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John Quincy Adams would have slain on Instagram

History Blog - Tue, 2017-11-21 23:28

In a long, eventful life filled with accomplishments, John Quincy Adams often gets the credit for the one thing he didn’t do: being the first President of the United States to be photographed. That record goes to William Henry Harrison, poor sod, who had his picture taken around the time of his inauguration in 1841. Thirty-one days later, he was dead of a fever. (Legend has it he delivered his interminably long inaugural address without a coat thereby “catching cold” which developed into pneumonia and killed him. Now we know that the weather cannot infect you with disease — pathogenic microorganisms do that job — but it makes a good story so it has lingered as the dominant account of how the shortest presidential term of office came to such an abrupt end.) Adams was the second resident of the White House to photographed, albeit many years after his first and only term as President. It was in 1842 and only reprints and copies of that image and the Harrison portrait are known to survive today. The originals are lost.

That’s why there was so much excitement earlier this year when the news broke that an original daguerreotype of Adams taken by photographer Philip Haas at his studio in Washington, D.C. in 1843 emerged from the obscurity of attic clutter to the bright lights of Sotheby’s. It was the earliest known surviving original photographic portrait of a US president. Bidding was not surprisingly fierce and there was much rejoicing in the history nerddom when the National Portrait Gallery announced a few days after the auction that they had placed the victorious bid.

You wouldn’t know from how rare these original plates are, but as it turns out John Quincy Adams was a bit of a camera whore (said in reverent awe, Mr. President’s ghost, not disrespect). Louis Daguerre presented his new technology to the public in 1839, so when Adams sat for his first portrait in 1842, the process was still in its infancy. In March of 1843, he had another portrait taken, his first by Philip Haas. Then he went back Haas’ shop a week later to have the portrait redone because none of the ones from the first session came out right. His diary entries on those dates reveal his fascination with the “camera obscura” device and how it worked.

Getting his picture taken by top society photographers became a regular thing for John Quincy. In September of 1842, six months before he first visited Philip Haas, he sat for photographer John Plumbe at his Boston gallery, then again at Plumbe’s studio in D.C. three more times all in 1846. The second of these four sessions took place on February 14th, 1846. The former President noted in his diary that he went to “Plumbe’s Daguerreotype office” where they took two shots of him: “a full face and a profile, both quite successful.”

The reference in Adams’ diary was the only evidence of the existence of the “quite successful” profile picture by John Plumbe. If it was published, printed, reproduced or in another way disseminated we don’t know about it.

How is there a profile image of President John Quincy Adams published right here in this humble blog then, you boldly but fairly query? It’s not a print, reprint or a copy, though. (Okay it’s a digital copy. You know what I mean.) It’s the original plate shot and developed by Plumbe. It just randomly turned up recently at a Paris antiques market, was spotted by someone with a good eye, got conserved, appraised and authenticated by top experts and it’s all over but the spending.

It’s a quarter plate Daguerreotype in a burgundy-glazed leather case lined with purple silk and velvet. The brass matt is stamped “Plumbe” and cover of the case is embossed with a basket of flowers design that case was one of Plumbe’s signature motifs. The compartment that holds the plate has a paper liner that reads “Manufactured at the Plumbe National Daguerrian Depot, New York.” And the portrait itself is undeniably John Quincy Adams’ mutton-chopped mien in noble profile.

The 1846 Plumbe daguerreotype of John Quincy Adams will be offered at Heritage Auctions’ Americana sale on December 2nd with a pre-sale estimate of $50,000. HA has a strong web component; you can bid early online and the bids are already up to $25,000. Given the results of the last auction where a John Quincy Adams portrait went far and beyond all pre-sale expectations, $50,000 could be surpassed within minutes.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Kingdom A&S Champion’s Event

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-11-21 16:58

Here continues the Record of the Reign of Gareth and Juliana, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc at the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Championship, October 28, AS 52, in Their Shire of Nithgaard; as recorded by Lord Arias Beltran del Valle, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald to Their Majesties.

Their Majesties first invited the Children of the Kingdom forward as the Kingdom Toy Box was carried away, for them to discover and retrieve a toy with which to entertain themselves during Their Court.
Having sent the children on their quest, Their Majesties then called for a moment of silence in memory of Maestro Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato, who had passed from the world that morning.

Their Majesties then called before them Baroness Elena de la Palma and Lord Tassin to speak as Autocrat of the event that day.
As this was the event to determine Their Champion of Arts and Sciences, Their Majesties then proceeded to announce Cornelia of Harford as the Youth Champion, and named Baroness Ekaterina Volkova and Lord Hrolfr Fjarfell jointly Their Arts and Sciences Co-Champions. Scrolls by Countess Anna Leigh and Baron Caleb Reynolds.

Their Majesties then recognized three of the family Harford for their contributions to the Society: Robert of Harford was made a companion of the Sycamore for his artful talents in many crafts, Shelley of Harford was inducted into the Order of the Keystone for her service in a thriving youth program and in maintaining the website of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn, and Mary of Harford was awarded a Silver Alce for her time and effort growing her skill on the archery range. Scrolls are works in progress.

Tychon of Nithgaard was summoned before Their Majesties.  Tychon has spent significant time defending Æthelmearc on thefield of battle, and spent hours in the marshal’s tent ensuring arrows were safe for use by all.  He is known as a reliable support for those in need at events, and so did They Award him Arms. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.

Their Majesties then called for Lady Oribe Tsukime to appear before Them.  Oribe is known for her great art, but that renown sometimes clouds her work in other arenas, as autocrat, A&S minister, chatelaine and volunteer.  And it was for those services that Their Majesties inducted her into Their Order of the Keystone. Scroll was in transit and created by Lord Sasson della Sancta Victoria.

Their Majesties summoned to their presence Lady Syele Pfeifferin.  Word of Syele’s work making Landsknecht garb, as well as feathered hats and children’s clothing had made it to the attention of Their Majesties, as had her research in the process, and so was she named to the number of the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll created by THL Luceta di Cosimo.

Master Ambrosius Mac Dhiabhidh and Lady Catlin Svensdottir were then summoned before Their Majesties.  Word had reached Their Majesties’ ears of their courtesy and hospitality, opening their home and helping to make armor for new fighters, as well as providing camping space and even on occasion the tent at events.  For this was each awarded a Cornelian. His scroll was created by Mistress Hrefna inn heppna Thorgrimsdottir. Her scroll was created by THLady Eleanor Godwin.

Their Majesties next called for Their Head Retainer Lady Raven Whitehart.  They spoke highly of her time spent as retainer both before and during Their Reign, as well as her work as a scribe, helping newcomers, and the massive amount of calligraphy she creates.  For this did They call for Their Order of the Millrind and add Raven to their number. Scroll painted by Lady Rivka bat Daniyel and calligraphed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruadh.

Her Majesty called forth Her Ladyship Abigail Kelhoge and named her as the Queen’s inspiration for the day, awarding her a Golden Escarbuncle in recognition of the work she presented that day.

Their Majesties then thanked the scribes and artisans who contributed to those awards issued on the day, and thanked the clothiers who had created Their garb on the day

There being no further business, the Court of Their Majesties was then closed.

All photos by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Categories: SCA news sites

Another posting from the Webministry

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-11-21 07:48

Greetings again unto the Populace of the East from the Office of the Webministry!

As His Highness and Her Majesty said earlier today on Facebook, the project of moving our email system to Google for Non-Profits is proceeding. Since my last posting several things have clearly changed, and we have gotten some very good questions that we feel answers to must be spread widely.

First off, in one of my previous posts I said that the @eastkingdom.org accounts would have to go last for lots of reasons. Well, we solved the _technical_ reasons, obviously, and can now move those accounts. HOWEVER, the process takes more effort, leaves more of a mess to clean up afterwards, and will be a bookkeeping nightmare (which of these 700 accounts have we moved?) so we’re only moving those accounts who can demonstrate a significant need to get on the new system early. “I wanna” only counts if you’re Royalty, and they’re all already moved.

Next, an explanation of the timeline by which we move a branch:

1) We receive back the spreadsheet of account information
2) Fairly promptly we will create the new accounts
3) We send a welcome letter email to both your current officer account AND your provided “recovery email” account, that is, your personal email. We want to make sure that everyone sees at least one of these.
3A) The welcome letter includes instructions for setting your initial password, how to log in to check you email, and a note that your migration HAS NOT YET been scheduled.
4) When we schedule your migration, it will be at least a week after your accounts have been created and we will then send another email including the time and date. We are leaving a week in between so you can get your password set, make sure you can get in to your email, etc. BEFORE you are relying on this to get your job done.
5) When your migration happens:
5A) We start by switching over the flow of new mail to Google. Nothing more in the old account after this point
5B) We start the copy process to move all your old email over to the new Google account. This takes about 1 second/message, so if you’ve got the time to do a cleanup of old junk, please do.
5C) When it’s done, we send out YET ANOTHER email, this one telling you the migration is complete.

