I’ve got two hot tips for you today because I idled away large amounts of time sleeping, watching silent movies like a big nerd and enjoying the two virtual tours mentioned in the title like an even bigger nerd. The subjects are not related; the only thing they have in common is that their heyday was the 18th century.
The first tour uses documentary and map research to plot every stage of the 1760-1761 Jamaican slave uprising. This is so cleverly put together. You have the option of using a terrain map or political map as the base. If you want, you can explore each phase of the revolt by clicking on the timeline before, but the best thing to do is to click play in the upper left hand corner and just allow yourself to see the movements as they happened. I’m not usually the press play type. I like to click forward and back on my time, thank you very much. In this case, however, being taken on the voyage is a million times better than just clicking around, because you see the geographic links between each stage and flare-up of insurrection.
Historians have long debated whether the Jamaican slave insurrection that started in 1760 and continued for another 18 months was a spontaneous uprising, carefully planned by slaves across the country or a mixture of both. The end-result was devastation: 500 slaves killed, 500 deported to Africa, 60 white people killed and thousands of pounds in property destroyed. What this cartographical analysis found is that there were three major uprisings within the 18 months, that there were strategic choices made by rebellion leaders along with more spontaneous, disorganized outbursts.
It’s an impressive collaborative effort between historians and cartographers that has produced an attractive, easy to follow, surprisingly dynamic, information-rich resource on a complex period. I kind of want a map like this of everything now.
The second time sink is more of a literal virtual tour since you get to see with your own eyes the complete wreck site of the HMS Victory, First Rate Royal Navy warship that sank off the coast of Plymouth in 1744 and that was the predecessor to Admiral Horatio Nelson’s ship of the same name. The wreck was discovered by treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration in April of 2008.
The remains of the HMS Victory are 246 feet deep underneath a shipping lane beset by strong tides. There’s no chance of visiting the site in person, so Odyssey Marine has created a photomosaic map of the vast debris field complete with high resolution video captured by remote submersibles. Start here to follow the Virtual Dive Trail. Click on any of the outlined areas and you’ll see an incredibly clear photograph of the wreck. Click on “dive” in the upper right header and a pop-up window opens with video of the area and a description of what you’re seeing.
The quality is insane. I don’t know how that lit it so effectively but you can see bronze cannons, iron ingots, wooden planks, the large rudder, everything like it’s in your living room, assuming your living room has a vaguely blue cast to it.
The life of a photographer and videographer for a travel blog can be exotic, as exemplified by Ron Hay of the MegaPixel Travel blog who spent a day at the Kingdom of Osgoode Medieval Festival. (photos and video)
I am Yehuda ben Moshe, currently serving as Elmet Herald, the East Kingdom heraldic education deputy.
Over the last few months, I’ve run a series of classes, titled “So you want to be a (book) herald?” Parts I-III. The classes were run both online, via Google Hangouts and YouTube, and in-person at certain events. When originally created, this was planned as a stand alone series of lectures. Since then, there have been requests for more classes covering related topics. Therefore, it’s time to change things up a bit.
I am hereby announcing the creation of the East Kingdom Herald University (EKHU). The University will consist of a series of classes, held over Google Hangouts and live at selected events, designed to cover a variety of topics useful to beginner and intermediate heralds. I currently have about a dozen classes in mind, some taught by me, many taught by other instructors, and I’m hoping to grow the offerings. over time. This means that if you have ideas for classes you’d like to teach, or topics you’d like to see taught, email me. I am especially interested in classes that fit the video format, as well as classes that cover topics beyond book heraldry.
Information about the University will be available, for now, at www.yehudaheraldry.com/ekhu and will hopefully soon move to the official East Kingdom website.
Now, to the meat of the announcement:
I will be running the first two EKHU classes this week and next week.
On Wed, Sep 18, at 9:30pm EDT, I will be running “Book Heraldry 100″, the introductory class for book heralds, covering administrative matters and general principles, including the organization of the SCA heralds, becoming a herald, the submission process, and related topics. If you’ve previously taken my “So you want to be a (book) herald? Part I – Intro” class, you do not need to take this, as it covers the exactly same material.
On Mon, Sep 23, at 9:30pm EDT, I will be running “Armory 101″, the introductory armory class. This class will cover basics of armory, including blazoning. If you’ve previously taken my “So you want to be a (book) herald? Part II – Armory” class, this class is significantly different. While a few topics are the same, this class does not cover style rules, but does cover blazoning.
