Jesper Lynge, a chef in Aalborg, Denmark, has a passion for Viking cooking, including sauerkraut, and "a sweet and sour supper, combining savoury game meat such as venison with sauces made from foraged berries."
A 11th or 12th century statue of a meditating Buddha with a perfectly posed mummy inside received a revelatory CT scan last September at the Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort, central Netherlands.
The statue arrived in the country as part of the Mummies exhibition at the Drents Museum in Assen, northeastern Netherlands. This was the first time the reliquary was allowed to leave China and it’s the only Chinese Buddhist mummy that has ever been made available for scientific research in the West.
The exhibition ran from May to August, after which the statue was taken to the medical center for CT scanning by Buddhist art expert Erik Brujin. Under the careful supervision of Brujin, radiologist Ben Heggelman ran the statue on its back through the CT scanner and took samples of bone tissue for DNA analysis. Gastrointestinal and liver disease specialist Raynald Vermeijden used an endoscope to sample material of an unknown nature from the mummy’s thoracic and abdominal cavities.
Several news stories have incorrectly described the mummy as a shocking discovery, but it was known to be inside the statue all along. Not to state the obvious, but that’s why it was sent to the Drents Museum in the first place as part of the Mummies exhibition. The research team did make one surprise find: the cavities where the organs once resided are stuffed with pieces of paper that have ancient Chinese characters written on them.
The mummy is believed to be that of the Master Liuquan of the Chinese Meditation School, or Ch’an (known as Zen in Japan) Buddhism. He died around 1100 A.D., which is the source of the date for the statue. The Drents Museum exhibited the statue as an example of self-mummification, a grueling, torturous, years-long process in which Buddhist monks gradually starved, dehydrated and poisoned themselves in the hope of attaining enlightenment and leaving an incorruptible corpse. It required an almost inconceivable degree of self-abnegation. For the first 1,000 days they ate only nuts and seeds gleaned from the area around the temple. The next 1,000 days the diet was whittled down to small portions of pine bark and roots until the end of the period when they began to drink a tea made from the sap of urushi tree. This sap is what lacquer is made of; it is toxic to humans. The tea induced the release of fluids and made the body unappetizing to insects and microorganisms that would otherwise be inclined feast on the corpse.
With no body fat or fluids left and poison in his tissues, the monk would then be walled alive in a room that gave him just enough space to sit lotus style. A tube let air into the tight space and the monk would ring a bell to let people know he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the space sealed for another three years. When the 1,000 days were up, the tomb would be opened to see if the body was in fact mummified. If it wasn’t, and most of them weren’t, it was buried with due respect for the unbelievable toughness and devotion of the priest who made the attempt. If it was, the deceased would no longer be considered dead but in a state of eternal meditation, removed from the cycle of Samsara. He was elevated to the rank of Buddha, his mummy dressed and decorated and placed on an altar.
The practice as described above was codified by Kuukai of Mount Koya, Japan, founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. He is thought to have learned it while studying esoteric Buddhist practices in the T’ang region of China. Most examples of self-mummification have been found in the Yamagata Prefecture in Japan, but there are instances in China and India as well. The thing is, there is no removal of organs in this procedure. If the mummy in the Buddha statue did indeed self-mummify, his organs must have been removed after death, and I can’t see how it could have been done three years later. There’s a different process at work in the Buddha statue mummy.
I hope the scan and tests will get some answers about how he died and was mummified. The results of the research will be published in a monograph at an unscheduled future date. The exhibition is now in the Hungarian Natural History Museum where it will remain until May. After that it will travel to Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Sweden concluding in Wales in 2018.
Last Labor Day weekend, in the far off lands of the Kingdom of Northshield, the Known World Cooks and Bards Symposium took place. It was a wonderful weekend, filled with good friends, great songs, and greater food! As part of the biennial celebration of food and fun, a concert was held, featuring the “Bardic Luminaries of the Known World.” From Æthelmearc, Lady Silence de Cherbourg and Baron Fridrikr Tomasson were chosen to perform.
Now, after several months of hard work, Baroness Elashava Bas Riva has posted the entire concert to YouTube. You can find it here. Hear the stories, love the songs, and watch for the marvelous Mime!
