotin Jorundr hinn Rotinn, Golden Alce Herald.

photo by Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg

Duchess Dorinda Courtenay was invited before Their Majesties to answer the summons bestowed upon her. Duchess Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh recalled meeting Dorinda at her first event, before she had even earned the title of Lady Dorinda; even then she exuded nobility, and since then has been a champion of the ideals of the Society. Master Iago Benitez, who once sponsored Duchess Dorinda as his cadet, found himself unable to explain Her Grace’s service as one would be unable to explain what is good about sunshine. Duchess Anna Blackleaf expounded upon Her Grace’s dedication and worthiness, declaring them above question or reproach. Sir Kadan Chakhilghan Ger on Echen, who Dorinda appointed as Captain of her Guard during her first reign, credited her with the example that he followed on his path to the Chivalry. Being moved by such glorious testimonies, Their Majesties did create the Order of Defense in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc and created Duchess Dorinda its Principal Companion.

Their Majesties invited the Ladies of the Rose to present a livery collar of white, the regalia of the Order of Defense, that it might start its journey with Duchess Dorinda and be passed to each successive member of that Order made in Æthelmearc. Baron Fergus and Baroness Helene then came forward and presented another collar, from which hung a medallion bearing the badge of the Order, that Her Grace might bear once the ancestral collar had been passed to its next recipient. Countess Elena d’Artois and Lord Aaron the Swift draped a cloak about Her Grace’s shoulders. Proclaiming that a Mistress of Defense should not be unarmed, Their Majesties called for Don Po Silvertop, on behalf of the Order of the White Scarf, who presented Her Grace with a weapon appropriate to her new station: a pie server, which he then proudly proclaimed had been wielded by every companion of the Order of Defense of Æthelmearc..

photo by Ysabeau Tiercelin

Their Majesties next called for Don Anias Fenne, who bore into Their Court an item from Æthelmearc’s past: a rapier borne in the days when Æthelmearc was but a Principality. Given the nature of the Order of Defense, Their Majesties received Her Grace’s oath as a Mistress of Defense upon that historic blade. A scroll illuminated by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and calligraphed by Duchess Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh upon wording by Duchess Líadain, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai and THL Ursula of Rouen was read in proclamation of the Court business. Finally, Don Diego Miguel Munoz de Castilla was invited to present a gift to Duchess Dorinda on behalf of the newly created Order: a handmade book, blank but for one page emblazoned with Her Grace’s armory, the pages of which would be filled with the armory of future inductees.

There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Majesties’ Court at Crown Tournament, 2 May Anno Societatis L, in the Shire of Hartstone. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, assisted by Lady Ariane Desiree des Cedres called Cedar.

At the conclusion of the tournament:

photo by Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg

Their Majesties called forth Their Excellencies, Count Sir Magnus Tindal and Countess Etain ingen Dalaig. Their Majesties congratulated His Excellency on his victory in the day’s tournament and crowned him Magnus Tindal, Prince of Æthelmearc. They then handed His Highness the Princess’s Coronet, which He placed upon Her Excellency’s head and crowned her Etain, Princess of Æthelmearc.

Later that afternoon, accompanied by Their Highnesses:

The children of the Kingdom were called forth, and sent with Lady Mairin O’Cadhla to amuse themselves during Court.

The Ladies of the Rose were invited into Court to expound upon the admirable displays of chivalry shown upon the field, and after much discussion and deliberation, they had decided to honor THL Blue Star to bear the Shield of Chivalry. THL Beatrix Krieger, the bearer of the Shield, gave her advice to Blue Star regarding what she had learned while carrying the Shield about what it truly meant, then passed it to him.

The Ladies of the Rose, however, could not contain their praise to one individual. They further called THL Marek Viacheldrago and Torstein Vigdisson and commended them for their extremely chivalrous and honorable behavior upon the field, and especially Torstein’s bravery in his first Crown Tournament.

Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, asked for a moment in Their Majesties’ Court to discuss the contest that had taken place during the Procession that morning. Baron Robert O’Connor, Sycamore Herald, joined Silver Buccle, and the two of them proudly announced that Mistress Mathilde Bosvyle de Bella Acqua, White Conye Herald, was most impressive while announcing Their Excellencies, Sir Maghnus de Cnoc an Iora and Brehres Gwendolyn the Graceful. She was presented with a mug engraved with the date and event. Silver Buccle and Sycamore thanked Lady Lasairfhiona, the day’s autocrat, who had suggested the idea, and they hoped that it would be repeated in future Crown Tournaments.

While he was in Their Majesties’ Court, Kameshima- kyō reminded Their Majesties that his term as Silver Buccle was ended as of that day. He then begged Their Majesties to return the title and responsibilities of Silver Buccle Principal Herald, that he might continue to serve the Kingdom for another two years. Their Majesties agreed and reinstated him as Silver Buccle. He then addressed the populace and informed them that the Silent Heraldry program in Æthelmearc was restarted, and Lady Ariane Desiree des Cedres, called Cedar, had been formally appointed the Silent Heraldry deputy for the Kingdom.

Corrina Tender was Awarded Arms for her unending enthusiasm and devotion to the Society, including traveling several hours to serve the populace and guard the royalty, and encouraging fencing within the College of Cour d’Or. Scroll by THL Eleanore Godwin.

Lord Aidan Ransford was Granted Arms and created a Baron of the Court for his decades of dedication to the Barony of Delftwood, often serving as its “Army of One” on the field, assisting Their Excellencies with any project that requires it, and being a constant force for the Barony. Scroll by Baroness Helene al-Zarqa.

Their Majesties invited Duke Sir Titus Scipio Germanicus and Countess Anna Leigh before Them, that they might assist in the completion of a piece of business left from their reign. They then asked Her Highness, Princess Etain, to attend Them, and presented Her with the scroll commemorating her elevation to the station of Countess, induction into the Order of the Rose, and awarding of Arms by Letters Patent. Scroll by Mistress Sthurrim Caithness.

Her Majesty then called forth Sir Wulfstan Huscarl and all those who had assisted in the creation of the list barriers that had been created for the day’s tournament. She shared with them the appreciation of the populace, thanked them for their many, many hours of labor in the name of the Kingdom, and declared them all to be Her inspiration for the day. She presented a token of inspiration to Sir Wulfstan, with a promise that more would be collected and distributed to each person who had worked so hard to make Their Crown Tournament the day of pageantry They had hoped it to be.

Those scribes who had contributed efforts to the day’s scrolls were asked to stand and be recognized.

Lady Gwendolyn of Hartstone was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for being a driving force for support for her Shire, organizing demos, workshops and practices, arranging practice sites, and tirelessly recruiting new members with boundless reserves of patience. Scroll by Meisterin Felicitas Flußmüllnerin.

There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.