Students have two options for participating in the class. The first is to join the Hangout directly. This allows the student to fully participate in the video conference, talking (or typing) directly to the teacher. Please note that the class will be recorded, and the recording posted. You can choose not to turn on your camera, so as not to be on screen, but your voice will be in the video.
If you would like a spot, you must email me at elmet at eastkingdom dot org, spots will be first-come first-serve based on said emails . Please
The second option is to watch the class live through YouTube. This requires no account, there is no person limit, and you won’t be recorded, but it’s strictly one way – you won’t be able to talk to the instructor. You will be able to email me the questions, however, and I will try to respond.
Yehuda ben Moshe,
Filed under: Official Notices Tagged: heraldry, officers
In 1952, Frederick Godfrey wrote an article which transformed forever scholarly consdieration of the Renaissance. The Pictorial Records of the Medicis looked at the work of the period's artists in the "context of the society from which it had sprung and that social attitudes could be recovered from the study of art." Alexander Lee of History Today looks at the impace of the article.
Fans of Veggietales - or Vikings in general - will enjoy a look at the video We Married Vikings from Lyle the Kindly Viking. The short video is available on YouTube.
In April of 2012, David Taylor was helping his brother-in-law Andrew Coulter remove stones from his newly plowed field in Inishargy near Kircubbin, County Down, Northern Ireland, when he spied a muddy piece of metal perched on a rock. Its distorted open ring shape captured David’s interest. He picked the piece up and found it was soft metal which made him think it might be an object worth keeping, perhaps an expensive piece of machinery. When he brought it back home and cleaned it, his wife thought it was just some dirty scrap, an old discarded U-bolt bracket that David should throw in the trash.
David was still intrigued by its shape, however. He thought it might be a bracelet, although he had no idea what period it might date to. He took some pictures of the object and sent them to local museum experts. They recognized it as a Viking arm ring, a very rare discovery in Ireland.
On Monday, September 9th, a Belfast Coroner’s Court inquest officially declared the ring treasure trove. It’s composed of 90% silver with trace quantities of copper and gold and was manufactured between 950 and 1100 A.D. It weighs 45 grams, almost two Viking ounces, and would have been used by the Vikings not just as adornment but also as currency.
The Annals of Ulster note that monasteries and churches in the county were raided by Vikings in the 9th century, and there were constant battles between the Danes, Norse and Ulster kings. By 970 A.D. relations between the Vikings and native Irish had stabilized, however archaeologists speculate that the arm ring did not originate in the area, but rather in Shetland or the Orkneys where there were large Viking colonies. Not that there weren’t Viking settlements in Ireland. Dublin was awash with them, and in Northern Ireland there were notable ones at Ballyholme near Bangor and at and Strangford village, both in County Down.
John Sheehan, archaeologist from University College Cork, told coroner Suzanne Anderson that the field where the ring was found lay close to the remains of a medieval church.
He explained that religious sites were often used as a storage place for valuable items.
With clashes between Viking settlers and native Irish commonplace, the expert suggested the ring may have been taken out of Scandinavian hands.
“Maybe it fell into Irish hands and as a result of that ended up deposited for safe-keeping at a church site but then got lost,” he said.
The arm ring will now be assessed for market value by the UK Treasure Valuation Committee, comprised of experts from the British Museum and other institutions. Once a fair monetary value is assessed, the closest local museum, in this case the Ulster Museum, will be given the opportunity to purchase the piece. The money will be divided 50/50 between the finder, David Taylor, and the landowner, his brother-in-law Andrew Coulter. David is hoping the Ulster Museum acquires the arm ring because he thinks it’s important that the rare discovery remain in the place where it was found. That’s what makes it so rare.
Earlier in 2013, Islamic extremists destroyed more than 4,000 ancient manuscripts from the medieval African city of Timbuktu, nearly one-tenth of the ancient collection. Now experts hope they can find copies digitized before the destruction.
A restoration of the Colosseum, currently underway, reveals frescos in a corridor that has been sealed off since the 3rd century. Unlike the moss-and-marble walls of today, the building interior, in its day, would have been a Technicolor extravaganza.
The tomb of one of ancient China’s most powerful and accomplished women, 7th century poet, politician and imperial consort Shangguan Wan’er, has been found near the airport in Xianyang City, Shaanxi province, northwest China. The tomb is approximately 118 feet long, 33 feet deep, has five skylights and vaults off a central corridor. It was badly damaged at some point, probably in antiquity, and not just by casual looters. The destruction of her tomb appears to have been part of a deliberate campaign by political enemies. Few artifacts were discovered — no precious metals or human remains — but the ones that did survive are important: a set of ceramic horsemen on their steeds and a memorial tablet inscribed with an epitaph identifying the tomb as that of “the late Zhaorong [imperial consort] Madame Shangguan of the Great Tang dynasty.”