One big takeaway from this is that if your account was just created and you follow the instructions to set your password and log in, there won’t be anything in there to see. But you are ready for when there is.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email gfnp@eastkingdom.org. We are working on a Frequently Asked Questions document, but at the moment really polishing up the migration to be as easy and smooth as possible has taken priority. Soon.

In Service,
Joel Messerer
East Kingdom Deputy Webminister for Services

Filed under: Announcements Tagged: server migration, webminister

Biography of Chinese inquisitor found in 13th c. tomb

History Blog - Mon, 2017-11-20 22:36

Archaeologists have discovered a double tomb of a lord and lady of the southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279) in China’s southeastern Zhejiang province. The tombs were unearthed at a contruction site in Qingyuan County in 2014 but the findings have only now been published in English in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics, a translation of the Chinese-language archaeology journal Wenwu (Cultural Relics) which first published the discovery in 2015.

The two tombs date to the early 13th century and we are fortunate enough to know the identities of both the people buried within. One of the two tombs, Lord Hu Hong’s, had been broken into by looters in the distant past and so had been stripped of its valuables and grave goods. Only a smattering of porcelain with a decorative elephant motif survived the artifact raid. Thankfully the grave robbers weren’t interested in the kinds of things that most enthrall archaeologists today because they lack the showy obviousness and saleability of “treasure”, so they left behind a stele with a long biographical inscription detailing Lord Hu Hong’s many accomplishments. Perhaps they didn’t want to piss off the deities by going against the expressed wishes of the deceased whose life history, according to the inscription, “has been inscribed on this stone to be treasured here, in the hope it will last as long as heaven and earth!”

The other tomb held the remains of Lord Hu’s wife née Wu. She too had an extensive bio carved in stone but the inscription is too worn and damaged to be readable at the moment. The good news is the looters missed her tomb, so it still contains some of the luxurious objects — gold earrings, gold and silver hairpins, gold combs, and a crystal disc that looks streamlined and elegant like something you’d see in a high-end jewelry shop today. Like her husband, she too was interred with a porcelain vessel decorated with an elephant motif. Archaeologists found a large quantity of mercury residue inside née Wu’s tomb, likely an attempt to preserve her body that failed spectacularly.

Hu Hong bore the title “Grand Master for Thorough Counsel,” a position he filled ably for the southern Song emperors.

He and née Wu lived at a time when China was divided between two dynasties, with Hu Hong serving the southern Song dynasty that controlled southern China, according to the researchers who described the findings. […]

Apparently, he showed “outstanding talent” as a child in school and, in 1163, passed a competitive series of government exams to get a junior position in the government according to the inscription found in Hu Hong’s tomb. He then rose gradually through the ranks. His career got a boost in 1179, when he agreed to serve on the southern Song dynasty’s northern borders. In 1193, the government recognized him as “best county magistrate of the year,” the inscription says.

As the “investigating censor,” Hu Hong prosecuted the “treacherous and the heretical” in 1195, the inscription says. He was made a military commissioner in 1200 and was charged with defeating a group of rebels. “At the time, the Yao tribes were rebellious, and he stamped the rebels out,” the inscription says. Today, the Yao live in China and Southeast Asia.

In his final years, Hu Hong was growing critical of his own government, and retired not long after 1200. “He knew that he was beyond his prime and insisted on retiring. Had he kept being outspoken, he would have been pushed out,” the inscription says.

“Although worried about current affairs and concerned with the moral decline of the time, and though he could not easily let go, he no longer had the energy to fight and serve,” the inscription says. He died in 1203, and his wife died in 1206. Their tombs were built side by side. Hu Hong and née Wu had two sons, three daughters and two granddaughters, the inscription says.

I like how the inscription just lays out the politics of the situation: he quit before they could fire him. At least he got to enjoy his three short years of life after retirement.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Bids Sought For Spring Coronation

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-11-20 19:56
Unto the people of the East, do Caoilfhionn and Brennan send greetings. Her Highness and I are in search of a venue to celebrate Their Majesties and the service They do the Kingdom. To that end, We are seeking bids for April 7th. We are open to any region, require no feast, and seek only a picturesque location to lunch while we celebrate Their Majesties and, oh yeah, hold a Coronation. If you and your local group are interested in hosting the occasion, We would welcome your bids and are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for your time and consideration. In Service to the East, Caoilfhionn and Brennan, Heirs to the Tyger Throne
Filed under: Announcements, Events Tagged: announcement

Court Report: Crown Tournament/20 Year Anniversary

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-11-20 16:08

Here continues the Record of the Reign of Gareth and Juliana King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc at Their Crown Tournament, October 7, AS 52, in Their Shire of Hornwood; as recorded by Lord Arias Beltran del Valle, with the assistance of Lord Ronan O’Conall.

In the morning court:

On October 7, 2017, We, Gareth and Juliana, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, issued a royal sanction – banishment from the royal presence against Matthew Gibson, known in the Society as Tegrinus de Rhina. This sanction will expire at the end of our reign.

Their Majesties then summoned before Them those members of the Order of the Pelican there present. Having been informed of and agreeable to the Order’s desire to add to their number, they summoned in turn Baroness Constance Glyn Dwr and Mistress Elisabeth Johanna von der Flossenburg, and sent each to the place prepared for them to sit vigil and contemplate elevation to that noble Order.

Their Majesties then received before Them those combatants and consorts who were to vie for a place beside Their Majesties as Heirs to the Sylvan Throne, giving Their tokens to the couples as they were received.

Count Andreas and Countess Callista greet Their Majesties before the tourney.

Their Majesties then gave leave to Their Officers to conduct the Crown Tournament and Their Court was thus suspended.

At the conclusion of the tournament:

Having emerged victorious from the list of combatants, Their Majesties invited before them Duke Sven Gunnarsson and Duchess Siobhan inghean ui Liathain. Having confirmed his desire to serve as Prince, His Majesty placed the crown on Duke Sven’s head, creating him the Prince of Æthelmearc. His Highness then received the consort’s crown, and put it on the head of His lady, Duchess Siobhan, creating Her as His Princess.

Prince Sven crowns Princess Siobhan.

The Court of Their Majesties was once again suspended.

In the evening, holding Their Court:

Their Majesties summoned before Them the Children of the Kingdom who were then sent in pursuit of toys carried by his Lordship Darri inn Valski with which to entertain themselves during the business of Their Majesties’ Court.

Next, those attending their first event with the Society were summoned before Their Majesties. As a token of Their welcome to the Society and the Kingdom, each were given a drinking vessel to use for themselves as they attended further events in the future.

Their Majesties then invited before Them the Ladies of the Rose to speak about the chivalry witnessed on the field during the tournament. The Order noted the chivalry displayed by many of the fighters present that day, but determined one had demonstrated that chivalry above the rest, naming Duke Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn to carry the Shield of Chivalry.

Duke Malcolm receives the Shield of Chivalry.

His Lordship Alrekr Bergson was called forth to discuss the archery competition held during the day.
Their Majesties then received Baroness Fiona ingen ui Fhaolain to swear her oath of loyalty on behalf of the Baronage of the Endless Hills.
Sir Alonzio of the Peacemakers was then invited before Their Majesties. They noted Sir Alonzio’s many years of service to the Army of Æthelmearc, but also noted that a sign of his position as member of the Order of Chivalry had yet to be presented to him. So did They present him with a (only slightly overdue) scroll announcing his Elevation to the Chivalry by Their honored Ancestors Rurik and Elspeth in AS 37. Scroll by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.
Their Majesties Awarded Arms to Rollo Bastardson for his service in the Kingdom Army, especially over the past three Pennsic Wars, fighting with the Borderwatch in defense of Their lands. Scroll by Lady Shirin of Susa.

Ulf Halfdansson was then summoned before Their Majesties and was Awarded Arms for setting a fine example, first as a youth fighter, and then as an adult, offering a hand of service wherever needed. Scroll by Master Kieran MacRae.
Their Majesties next called for Bryna Barth, and Awarded her Arms for giving of her talents as cook, webmistress and retainer, among many others. Scroll by Lord Jacques of Sylvan Glen.
Felineaous Wratheon was next Awarded Arms by Their Majesties. Called Wraith, he has contributed to the Society for more than 20 years, before recently gaining citizenship in Æthelmearc. He, too, fights with the Borderwatch and serves as a herald and bard. Scroll by THL Eleanor of Godwin.
Joel of Hunter’s Home was next Awarded Arms for his service on the field of battle with the Borderwatch, defending the Kingdom both with heavy weapons and on the rapier field at this past Pennsic War. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.

