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Dragon’s Rose Challenge

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-12-28 21:42

Submitted by Duchess Dorinda Courtenay

“We have seen the results that Countess Elena has posted, and we will not be treated as a region! We would have you challenge the entire Rapier Army of the Midrealm! Let them see the might of Æthelmearc!” ~Tindal Augustus & Etain Augusta

Wait – what? Did our Emperor and Empress just sign up the Æthelmearc Rapier Army to do battle with the Midrealm? Why yes, They did! This is the Dragon’s Rose Challenge, and it is time for Æthelmearc to rise up and stand together!

Fencers gaining points at the Free Scholar Tourney Finals, Lord Durante de Caravaggio vs. Lord Jacob Martinson. Photo by Arianna.

The Dragon’s Rose Challenge started as a challenge among fencers in the regions of the Midrealm to earn points by practicing, doing drills, serving the fencing community, and participating in (and doing well in) tourneys. Additional points could be earned by receiving tokens from Ladies of the Rose. Each week, fencers tally their points and report them to the Dragon’s Rose Challenge Master, Warder Adam, who totals them by region. The region with the highest total will win bragging rights and some loaner equipment to encourage even more fencers. There will also be prizes for the highest totals held by individuals. Early on, a few folks in Æthelmearc, and one in North Shield, asked if we could participate. The Challenge Master agreed, and we joined.

Who is this Challenge Master, and why did he start this? “War-Don” Adam CarMychel, member of both the Orders of the White Scarf and the Bronze Ring, has a history of setting interesting challenges to keep people growing in the art of fencing. Several years ago he anonymously popped up in the Midrealm as “Fencer X” where he set a challenge for people to go get 1000 bouts with various people as a way to encourage travel. The “M1K” challenge is now on its sixth round with different leaders. This year, Adam wished to encourage people to continue to train after Pennsic, and in particular, work on tourney skills. Adam noted, “I think there are a lot of fencers out there that never leave their home barony. I wanted to challenge people to break out of their little corner of the world and show the strength and spirit of the Midrealm.” To do that, he created a challenge that encouraged training and practice, but the real points come from entering tourneys. The competition between regions served to keep people motivated to get out and do more fencing! Adam also generously allowed the participation of people from outside his own Kingdom.

War-Don Adam CarMychel – Dragon’s Rose Challenge Master Photo by Leslie Abeyta Dionne (Warder Nerissa)

When Æthelmearc first joined the Challenge, we expected a few folks might participate, so we entered as a fifth region. Adam was very welcoming, but the turnout was higher than expected. At the midway point, Æthelmearc was not just competing against the Midrealm Regions, but in fact, we were in the lead! The 862 points held by AEthelmearc put us ahead of the next highest region at 619. This led to the challenge that we not participate as a region, but as the Kingdom we are! With your help, we can do it.

So what do we need to do next? We need to work hard – and as a team. The four regions of the Midrealm have a combined total of 2150 pts, so we are over 1200 points behind. The way to overcome this is to recruit more participants, to work hard, and to actually report! Anyone interested in joining the challenge may do so by emailing Warder Adam at dragonsrosechallenge@gmail.com  and telling him you are from Æthelmearc and wish to join. Our Emperor, Tindal, is personally joining this challenge to lead us. Then contact Dorinda or anyone in the challenge for an invite to the Facebook group set up for the challenge. It contains the rules and a spreadsheet for reporting. Then fence! Then report! Most of the regions have at least a few folks who never report at all. Two points a week for twenty weeks adds up. Even if you have only one point for practice or drills, send in a report. Together, we can do great things and answer the call of our Emperor and Empress! In the end, we will also be better fencers.

We leave you with parting words from Tindal, Augustus.

The Imperator faces Don Po Silvertop. Photo by Baroness Katja.

“I am very happy to be joining the Æthelmearc fencing community in the Dragon’s Rose Challenge. Over the last year I have gotten a chance to see the passion and dedication of Our fencers first hand. And I would encourage everyone to participate so that Æthelmearc is represented as a glorious kingdom where everything is better.”