Greetings to the Esteemed Populace of the East from Prince Omega and Princess Etheldreda
Much conversation has occurred with the Order of the Golden Rapier and current Peers regarding the creation of the new Peerage, the Masters of Defense. We are excited to be part of this new chapter in our Society and Kingdom. We wish to share with the populace the current decisions.
Our current decisions are as follows:
Please join us at this important celebration at our Crown Tournament!
Filed under: Fencing
Archaeologists excavating near the village of Skomack Wielki in northeastern Poland have unearthed numerous bronze, iron and pottery artifacts from a settlement dating to the 5th or 6th century A.D. Artifacts from this period in this area are rare, and most of the ones that have been found were discovered in cemeteries.
Among the most valuable finds are ornaments, brooches and buckles made of bronze, as well as toiletries (tongs) and knives. In one place, archaeologists discovered cluster of entirely preserved 7 ceramic vessels. They differ in size, finish (some carefully smoothed, some rugged), decoration in the form of plastic strips, ornaments made with fingers or engraved. “The whole deposit gives the impression of a specially selected set, although at this stage of research it is difficult to say what was the purpose of selection and of the pit, in which the vessels had been placed” – commented Dr. [Anna] Bitner-Wróblewska.
Although the population of the area in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages is generally associated with the Sudovian/Yotvingian tribe, archaeologists believe the community in this settlement was a West Baltic tribe called the Galindians who had established connections with peoples to the north, south, west and east of them going back as far as the 2nd century A.D. when Greco-Egyptian astronomer, mathematician, poet and geographer Claudius Ptolemy mentioned them in his Geographia. The range of the ancient tribe was whittled down to a central core in the wake of the upheavals of the late Imperial period. By the 6th/7th century Ptolemy’s Galindians survived as the Old Prussian clan of the Galindis. These artifacts, therefore, are from a significant transitional period in the history of the region.
The pottery vessels, still filled with soil, have been removed to the National Archeological Museum in Warsaw where the contents will be examined under laboratory conditions. The museum is a partner in the Polish-Norwegian Modern Archaeological Conservation Initiative “Archaeology of the Yatvings” which seeks to explore the mutli-period settlements of Baltic tribes (the Yatvings of the title) in the early medieval centers of Szurpiły and Skomack Wielki in Poland’s Warmińsko-Mazurskie region. This is the first archaeological initiative in Poland to prioritize non-invasive methods of investigation like aerial exploration and geophysical surveys to locate and identify archaeological remains and determine how well preserved they are.
The project began last year with non-invasive analysis of the sites followed by targeted excavations. It is scheduled to continue through 2016. The ultimate objective, in addition to learning more about the little-known settlement structures of ancient and early medieval Yatvings, is to develop a usable model of heritage protection coupled with archaeology that will give local communities a fuller understanding of their rich history and a preservation-based approach to cultural tourism.
Experienced SCA member D.W. Smith is hoping to create a chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism at Atlantic Cape Community College in Cape May, New Jersey. So far his recruiting includes armored combat. Helen McCaffrey of the Cape May County Herald has the story. (photos)
Arcaheologists are intrigued by the discovery of a 15th century Spanish shipwreck off the coast of Zakynthos, Greece. The 2014 underwater explorations of the site have revealed enough of the ship’s wooden frame to allow study of "the transitional art of shipbuilding during the 15th and 16th centuries." (photo)
Fans of the Rotterdam soccer team Feyenoord ran riot in Rome’s historic center on Thursday, throwing bottles and flares and causing serious damage to the Barcaccia fountain in Piazza di Spagna. Built by Pietro Bernini, father of famous architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, between 1627 and 1629, the fountain just reopened in September after an extensive 10-month restoration. Now there are more than 110 gouges, scratches and chips on the travertine marble and several large chunks broken off the edge of the central basin.
On Friday morning public works crews sifted through broken glass, bottles and assorted trash to recover all the fragments they could find in the water. City restorers assessed the damage and it does not look good. There are broken pieces as large as 8 by 3.5 centimeters (3 by 1.4 inches). Even if the larger pieces can be reattached cleanly — not an easy feat with the highly porous travertine — the chips and scratches will likely remain. Expert Anna Maria Cerioni says that the damage to the fountain is permanent.