Shangguan Wan’er (664–710) was born to privilege but in turbulent times. Her grandfather Shangguan Yi was chancellor under Emperor Gaozong. The year his granddaughter was born, Shangguan Yi got in trouble with Empress Wu. Emperor Gaozong had expressed concern about her ever increasing power at court and his chancellor advised that the empress be deposed. When Empress Wu found out, her weasel husband blamed it all on Shangguan Yi. She and her allies accused the chancellor of conspiring with the crown prince to overthrow the emperor and had the lot of them, including Shangguan Yi and his son, Shangguan Wan’er’s father Shangguan Tingzhi, executed.
The infant Shangguan Wan’er and her mother Lady Zheng survived the palace intrigue but were enslaved. Lady Zheng saw to her daughter’s education and the child’s literary abilities became evident at a young age. She was 13 years old when Empress Wu encountered her poems and was so impressed with her abilities that she appointed the teenager her personal secretary. Shangguan Wan’er was 19 years old when Emperor Gaozong died in 683 and Empress Wu became first the power behind her sons thrones, and then, after deposing both of them in turn, the power in the throne. She declared herself emperor in 690, officially ending the Tang Dynasty and starting the Zho Dynasty.
As the empress/emperor’s secretary, Shangguan Wan’er wielded genuine political power. She drafted imperial edicts, handled petitions from imperials officials and served as an adviser to Empress Wu on matters of state. Many of the articles about this find describe her as China’s first female prime minister because her role was so prominent and she was so close to the empress that in effect her position was more akin to a prime minister than a scribe.
In 705, Empress Wu was deposed in a coup and replaced with Emperor Zhongzong, one of the sons she had deposed. Shangguan Wan’er ably changed sides and became one of the new emperor’s concubines, at the Jieyu or 14th rank. He recognized her skills too, so Emperor Zhongzong utilized her experience and famously beautiful prose in the drafting of edicts. She had several affairs with members of the royal family and became a confidante of Emperor Zhongzong’s wife Empress Wei. So powerful a figure was she at this court too that she was singled out for arrest during a failed 707 coup attempt. The next year the emperor promoted her to Zhaorong, a sixth rank concubine.
The emperor died suddenly, probably of poisoning, in 710. In the month after his death, Empress Wei’s faction set up a system where she would rule as regent for her son. Shangguan Wan’er’s part in this cunning plan was to draft a fake pre-dated will in which Emperor Zhongzong left the throne to his son and the regency to the empress dowager. The exclusion of Li Dan, Prince of Xiang, from this plot ensured its failure. Li Dan’s son launched a plot to overthrow the empress. This coup Shangguan Wan’er did not survive. She attempted to buy her survival by handing over Emperor Zhongzong’s original will, but it didn’t work. She was dragged out of her home and beheaded on the spot.
Despite the coups and power shifts that kept the court hopping for years, Shangguan Wan’er’s gifts were readily acknowledged by subsequent emperors. In 711, her titles were posthumously restored to her and a few years later the emperor had her literary works collected and published.
Archeologist Margrét Hallmundsdóttir believes that a skeleton discovered in 2012 in Hrafnseyri, Iceland, dates to around 1000 CE, the year of the country's conversion to Christianity. The grave was found in the vicinity of a church, dating to the same time period.
You know that the SCA Known World is alive with talent. Now the Society is giving us the chance to prove it with just a short YouTube video.
Lucius Valerius Geminus is dead. In fact, he's been dead since the 1st century CE, but thanks to the discovery of his tombstone, archaeologists now know something about the Roman soldier who died in Oxfordshire.
A pair of exceptional dinosaur fossils discovered on private land in Montana in 2006 will be going up for auction at Bonhams in New York on November 19th, and scientists aren’t too thrilled about it. The pre-sale estimate is $7 million to $9 million, an exorbitant sum for an institution, so the fossils and all the unique information they contain might be lost to science should they be snapped up by a private collector with deep pockets.
The fossils capture two extremely rare dinosaurs in what appears to be the moment they killed each other 67 millions years ago. The carnivore, Nanotyrannus lancensis, left some of his teeth in the skull and neck of the herbivore Chasmosaurine ceratopsian. In turn, Nanotyrannus’ chest and skull are crushed from a powerful blow to the side, perhaps a well-placed kick from Chasmosaurine. Nanotyrannus lancensis is either a relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex or a juvenile. This is one of only two examples of the species ever discovered so there’s still debate about whether it’s a separate pygmy tyrannosaur genus or a young T. Rex. Chasmosaurine ceratopsian is closely related to the Triceratops.