Categories: SCA news sites

First stone circle in a 100 years found in Dartmoor

History Blog - Wed, 2015-05-13 03:39

A previously unknown stone circle has been found on Dartmoor, the first new stone circle discovery in a hundred years. There are 30 stones, all of them now recumbent although packing stones found at the base of some of them indicate they were upright originally, in a circle 32 meters (105 feet) in diameter. One more stone lies just outside the circle and was built into an enclosure wall in more recent history. Radiocarbon dating of the peat underneath the stones found that they fell about 4,000 years ago. That means there’s a chance they could have been erected before Stonehenge which was built between 3,000 and 2,000 B.C.

At 525 meters (1722 feet) above sea level, it is the highest stone circle in southern England and would have dominated the landscape when the stones were still vertical. It is located 300 meters (984 feet) southwest of Sittaford Tor, one of Dartmoor’s hills topped with granite boulders, which was probably the source for the stones in the circle. The fact that the stones are of relatively uniform size and shape suggests they were deliberately selected and carried down the hill to the site.

The location of the circle is particularly significant because it fits perfectly in a crescent pattern created by seven other stone circles on the northeastern edge of Dartmoor. The newly discovered circle is the southernmost of the eight, just west of the first and northernmost circle, the one at Little Hound Tor. The author of the excellent Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks website has created a map of the arc. Archaeologists believe this pattern is deliberate, evidence of large scale planning and communication between the late Stone Age, early Bronze Age communities living on Dartmoor four to five thousand years ago.

The circle was discovered by Dartmoor native and stained glass artist Alan Endacott in 2007 after a controlled burn of the undergrowth exposed the stones long hidden beneath the brush. The find was not announced until last year and archaeological explorations are still in the early stages. Since this is the first stone circle found in generations, it gives archaeologists the first chance to study a pristine site using modern technology.

Jane Marchand, Senior Archaeologist, Dartmoor National Park said:
“Its discovery is providing an opportunity for investigation using the very latest archaeological scientific methods to provide long awaited insights into the chronology, construction and the purpose of these most elusive and iconic of Dartmoor’s prehistoric monuments.” [...]

Although the full results of the geophysical surveys are not back yet, preliminary results have revealed a wide ditch running in a linear fashion just outside the eastern side of the circle. Further investigation is planned later this summer.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

From Kempe to the Congress - 5 medieval articles in the news

Medievalists.net - Tue, 2015-05-12 23:48
We bring you five articles from the last couple of days about the Middle Ages. Do you like this format?


New evidence supports Margery Kempe's accountSome scholars have suspected that Margery Kempe's account of her religious life and pilgrimages were made up, but a letter from her son has just been uncovered...


Archaeological finds at Littlemore Priory

Update on the Mass Grave discovered in ParisThe total number of human remains uncovered in the basement of a Paris supermarket reaches 316 according to an update from the New York Times

Local media on the 50th International Congress on Medieval StudiesTime again for the congress! Will you be there?Yes, Ill be there!No, I'm not going
Photo by Denis Gliksman/Inrap
Categories: History, SCA news sites

Waiver Policy for all Marshal Activities / Politique de formulaires de décharge pour toutes les Activités Martiales

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-05-12 22:20

En français

Greetings all,

It has come to my attention that we do not sign waivers at practices across the Kingdom. This is not acceptable. It must be done at EVERY practice. Below is the waiver policy and the waiver form.

I expected this to be adhered to strictly. Should any practice not follow the waiver policy, henceforth, the unbelted marshals shall be subject to having their warrants removed and chivalry sanctioned via suspension of fighting privileges (because I do not have the authority to suspend the marshal power of the chivalry).

I apologize if this appears heavy handed. It is a serious insurance issue and cannot be ignored.

The procedure is as follows for ALL practices falling under the Earl Marshal and must be done at each practice: Blue cards should be checked by the Marshal in Charge and the number logged with the SCA name and mundane name. Anyone who does not have a blue card must sign a waiver at each practice. You may use individual forms or a roster waiver at your leisure. The waivers should be held for the Waiver Deputy and not sent in to the office of the Earl Marshal.

The Kingdom waiver policy can be found here: http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/docs/waiverpolicy.php

Waiver forms can be found here:
http://www.sca.org/docs/waivers.html

Yours In Service,
Baron Sir Jibril al-Dakhil, EKEM

En français
Traduit par Behi Kirsa Oyutai

Salutations,

Il est venu a mon attention que nous ne signons pas de formulaires de décharge aux pratiques au travers du Royaume. Cette situation n’es pas acceptable. Il faut que ce soit fait à CHAQUE pratique. La politique des formulaire de décharge et les formulaires sont disponibles ci-dessous.

Je m’attendais à ce que l’on adhère strictement à cette politique. Dans le cas où une pratique ne suivrait pas les politiques établies, les maréchaux n’étant pas élevés aux rangs de la chevalerie verront leurs certifications révoquées et la chevalerie sera sanctionné par la suspension de leurs privilèges de combat (parce que je n’ai pas l’autorité de suspendre le maréchalat des membres de la chevalerie).

Je m’excuse si ceci apparaît comme étant sévère. Cela représente un sérieux problème vis-à-vis de nos assurances, et de fait, ne peut être ignoré.

La procédure va comme suit pour TOUTES les pratiques ayant lieu sous l’autorité du Earl Marshal et doit être complétée à chaque pratique: Le Maréchal en Charge doit vérifier toutes les Cartes Bleues et noter le numéro avec le nom mondain et SCA du participant. N’importe qui n’ayant pas une Carte Bleue doit signer un formulaire de décharge à chaque pratique. Il est possible d’utiliser des formulaires individuels ou un formulaire avec une liste, selon votre préférence. Les formulaires de décharge doivent être conservés par le Député aux Formulaires de décharge et ne doivent pas être envoyés au bureau du Earl Marshal.

La politique de formulaires de décharge du Royaume est disponible ici (en anglais) : http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/docs/waiverpolicy.php

Les formulaires de décharge sont disponibles ici: http://www.sca.org/docs/waivers.html

Au Service,
Baron Sir Jibril al-Dakhil EKEM

 


Filed under: Announcements, Fencing, Heavy List

Memories of Pennsic IV

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-05-12 11:08

Queen Brekke and King Asbjorn on a sunnier day – the wedding of Arastorm and Aelfwine

Countess Brekke Franksdottir and Sir Michael of York recorded their memories of Pennsic IV, famous for its mud and rain, at the request of the Gazette.  Comments have been turned on for this article so others may add their own memories.

Countess Brekke
Pennsic IV was hosted by the Midrealm and held on a farm in Ohio over Labor Day weekend in 1975. It was the first Pennsic longer than 2 days and the first with really bad weather throughout.

As I recall, the site was a field on the side of a hill, with parking below on flat ground, near the road. The top of the hill was relatively flat, and that’s where we were camping, with woods behind the encampment, a fairly long hike to the cars, and the plains below for field battles. I vaguely recall the porta-pottie being essentially a large truck with two sides: Men, and Women, and only one private stall, at least on the Ladies’ side.