It’s unclear what set this barbarians off other than the usual metric ton of alcohol and whatever idiotic sports rivalry. They rampaged through the beautiful and historic Campo de’ Fiori piazza on Wednesday evening, throwing bottles at riot police and leaving the square covered in garbage. Over the two days of clashes between rioters and police, 10 police officers and three Dutch fans were wounded. A total of 28 were arrested and 19 of them have already been convicted and sentenced to six months in jail or a $50,000 fine.
All of this happened before the actual Europa League match between Feyenoord and Roma on Thursday afternoon. Additional police were dispatched to the Olympic Stadium for the event, in the expectation that violence might break out between the opposing teams’ fans, but nothing happened. The score was tied 1-1, Feyenoord moves on in the bracket and the 6,000 Dutch fans got on planes and headed home with no further trouble.
The mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, is incandescent with rage. He said that while several banks and organizations have contacted him offering financial support for the restoration, he thinks the Netherlands or the Feyenoord club should pay for the damage according to the principle of “who breaks it buys it.” The Dutch embassy’s public statements (you can see them on their Facebook page) focus on bringing the responsible parties to justice. “Soccer must be a party where there’s no room for violence. The Italian authorities can count on the total cooperation and committment of the Netherlands to ensure than the culpable are punished.” They also said an investigation has been opened in Holland to identify the perpetrators.
They haven’t excluded paying for it, however. When the mayor told the press after a long conversation with Dutch ambassador Michiel Den Hond that “they don’t feel responsible for the economic outlay to repair Bernini’s fountain,” Aart Heering, the ambassador’s spokesperson, said the mayor’s comment was premature, that before saying the Netherlands doesn’t want to pay for the damage, first the damages have to be quantified and the perpetrators identified.
The Feyenoord club’s general manager Eric Gudde described the rioting as “utterly reprehensible behavior … that fills every normal thinking Dutchman with horror.” There’s a bit of the No True Scotsman fallacy in the club’s reaction. The rioters aren’t real fans, you see, but rather lowlives who unlike the real fans went to Rome with the intent to “misbehave.”
Film of the clashes between rioters and police in Piazza di Spagna on Thursday:
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Germany giveth and Germany taketh away. Last month the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) announced it had acquired Napoleon’s brother’s exquisite spiral chandelier from a Hamburg art dealer. Two days ago the museum announced it would voluntarily return an exquisite 16th century astronomical instrument to the Gotha Museum in Germany after being presented with evidence that the object had been stolen from the museum after World War II.
The instrument is a multi-use device known as an astrological compendium made by Augsburg craftsman Christopher Schissler in 1567.
This device is very much a show-off piece, a showcase for its owner’s wealth and scientific knowledge. Made from gilded bronze and enamel, it’s an astrolabe, but it also has a variety of other functions. The outside cover is a sun dial, the inside cover a map of the world from which a plumb-bob can be hung to calculate angle of inclination. Interior compartments include a wind rose, a compass, a lunary (a device to calculate the time based on the moon), a perpetual calendar and a zodiac showing which signs govern which days. It is inscribed along its octagonal edges “CHRISTOPHORUS SCHISSLER FACIEBAT AUGUSTAE VINDELICORUM – ANNO DOMINI 1567″ (Christopher Schissler made this, Augsburg ― Anno Domini 1567).
The Schissler Compendium remained in Prague Castle until 1620 when it was taken as plunder by the forces of Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, after their victory against Frederick I, King of Bohemia, at the Battle of the White Mountain, one of the early clashes of the Thirty Years’ War. It was taken to Munich. Twelve years later, it was plundered again, this time by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden who invaded Bavaria and in May of 1632, took Munich. Gustavus Adolphus died in battle later that year and after his ally Bernhard of Saxon-Weimar died in 1639, the spoils from Bavaria were divided among the survivors. The Schissler Compendium went to Bernhard’s brother Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, who installed it in his collection at Gotha.
Inventory records from the 19th century indicate the instrument stayed put in the collection of the Dukes of Gotha at Friedenstein Castle for 300 years. When the palace was converted to a museum, the compendium went on display alongside a larger astrolabe by Schissler. Much of the collection was moved during World War II for safekeeping and returned after the war was over. Thuringia was occupied by American forces for a few months after the end of the war, and then the Soviets took over. They took many of the Gotha Museum treasures to the Soviet Union only to return them after the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1949. We know that the Schissler Compendium was not among the art and artifacts returned to the museum by the Soviets.