This is only the second known fossil to preserve two dinosaurs in a fight. In the other example the two dinosaurs are small, about the size of greyhounds, and they’re nowhere near as complete. The Montana dueling dinos are huge. They are both eight feet high, the ceratopsian 17 feet wide and the lancensis 22 feet wide. They are so well preserved that there are pockets of what could be skin from both animals still attached.
From the Bonhams press release:
The “Dueling Dinos” have the potential to radically advance modern paleontology, and illuminate the mysteries of life during the Cretaceous Age. Their superb preservation in fine-grain, loosely consolidated sandstone allowed them to remain intact despite the weight of the sediment that buried them. The specimens were removed in large, plaster-jacketed sections of earth, safeguarding the spatial relationships in which the bones were found. Both dinosaurs also exhibit extremely rare preserved soft (skin) tissue, offering spectacular possibilities for cellular research.
Additionally, the “Dueling Dinos” may hold the key to answering one of the most puzzling questions for paleontologists today. Presently, researchers are divided over whether Nanotyrannus’ are their own genus, or whether they are simply juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rexes. The Nanotyrannus involved in the “Dueling Dinos” is only the second example ever found, and by far the most complete, offering the best hope to date of answering this pressing scientific question.
Unfortunately, selling them for multi-millions isn’t exactly a boon to science. I find it downright odd that the auction house would emphasize their scientific significance when publicizing their sale to the highest bidder. It’s not like the sellers, the ranchers who own the land in the Hell Creek sedimentary rock formation of Montana where the dueling dinosaurs were found, have stipulated that all buyers must make the fossils available for research. This sale could very well end all scientific investigation of the specimen.
The owners did attempt to sell the fossils directly to museums before they put them up for auction, but their asking price was insane. The Smithsonian was given the chance to bid privately starting at around $15 million. They declined. The American Museum of Natural History received a similar offer which it too declined because of the exorbitant price and because it prefers to display dinosaurs excavated by the museum. The Field Museum of Chicago was also offered the duelers which it declined due to the expense, and this is the museum that paid $8.36 million at auction for Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex which currently holds the record for most expensive dinosaur ever sold.
Maybe one of those institutions who didn’t have $15 million might be able to scrape up half that for the auction, but those pre-sale estimates could easily be blown away in active bidding. Let’s just hope that whoever buys the fossils is willing to grant the scientific community access to it.
The Satire of the Three Estates by Sir David Lyndsay is considered Scotland's only surviving Renaissance play. Now the six-hour-long political satire is being performed at Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian. (video)
Lord Duncan Thorfinnsson, OSC OTC passed away on the evening of September 11, 2013, after a battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Lady Alexandera Cupbearer, his brother Brian, and his SCA family. Details on services or memorials are not yet available.
Lord Duncan was squired to Master Feral von Halstern and was a long-time pillar of Barony Beyond the Mountain, which named him a Companion of the White oak in 1989. He was a skilled melee fighter, particulary proficient with a pole-arm, and his fighting prowess was recognzied by Tsurunaga and Genevieve in 1993 with his induction into the Order of the Tygers Combatant.
Widely acknowledged as a man who would always be available to lend a helping hand, Lord Duncan’s service to the Society was recognized with his induction into the Order of the Silver Crescent in 1996 by Lucan III and Elspeth. He also served as a retainer to a number of royal households, and was awarded the King’s Cypher by Hanse II in 1999.
Lord Duncan was also a founding member of House Toddington. Although he had not been able to be active in the Society in recent years due to ill health, he remained close to his household and to his SCA friends and family. Fellow household member Baron Ernst Nuss von Kitzengen shares that “if you judge a man’s worth by the friends he has then Duncan was a very wealthy man as he was deeply loved. Not just a gentleman, but a gentle man in all ways. He will be greatly missed.”
Filed under: Tidings Tagged: Barony Beyond the Mountain, obituary
Over 300 wizards and warriors gathered recently at Patuxent River State Park in Maryland for the second annual Bellum Aeternuthe, an "invitational event for live-action role-play (LARP) and combat, open to participants from across the medieval-themed LARP community," and hosted by the Darkon Wargaming Club.
A 1700-year-old mass grave holding the dismembered and decapitated remains of 24 people has been discovered in the ancient Mayan site of Uxul. Researchers from the University of Bonn were exploring the Mayan drinking water system when they came across a 344-square-foot artificial cave that had been used as a reservoir just before it was converted into a charnel house. The floor of the cave was completely clean from when it held drinking water to supply the city during the dry season.