Sir Michael instructing the next generation of Pennsic fighters at a recent event. Photo by Lord Trentus Nubianus

Sir Michael
The site was a farm field – someone called it “the back 40 (acres)”. It was in the middle of nowhere and would have been a lovely site – except that the rain made the soft earth really muddy. If you weren’t at the top of the hill or able to find some kind of grassy hummock to stand on – you were standing in mud. In some places it was a few inches thick, in others – it was a foot deep.

Countess Brekke
As Queen of the East, I did have an obligation to be there (and the two previous were fun), but I lived in Manhattan at the time and did not drive. Master Frederick of Holland and his lady Nicorlynn of Caer Wydyr offered me a ride with them, so we set out Thursday morning to arrive in Ohio Friday. We pulled off to a rest stop Thursday night, and slept under the stars – something I had never done before and was somewhat nervous about. (I thought it might rain. There was not a cloud in the sky.)

It was, however, a lovely evening and night, and we continued west to our destination after breakfast in the morning. We arrived on site, found a camp site on the hilltop, and dropped off our gear. The Mid had set aside an area for Royals to camp. The Mid royalty and I camped there. I set up my very modern, bright blue nylon tepee and started a fire. Asbjorn arrived later and camped with friends a little way down the hill. Flieg and Lynn set up their canvas tent – very shortly thereafter named “DON’T TOUCH!” It was canvas and would leak anywhere anything came in contact with the canvas.

Sir Michael
Asjborn and I arrived when the sun was out – the last sun we’d see for a couple of days. Just before our arrival, there had been a tremendous storm burst accompanied by high winds. We found our camp-mates holding up or crawling out from under a sodden tent made from a large cargo parachute that had collapsed in the rain and high winds. It was the pattern of the war – mud, rain, wet people.

Countess Brekke
The rains came. And came. And stayed and invited friends. Also they invited any rain cloud within the entire US, nay the Western Hemisphere, to come to their party and RAIN on us. And they did. I had dug a fire pit and gotten a fire going. It went out fairly quickly. Water runs downhill. Into my fire pit (and everyone else’s, too). And into the parking lot, which was on a flat surface below the hill. No fire. No hot meals. (Not good.) And after making sure the ground was sufficiently saturated that no one could start a fire, the water ran down the hill and into – and over – the parking lot. And people kept coming. And setting up. In the rain. Close the site? There was nowhere else around the people could stay, and many had been traveling on a very thin shoestring. This was 1975, the SCA was only in its 10th year, and many members were still in college, or just didn’t have much money. I remember one family even brought their cat. They arrived Saturday and could not just turn around and go home; they were exhausted after traveling all night through the downpour. And they needed to rest before going home, at the very least.

Duke Akbar and Duchess Khadijah had sent their infant son to “Camp Grandma”, a decision I’m sure they NEVER regretted, and set up camp – a large tent with a long entry way and a brazier which contained one of the few fires I saw on site. I asked how he had managed to start it, and he replied, “I poured a libation to the Gods over the coals and applied a fire stick to it. You have to appease the gods.” It was a memorable reply.

The paths became a quagmire very quickly. One young lady lost a “paten” (it was a Dr. Scholl’s sandal) in the muck, and neither of us could dig deeply or widely enough to find it. (She told me of the incident years later – THE QUEEN tried to help her find her missing shoe! I have no memory of it, only of her telling me about it years later. Someday, an archeologist is going to wonder about the strange object he found in a field in Ohio…)

Sir Michael
The first night of the war, one nice gentleman loaned a friend his large thick foam mattress – so she would have a comfortable bed up off the ground. He slept on the floor on the other side of the tent. When they woke the next morning, she was soaked and he was dry – the spongy mattress had soaked up all the water. Asjborn never took off his boots and leggings, and I never took off my sneakers for the entire time we were there. When he did take them off – later – there was so much mud in the creases of his leggings that it filled a bathtub with caked mud. I threw my shoes out – they were brown and smelled of manure even after they’d been through the washing machine.

Countess Brekke
We did hold the war. There was rain and lightning just before the start of the field battle – but the lightning died away – so we fought in the rain.

Sir Michael
I remember standing at the top of the hill just before the field battle – in armor – helmet, shield, et cetera. We all talked about whether it was a good idea to fight in a lightning storm. Then we realized we were out in the open anyway, so it probably didn’t matter. Luckily, the lightning faded away and we fought under cloudy stormy clouds. It was a rout for the East – we were way outnumbered.

Countess Brekke
The woods battle was a battle for the flags of the East and the Mid, and the East had just adopted a new badge, a Blue Tyger. Asbjorn asked me to make a flag for the battle. Blue Tyger with lots of fussy little lines or Purpure, an Eastern Crown Or in a Laurel Wreath Proper, Fimbriated Or. Which one sounds easier to make quickly? I’ll give you a gentle hint; I chose the latter. I was familiar with the design, could draw it easily, and embroider it in place. *I used a crown of three points, as I didn’t have much time to make it. (The Queen’s Banner – the first one, the one a Duchess described to me as “wearing a rose in my crotch”, had not yet been approved.) Asbjorn took one look at it and swore that the Mid would not get its hands on THAT banner, no matter what! (“Why didn’t you make a Tyger?” he asked. Because I couldn’t even draw it, was the answer, which I didn’t give.)

At the start of the battle, the King of the Mid exited in one direction. Asbjorn, not usually one to avoid a good battle, went directly opposite – taking with him the best fighters of the East.

Sir Michael
We’d set up the war points so that for the woods battle each King and each Prince was worth a war point, as was the banner. At the start of the battle, the goal was to go find someplace to hide in the woods. Asjborn took his band and deliberately ran deep into the woods and kept moving – thus avoiding capture. Before leaving with his small group, Asbjorn told Prince Aonghais to “stay out of trouble” and not engage the Midrealm. Unfortunately, Aonghais was not able to do that and his band was forced to fight. Aonghais was the last man standing and as he died he fell against a sapling – which threw him forward – face first into the mud. He was wearing his brand new pig-faced bassinet – which got stuck in the mud and began to fill with water. It took his entire band of fighters to get him out of the mud before he drowned.

Countess Brekke
The Mid didn’t get our banner. Nor our King. I’m not sure if we got theirs. We didn’t shoot the archery point – due to the rain. I do know we lost the war, for the fourth straight year, but I think, in general, we all had fun, even with being flooded out.

Sir Michael
I remember getting home after Pennsic IV and taking my bow and arrows out of the van. They’d never been taken out and were under some other blankets that never got taken out of the van – they had mud on them. There was mud everywhere.

Countess Brekke
I also remember Duke Andrew of Seldom Rest ordering me into his truck (he had several others there warming up already) because I was “turning blue”. That’s when I really learned just how good an insulator wool is; he made me take off my (cotton) underdress, and just put the woolen overdress on alone. Instant Warmth!

Sir Michael
It got so wet and crazy that wearing clothes actually made you colder – because the cloth held the moisture and evaporation makes you cold. So Asbjorn and I and some others took to wearing loin-cloths – letting the rain wash the mud off, letting the breeze dry our skin, and keeping our clothes for the cooler evenings.