Lucius Livis Lazarus was then summoned to the Royal Presence. Lucius has quietly served the Kingdom and His Majesty’s House Sable Maul for years, providing his arm on the field, and his talents in casting and cooking when the fighting had ceased. For this did they Award him Arms as well. Scroll by Lady Edana the Red.
Lady Thyri Erbewyf was summoned before Their Majesties, who had heard of her service as a key part of the Borderwatch siege crew. She trains new siege engineers and was the Borderwatch’s field commander on the field this past Pennsic. For this did they induct her into the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Felice de Thornton.

Lord Leonardis next was called to appear before their Majesties. Word had reached Their ears about his continued prowess on the fighting field, and his contributions to the heavy weapons community. For these reasons did They create him a member of the Order of the Gage. Scroll by Alita of Hartstone.

Lord Leonardis receives a Gage token from Count Andreas.

Baroness Miriel du Lac was called before Their Majesties. Her Excellency currently serves as Baroness of the Rhydderich Hael, but word of the other forms of service she provides helping to set up and dismantle events, and contributing on the fencing field and in the kitchens had reached the ears of Their Majesties. So did They induct her into Their Order of the Millrind. Scroll by Mistress Sthurrim Caithnes.

Their Majesties next summoned to them Lady Deidre Scot of Clan Scott. They had heard of her work at events doing a myriad of tasks from cooking to retaining to being sure all were fed, as well as the more onerous tasks of securing event sites and serving as exchequer. For this was she also added to the number of the Order of the Millrind. Scroll by Lady Shirin of Susa.
Their Majesties the invited back from her vigil Mistress Elisabeth Johanna von der Flossenburg, who confirmed her desire to be elevated to the Most Noble Order of the Pelican. Words in support of her Elevation came from Mistress Drea, delivered by Mistress Chrestienne de Waterdenne, Master Jose de Madrid, delivered by Mistress Cori Gora, and Master Robert of Sugar Grove, all as members of the Most Noble Order of the Laurel. Words from Mistresses of the Pelican Rosemarian of Edgewater and Ysabeau Tiercelin were also shared, as were words from Duke Marcus from the Chivalry, Duchess Liadain and Duke Elffin O’Mona, shared by His Highness Sven as Royal Peers, and from Lord Christian Goldenlok and Elizabeth and Isabelle von Halstern speaking as members of the populace.

Having heard those words, Their Majesties did then bestow upon Mistress Elisabeth the symbols of her new position, and created her one of their Most Noble Order of the Pelican. Scroll is a work in progress.

Baroness Constance Glyn Dwr was next summoned from her vigil, to speak to her desire for elevation to the same Order. Speaking to her worthiness was Baroness Alexandra dei Campagnella as one of the Pelicans, Duke Rurik as one of the Chivalry, Meesteress Odriana vander Brughe as a Laurel, and Countess Elena as a Royal Peer. Also heard were words from Mistress Amaryllis as a chirurgeon, and words from Count Jehan de la Marche as a Jewel of Æthelmearc, conveyed by Master Morien MacBain.
Their Majesties heard the testimony from those worthies, and did also induct Baroness Constance as one of their Most Noble Order of the Pelican, having bestowed upon her the signs and symbols of that Peerage. Scroll is a work in progress.

Her Majesty then bid Lady Dorothea Stark Shutze attend Her, as she had decided to name Lady Dorothea Her inspiration for the day, and awarded her a Golden Escarbuncle.

Their Majesties then thanked the scribes and craftsmen who had provided their gifts and talents in the creation of the awards and scrolls handed out that day.

However, before closing Their Court, Their Majesties summoned Mistress Graidhne ni Ruaidh before them. Having heard of her work as a scribe and assisting the Sylvan Signet in the work of that office, They thanked her, and did summon Their Most Noble Order of the Laurel to attend them, at this point bidding Mistress Graidhne to accept a writ to sit Vigil to contemplate elevation to that Noble Order at a later date. Scroll by Mistress Hrefna inn Heppna Thorgrimsdottir.
Their being no further business, and by that hour, no further light with which to conduct it, the Court of Their Majesties was then closed.

All photos by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic Rapier Command: A Call for Volunteers

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-11-20 15:23

Their Highnesses Brennan & Caoilfhionn, and Maistre Remy Delamontagne de Gascogne, General of the East Kingdom Rapier Army, have put out a call for volunteers for the EK Rapier Command Staff for Pennsic 47.

They’re encouraging any fencer interested in being part the command staff to fill out the below Google form by December 1, 2017.


In addition to the form, they have provided an overview description of the different command roles in the rapier army.

KINGDOM XO – The General’s tactical assistants on the field. Help carry out General’s orders, moves troops around, help create battle plans. The General’s right hand people during combat.

KINGDOM XO – The General’s tactical assistants on the field. Help carry out General’s orders, moves troops around, help create battle plans. The General’s right hand people during combat.

NORTHERN REGION COMMANDER – Leads the Northern Army units into battle. Makes local alterations to battle strategy based on flow of battle.

NORTHERN REGION XO – Northern Region Commander’s lieutenant on the field. Similar to Kingdom XO but on a smaller, regional scale.

SOUTHERN REGION COMMANDER – Leads the Southern Army units into battle. Makes local alterations to battle strategy based on flow of battle.

SOUTHERN REGION XO – Southern Region Commander’s lieutenant on the field. Similar to Kingdom XO but on a smaller, regional scale.

SINGLES CHAMP COORDINATOR – In charge of our Pennsic Champs teams. Selects the Single’s Champs team and works with Melee Champ Coordinator to choose the melee team. Works with Allies in filling ally spots for Single & Melee. Leads the discussion in choosing the fight pairings for Pennsic Champs.

SINGLES CHAMP DEPUTY COORDINATOR – Assistant to the Single’s Champ Coordinator. A second pair of eyes during any tryouts. Helps selects the single & melee teams.

MELEE CHAMPS COORDINATOR – Captain of the Melee Champs team. Works with the Singles Champ Coordinator to choose fencers for the unit. Works with the Allies in filling the ally melee slots. Creates fight plan for our melee champs team.

CHAMPS TEAM ADVISORY COUNCIL – Helps the Singles Champ Coordinator choose the fight pairings for Pennsic Champs. Extra set of eyes during any tryouts.

AIDE DE CAMP – The General’s go-to for “This Needs to Get Done.” Includes getting people moving hay bales, working with battle field on field layout, taking head count before battle for accurate troop numbers, anything else the General needs that’s not combat-specific.

Additional questions should be directed to General Remy & Princess Caoilfhionn.

Filed under: Pennsic, Rapier

Guernica as large as life in gigapixels

History Blog - Sun, 2017-11-19 23:43

Guernica, Pablo Picasso’s monumental greyscale painting on the horrors of the Germano-Italian bombing of the eponymous Basque city during the Spanish Civil War, is a hard picture to get. For one thing, it’s so huge (26 feet wide, 11 feet tall) that fitting it in a single shot without skewing the perspective is a challenge. For another, there are serious condition issues because it was moved around so much over the decades before its final repatriation to Spain where it is now part of the permanent collection of Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum. A lot of flash photography and multiple shoots from all angles is contraindicated for its conservation.

I’ve encountered very few photos that can even begin to do this massive masterpiece justice. The best ones are all period taken by the surrealist Dora Maar in 1937 while Picasso painted Guernica in a frenzy of activity over less than a month. Eighty years later, her pictures were still the only ones worth looking at if you wanted to learn anything at all about the painting and the artist’s process.

That’s all changed, seemingly overnight to we civilians, but in truth it’s the culmination of years of work on the part of the conservators and researchers at the Reina Sofia. The museum has launched a new interactive website dedicated to the great canvas called Rethinking Guernica which features at its core a gigapixel image of the whole painting. Finally its giganticness is matched in pixels and viewers can get microscopically close to the tiniest speck of paint. Close enough to see brush hairs stuck in the impasto.

Hundreds died in an aerial attack on civilians that shocked the world and set a precedent repeated often by German and allied forces in World War II.

Picasso, then living in France, was commissioned by the struggling Spanish Republican government to produce a work depicting the bombing for the 1937 World Fair in Paris.

That commission and hundreds of other documents concerning “Guernica” are now available online for the first time.

They tell the story of a hugely well-traveled work, with stops in Scandinavia, Britain and the United States, where it spent decades on loan at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

There are papers relating to its trip to Venezuela in 1948 that was cut short due to a coup d’etat, and a frantic telegram sent by MoMA collections director Alfred H. Barr Jr. informing the artist that his works were safe after a fire tore through the museum in 1958.

The gigapixel Guernica can be viewed in more ways than the glorious extreme closeup the high resolution makes possible. By clicking on thumbnails at the bottom of the main screen, you can switch from the visible spectrum view to ultraviolet, infrared and X-ray imaging. You can thank Pablito the robot for that, by the way. He kicked off the Guernica Project in 2011 by scanning every centimeter of the canvas with every imaging technique in the book. It took him a year to complete so detailed a job, working only at night so as not to disturb museum visitors.