So somewhere in the chaos of wars world and cold, the instrument made its way to New York art dealers and thence to Toledo, Ohio. The Toledo Museum of Art had no knowledge of its checkered past until May of 2013 when Dr. Martin Eberle, director of the Gotha Museum, wrote them a letter about the astrolabe. He included considerable documentary and photographic evidence that Toledo’s Schissler Compendium and the Gotha Museum’s Schissler Compendium were the same piece. After a couple of months spent reviewing the documentation, TMA Director Dr. Brian Kennedy wrote back to Dr. Eberle acknowledging that it seemed their astrolabe was the one stolen from the German museum.
The institutions negotiated for a year after that, planning the repatriation of the object and the loan of artifacts from the Gotha collection to the Toledo Museum of Art in exchange. They still haven’t decided which pieces will be loaned, but they’ll sort that out in due course. Meanwhile, repatriation is nigh, tentatively scheduled for March or April of this year.
Kudos to the TMA for returning the piece. There’s no legal requirement that they do so. The UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property does not apply, nor do the protocols regarding Nazi loot. This was entirely an ethical choice they made because they think it’s the right thing to do.
[U]nlike earlier cases, this is one that involves no government bureaucracy or complications raised by potential thieves or distributors awaiting trial. It is, as Mr. Kennedy noted, simply an agreement between two museums to get a historically valuable piece back to its rightful owner.
“We’ve recognized there’s been a cultural shift in how museums conduct themselves,” Mr. Kennedy said. “There’s much more scrutiny in how museums obtain their objects and transparency now.”
He said the TMA had made it museum policy over the past 10 years to look harder into the ownership history of every piece.
“This was a one-of-a-kind scientific device,” Mr. Kennedy said. “It’s sad to see it go, but it’s not ours.”
This is one of a series of Q&A articles with East Kingdom Officers. The Gazette thanks Sir Jibril al-Dakhil, the Kingdom Earl Marshal, for answering our questions.
Please describe your job responsibilities.
What do you enjoy about this activity?
Do you have a goal for your term?
Are you currently looking for any deputies?
What was your first event? And what made you stay?
Which people made an impact on you in the SCA and why?
Could you share with us a moment – or several moments – that describe what makes the SCA special for you?
Filed under: Heavy List, Interviews Tagged: Earl Marshal
The Gazette thanks Mistress Eleanor Fitzpatrick for writing this article at our request for our series of background articles on the East Kingdom and the SCA.
Few things evoke the feeling of living in the past quite so easily as the sight of a caparisoned horse charging down a list, rider with lance at the ready. While actually becoming a rider or owning a horse of your own involves a significant outlay of both time and money, having equestrian activities at your event is surprisingly easy.
Mostly what equestrians need is space, and the proper paperwork done. We bring the rest. We are very self-sufficient, sometimes so much so that you don’t even realize we’re there!
A competition field We don’t need a perfect, groomed riding arena. A mostly flat, mostly level field that isn’t muddy or rocky or full of holes will do. If it has a fence, great! If not we can set up boundary ropes to help define where spectators should be vs the active competition area. 75 feet by 150 feet is a good minimum size, though we’ve been able to work with slightly less if it has permanent barriers (fencing or trees) on at least two sides. This does NOT have to be a separate field from the main area of the event as long as the field is large enough to share safely. In fact, we prefer to be part of or adjacent to the main event area if at all possible.
Photos kindly provided by Baron Fergus MacRae and Mistress Brita
Filed under: Equestrian Tagged: equestrian, events
Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, has asked the Æthelmearc Gazette to share these court reports with the populace.
Steltonwald 12th Night, January 31, A.S. XLIX, in the Canton of Steltonwald
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Titus and Anna Leigh, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Court at Steltonwald 12th Night in the Canton of Steltonwald, 31 January AS 49. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.
Lady Teresa Alvarez was inducted into the Order of the Keystone for autocratting multiple events and for opening her home to host the Canton’s summer fencing practice. Scroll by Countess Aidin ni Leir.
Lady Ingunn Halldorsdottir was created a Companion of the Sycamore for her talents in embroidery, sewing, creating feast kits and veil pins, and for her continued generosity in donating these items to be used as Royal largesse. Scroll by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
Lady Madeleine de l’Este was elevated to the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc and Granted Arms for her historical research and recreation of Elizabethan and Italian garb for herself and her family. Scroll by THL Sophie Davenport.