I can’t remember whether it was a specific war point, but there actually was an Arts-and-Sciences exhibit. I remember watching Duke Cariadoc in a clean, dry, long white Arab robe and turban dance a galliard in the mud. The judges gathered round to watch his footwork. In the middle of his demonstration, he fell backwards into the mud, bounced right back up onto his feet and kept going. It was just what you did – fall over – get muddy and get up and keep going.

Countess Brekke
Sir Aelfwine and Lady Arastorm arranged for Her Grace the Duchess Diana Alene of Tree-Girt-Sea to have a medieval bath over the weekend.

Sir Michael
Aelfwine could create fire anywhere – he’d brought half of a 55 gallon drum to use as a grill, but instead, lined it with a blanket and sheets and filled it with warm water. I was sent to invite Her Grace to come for her “bath”. I still remember the look on her face when she turned towards me and said “My Bath?” By the time I got her to the bath (carrying a towel and soap) it was surrounded by squires (facing-outward – being arranged by Arastorm) holding up a privacy screen. Rumor has it that a few other ladies partook of this same hot water bath. I heard they lined up just to wash their hair.

By the afternoon of the second day, people were bored with the mud and the rain. Asjborn was worried people would get cranky so had me organize crowd-entertainment. All we could find was a long rope, so an impromptu tug-of-war was waged. Everybody got muddy – the losers slightly more muddy than the winners. Someone provided more humor by obtaining Asjborn’s loin cloth and hanging it like a pennant from the top of Duchess Diana’s tent.

To be honest, the rain was never really drenching – it was just relentless. And the mud got everywhere and the rain washed it off – so that only your legs were covered all the time. I can’t figure out how we managed to eat without getting everything covered with mud. I can’t figure how we had hot meals – fires were hard to keep burning and yet there was food and drink and good humor all around despite a gloomy acceptance of being covered in mud.

Countess Brekke
Pennsic IV brought out the best in many of us. Duke Andrew of Seldom Rest, the autocrat (may his soul find peace), probably didn’t sleep the entire weekend of the event. He went around preventing hypothermia as he could. And as people left, he and Cariadoc towed their cars, which were restricted to the lower level of the site by our contract, out of axle-deep mud. He and Duke Cariadoc did an awful lot of towing, sometimes needing two tractors to get the mired cars out. And people helped each other. “Come over here and share my pot of soup” was frequently shouted out. People who could start fires of any sort shared them with those who needed to cook a hot meal. Folks shared a lot of Stone Soup. People shared tents – a necessity, as many blew down, never to rise again in the high winds.

Sir Michael
I remember that parking lot – and the tractor – it had a burned out clutch. It had to be parked facing down-hill or else you would not be able to start it. Andrew drove it through the parking area dragging a long chain with a hook on the end. Cariadoc would find the next car that was ready and look underneath to see where to connect the hook. As Andrew drove by slowly, Cariadoc would hook the car and stand back – and the chain would tighten – Andrew would step on the gas and the car would be towed, tires spinning as its driver gunned his engine too – spraying and swerving as it was dragged to the pavement. Cariadoc unhooked it as Andrew turned the tractor around and they went back for the next car. The two of them did this for hours. Sometimes when I tell this story, I don’t mention the tractor – I just tell people that Andrew wrapped the chain around his body and just dragged the cars out himself (he was a very big man).

As I was arriving at the lot to get Asjborn’s van towed out, I came across a very dispirited Laeghaire (later made a knight, later King of the East) standing in a muddy puddle up to his knees and clearly wearing what was his last set of clean clothes. He was completely bespattered with mud all over the front side – his car had sprayed mud, lurched and he’d fallen face first into the mire.

When I got our car to the parking area little while later (it was a gas-station about 1/2 mile away), I found Laeghaire standing there – squeaky clean – wearing the same clothes – and steam was rising off him. He pointed to the self-service car-wash and shouted gleefully “All the hot water and soap you want for 25 cents!” He got into his car with three others, and the windows steamed up and they drove off.

Pennsic IV may not have been the wettest or the stormiest or most dramatic Pennsic, but it was the most muddy. Everyone had some story about the mud, some story about the rain, some story about a tent collapse, some story about how everyone helped everyone else. Because of the people, it was a lot of fun – and I remember it fondly.


Filed under: History Tagged: Pennsic, Pennsic IV

Explore the 18th c. consultation letters of Dr. William Cullen

History Blog - Tue, 2015-05-12 04:18

Dr. William Cullen was a chemist, surgeon, apothecary, physician, botanist, university lecturer and prominent figure in the Scottish enlightenment who was instrumental in establishing the reputation of the University of Edinburgh Medical School as the top medical school in Britain, if not the entire continent. Philosopher David Hume was a patient and friend. Physician and pioneering chemist Joseph Black was one of his students and remained a close friend throughout their life. The young William Hunter, the distinguished anatomist who brought us Smugglerius and whose collection formed the nucleus of the University of Glasgow’s famed Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, was Cullen’s student and partner for four years before striking out on his own. Anatomist Alexander Monro II, father of that Alexander Monro who dissected William Burke’s body after his execution, was another student and friend.

Cullen lived a long life working almost up to his last breath, only retiring as a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in the autumn of 1789 when he was 80 years old, just a few months before he died. During his years in Edinburgh, he established his own private practice which was highly successful even though much of his work was conducted not in person but in letters. Physicians often consulted by correspondence at that time, and Cullen did us the great favor of keeping most of the letters he received from the 1760s onward along with copies of his replies, either handwritten or, after April 1st, 1781, made using the pressure copying machine invented by James Watt of steam engine fame.

That remarkable archive is now in the possession of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) and it is unique in its importance and immensity. There are 17 boxes of letters and 21 bound volumes of Cullen’s replies. Consultations were mainly the province of the wealthy (the cost was a whopping two guineas), but there are a wide range of patients and problems. There’s even a letter from James Boswell asking for help for a very ill Samuel Johnson. To make this treasury of medical history more widely available, the RCPE is working with the University of Glasgow’s School of Critical Studies to digitize the collection and make it publically available to everyone from scholars to people who love falling down research rabbit holes (not that we know anyone who answers to that description here).

[The Cullen Project] will not only render this material viewable as high-quality digital images and readable as diplomatic and normalised transcripts, but the texts will be fully searchable. Internal references to ingredients (materia medica), symptoms, conditions, treatments, preparations, actions and body-parts are being tagged using XML mark-up. Additional metadata for each item, including all associated dates, persons and places is being recorded in the edition’s innovative database.

For example, here’s a featured letter sent to Dr. Cullen by a colleague, Dr. John Cairnie, seeking advice on the treatment of a patient suffering from erectile dysfunction. The young man had suffered from numerous bouts of venereal disease starting when he joined the Navy at 12 years of age. He was now 27 and was unable to get an erection but was nonetheless experiencing unfortunately frequent ejaculations. Cullen replied a few days later and the prescription he suggested to cure the poor fellow was written on the back of the letter to the right of seal: “Take half-a-drachm of Camphor; half-a-drachm of prepared Steel; two drachms of Gentian extract, and a sufficient amount of Gum Arabic mucilage to form pills of nine grains each. Three to be taken every morning and every night.”