The guided tour that the site directs you to when you first load it doesn’t explain a great deal that you couldn’t figure out on your own if you’re even remotely Internet-literate. The icons going down the right side of the screen, for example, are fairly self-explanatory. The square at the top means click for full screen; the + and – underneath mean zoom in and out; the ? opens up the guided tour again if you regret closing it. There are two site-specific icons on the list, however, and they are awesome. The horizontal arrow icon allows you to view the painting in two different imaging technologies side by side, which is extremely cool, while the zig-zag constellation icon pulls up an enormous density of information about the changes to the painting over time, both deliberate ones like Picasso’s deviations from his original prepatory drawings and circumstantial ones like holes, fissures and craquelure in the paint.

Lastly, whenever you click on the image it pulls up tons of content about the history, context, conservation record, damage, repairs, etc. The Reina Sofia conservators have done an exceptional job sharing the results of their years of study of the painting, from cutting-edge technological analysis to archival research. There are all kinds of side-avenues to pursue — biographies of people involved in the history of Guernica, primary documents like letters to and from Picasso about the painting, essays on the meaning of the work, on the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 Paris World’s Fair where it was first exhibited, just to name a few.

“Guernica is a source of never-ending artistic material and it’s a privilege to be with as an art historian,” says Rosario Peiro, head of collections at Madrid’s Reina Sofia modern art museum. […]

“Putting all of this together allows you to rethink the history of the painting,” Peiro told AFP.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

19th c. Dutch farmers: A Croc, a Croc, my dairy farm for a Croc!

History Blog - Sat, 2017-11-18 23:46

Archaeologists have discovered evidence in the bones 19th century Dutch farmers that the traditional wooden clogs that are now ubiquitous on key chains and souvenir stands but were once ubiquitous on human feet caused permanent osteological damage. An international team of osteoarchaeologists from Leiden University and Western University (Ontario, Canada) discovered the tell-tale bones in 2011 during an excavation of a historic church cemetery in the village of Middenbeemster, Netherlands, that was being relocated.

Beemster was a rural farming community, a dairy farming community, mainly, and the team was hoping to gather previously unrecorded data about the diet, health, common injuries, illnesses and general health of country folk in the 19th century Netherlands using osteobiographical and paleopathological analysis as well as stable isotope analysis (to find out what they ate) and mass spectrometry. There’s a significant body of work that’s already been done on the inhabitants of Dutch cities, but the rural areas have been little studied so this was a unique and important opportunity.

They were able to analyze 500 skeletons, most them very well-preserved, of adult women, men and children. Out of those remains, 130 complete feet were found. Bio-archaeologist and Western University Anthropology professor Andrea Waters-Rist examined the feet bones and found a consistent pattern among them: they presented a rare type of bone lesion called osteochondritis dissecans (OD) which looks like a chip or divot has been chiseled out of the bone. She didn’t even have to use a microscope to see them. The missing chunks at the joints were clearly visible to the naked eye.

In the wider population, OD is found in less than one percent of individuals and the lesions affect various bones, very rarely those in the foot. A whopping 13% of the good folks from the Middenbeemster cemetery, on the other hand, had it and they only had it in their feet. Part of the cause was likely the hard physical labor involved in traditional farming, both inside the home and outside of it, but a lot of people fed their families with backbreaking work and they didn’t have craters in their feet bones. Researchers concluded that it was likely a combination of heavy labour and repetetive stress on certain areas of the feet cause by the iconic “klompen” (which are still worn today, btw, particularly in rural areas).

For farmers, the clogs would have been very useful shoes, as they were affordable, kept their feet dry and, if stuffed with straw, quite warm. As such, they would have been worn for most uses. As the clogs have a stiff sole, they could have amplified the stresses associated with farm work and travelling by foot.

That combination of hard work, while wearing klompen, day-in and day-out, caused the bone chip to form, Water-Rist explained.

“The sole is very hard and inflexible, which constrains the entire foot and we think because the footwear wasn’t good at absorbing any kind of shock, it was transferring into the foot and into the foot bones. It’s not very common in the foot. They were doing something different that we haven’t seen before,” she said.

Since these farmers lived in a time before industrialization, manual labour was more taxing on their body. Oftentimes the klompen was used as a tool for kicking down fences or pushing in a shovel – all tasks later made easier by machinery.

The results of the study of the klompen-related OD lesions have been published in the International Journal of Paleopathology but it’s behind a paywall so you’ll need a subscription or an institutional connection or to pay $31.50 to read it.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Tutankhamun’s neglected gold gets its day

History Blog - Fri, 2017-11-17 23:52

When Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922, there was such an immense wealth piled inside the small space that his team focused on the large ticket item and packed the rest up. Even finely embossed gold artifacts weren’t important enough to get attention compared to Tutankhamun’s death mask, especially since they were found in pieces before being stashed in the wooden box. They photographed the contents but that was it; they were left uncleaned, unexamined and otherwise undocumented. One of those wooden boxes has been in the stores of the Egyptian Museum Cairo ever since, still uncleaned and unexamined, for decades until 2013 when a collaboration between the Egyptian Museum and Tübingen University archaeologists set out to remedy this 90-year-old oversight. Four years later, the long-awaited goal has been achieved.

The team found the objects in Carter’s original wood crate and began to document and research each piece. They were restored and drawings made of their shape and decorations. The work was painstakingly detailed (hence the four years). In addition to the restoration, documentation and research, the team also faced jigsawing together of the gold fragments. Conservators Christian Eckmann and Katja Broschat were able to place many of the fragments together, ultimately producing about 100 complete or close to complete gold applications that they think were once fittings mounted on bows cases, quivers and horse bridles. One recomposed in their original configurations, the applications could be studied from an art historical perspective. Images embossed on the gold were studied in detail by team member Julia Bertsch, doctoral candidate in archaeology at Tübingen, who was able to identify Egyptian motifs from Middle Eastern ones.

Among these are images of fighting animals and goats at the tree of life that are foreign to Egyptian art and must have come to Egypt from the Levant. “Presumably these motifs, which were once developed in Mesopotamia, made their way to the Mediterranean region and Egypt via Syria,” explains Peter Pfälzner. “This again shows the great role that ancient Syria played in the dissemination of culture during the Bronze Age.”

Interestingly, he adds, similar embossed gold applications with thematically comparable images were found in a tomb in the Syrian Royal city of Qatna. There, the team of archaeologists from Tübingen led by Pfälzner, discovered a pristine king’s grave in 2002. It dates back to the time of around 1340 B.C., so it is just a bit older than Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt. The archaeologist says, “This remarkable aspect provided the impetus for our project on the Egyptian finds.” Now,” says Pfälzner, “we need to solve the riddle of how the foreign motifs on the embossed gold applications came to be adopted in Egypt.” The professor says that here, chemical analyses have been illuminating. “The results showed that the embossed gold applications with Egyptian motifs and the others with foreign motifs were made of gold of differing compositions,” he says. “That does not necessarily mean the pieces were imported. It may be that various local workshops were responsible for producing objects in various styles — and that one used Near Eastern models.”

On Wednesday the gold embossed fittings went on public display for the first time in almost a century in an exhibition at the Egyptian Museum. When this temporary show closes, the artifacts will find a permanent home at the new Grand Egyptian Museum near the pyramids of Giza.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Cranach painting in Royal Collection authenticated by pigeon tendon

History Blog - Thu, 2017-11-16 23:46

Pigeon tendons have confirmed that Queen Victoria was right and a slew of subsequent Royal Collection curators were wrong: a painting she acquired is an authentic work by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Victoria bought it in 1840 as a Christmas present for her husband Prince Albert who was an avid collector of his countryman’s work and ultimately added a dozen paintings by the master himself or his workshop to the Royal Collection.

Portrait of a Lady and her Son (ca. 1510–40) is a double portrait of an Electress of the Holy Roman Empire and her apple-cheeked son wearing exquisite finery and holding hands. She and Albert did not question its attribution as a genuine Cranach, but by the early 20th century Royal Collection Trust experts reluctantly acknowledged that it was not by Cranach or even by his workshop. Instead, they believed it was painted by Franz Wolfgang Rohrich (1787–1834), who was an extremely successful Cranach forger. He cranked out more than 40 copies of the Electress holding her son’s hand and sold them to deep-pocketed collectors all over Europe. It took decades for people to cotton on to Rohrich’s fraudulent imitation game, and many of his pseudo-Cranachs are still in Europeans private and public collections.

Royal Collection Trust’s reasoning was that the style, principally the tender physical and emotional connection between mother and son, was not something seen in Cranach’s oeuvre. His figures are remote and stylized. Holding Mommy’s hand is not in Lucas Cranach the Elder’s wheelhouse. Also, while the Rohrich versions were everywhere, there was no painting that could be definitively identified as a Cranach original modified by the forger.