Lord Vigo di Napoli said “Hello for you!” to the scroll commemorating his elevation to the Order of the Keystone, which was delivered to him by Their Majesties.
Master Robert Marston was named of Baron of the Court of Æthelmearc for his service to the Royalty, most especially his sacrifice of his own clothing in the name of the creation of Their Royal garb. Scroll by Countess Aidin ni Leir.
There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.
In Honor and Service,
Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins, February 7, A.S. XLIX, in the Barony of Delftwood
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Titus and Anna Leigh, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Court at the Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins in the Barony of Delftwood 7 February AS 49, accompanied by Their Highnesses Timothy and Gabrielle, Prince and Princess of Æthelmearc, and Their Excellencies Fergus and Helene, Baron and Baroness of Delftwood. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, with the assistance of Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn, Gullskel Herald, Drotinn Jorundr hinn Rotinn, Golden Alce Herald, and Marcellus Titus Cincinnatus.
In the morning:
Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn was invited before Their Majesties, and reiterated the boon that he had begged of Them at Their Crown Tournament, namely, that they send his student, Baronsfru Othindisa Bykona, to vigil to seek the counsel of the Peers and populace of the Realm, and of the Order of the Laurel in particular, that she might contemplate elevation to that Order. Their Majesties summoned Baronsfru Othindisa and bade the Order of the Laurel escort her to that place which had been set aside for her.
In the evening:
Their Majesties Granted leave to Their Excellencies to hold Their Baronial Court.
His Majesty invited the populace to join Their Majesties in a moment of silence for those recently lost by the Barony.
Marca Claudia Cincinnata was inducted into the Order of the Silver Buccle for coming into her own as a member of the Barony, including helping in the kitchen, serving feasts, and being a messenger at events. Scroll by Baroness Anastasie de l’Amour.
Zinoviia Ivanova was Awarded Arms for her skill on the heavy weapons and thrown weapons fields, and her service at demos and as photographer. Scroll by Baroness Clarice Roan.
Lady Amalie Reinhardt was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for her service as webminister, MOL, deputy Chronicler, autocrat, and marshal-in-training for thrown weapons. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.
Lady Arsinoë hë kai Antigone Nothou tou kai Philoromaeou Kallinikou was created a Companion of the Keystone for service to the kitchens of Æthelmearc, both as cook and as a member of the cleaning staff. Scroll by Mistress Felicity Flußmüllnerin.
Lady Catalina Carpintero de Diaz was inducted into the Order of the Keystone for serving her Barony as Chatelaine and Largesse Coordinator. Scroll by Duchess Branwyn ferch Gwythyr.
Lady Margarita Carpintero was bade join her mother, Lady Catalina, as a member of the Order of the Keystone, for she has served as autocrat, Chronicler and deputy herald. Scroll by Baroness Helene al-Zarqa.
Lord Raðúlfr Eriksson was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for his selfless volunteering as autocrat, marshal, and helping to set up and clean up events. Scroll by Lord Fridrich Flußmüllner.
Lord Marcus Claudius Cincinnatus was elevated to the Order of the Millrind and Granted Arms for his willingness to serve his Barony and Kingdom at every opportunity, including serving as Windmill Pursuivant for the Barony of Delftwood and event autocrat. Promissory scroll by Catherine Wolfe.
Baronsfru Othindisa Bykona was summoned before Their Majesties as she had been instructed by them, and answered that she had received counsel from the Peers of the Realm and was now prepared to take her place in the Order of the Laurel. Countess Alexandra of Clan Donald spoke of the friendship she had cultivated with Othindisa while she served as Alexandra’s head retainer, and described her as generous and gracious.
Earl Syr Yngvar the Dismal proclaimed simply that this was the best thing Their Majesties had done or would do all day, and that he endorsed it. Countess Caryl of the Order of the Pelican mused that while there were some people that you know will be a Peer as soon as you see them, “and then there are people like me and Othindisa,” and that she was proud to have watched Othindisa’s growth and service. Mistress Honnoria of Thescorre of the Order of the Laurel called Othindisa her sister, and recalled fondly the times that the two of them had fought and made up, and taught and learned. Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn of the Order of the Laurel spoke of the vast amount of knowledge that Othindisa had learned and passed on to the populace. Viscount Sir Haakon Oaktall praised Othindisa for taking an art form that is relatively unstudied in our Society and inspiring others to bring it out of the shadows.