On the Facsimile tab of the entry are photographs of the letter, back and front. You can hover over them to zoom in. The Normalized Text tab has a corrected transcript of the letter which replaces abbreviations and numerals with full words. The Diplomatic Text tab has a transcript which cleaves to the original syntax. Every ingredient, disease term, body part, syndrome, etc. is a link to a definition and other instances in which they appear in the good doctor’s correspondence. Care to know more about 18th century testicle doctoring? Click the link in the word “testicle” from the transcripts and you’ll find another 134 references in Cullen’s consultation letters to testes, stones and the scrotum.

It is truly a most alluring Charybdis of a database. I defy anyone to read just one letter without being sucked into the link whirlpool. If your family reports you as a missing person, don’t blame me; blame The Cullen Project.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Æthelmearc Kingdom Work Day & Martial Practice

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-05-11 22:07

His Majesty Timothy wants to ‘Paint Pennsic Red’!

Join us on Saturday, May 23, 2015 10am ’til 6pm at Emmanuel United Church Of Christ, 326 Market St New Berlin, PA 17855
AND
225 Water Street, New Berlin, PA 17855

Come and spend the day sewing, silk screening and painting banners, baldrics & favors.
OR
Come along with your favorite stitcher/crafter and enjoy a day of rattan/rapier combat & camaraderie. We’ll wrap up shop at 6pm and have a pot-luck picnic. Please bring a covered dish to share. The grill will be out & something tasty will be cooking.

Sewing and crafting held at the Church.
Martial practices held 2 blocks away at 225 Water St.
Picnic supper at the Church.

CONTACT PERSON: Bronwyn
Email: damebronwynrc36@gmail.com
TEXT: 570-975-5830

From the North, East and South – Make your best way to the intersection of PA Route 45 and U.S. Route 15 in Lewisburg; at this intersection, head west on Route 45, approximately 5 miles, towards Mifflinburg and State College. Turn left onto Dreisbach Church Road. Look for the big church sign. Continue traveling into New Berlin to the intersection of Market& Vine Streets (only stop sign in town). The UCC Church is directly across the street.

OR Turn Right at the intersection, follow Market St. for one block, turn Left onto Union St. Travel 2 blocks south to the corner of Union & Water Streets.

From the West – Follow Route 45E towards Lewisburg. Turn Right onto Dreisbach Church Road. Look for the big church sign. Continue traveling into New Berlin to the intersection of Market & Vine Streets (only stop sign in town). The UCC Church is directly across the street.

OR Turn Right at the intersection, follow Market St. for one block, turn Left onto Union St. Travel 2 blocks south to the corner of Union & Water Streets.


Categories: SCA news sites

Six elevated to Peerages at Rowany Festival

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2015-05-11 10:45

Gunther Canon reports that at Their recent Rowany Festival, Their Majesties Kinggiyadai Khagan and Altani Khalighu Yeke of the Kingdom of Lochac honored a number of Their Subjects by offering them entry in the various Orders of the Peerage.

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Categories: SCA news sites

The first selfie

History Blog - Mon, 2015-05-11 03:45

Here it is:

Robert Cornelius took this picture of himself outside of his family’s lamp Philadelphia store in October or possibly November of 1839.

Although there were reports that Louis Daguerre had devised a method to fix images captured by a camera obscura onto a metal plate as early as 1835, the daguerreotype was first announced in January of 1839 and the process released to the public on August 19th. After detailed descriptions of how to take daguerreotype were published in Philadelphia journals and newspapers in September and October, Robert Cornelius, who had a great interest in chemistry and worked for his father doing silver plating, was approached by inventor Joseph Saxton to create a light-sensitive silver-coated plate for use in daguerreotypy. With Cornelius’ plate, Saxton took the earliest known surviving picture in the United States on October 16th, capturing the round tower of the Philadelphia Central High School and the old Pennsylvania State Arsenal building at the corner of Chestnut and Juniper from the window of his offices at the US Mint.

Cornelius was intrigued by the new technology and immediately set to doing his own experiments. His first subject was far more challenging than Saxton’s. Daguerreotypes required long exposure times of up to 15 minutes. Even the shortest exposures were at least three minutes, which made the medium less than ideal for capturing living, conscious beings. Schools and arsenals do photographers the courtesy of not even twitching once. Cornelius wanted to give it a go anyway, so he took his homemade camera — a box with an opera glass lens — into the yard behind the lamp store and there, in the daylight, he took a daguerreotype half-portrait of himself with crossed arms and tousled hair that wouldn’t look out of place in a fashion magazine today. He’s a little off-center, but I think it only makes him look more natural and less like he had to hold that pose for minutes on end. The lamp store, incidentally, was located on 8th Street between Market and Chestnut, just five blocks from the US Mint where Saxton took his first photograph.

After his first foray into daguerreotypy, Robert Cornelius caught the bug. In February of 1840 he opened a portrait photography studio and captured the likenesses of other sitters, wealthy clients and family and friends. He also published what is believed to be the first photograph in an advertisement in the Philadelphia Public Ledger. Very few of his works, only around two dozen, have survived. Thankfully his masterful selfie is among them.

Cornelius quit the photography business in 1843 and returned to work for the family’s lamp and chandelier concern where he had a very successful career building a better mousetrap, mainly lamps that ran on cheaper and more easily accessible fuels like pig lard rather than the prohibitively expensive whale oil that was still the default option when he began. Under his tenure the company became the largest lamp business in the country before they were eventually overtaken by other better-mousetrap-makers. Robert Cornelius retired a wealthy man in the 1860s.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

The Birth of a New Peerage in Æthelmearc

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-05-10 22:00

On May 1, Anno Societatis 50, Æthelmearc saw the birth of a new peerage as Duchess Dorinda Courtenay was made the first Æthelmearc Mistress of Defense.

Photo by Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg

At an event beginning in the early afternoon, she met all challengers to prove herself worthy, as commanded by Their Majesties:

“BE IT KNOWN to all that profess arms that We, Timothy and Gabrielle, by right of Arms, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc,  do honor and invite all to whom these words come – that We commend Dorinda Courtenay, Member of the Order of the White Scarf, Duchess of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, and Vigilant for the Society’s Order of Defense to play her Master’s Prize against all who might wield the Rapier in its subtile mysterie at these weapons, viz:

Duchess Dorinda playing the tossing game.
photo by Ysabeau Tiercelin

rapier, rapier and dagger, rapier and parry item, case of rapier or longsword. Each Gentle being offered three passes of their choice. We would also provide gaming challenges for those who are not able to meet Her Grace on the rapier listfield. These words are to give notice that Our said Vigilant will be present beginning at 3:00 p.m. on the First day of May, at the appropriately entitled ‘Celebration of the Art of the Rapier’ to perform and do her utter most for the achievement and bearing away of the prize.”