The issue returned to the fore recently when the Royal Collection Trust agreed to loan the portrait to an exhibition in Dusseldorf that took place earlier this year. RCT conservators and curators worked with Cologne’s University of Applied Sciences to study the painting in depth with technology that wasn’t invented when the early 20th century curators made the deattribution decision.

In collaboration with TH Köln (the University of Applied Sciences, Cologne), Royal Collection Trust’s conservators and curators examined the work ahead of its loan to the major exhibition Cranach der Alterer: Meister Marke Moderne at the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf in spring 2017. Infrared reflectography was used to look beneath the paint surface, revealing preliminary underdrawing typical of Cranach’s work. Analysis of the pigments, metal leaf and the application of paint provided further evidence that the portrait was a work of the 16th century.

Finally an x-ray of the painting revealed that a fibrous material had been used in the preparation of the panel. Analysis of similar fibres on other works by Cranach has identified them as tendons, and in one instance DNA analysis had shown them to be pigeon tendons. Sixteenth-century glue recipes often included pigeon tendons to strengthen the mixture and counteract the natural warping and splitting of the wood.

The evidence was reviewed by Professor Dr Gunnar Heydenreich of TH Köln, an expert on Lucas Cranach the Elder, who confirmed that the painting was an original work by the master from which it appears all later versions derive.

The Royal Collection Trust conservators are ecstatic at the reattribution of the portrait to Cranach and have wasted no time in giving it a prominent position on public display. It has been installed at eye-level in the King’s Dressing Room at Windsor Castle where it will keep company with its brethren by Cranach and his workshop, including Apollo and Diana (ca. 1526), Lucretia (1530), and The Judgement of Paris (ca. 1530–35).

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report: Harvest Festival/Rapport de la Cour Non Officielle: Festival des Récoltes

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-16 22:16

Scrolls on display after court, an idea developed by Dominus Spirius Genucius Rutilus.
Photo by Godfroy de Falaise‎.

En français

Indeed, there was a festival, held in the Barony of Ruantallan, whereas the Baron and Baroness, Guthfrith and Isobel, did welcome Their Royal Majesties, Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde, to Their shores.
And a great day was celebrated by the peoples of Ruantallan, since it had been so long since a Royal visit had happened in their lands. And as it was, many peoples from Tir Mara did come to witness the event.
Lo, on that said day, a court was held by the Tsar and Tsaritsa, to recognize the people of Tir Mara.

And into Their court they did invite The Baron and Baroness of Ruantallan, to sit and bear witness with them. And then they did invite Their Excellencies, Baron and Baroness Godfroy and Alisay, from the shores of Havres des Glace, to also sit with them and bear witness.
They did call before them Ulric von Spandau, of whom they knew him to be a good man, who had helped found a shire in the Barony of Ruantallan, and they did make him a Lord of their court and award him the right to bear arms.
Then, they called for Lord Thorrin, who had “encouraged” the visit through ways and means. This gentle was given a task. A task to run with a toybox. Followed by many children! And so he ran until he was brought down by the children with much mirth!
Sir Gareth Grey de Wilton did then approach the throne. He knelt before them, and took the sword of office in his hand, and the chain from his neck and did swear fealty unto the King and Queen.
And then the Tsar and Tsaritsa did have the herald call into court Verdiana di Camerino. She who has done so much in such a short time in the Barony was made a Lady of the court with the right to bear arms. But that was not all, for the Royal couple had also noted the work done on the fencing list fields and did award Verdiana a Silver Rapier as well. And there was much rejoicing!
M’lady Freydis Egilsdottir then did approach with her young daughter and they did kneel in front of the Tsar and Tsaritsa and did swear fealty to the Eastern crown. And after hearing her words, and knowing them to be true, the Tsar and Tsaritsa did see fit to make Freydis a Lady of their court, with the right to bear arms.
Sir Yesungge Altan did then approach the crown. He presented his sword to the Tsar and Tsaritsa, knelt down on his knees, brought his chain to his hand and did swear fealty unto the crown of the East. And the Tsar and Tsaritsa thanked him and knew his words to be true.
And then the Eastern crown did call forth Hillavie of Ynys Y Gwaun, for they had heard that she did provide land for the populace of Ruantallan to gather and celebrate the end of summer. They also heard of her work within her shire, as exchequer and other things. And so they made her a Lady of their court, with the right to bear arms.
And then there was sadness, for a gentle to whom they called out was not in the hall. The Tsar and Tsaritsa did then consult with the Baron and Baroness Ruantallan, and did convey their wishes that this gentle be recognized at a later date, in a Baronial court. And the populace in attendance was sworn to secrecy, that the gentle would not be told until the Baron and Baroness deemed fit.
The Tsar and Tsaritsa did call for Lady Maired Drake, who was carried into court by Lord Garth, with much fare! And when he dropped her gently to the floor, and she did regain composure, the Tsar and Tsaritsa did ask if the clothing she wore was by her own hand. And she agreed that it was and They did
say They had heard she sewed for many in the Barony. And that she wrote Comedia de L’art as well! And this pleased them so that They awarded Maired Drake a Silver Brooch.
Once again, the Tsar and Tsaritsa called forth a gentle who had long been overlooked for an award, but alas he was not in attendance. Once again, They turned to the Baron and Baroness who did say they would tell the Lord of Their words at a future date.
With the Baron and Baroness of Havres des Glace also in attendance, was Lord Rowan Fergus called into court. He had won the Prince’s Rapier Championship at an event in Their Barony, and the Tsar and Tsaritsa wished to recognize that will a long overdue scroll.
The herald then called forward Rosaline Vella, who is a promising young soul in the Barony. They had heard of her skills with fencing, and her ability to cook for the masses, and to sew and do whatever required of her for the populace. And so they awarded her a Silver Wheel. But the order was not complete. So they then called upon Lloyd the Forester, who kept the woods free of villainous folk who might terrorize the unknowing people of Tir Mara. His work and skill with people was noted and he was given a Silver Wheel. And yet the order was still not complete. And so the Tsar and Tsaritsa called one last person, Juliote de Castlenou D’Arry (called Lilou) who was known to work with children, be in charge of knowledge given to the populace, and who happened to autocrat the event, and did induct her into the Silver Wheel as well.
The foresters then begged a boon to acknowledge one of their own in front of the King and Queen and did recognize Yogi Fell as a member of their order.
His Honorable Lordship Angus MacIntosh was then called forward and the Tsar and Tsaritsa did recognize his work with the archery community. As a driving force in the Barony he was recognized with being awarded an Apollo’s Arrow. But the order was not complete, and they did call his wife, Dame Sarra of Birnham to the dais, whereas they also included her in the Apollo’s Arrow for her work as well. And all in Ruantallan knew it to be true, for they benefitted from the hard work of these two individuals.
And as Dame Sarra and THL Angus walked away, they did tell Sarra to return, for they were not finished with her yet. For it had come to their attention that this Mistress, Order of the Pelican, founding member of the Barony of Ruantallan, had never been recognized as a Silver Crescent. And they did rectify that oversight, and call the order of the Silver Crescent forward. And many people did stand and join the King at Queen at the front of the stage and did witness Dame Sarra entering the order of the Silver Crescent.
And when all that rejoicing and welcoming was done, The Tsar and Tsaritsa did call all people who had never attended a Royal Progress to the stage. And lo, nearly half of the people in the room did come forward (including Syr Yesungge, who was corrected of his mischievous ways) and the Tsar and Tsaritsa did acknowledge all these new people and give them a token from the East Kingdom.
And when all was said and done, The Tsar and Tsaritsa did call for court to close, and so it was.