Thus moved, Their Majesties created Othindisa a Companion of the Order of the Laurel, Awarded her Arms by Letters Patent, and invested her with regalia befitting her station: a medallion, a jacket, a cloak, a hood, and a wreath. Mistress Othindisa then gave her Oath of Service to the Crown, and a scroll illuminated and calligraphed by Lady Isabel Chamberlain of the Kingdom of the East upon wording by Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn was read to the populace.
There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.
In Honor and Service,
Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
Countess Marguerite is already “on the job” and shares the following missive:
I am in the process of assembling a team of people who would like to help put the [East Kingdom] booth together. I am specifically looking for someone who has video-graphy skills to join us.
Once we have a design for the booth, we will be reaching out via G+ and Facebook to ask for loans of historical items and scanned photographs of events throughout East Kingdom History.
We know we will need:
But we are likely to also include a significant display of East Kingdom Calligraphy and Illumination and other things that make our Kingdom Unique.
Eventually we will also be looking for Easterners attending the event to come help staff the booth on site.
Here is the current Event notice for the SCA 50th event: http://eastkingdom.org/sca50.php
Here is the SCA50th Website (Not much there yet). http://www.sca50year.org/
Please contact me with any questions or to get involved.
Filed under: Events Tagged: SCA 50 Year
The following is a letter from Their Majesties which is posted by The Gazette at their request.
For those of you who may not know, one of the proposals for our Birka Curia was to add the East Kingdom Thrown Weapons Championship and resulting Champions to our Royal court. As Her Majesty and I discussed this matter with our heirs and the assemblage at curia, it has become clear that the thrown weapons community has grown and now represents a significant portion of our populace.
We currently recognize: rattan, archery, fencing, equestrian, bardic and A&S champions and are now considering adding thrown weapons.
As We consider the implementation of another Champions event, We have significant concerns. Having yet another mandated royal progress event in an already crowded calendar may be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. However, this is not the fault of the thrown weapons community and should not be borne upon their shoulders alone. Fixing this may require selecting our champions by a different method than we currently use. We need to hear from the populace before our curia at Mudthaw.
The logistical challenge:
In any calendar year there are 52 weekends. The Crown must attend: 2 Coronations, 2 Crown Tournaments, 12th Night, 6 (potentially 7) Champion events and some number of Baronial Investitures (We are doing 6). This leaves ~ 32 weekends in a year. This does not include Pennsic (weekends before, during, and after), the ~5 war practices leading up to it or any of the foreign wars: most notably Estrella and Gulf Wars (We attended 2 others). And if the Crown takes 1 weekend a month off, we are now we are down to ~4 to 8 weekends per reign to attend OTHER Eastern events. Taking up the Crown is a major commitment of time, but the logistics can become insurmountable.
It has been our tradition that the champion tournaments are the focus of its event (generally running noon-5). And We feel that our mandate to hold a growing number of formulaic events is detracting from our ability to throw truly creative and engaging events. We feel it is important for the Crown to attend events like a masked ball, or an immersion event, or a Rose tournament or events in distant corners of the kingdom.
SO… WHAT TO DO? Here are some options, and We are looking for your feedback on them.
As we consider the contribution of all martial forms to our society, the questions are: do the throwers deserve a position alongside our other champions? If so, how do we chose to integrate so many champion tournaments into a very full event calendar?
If you have counsel for us on this matter, please contact us directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Filed under: Law and Policy
Baron RIchard Larmer reports that he has posted video from the october 2014 Crown Tournament in the Kingdom of Ealdormere. The videos are available to view on YouTube.
On Wednesday the Provincial Court of La Coruña convicted former electrician José Manuel Fernández Castiñeiras of stealing the Codex Calixtinus, an invaluable 12th century manuscript that contains the first travel guide for pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. For the theft of the codex, ongoing burglaries of cash and other items and money laundering, Castiñeiras was sentenced to 10 years in prison (three for the codex, five for the burglaries, two for the laundering) and a 268,000 euro ($304,000) fine. His wife Remedios Nieto was sentenced to six months for money laundering and got her own 268,000 euro fine because she had to have known her husband’s wealth was ill-gotten. His son Jesus Fernández Nieto was acquitted as the court considered him a patsy used by his father who bought two apartments in his son’s name to launder some of the stolen money.