Duchess Dorinda did indeed meet all comers, to the satisfaction of Their Majesties. There was much fencing, and then the populace repaired to a wondrous sideboard prepared by THL Ian Kennoven, with the centerpiece being a sugar paste rapier with escarbuncle guard.

Their Majesties processed into court and addressed the populace. King Timothy proclaimed, “From the day We won Crown, We had hoped the Board would make this decision, the right decision, and We are thrilled to be able to do this today.”

A video of the entire elevation can be seen here:

The oath, based on the London School of Defense Masters Oaths:

I, Dorinda Courtenay, do swear to be true to my Kingdom, to be a loyal subject to my Crown, and to serve my Queen with life and property.

I pledge to work with other Masters to further the rapier community, and to refrain from teaching suspect peoples including murderers, thieves, drunkards and quarrelers.

I promise that in any game, prize or play at weapons to give true judgement without favor or hatred, and to be merciful when I have the upper hand except in self-defense or in service to the Crown.

I pledge to give aid, strength and help to all masters, provosts and scholars, and to consult all Masters to advance others so that this Order, the fencing community, and the Kingdom may prosper.

Thus I do swear.

The cheers that rose in Court were soon to be echoed around the Known World as many Kingdoms created their first Masters and Mistresses of Defense and a new peerage was born in the Society.

Duchess Dorinda with her scroll. photo by Ysabeau Tiercelin

Above, THL Fiora d’Artusio, Don William Parris (Gazette Fencing Editor) and Mistress Irene von Schmetterling at the event. Don William said “In a historic time, with worthies being chosen all over the Society, Æthelmearc set a high bar with Her Grace, Dorinda.”

The scroll was illuminated by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and calligraphed by Duchess Liadain ni Dheirdre Chaomhanaigh with wordsmithing by THL Ursula of Rouen, Duchess Liadain and Kameshima Zentaro Umakai.

 


Categories: SCA news sites

Red Lady of El Mirón buried with flowers

History Blog - Sun, 2015-05-10 12:40

The El Mirón cave the Rio Asón valley of eastern Cantabria, Spain, has seen continuous human occupation from the Middle Paleolithic 41,000 years ago right through to the Bronze Age. The cave has been excavated yearly since the 1996 by a research team co-directed by Manuel González Morales of the International Prehistoric Research Institute of Cantabria and Lawrence Guy Straus, Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. In 2010, they discovered human bones deposited against the wall of a chamber at the back of the cave behind a limestone slab and encircled with the remains of small bonfires. The bones — an incomplete set including a mandible, a tibia with animal bites, several vertebrae and ribs, phalanges and part of the cranium — belonged to a woman between 35 and 40 years old at the time of death. The skeletal remains and the sediment on which they rest were covered in ochre which is why she was dubbed the Red Lady of El Mirón.

Radiocarbon dating found that the Red Lady died and was buried 18,700 years ago near the end of the last Ice Age at the dawn of the Magdalenian period. It is the only relatively intact Magdalenian burial ever discovered on the Iberian Peninsula. Intact burials from the period have been found in France (the country where the type site was found) and Germany and individual bones from the period have been found in Spain before, but they were scattered and not associated with a grave.

Cave burials in this era were very rare. All signs point to the Red Lady having been someone of great importance to the Upper Paleolithic people who used the cave as their home and workspace. The red ochre, very high in sparkly specular hematite, appears to have been imported, and the grave was tended for a significant amount of time because the ochre was reapplied after the long bones and much of the cranium were removed. The bones could have been victim to the unknown canine-sized predator whose teeth marks were found on the tibia, or the removal of the big bones also could have been a deliberate act. Her people could have removed them for display or some other ritual purpose and then reapplied the ochre. The discovery of numerous small hand and foot bones in the 2013 season confirmed that the soft tissues decomposed in place rather than the body having been dismembered before it was skeletonized.

The large limestone block two meters (6.6 feet) long and one meter (3.3 feet) wide had fallen from the roof of the cave and was engraved with symbols — multiple fine lines some of which form a V-shape that may represent the pubic triangle, often used in Paleolithic art as a symbol of the female. The block fell a few hundred years before the Red Lady was buried in the small space behind it. The engravings date to around the time of the burial, so it could be that the Red Lady’s mourners made a grave marker of sorts out of it, hence the possible female symbol.

With no obvious grave goods, researchers have been studying other items found at the burial site to see if they may have been associated with the grave. They discovered a baby tooth of a second person, thousands of stone fragments, bones of red deer, ibex, fish, antler points, bone needles and beads made from pierced shells and animal teeth. Stable isotope analysis of the Red Lady’s teeth found that her diet mainly (80%) consisted of meat from hoofed animals (likely the red deer and ibex whose bones were found) with fish making up most of the remaining 20% except for small amounts of starchy plants, seeds and mushrooms.

Researchers also collected pollen samples.

María-José Iriarte-Chiapusso and Alvaro Arrizabalaga at the University of the Basque Country in Spain have taken a different tack, focusing on the pollen found at the burial site. They found an unexpected preponderance of pollen from the Chenopod group, which includes plants like spinach (Journal of Archaeological Science, doi.org/2vc). Chenopod pollen is rare at archaeological sites from this period, and the high concentration found by the researchers doesn’t match the patterns at burial sites in areas where these plants were a food source, says Iriarte-Chiapusso.

It is possible that the plants were used medicinally at this time, but that would still fail to explain the high levels of pollen. “The extraordinary nature of the finds within the burial suggest that [the plants] had been deliberately sought out for some purpose related to the deceased,” says Arrizabalaga. This leads the team to believe that the woman’s people may have left a floral offering at the grave, probably of small, yellowish flowers.

“You can’t get away from the conclusion that this person, [out of] the hundreds and perhaps thousands of Magdalenians who once existed for several thousand years in Iberia, was given some kind of special treatment,” says Straus. “God only knows why.”

Researches will study her DNA next in the hope that it will lend insight into the repopulation of Europe after the Last Glacial Maximum (ca. 21,000 years ago). Scientists hypothesize that when the cold was at its worst, people fled to southern climes before spreading back up north when temperatures warmed up again. If the Red Lady’s DNA can be linked to later populations in Belgium, Germany and the UK, it will be evidence that the Magdalenians who took refuge in Iberia went on to repopulate northern Europe.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Order of Defense Premieres tapped in Atlantia

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2015-05-10 08:15

Cian Triton, Principal Herald, reports that Their Majesties Logan and Esa of the Kingdom of Atlantia announced the kingdom Premieres of the Order of Defense at Their April 11, 2015 Coronation. Those chosen were Master Aedan Aylwyn, Master Alan of Gravesend, and Master Giacomo Vincenti.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Q & A: East Kingdom Exchequer

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2015-05-09 19:29

This is one of a series of Q&A articles with East Kingdom Officers. The Gazette wishes to thank Maestra Ignacia la Ciega, East Kingdon Exchequer, for answering our questions.