Reporting herald,
Mistress Gwenhwyfar Dinas Emrys



En français


Il y eut un festival, tenu en la Baronnie de Ruantallan, où le Baron et la Baronne, Guthfrith et Isobel, ont reçu Leurs Majestés Royales, le Tsar Ivan et la Tsarine Matilde, en Leurs rivages.
Et un grand jour fût célébré par la population de Ruantallan, puisque cela faisait bien des lunes depuis la dernière visite Royale en leurs terres. Et comme il se faut, plusieurs personnes de Tir Mara furent témoins de cet événement.
En ce jour, une cour fût tenue par le Tsar et la Tsarine, afin de reconnaître les gens de Tir Mara.
Et à Leur cour furent invités le Baron et la Baronne de Ruantallan, afin de siéger et observer avec eux la cour. Puis, ils convièrent Leurs Excellences, Baron Godfroy et Baronne Alisay, des rivages du Havre des Glaces, à aussi siéger avec eux pour être témoins de cette cour.
Ils appelèrent ensuite devant eux Ulric von Spandau, le connaissant comme un homme noble, ayant aidé à fonder un fief en la Baronnie de Ruantallan, et firent de lui un Seigneur de leur cour et lui décernèrent ses armes.
Puis, ils appelèrent le Seigneur Thorrin, qui avait “encouragé” la visite par divers moyens. Ce gentilhomme s’est vu assigner une tâche. La tâche de courir avec un coffre à jouets. Suivi par bien, bien des enfants ! Et donc il courût jusqu’à temps qu’il soit cerné par les enfants, avec beaucoup d’allégresse!
Sire Gareth Grey de Wilton approcha ensuite le trône. Il s’agenouilla devant, prit
l’épée d’office dans sa main, ainsi que la chaine à son cou, et jura suite fidélité au Roi et à la Reine.
Ensuite, le Tsar et la Tsarine firent appeler par leur héraut Verdiana di Camerino. Ayant fait autant, en si peu de temps pour la Baronnie, on lui décerna ses armes, ainsi que le titre de Dame. Mais ce n’était pas tout, car le couple Royal avait aussi remarqué le travail effectué sur le terrain d’escrime et récompensèrent Verdiana avec une Rapière d’Argent aussi. Et la population était en liesse!
Se sont approchées par la suite dame Freydis Egilsdottir, accompagnée de sa jeune fille, et toutes deux se sont agenouillées devant le Tsar et la Tsarine, pour jurer fidélité à la couronne de l’Est. Après avoir entendu ses mots, les sachant véritables, le Tsar et la Tsarine jugèrent bon de faire de Freydis une Dame de leur cour, avec le droit de porter ses armes.
Sire Yessunge Altan s’approcha ensuite de la couronne. Il présenta son épée au Tsar et à la Tsarine, s’agenouilla, amena sa chaîne à sa main et jura ensuite fidélité à la couronne de l’Est. Le Tsar et la Tsarine le remercièrent, sachant ses mots véritables.
Puis la couronne de l’Est appelèrent Hillavie d’Ynys Y Gwaun, car ils avaient entendu qu’elle avait fourni terres pour la population de Ruantallan afin de se rassembler et de célébrer la fin de l’été. Ils avaient aussi entendu parler de son travail en son fief, comme échiquière, entre autre choses. Ils la firent donc une Dame de leur cour, avec le droit de porter ses armes.
Il y eut ensuite de la tristesse, car un gentilhomme appelé n’était pas présent dans le hall. Le Tsar et la Tsarine consultèrent donc le Baron et la Baronne de Ruantallan, et ils transmirent leur désir de voir ce gentilhomme reconnu à une date ultérieure, lors d’une cour Baronniale. La population présente fût tenue au secret, tant que le Baron et la Baronne ne jugent opportun de lui dévoiler ce fait.
Le Tsar et la Tsarine appelèrent Dame Maired Drake, qui fût accompagnée à la cour par Seigneur Garth, en grande pompe ! Quand elle chût doucement à leurs pieds, et qu’elle regagnât sa composition, le Tsar et la Tsarine lui demandèrent si les vêtements qu’elle portait était de sa main. Elle leur dit que oui, et ils lui rétorquèrent qu’ils avaient également entendu qu’elle effectuait de la couture pour beaucoup de gens de la Baronnie. Même, qu’elle écrivait de la Comedia de l’art ! Et ceci leur plût tellement qu’ils donnèrent à Maired Drake une Broche d’Argent.
Encore une fois, le Tsar et la Tsarine appelèrent un gentilhomme qui avait été longuement négligé pour une reconnaissance, mais qui n’était malheureusement pas présent. Encore, Ils se tournèrent vers le Baron et la Baronne, qui assurèrent qu’ils relateraient Leurs mots au dit Seigneur, à une date future.
Puisque le Baron et la Baronne du Havre des Glaces étaient présents, Seigneur Rowan Fergus fût appelé à la cour. Étant devenu le Champion d’Escrime du Prince à un événement de Leur Baronnie, le Tsar et la Tsarine souhaitaient reconnaître cet exploit avec un parchemin amplement mérité.
Le héraut appela ensuite Rosaline Vella, étant une jeune âme prometteuse dans la Baronnie. Ils avaient entendu parler de ses talents en escrime, ainsi que de son habileté à cuisiner pour les foules, ainsi que de coudre tout objet nécessaire à la population. Pour ceci, elle reçut une Roue d’Argent. Mais l’ordre n’était pas complet.
Ils ont donc appelé Lloyd the Forester, qui garda les bois exempts d’infâmes rodeurs, pouvant potentiellement terroriser les gens de Tir Mara. Son travail et son talent avec les gens fût noté, et on lui décerna une Roue d’Argent. Et malgré cela, l’ordre n’était toujours pas complet. Donc le Tsar et la Tsarine appelèrent une dernière personne, Juliote de Castlenou d’Arry (appelée Lilou), qui était connue pour œuvrer avec les enfants, à être en charge de la connaissance donnée à la population, et qui justement était l’intendante de cet événement, et l’introduisirent dans l’ordre de la Roue d’Argent aussi.
Les forestiers ont ensuite demandé à faire reconnaître un des leurs devant le Roi et la Reine; et donc Yogi Fell fût reconnu comme un membre de leur ordre.
L’Honorable Seigneur Angus MacIntosh fût ensuite appelé et le Tsar et la Tsarine reconnurent son travail avec la communauté des archers. En tant que force motrice dans la Baronnie, il fût reconnu en lui donnant une Flèche d’Apollo. Mais l’ordre n’étant toujours pas complet, ils appelèrent sa femme, Dame Sarra of Birnham à s’avancer au dais, où elle fût elle aussi inclue dans l’ordre de la Flèche d’Apollo pour son travail. Tous au Ruantallan savaient que ces faits étaient véritables, ayant bénéficié du dur labeur de ces deux individus.
Alors que Dame Sarra et l’Honorable Seigneur Angus quittaient, ils demandèrent à Sarra de revenir, comme ils n’avaient pas encore terminé avec elle. Il fût porté à leur attention que cette Maîtresse, de l’Ordre du Pélican, membre fondatrice de la Baronnie de Ruantallan, n’avait jamais été reconnue comme un Croissant d’Argent. Et ils rectifièrent cet oubli, et appelèrent l’ordre du Croissant d’Argent à s’avancer. Et bien des gens se joignirent au Roi et à la Reine devant le dais afin de constater l’introduction de Dame Sarra dans l’ordre du Croissant d’Argent.
Lorsque toutes ces célébrations et bienvenues furent terminés, le Tsar et la Tsarine appelèrent toutes les personnes n’ayant jamais assisté à un progrès Royal au dais.
Presque la moitié des gens présents dans la salle marchèrent devant (incluant Syr Yessunge, qui fût corrigé de ses façons espiègles) et le Tsar et la Tsarine prirent note de tous ces gens, et leur donnèrent un gage du Royaume de l’Est.
Et quand tout fût dit et fait, le Tsar et la Tsarine ordonnèrent la fermeture de leur cour.

Héraut chroniqueur,

Maîtresse Gwenhwyfar Dinas Emrys

Filed under: Court, En français

Pen vs. Sword VI: Point Taken

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-16 18:42

‘Tis a simple thing to take a man’s life with a sword, and once it’s done, it’s done, but when a man’s life is eviscerated by the pen, it remains that way for eternity. Last year, the Pen won.  Sword: consider this a challenge.

The Shire of Angels Keep will once again celebrate the art of the pen and the arte of the sword on March 17, 2018 and attempt to answer the age-old question; which is mightier, the pen or the sword?

Join us to discover the answer at the Auburn United Methodist Church, 99 South St, Auburn NY. Site will open at 9 a.m. and the first classes will start at 10 a.m.  Classes will end at 5 p.m., Site fee, including day board, is $15, $5 for children under 14, babes in arms are free.  SCA member discount is $5.

We will again be offering a full day of classes featuring two distinct tracks: one for the scribal arts and the other for the art of the sword. Those interested in teaching please contact THL Moniczka Poznanska (Martha Powers). A full list of classes and schedule will be available on the Shire website before the event.

A generous dayboard featuring items designed for grabbing on your way to class, as well as sit-down dishes will be provided. Reservations are encouraged so we can plan for how much food to cook without generating a lot of waste. No feast will be served, but a list of local restaurants is available on our website. Please contact our dayboard steward, Volbjorn Grimmsons (Wayne Sweet) regarding any food-related concerns or allergies.

Autocrat for this event is Dyryke Hastings (Mark Lefler).

Categories: SCA news sites

The Saga of the Burning of Njal

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-16 15:51

The cast of performers for Njal’s Saga. Photo courtesy of Myra Hope Eskridge.