The court concluded that the electrician had taken keys to, among other locations, the office of the Dean and of the administrator, and used them to gain access to the Cathedral safe that regularly held large quantities of cash from sales of tickets to the Cathedral museum and roof, rent from Church properties and donations of the faithful. The total amount Castiñeiras stole in cash alone is 2.4 million euros ($2,735,000) in currency from 59 countries.
Defense counsel Carmen Ventoso tried the “this whole courtroom is out of order” defense, calling the trial a “procedural Guantanamo” in which the defendants’ rights had been trampled from before they were even on trial. She claimed police had broken into the house and installed monitoring devices a month before the arrest, that the official police search exceeded the parameters of the warrant, that the first interview in which Castiñeiras admitted he had stolen the Codex at 12:00 AM on July 4th, 2011, was full of errors and invalidated by the interrogator’s hardball tactics (“suggestive,” “argumentative” and “repetitive” questioning verging on duress), and that the Cathedral’s security camera footage showing the defendant shoving stacks o’ cash into his pockets was altered after the fact to incriminate her client. She wanted the search thrown out and all the evidence gathered as a result of it.
The court, unsurprisingly, was not persuaded by this argument or by Ventoso’s repeated imprecations against Judge José Antonio Vázquez Taín who, according to her, is a sterling example of “what shouldn’t be done.” The judge didn’t buy her next defense — that Castiñeiras had OCD and was a hoarder — either, on account of he somehow managed to overcome this compulsion just fine when he invested his filthy lucre in property.
On the stand last month, the first time he spoke publically about the theft, Castiñeiras admitted he had “probably” stolen all that cash (different news stories put the amount at anywhere from 1.7 to 2.4 million euros) from the Cathedral safe before he had a stroke in 2004, but he stopped keeping his accounts after the stroke and couldn’t remember if he kept stealing. When the magistrate asked him if he had stolen any other artworks or valuables from the church (a number of antiquities were also found in his home), the defendant replied that he woke up every day at 6:00 AM to work hard for the Cathedral. Because apparently early mornings and work entitle you to stuff millions in cash, art, church documents and whatever else into your pockets, seems to be the implication.
That fits with the disgruntled employee theory of the crime. He was let go in 2011, officially due to restructuring, but possibly because he was suspected of theft. That can’t have been the source of his cleptorage, however. He may have stolen the Codex Calixtinus in July of 2011 out of pique, but he’d been making off with huge fistfuls of cash regularly for something like a decade by then. In his confession he said he was acting against the institution that had failed to offer him permanent employment, but he also hinted darkly that the lack of poverty and chastity from certain Cathedral personnel his poor, traumatized eyes had witnessed during his many years on the job drove him to a decade of thievery. The lack of chastity was homosexual, gasp, and the lack of poverty consisted in staff taking money out of the offering bag and helping themselves to the best donations of silverware, hams and fine wines.
The Codex is now back at the Cathedral. It was returned on July 8th, 2012, four days after it was found in a garbage bag under some newspapers in Castiñeiras’ garage. It was on public display in the chapter house for the day, after which it was put in a safe location while the Cathedral looked into improving its obviously faulty security systems.
The Gazette is starting a new feature that will showcase blogs run by the Æthelmearc populace. If you know someone who has a blog that should be featured, email us at email@example.com.
Although not technically a blog, you can find articles of interest and links to resources on the subject of death in medieval times here.
The Gazette interviewed THL Beatrice on her interesting choice of research topics.
What’s your SCA background?
From my personal perspective: I’ve had an interest in death and the dead most of my life. As a child, my school bus stop was next to a cemetery, which I found fascinating. As I grew up, I was continually fascinated by other seemingly macabre interests. By the time I was in my twenties, I had earned a Master of Forensic Sciences degree in general forensics from National University.
What is the most common misperception about death in the Middle Ages?
What is the most unusual fact you have uncovered in your research?
I’m actually doing additional research on the catacomb saints at the moment and hoping to be able to provide a class about them in the future.
Has research become easier with internet resources?
If cabin fever has gotten you down lately, consider heading up to the College of 3 Ravens this weekend. While there, be sure to take a class or two or five! There is a wide variety of classes, something is sure to tickle your fancy!