Please describe your job responsibilities. The job responsibilities of the Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer encompass several areas.  The most obvious is the managing of the kingdom funds and financial reporting of those funds.   Working to ensure all the groups in the kingdom are in compliance with the Society and East Kingdom policy, procedures and laws is another large responsibility.   Of course there is always the need to respond to an assortment of inquiries and requests from the various groups, individuals and from Society.  There are many responsibilities that fall within the very broad areas listed above.  I will not bore everyone with those details.    

What do you enjoy about this activity? I enjoy working with numbers and with puzzles,  so digging in a report to find the reason it is not adding up correctly  is fun and rewarding.   These is a logic to numbers that is always consistent and predictable, two things I tend to favor.   I like having a reason to meet people from different groups and having a common footing area of focus to start conversations.   I also find I do like to fill a need when there is a need, and the exchequer positions are an absolute need, for without them we would no longer exist.    

Do you have a goal for your term? My biggest goal right now is simple.  I would like to have all the groups in the East doing complete and consistent reporting each quarter.   There are several things that can help make that happen, like having more training available and having several more deputies to work with the various groups to help me ensure we are staying in compliance.   I would also encourage more people to show appreciation to the exchequers in the local groups, they do amazing amounts of work that no one ever sees, so we all can enjoy our hobby of living history.        

Are you currently looking for any deputies?Yes, I would like several more deputies.  Aside from the regional deputies that do reviews of the reports as they come in, training deputies would be very helpful.  The Tir Mara region is one area that a deputy would be a big help, especially since I do not speak any French.  Some of the regions are very large, so for those regions a second deputy would be very welcome.  Training deputies – I would like a couple of those as well.  There is always a new exchequer that wants training or an experienced exchequer looking to understand something more than they currently do.  Training materials are always in need of updating, so that is also in the shadows waiting for someone to take it on.  I recently took on an administrative deputy, his first project is to organize the exchequer warranting process and files, and then he is also working on the book review scheduling.          

What was your first event?  And what made you stay?My very first event, was Bjorn’s Ceilidh, in Concordia of the Snows.   The local members made an effort to interact with people they did not know (or recognize as I later discovered).  They were so willing to talk about the things they did and showed a lot of enthusiasm when talking about it.  The effort people put into engaging in conversation went a long way in getting me to come back at the beginning.   That quickly changed to seeing friends and learning or teaching new things.     

Which people made an impact on you in the SCA and why? I have to say that Baron Emerson G. True was one of the first people that had an impact on me.  I was on the group’s discussion list and had attended only one A&S meeting and one event.   Fabric was needed for the next meeting so I said I was willing to go to the store or meet someone there in order that we have it for the meeting.  Emerson was the person that I met up with for that outing.  He encouraged the pomp and circumstance, and was the reason I became the Baronial herald shortly after joining the group.   Baroness Lucia and Baron Baltasar (then he was Soichero)  both encouraged me to try  a variety of different things and they both took me under their wings as I did that.  The first event I was a steward for, was their investiture.  Which lead to my running many more events over the years.

Could you share with us a moment – or several moments – that describe what makes the SCA special for you?There was one particular year at Pennsic when My lord and 3 of our ‘sons’ were all actually fighting.  We were on the fighting field with 2 of our ‘daughters’ sending the men off to war.   It was one of those moments when it feels like you are really there in that place and time.  I was giving each of them a piece of my clothing (not an entire sleeve) to remind them of my love and telling them to stay safe and come back to me.  Knowing that they would be with a dearly beloved Knight, the Baron and the King meant they would be in the company of proven warriors but also that they would be in the deepest of the fray.    I have had many very personally special moments over the years.  Some that make my heart truly sing, have been those times I have created a scroll for someone dear to me, and the personal touches and research done show so completely when they see it.  Knowing that the person is so touched by what you have created for them, not for the courts or for the kudos, but simply for what it means to them personally.    Most recently, in my current position, I was very touched after doing an online training session with an exchequer.   The session started with the person feeling like they could not manage the spreadsheet we use; they were very confused, and the stress was apparent in the voice.  By the end of the 1.5 hour session I could hear the confidence in the voice and knew the exchequer was feeling very capable of dealing with the position.  Of course there were profuse thank you’s but it really was they change in the voice and the confidence that made the entire thing very special for me.  

In service to the keeping of the coffers. Ignacia


Filed under: Interviews Tagged: Exchequer

New USA Knight talks strategy

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2015-05-09 17:03

The May issue of New Hampshire Magazine offers an interview with Evan Ringo, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a competitor in the Armored Combat League, and a new member of USA Knights. Rick Broussard conducted the interview.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Almond Milk

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-05-09 10:48

by Caleb Reynolds.

Milk was an important ingredient in medieval cookery. The problem with animal milk (milk from cows, goats, and sheep) was that it had a very limited shelf life. Also, the taste and quality of milk changed with the seasons and with the feed of the animals. Add to that the fact that animal milk was prohibited on fast and lean days. To get around these issues, medieval cooks turned to other sources for milk. Almonds, as well as hazelnuts and walnuts, can be turned into a milk-like substance.

Like animal milk, almond milk can by churned into butter, can thicken sauces and carry fat soluble flavors. Since it contains no animal products, almond milk could be enjoyed on fast and lean days and during Lent. Almond milk also had a more consistent flavor than animal milk and does not spoil easily. It could be made as needed and any excess could be stored for several weeks. While it was an ingredient in many dishes, almond milk was also consumed just like animal milk; by the glass. It was recommended, by physicians, as “blessed with qualities that were very close to the healthy human temperament” [1] and was prescribed for those who were sick or had digestive problems.

Sources:

From Du fait de cuisine:
28. And again, flans of almond milk: according to the quantity of flans which you are making take the quantity of almonds, have them well and cleanly blanched and washed and then have them very well brayed; and take very clean fair water and let him strain his almond milk into a bowl or a cornue which is fair and clean according to the quantity of flans which he should make….

From Le Viandier de Taillevent:
Take peeled almonds, crush very well in a mortar, steep in water boiled and cooled to lukewarm, strain through cheesecloth, and boil your almond milk on a few coals for an instant or two.

The redaction from A Boke of Gode Cookery
1 cup ground almonds
2 cups boiling water
Combine almonds and water. Steep for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sieve the mixture to remove coarse grains OR (preferably) blend mixture in electric blender until grains are absorbed. Yield – 2 cups almond milk.

The redaction from Medieval Cookery
2 cups blanched almonds
3 cups hot water
Grind almonds until fine, almost like flour. Pour hot water into almonds, mixing well. Allow to soak for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl, discarding solids (they can be used again with more water, but the resulting almond milk will be thinner and won’t work as well in recipes)

==============================

My method is as follows:
1 cup whole, blanched almonds
2 cups boiling water
Grind the almonds by hand, using a mortar and pestle: grind until you end up with a gritty paste. This will take a while, but the finer the paste is, the better the end result will be. Once you have achieved paste, set two cups of water to the heat and bring it to a rolling boil. Once you have a rolling boil, add the almond paste and take the water off of the heat. Let the mixture steep for ten minutes, stirring every few minutes. After ten minutes, Strain the mixture through cheesecloth, make sure to squeeze all of the liquid from the cloth. Be careful, the liquid will hot. Cover the almond milk and let it cool on the counter. Once cool, feel free to drink the milk or use it for cooking. In a sealed container, your almond milk will last about a week on the counter, or up to three weeks in the ‘fridge.