…and Bergþora will make you a promise, which she will keep, that you will be paid for in blood…

On October 14 of this year (AS LII), over fifty performers gathered to tell a story. Not just any story; either. It the biggest, bloodiest saga in all of Icelandic literature: The Saga of the Burning of Njal. A huge, sprawling epic tale of feuds and betrayals, unbreakable friendships and shattered families, the saga stretches over decades, includes hundreds of names and characters, and is tied so tightly to the complex Icelandic legal system that it is even used as a text in law school. The telling would take an entire day.

How to bring such a story to life? Master Toki Skáldagörvir, formerly of the East Kingdom and now of Aethelmearc, had already produced a full and immersive telling of the entirety of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, first in full and then broken into two performance, enacted by dozens of individual performers. He turned to Njal’s Saga as a next and deeply ambitious step. A translation was chosen and broken into appropriately-sized sections, and then he went about recruiting performers from seven different kingdoms.

Rehearsals of various sections were held over the course of almost two years, both in person and via the Internet, and there was much discussion of background reading, pronunciation of Icelandic names, and research, even to the circulation of photos of each of the very real places mentioned in the text. But the very first time that every performer was in the same place was the final day of the telling.

Inside a camp lodge in the Barony of Thescorre, event staff created an immersive eleventh-century hall space, right down to the crackling of logs on the fire. And at ten in the morning, the first speaker began, speaking the Icelandic words of the original. For hour upon absorbing hour, storytellers of every kind handed the tale back and forth, from outright laughter to near weeping, roaring to whispering.

And for an entire day, pausing only for excellent food, Njal and all his story came vivdly to life once more.

To see all the performers for the event, please check out the Performer Bios!

Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Bardic Tagged: Arts and Sciences, Bardic

12th c. silver and gold hoard found at Cluny Abbey

History Blog - Wed, 2017-11-15 23:46

A hoard of hidden medieval treasure, a fortune in gold and silver coins, was an unexpectedly discovered during an excavation at the site of the famed medieval Abbey of Cluny in Saône-et-Loire, eastern France. The team, which includes nine students doing field work as part of the University Lumière Lyon 2’s archaeology masters program, unearthed the hoard in mid-September while looking for the remains of an infirmary believed to have been located there in the Middle Ages.

The medieval loot included 2,200 deniers (or pieces of silver) mostly issued by Cluny Abbey itself as well as 21 gold dinar coins, originally from the Middle East which were stored in a canvas bag.

The bounty also included a gold signet ring marked with the word “Avete” — a “word of greeting in a religious context” — as well as a folded 24-gram gold leaf and gold coin.

“The overall value of this treasure for the time is estimated between three and eight horses, the equivalent of cars nowadays, but in terms of the running of the abbey it’s not that much, amounting to about six days of supply of bread and wine,” said specialist Vincent Borrel.

In terms of archaeological and historical value, this treasure is off the charts. It is the first 12th century Cluniac treasure discovered in its original context during an archaeological excavation. It’s also the largest number of silver deniers discovered in one place and the only single hoard ever found to include Arabic coins, silver deniers and a signet ring. The intaglio stone is ancient Roman and engraved with the profile of a deity. (Religious context or no religious context, ancient engravings were prestige items and often used as signet rings by the medieval elite.)

Also of note is the survival of fragments of the original bag the hoard was stashed in. Fragments of it are still attached to some of the coins. There is also a surviving piece of tanned animal hide which was tied around the bundle of 21 gold dinars minted between 1121 and 1131 in Spain and Morocco during the reign of Almoravid sultan Ali Ben Youssef (1106-1143).

Practically from the time of its founding by by Duke William I of Aquitaine in 910 A.D., the Benedictine monastery of Cluny was one of the great monastic centers of Western Europe. They followed a strict interpretation of the Rule of Saint Benedict that within decades had catapulted Cluny to the top of the ranks, making the abbey the undoubted leader in European monasticism. The city of Cluny grew into a city thanks largely to the Abbey and the trade, employment and pilgrim moneys it brought to town. By the second half of the 10th century, the Abbey of Cluny was already well-established as the top monastery in the country and it retained its prominence into the 12th century.

Its influence began to wane when newer, more austere orders stole Benedictine thunder and the idea of remote rule by a single abbot, distant from the satellite houses and largely unaccountable, lost its appeal. In the 16th century the Abbey of Cluny was sacked by Hugenots and never really recovered. Come the French Revolution, the monastic order was dissolved and under Napoleon the abbey itself was demolished and used as a quarry. Today only one of its eight grand towers still stands, which is why archaeologists continue to excavate it today, 90 years after the first archaeological explorations of the site began.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

How to Use the Online Award Recommendation Form

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2017-11-15 09:06

by THL Antoinette DeLorraine

How many times have you thought “Wow! I would love to put so-and-so in for an award, but I don’t know how…”?  Here is a step-by-step guideline on how to find our kingdom’s online form.

Under the drop-down on the Kingdom webpage, look for “Documents and Forms” and poof!  It’s the first hyperlink.

The form asks for basic things like your name and your contact information, as well as any awards you have relevant to the recommendation.

Nervous about the “Relevant Awards”  line?

Don’t be! This line is not required, nor is it necessary for you to have received any awards (or the one you are recommending) in order to submit someone’s name for any award. Your name and contact information helps the Crown, Signet, or order clerks contact you with any questions.

As for the other information needed:  the recipient’s name, years involved, and what award you are submitting him or her for are just a few of the questions involved. 

If you are not sure about some of the answers, in the lower half of the form there is a space where you can write in the name of someone who may have that information (“Other comments”).

It is suggested that award recommendations be submitted a minimum of six weeks prior to an upcoming event where the recipient will be present (longer if the recommendation is for a grant-level or peerage-level award).

If you still have questions, you can always ask local members for help. You too can write recommendations and support Æthelmearc!

Categories: SCA news sites

Earliest evidence of winemaking found in Georgia

History Blog - Tue, 2017-11-14 23:51

Archaeologists excavating the remains of a Neolithic village in the South Caucasus about 20 miles south of Tblisi, Georgia, have discovered the earliest evidence of winemaking in the world. An internation team from the University of Toronto and the Georgian National Museum have been exploring two Early Ceramic Neolithic (6000-4500 B.C.) sites, Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, and sent fragment of ceramic jars unearthed at the sites to specialists at the University of Pennsylvania for residue analysis. Using the latest and greatest technology available, a combination of Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry (FT-IR), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and liquid chromatography linear ion trap/orbitrap mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS), and radiocarbon dating, researchers were able to confirm the presence of wine dating to 6,000–5,800 B.C. in the pots. That’s 600-1,000 years older than the previous contender, wine residue found in the Zagros Mountains of Iran.

The South Caucasus area was an epicenter of the transition from nomadic lifestyles to permanent settlements after the end of the last Ice Age. Now fixed in one place, people were able to grow their own food, planting grains and cereals like einkorn wheat and barely that are trendy again today as heritage foods. They also branched out from those staples, growing fruits, root vegetables, herbs, nuts both tree and legume. Among the fruits they cultivated was the wild Eurasian grape, domesticated during this period in Neolithic settlements and so successfully that it would become the progenitor of all 10,000 or so grape cultivars that produce 99% of the wine in the world today.

Finding ways to convert their crops into mind-altering substances was a natural next step, as was devising vessels in which to store, ferment and serve the harvest products. The firing of shaped clay to make pottery was invented during this period, the early 7th millenium B.C., for this very purpose. The huge jars found at Gadachrili and Shulaveris (or, more accurately, the fragments thereof) are examples of some of the earliest pottery ever made. Archaeologists believe they were used for all of the above purposes — storage of the grapes, fermentation into wine, aging into drinkable wine, and the moment everyone was doubtless waiting for, serving the wine.

Their footprints and walls visible above-ground today, the mudbrick roundhouses of Gadachrili Gora and its next-door neighboor Shulaveris Gora were certainly inhabited by grape-loving people. Pollen and other traces of the prehistoric vines have been found in copious quantities. A large pot from this period discovered at a nearby site is decorated with grape clusters. Intact ceramic pots have not been found at the two sites that are the focus of the study. Pottery production was in its infancy. There was no large scale industry yet, and because these settlements were in continuous use for thousands of years, the pottery that has been found in excavations is fragmentary and scattered.

The team sought out the best examples of sherds from the 2012–13 and 2014–2016 dig seasons, pieces from the base have the most potential to contain residue accumulated over years of use. The final tally was six sherds from the bodies and 13 from the bases of 19 large jars. The pot fragments and samples of the soil in which they were found (to identify/rule out environmental or bacteriological contaminants) made their way to the University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers say the combined archaeological, chemical, botanical, climatic and radiocarbon data provided by the analysis demonstrate that the Eurasian grapevine Vitis vinifera was abundant around the sites. It grew under ideal environmental conditions in early Neolithic times, similar to premium wine-producing regions in Italy and southern France today.