“Aside from the large number of interred individuals, it already became apparent during the excavation that the skeletons were no longer in their original anatomical articulation”, says the archaeologist Nicolaus Seefeld, who studied the sophisticated water supply system of Uxul for his doctoral thesis and discovered the mass grave. All of the skulls were lying scattered around the interior of the cave, in no relation to the rest of the bodies. Even the majority of the lower jaws were separated from the heads. In contrast, detailed examination determined that the limbs of the legs and hands were in some cases completely preserved. “This observation excluded the possibility that this mass grave was a so-called secondary burial, in which the bones of the deceased are placed at a new location”, says Nicolaus Seefeld.
By “completely preserved” he means that some sets of legs, feet, hands and arms were found still fully articulated. That would not have been possible if the bones had initially been buried elsewhere and then moved to the cave. The articulated remains suggest that the deceased were killed all at once rather than over time, and then dismembered and placed in the reservoir.
The body parts were scattered around the space and then covered with coarse gravel and a sealing layer of clay. This burial method kept the bones in excellent condition. Because of the fine state of preservation, osteological analysis was able to identify the sex and age of 15 of the 24 sets of remains. There were 13 men and two women ranging in age from 18 to 42 when they died. Evidence of violence — hatched marks on the vertebra from decapitation, unhealed skull fractures from a blunt instrument, a number of cutting marks, possibly from stone hatchets, on many of skulls.
Some of the teeth had jade inserts, an indicator of high social status, but others showed signs of the long-term malnutrition and tooth decay that tend to afflict the poor. Archaeologists have not yet been able to determine if the dead were residents of Uxul or if they were victims of a war with a competing Maya city. The elite of Uxul weren’t in a good place in the seventh century when the mass grave was filled. The city was conquered and absorbed by my favorite Mayan dynasty, the Snake Lords of Calakmul, during this time. The local nobles were stripped of their titles and replaced with Snake Lord allies. Perhaps some of them were diced up and tossed in a dry reservoir too.
Stable isotope analysis of the enamel and dentine of the teeth might be able to answer that question. Isotopes like oxygen, strontium, lead, carbon and nitrogen become fixed in the teeth when they develop in childhood in percentages and combinations that are unique to a given area. By analyzing the teeth for the presence of stable isotopes, scientists can discover a great deal about the diet and movements of the teeth owners in their youth.
As it stands, the mass grave is strong evidence that the Maya dismembered their prisoners and/or enemies, something depicted often in Mayan art but rarely found in the archaeological record.
Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-roku-i Zentarou Umakai, reports that Their Majesties Maynard and Liadain offered Peerages to two of Their subjects at the recent Pennsic War.
The Tyger and Bucket Tavern (Saturday September 14th at 5:00 PM in South Hiram, Maine) is Malagentia’s semi-annual non-event event. Run with a skeleton staff of serving wenches and kitchen crew it seeks to bring the local community together by allowing everyone in attendance to participate in the central activities: schmoozing and eating.
The brain-child of Lady Honig von Sommerfeldt, currently Chatelaine for the Province of Malagentia, this event strives to be a fun event for the old timers who come to catch up with friends old and new, as well as an easy event for a newcomer to attend. Where other events are centered around activities that must be a developed skill before one can participate (such as fighting, archery, arts & sciences displays etc.) you don’t need to know how to do anything but eat to have a great time at this event and be a full participant in the goings-on. This will be the eighth incarnation of the Tavern, which materializes Brigadoon-like from the mists each spring and fall. There is an unwritten low-regalia dress code that helps new people feel at ease and lets those folks who wear the burden of peerage, crown, or coronet set it down for an evening and be “just like regular folks”.
Please join the Bad People of Malagentia for this enchanting evening. Check your stuffy authenticist cred at the door and relax. Travelers from afar are enjoined to settle in among these simple folk and share their war stories from the summer. Learn the secrets of the Schnitzelbank, strut your hirsute handsomeness in the hairy chest contest, purchase a pickle to be delivered by the talented pickle dancers, raise your voice in song, bring a bottle of your best home brew to share and feast and laugh until you guts might burst.
And just in case that isn’t enough to lure you out into the wilds of Malagentia on a crisp autumn evening the a-la-carte menu just might: Chef Gryff will be preparing the following delicacies which will be priced on a per-plate basis, dished up onto your own feast gear, and served to you by smiling, friendly wenches:
Filed under: Events Tagged: events, Malagentia