The Æthelmearc Gazette is pleased to pass along this missive from the Chancellor of Classes for the College of 3 Ravens regarding the finalized list of classes for the day!
Unto the good gentles of the Sylvan Kingdom of Æthlemearc does Lady Kadlin Sigvaldakona, Chancellor of Classes for the College of 3 Ravens, send greetings!
I am pleased to say that the class listings and schedule are finalized and can be found online at: http://1drv.ms/1EVGE5g
In order to reduce waste, we are going to post a large-print version of class descriptions on-site, and only print 50 copies for distribution at the event. Gentles may wish to print out their own copies of class descriptions before the event.
Also remember that things may change between now and Saturday, so please make sure to check against the posted schedule after you arrive on-site.
Many, many thanks to the gentles who have volunteered to share their time, skills, and knowledge with us. Without you, there would be no C3R.
In humble service,
The College of 3 Ravens, which is hosted by the Barony of Thescorre, will be held on February 21, 2015 at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14622. Event information can be found at http://www.aethelmearc.org/eventinfo.php?event=1001
A 3,500-year-old Bronze Age hoard containing the head of an ice axe, fragments of a spiral necklace and a bracelet with tapered ends, all made of bronze, was found last month in the village of Rzepedź in Bieszczady Mountains of southeastern Poland. The hoard was discovered by Łukasz Solon from the nearby town of Sanok who was visiting the old wooden church of St. Nicholas with his girlfriend. They were walking towards the north side of the village when Łukasz noticed a metal object sticking out of the ground. Its green patina contrasted against the brown grass reminded him of artifacts he had seen in the Historical Museum of Sanok, so instead of indulging a perfectly natural curiosity and digging it up, Łukasz left the object alone and alerted the museum experts when he got home.
Archaeologist Peter Kotowicz from the Historical Museum of Sanok and Marcin Glinianowicz from the Carpathian Archaeology department of Sanok’s Folk Architecture Museum went to the site the next day and recovered the exposed object. They recognized it as an ancient bronze ice axe and immediately applied for an emergency permit to conduct an archaeological survey of the spot. The day after that, permit in hand, they excavated the find site.
First they explored the area with a metal detector and found fragments of bronze spirals and a strong signal indicating that there was more to found deeper underground. They dug a small trench about two feet square and carefully raked into the soil, recovering multiple pieces of bronze spirals until, about a foot under the surface, they encountered potsherds that were the edges of a clay vessel about 10 inches in diameter. Much larger sections of bronze spirals lay within the vessel’s perimeter. Underneath those archaeologists found another 15 bronze spiral fragments and a bracelet with tapered end broken in two pieces. When they got to the bottom they discovered the earthenware vessel had been deliberately placed upside-down on a circular sandstone plate.
According to Kotowicz, the discovered objects were probably made south of the Carpathians. “The treasure is probably related to the communication route, which ran from the nearby Łupków Pass through the Osława and San valleys” – noted the archaeologist.
Bronze monuments from Rzepedź have been preliminarily dated to approx. 1500 years before Christ. “We do not yet know who and why had hidden the treasure so carefully. Axe and jewellery are most likely related to the Piliny culture, then existing south of the Carpathians” – noted Kotowicz.
The Piliny culture is one of the Urnfield cultures, named after their practice of cremating their dead, placing the remains in urns that would then be buried in cemeteries that in some cases have been found to contain thousands of urn burials. Archaeologists have found pottery vessels of different shapes and sizes, bronze pins, bracelets, rings, weapons and more in those Piliny cemeteries and in settlements and hoards. The bronze work is particularly exceptional, the product of a well-developed metallurgic trade courtesy of the Carpathian mountains’ plentiful supply of ore. The area was an important center of metallurgy from the Early Bronze Age on, introducing innovations in the making of alloys and other metallurgic techniques.
The bronze spiral fragments in the Rzepedź hoard are typical of jewelry that has been found at Piliny sites. They used that spiral configuration in all kinds of designs: arm rings, leg rings, wrist guards, finger rings, pendants.
In order to ascertain whether the hoard was a one-off buried in a remote location far from the madding crowd or part of a larger settlement, the find site will have to be more extensively explored. A survey or the wider area has already begun, a first step to a broader program of research under the aegis of the regional conservation office.