“Our research suggests that one of the primary adaptations of the Neolithic way of life as it spread to Caucasia was viniculture,” says [Stephen Batiuk, senior research associate in the department of Near and Middle Eastern civilizations and the Archaeology Centre at the University of Toronto]. “The domestication of the grape apparently led eventually led to the emergence of a wine culture in the region.”

Batiuk describes an ancient society in which the drinking and offering of wine penetrates and permeates nearly every aspect of life from medical practice to special celebrations, from birth to death, to everyday meals at which toasting is common.

“As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopeias, cuisines, economics, and society throughout the ancient Near East,” he said.

The results have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and can be read online free of charge here.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Greetings unto the Populace of the East from the Office of the Webministry!

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-11-14 11:54

En français

It has been posted here previously that we are embarking on a quest to migrate the email services of the East Kingdom from our existing system to Google for Non-Profits. We felt it would be appropriate to give a public update to the status of that quest.

As of yesterday evening, we have fully migrated our first branch, Nordenfjord, off of the old server.

Last Friday Master Mael Eoin sent out requests for information to all of the branch Senechals in the Kingdom. When we receive those back we will then be able to start creating accounts in preparation for migrating. This will give our Officers the opportunity to get set up reading their new email account prior to the actual cutover of their branch. Holders of multiple offices will only receive one account, with multiple office email addresses all delivering to it.

There are three emails that will get sent to our users at both their current officer addresses and their personal addresses. The first welcome letter has instructions for setting your password and checking your email. The second will inform you as to the scheduling of your branch’s migration. The third is to let you know that your migration is completed.

If you have any questions about the project or the process, please feel free to ask here, or to send email to gfnp@eastkingdom.org.

In service,
Joel Messerer
East Kingdom Deputy Webminister for Services

En français

Salutations à la population du Royaume de l’Est de la part de l’Office des Webmestres !

Il y a eu, au cours des 9 derniers mois, plusieurs références faites à “Google for non-profits” (Google pour les organismes a but non-lucratif) dans une variété d’endroits. Si vous ne les avez pas vues, ce n’est pas grave, mais si vous en avez aperçu, elles étaient très vagues. Il est temps d’être clairs.

En mars dernier, nous avons commencé une relation d’affaires avec Google for Non-profits (ci-après mentionné comme GfNP), le service gratuit que Google fourni aux organisations classées 501(c)(3). Les services de GfNP incluent presque tous les services que Google fourni, comme Gmail, Calendrier Google, Formulaires Google, etc. Depuis ce temps, nous avons lentement et méticuleusement planifié comment nous pourrions gérer le déménagement de plus de 700 comptes courriel, répartis sur environ 70 chapitres locaux, en plus du Royaume lui-même, afin de minimiser les désagréments. Nous avons tous passé au travers de la dernière migration des serveurs du Royaume de l’Est, et nous ne souhaitons pas répéter cette expérience.

À ce jour, il n’existe pas de plans pour remplacer le calendrier des événements du Royaume de l’Est avec le calendrier Google, ou de bouger les sites web sur la gestion des sites web Google.
Le calendrier Google peut certainement être exploité par les Officiers ou les chapitres locaux afin d’offrir des services de calendrier eux-mêmes. Utiliser les sites Google serait beaucoup plus difficile et à ce moment-ci n’est pas une option.

Il y a, cependant, des plans afin d’utiliser Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Sheets, etc. Mais ceci concerne une phase 2. La phase 1 concerne seulement les courriels.

Nous avons travaillé fort à planifier et à faire tout en notre possible afin de rendre le système sur lequel nous déménageons aussi facile a utiliser que possible. Nous commençons seulement à tester la procédure avec des comptes utilisateurs réels au sein des Webmestres, et bientôt nous enverrons des requêtes à tous les chapitres locaux et les offices du Royaume afin de fournir les informations des personnes nécessitant un compte.

Ceci est où le premier gros changement entre en jeu: nous allons créer des comptes pour des individus, et non pour des offices. Donc, une personne  ayant 4 offices différents aura seulement un compte courriel à vérifier. Lorsque cette personne voudra envoyer un courriel, elle devra choisir de quel office elle enverra sa correspondance, mais répondre à un courriel choisira automatiquement une adresse pour eux. Donc, nous avons besoin de savoir qui vous êtes, alors que dans le passé nous avions besoin de savoir quel office vous teniez.

L’autre gros changement est que Google a les ressources afin d’efficacement filtrer les pourriels, alors que nous ne pouvons tout simplement pas.

Donc, dans un avenir rapproché, tous les sénéchaux de chapitres locaux devraient recevoir une requête pour de l’information sur vos officiers, comme tous les officiers du royaume. En novembre, nous planifions migrer les premiers chapitres, en commençant avec de petits groupes avec des Webmestres très techniques, pour que nous soyons en mesure d’éliminer les problèmes techniques du processus de migration avant que nous passions au reste du Royaume. Avec un peu de chance, nous n’aurons pas besoin de plus de deux groupes test pour paufiner le processus. C’est aussi l’étape où nous rédigerons les instructions pour tout le monde. Ne vous inquiétez pas, nous avons un expert technique sur notre équipe qui s’assurera que nous écrivions de l’anglais au lieu d’un charabia technique, comme nous comprenons que la majorité du Royaume ne sont pas familiers avec notre jargon.

Une fois que nous saurons que les choses fonctionneront rondement, nous commencerons à augmenter la cadence à chaque semaine. Le Royaume lui-même, pour de multiples raisons, devra être traité en dernier. Nous sommes prêts à nous engager à finir cette migration pendant le règne de Leurs Majestés Ivan et Matilde, mais nous allons procéder aussi vite que nous pouvons raisonnablement le faire une fois que nous aurons commencé. Bien que nous soyons anxieux de terminer cette tâche, nous souhaitons encore plus l’accomplir *correctement* avant tout.

En Service,
Joel Messerer (connu précédemment comme “of Vestfell”)
Député Webmestre des Services du Royaume de l’Est

Traduction par Behi Kirsa Oyutai

Filed under: Announcements Tagged: webminister

Unofficial Court Report: St. Eligius Arts & Sciences Competition

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-11-14 10:07

On November 11, AS 52, Tsar Ivan and Tsartisa Matilde ventured to their Barony of Dragonship Haven, to witness the Saint Eligius Arts and Sciences Competition.

After an excellent day observing the works of many of the East Kingdom’s finest artisans, Their Majesties convened court.

Their Excellencies Dragonship Haven, Baron Joseph of the Red Griffin and Baroness Bronwen Rose of Greyling, named the winners of the competition.  They also presented awards to numerous gentles of the Barony.

Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde resumed their court, and invited Dionisia of Haus Ragnarsson to attend.  Having previously received her Award of Arms, they presented her a scroll with calligraphy and words by Kay Leigh Mac Whyte, illuminated by Mairi Crawford.

Their Majesties invited the Children attending the event into their court.  They called forth Angus Pembridge to take the basket of toys and lead the children on a merry chase.

Next did the Tsar and Tsaritsa invite into court Mikkel Bildr.  Having previously received a Silver Rapier, they presented him with a scroll by Eva Woderose with words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Their Majesties next called before them those in attendance of their first, second or third event to receive tokens.

Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde invited into their court Mýrún Leifsdóttir, Olaf Shieldbreaker, Finnguala ingen Neill meic Chuicc and Bartholomew of Northampton.  Speaking of their excellent artistry, Their Majesties did present to each an Award of the Golden Lyre.

Their business complete, Their Majesties closed court.  Long Live the King and Queen!  Long Live the Prince and Princess!  Long Live the Kingdom of the East!


Malcolm Bowman, Brigantia Principal Herald

Filed under: Court

Competition rules announced for King’s & Queen’s Arts & Sciences Championships

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-11-14 07:55

Greeting from Master Philip White, Kingdom minister of Arts and Sciences,

We’re excited to have completed the materials for King’s and Queen’s Arts & Sciences Champions that will be held on February 10, 2018 in the Crown Province of Ostgardr.

This includes:

* Competition entry rules
* Competitor expectations
* Competitor entry form
* Judges rules
* Judges expectations
* Judges volunteer form
* Rubric – General Score Sheet
* Rubric – Research Score Sheet
* Rubric – Performing Arts Score Sheet

All of this information can be accessed through the East Kingdom A&S Officer website.


Thanks and appreciation to:

  • The Kingdom A&S Special Deputies who led (and continue to lead) this effort, Mistress Elysabeth and Master Magnus along with their team who helped with feedback and editing.
  • Support and feedback from Mistress Sofya Gianetta di Trieste , Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences, and Lady Raziya bint Rusa ), King’s Champion of Arts and Sciences.
  • Support and feedback from Their Majesties, Tsar Ivan Ivanov Syn Dimitriov Vynuk Tzardikov and Tsaritsa Matilde de Cadenet.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!



Filed under: Events, Official Notices Tagged: Arts and Sciences, competition, kings and queens, Kings and Queens Champions, rules