Observations:

By following this method you will end up with something with the taste and consistency of almond-flavored skim milk, and while it can thicken a sauce like milk or cream, it doesn’t do it as well or as quickly. Also, the almond flavor doesn’t cook out. Further, almonds have no sugar, so almond milk isn’t sweet like cow or goat milk[2]. Modern, mass-produced almond milk is not the same thing as our period product: they are vitamin fortified, with extra fat, sugar and emulsifiers added to give them the flavor, and mouth-feel, of cow milk.

A purely modern method would be to put a cup of blanched almonds in a bar blender with two cups of hot water and blend until smooth. The bar blender will whip air into the mixture and pulverize the almonds, releasing more of the drupe’s[3] natural emulsifiers, thickening the liquid. Like modern almond milk, the bar-blender method would give you almond milk closer in mouth feel to cow milk than what you would attain with hand grinding the almonds.

You can use the same method to make milk from hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans, but I do not know of any documentation for pecan milk before the American revolution.

[1] Master Chiquart, Du Fait du Cuisine
[2] I’ve never had sheep milk before.
[3] Almonds are drupes, not nuts.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
A Boke of Gode Cookery. Almond Milk 2000. James L. Matterer. http://www.godecookery.com/goderec/grec31.htm. Accessed on November 7, 2012 , 10:12 am.

Chiquart, Maistre. Du fait de cuisine. Translated by Elizabeth Cook.
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Du_Fait_de_Cuisine/Du_fait_de_Cuisine.html. Accessed on November 7, 2012 , 10:15 am.

Le Viandier De Taillevent: 14th Century Cookery, Based on the Vatican Library Manuscript. Authors Taillevent, James Prescott. Translated by James Prescott. Contributor Biblioteca apostolica vaticana. Edition 2, illustrated. Alfarhaugr Pub. Society, 1989.

Medieval Cookery, Almond Milk Daniel Myers, 9/15/2006.
http://medievalcookery.com/recipes/almondmilk.html. Accessed on November 7, 2012 , 9:42 am.

Scully, D. Eleanor, Scully, Terence. Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations. University of Michigan Press, May 7, 2002

Scully, Terence. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1995.

Scully, Terence, ed. Le Viandier de Taillevent. An Edition of all Extant Manuscripts. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1988.

 


Categories: SCA news sites

Roman pool heater found in Bulgarian resort

History Blog - Sat, 2015-05-09 08:39

Trajan’s conquest of Dacia, so beautifully immortalized on the column that bears his name, was as immense a construction project as it was a military one. Trajan (r. 98-117 A.D.) built several major roads during his campaigns in Dacia, feats of engineering urged by the military necessity to clear a path for the organized and speedy movement of troops and supplies. The Via Trajana almost bisects central Bulgaria. It started in the Danube city of Ulpia Oescus, today the town of Gigen just south of the Romanian border, then went south through Sostra (modern-day Troyan) and the Troyan Pass in the Balkan Mountains before ending in Philippopolis (modern-day Plovdiv) which in Trajan’s day was in the Roman province of Thrace and is now in southern Bulgaria. The road played an important strategic role in the conquest of Dacia since it provided the army with a vital link connecting the Roman province of Lower Moesia on the Danube Plain with the largest city in Thrace. An even longer road Trajan built, the Via Militaris, intersected Philippopolis going the other way, diagonally from the northwest to the southeast of what is now Bulgaria.

Subsequent emperors maintained and added to the roads, building watch forts and . Along the Balkan stretch of the Via Trajana, Antonius Pius (r. 138-161 A.D.) built a fortress at Sostra in the Osam river valley to garrison the area which is known to have revolted against his rule at least once. Septimius Severus (r. 193-211 A.D.) and Gallienus (r. 253-268 A.D.) built fortresses practically on top of their predecessors’ ones at Sostra. The garrison ranged from 500 to 1,000 soldiers strong at different times, all of whom were housed in long wooden barracks with tiled roofs and well-fed on a diet of domesticated animals, game and mussels from the Osam river.

As so often happened in the Roman empire, a bustling town grew alongside the outpost to take advantage of the security afforded by troops permanently stationed there and the many opportunity for trade. In the 5th century, invading Huns destroyed the fortress and the town which were then left undeveloped. With no subsequent construction to destroy what was left of the Roman structures, the site has proven a rich source of archaeological remains since excavations began in the 1970s.

More recently, a team led by archaeologist Ivan Hristov have been excavating Sostra and environs since 2002. They found a stretch of the Via Trajana in 2010 that’s an impressive 7 meters (23 feet) wide and in excellent condition, the best preserved Roman road ever discovered in Bulgaria. Last year Hristov’s team unearthed a Roman road station 5,400 square feet in area with well-appointed facilities including a praetorium — a general or governor’s council/judgment hall — and baths with hot and cold water pools. The baths were fed by brick channels built to carry water from the Osam through the underfloor hypocaust system that heated the water, floor and walls. Coins, jewelry and votive offerings found at the bottom of one of the channels underscores that the people who made use of the facilities were wealthy. This wasn’t a modest public bath for the villagers; it was more like a luxury resort for the well-moneyed traveler.

This year’s excavation has found a furnace used to heat up the water in a shallow pool next to the large swimming pool, much like the small hot tubs attached to the big pools in modern-day resorts. Hristov believes the resort regularly hosted government administrators and may even have been visited by the imperial family when they were in the area.

The Bulgaria National Museum of History plans to apply for National Monument of Culture status for the Sostra road station which will grease the wheels for additional excavation and partial restoration to enhance its potential as a tourist destination.

The new discovery at the Ancient Roman fortress Sostra is expected to help it receive the status of an archaeological preserve including the fortress, the road station, and a large Early Christian basilica together with several other ancient buildings located at the point where the Lomeshka River flows into the Osam River.

As the report puts it, tourists will be able to walk around an entire labyrinth of authentic archaeological structures.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Retainers Wanted for Their Majesties

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-05-08 21:34

Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle. Photo courtesy of Her Majesty.

There is a new Facebook group available for those who would like to retain for TRM Timothy and Gabrielle for the remainder of Their reign, titled Royal Retainers Reign 36. If you would like to be added to the group, please contact Lady Rowena Moore aka Sue Klinger O’Donovan (sodtigger@gmail.com) or Her Excellency Dame Bronwyn aka Joann Witcoski (damebronwynrc36@gmail.com) so that you may be added to the group and the list of Retainers. The direct link to the group can be found here.


Categories: SCA news sites