Categories: SCA news sites

Austin Reed’s prison memoir published

History Blog - Mon, 2015-12-28 09:36

The earliest known prison memoir by an African American author will be available for sale next month. The original manuscript was discovered by a rare books dealer at an estate sale in Rochester, New York, a few years ago and acquired by Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 2009. Yale English professor Caleb Smith, Beinecke curators and genealogical researcher Christine McKay were able to identify the author as Austin Reed, a free African American from Rochester who had spent much of life in penal institutions.

Reed was six years old when his father died. In the wake of the loss, he began to get into trouble, ditching school and going out at all hours. His exasperated mother decided that it was better for him to live in the country, far from the temptations and evils of the city, where, she hoped, he might be turned from his self-destructive path. She indentured him to the Ladd family to work on their farm in Avon, New York. Alas, like a latter-day Oedipus, Reed’s mother only doomed him to the fate she had so fervently wished to avert. When the farmer tied the boy up “like a slave” and beat him badly, Reed and two other child servants set fire to his home in revenge.

Reed was convicted of arson in September of 1833 and was sentenced to serve 10 years at the New York House of Refuge, the first juvenile reformatory in the United States. He was 10 years old. The facility opened in 1825 in a former US arsenal in the Bowery. The freshman class consisted of six boys and three girls. A decade later when Reed was there it would house 1,600 children. It was dedicated to teaching its charges skills and professions with the laudable aim of rehabilitation, but the disciple was brutal and the workload extreme.

From the beginning Austin Reed was rebellious and fought against prison authorities. His juvie records are replete with comments from the wardens describing him as “a deep knowing impudent brazen faced boy” and “a most notorious liar.” He made multiple attempts to escape, at least one of which was successful if only for a short time. Still, the troubled boy found some support there, especially from superintendents Samuel Wood, an abolitionist who saw to it that Reed learned how to read and write. His successor Mr. Terry took a different approach, inflicting harsh punishments and whipping Reed within an inch of life.

He left the House of Refuge in 1839, only to quickly fall foul of the law again. Now an adult, he served the next 20 years in the notorious Auburn Prison, the oldest prison in the country still in use today. Auburn also had a stated aim of rehabilitation, but its methods were draconian: perpetual solitary confinement, violent whippings with cat-o-nine-tails, a form of waterboarding called the “shower bath,” being made to carry the “yoke,” a 40-pound bar of iron chained to the back of the prisoner’s neck and both hands.

Reed was in his mid-30s when he completed the book in 1858. He always intended his memoir to be published and read by a wide audience. He wrote it with an audience mind, often addressing the reader. His titles make it clear that he saw sharing his story as a means to expose the many cruelties he’d encountered in his lifetime of dealings with the criminal justice system. His original title, in the prolix run-on format so popular in the 19th century, was: The life and adventures of Rob Reed, his fifteen years imprisonment with the mysteries and miseries of Auburn Prison with the rules and regulations of the prison unmasked. The troubles and sorrows of the prisoner from the time he enters the prison untill he is discharged. In the notebook, that title is pasted over with a revised version: The Life and the adventures of a Haunted convict or the inmate of a gloomy prison with the mysteries and miseries of the New York House of Reffuge and Auburn Prison unmasked with the rules and regulations of Auburn Prison from 1840 up to the present time and the different modes of punishment.

Caleb Smith has whittled that revised title down to a more manageable The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict and now, 150 years after Austin Reed first set out to tell the world about the hardships he endured, his plans have finally come to fruition. The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict is published by Random House and can be pre-ordered at Amazon now for delivery on January 26th.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

From Mass Surveillance to Haggis: Medieval News Roundup

Medievalists.net - Mon, 2015-12-28 01:29
What we found this week in our online wanderings...

[View the story "From Mass Surveillance to Haggis: Medieval News Roundup" on Storify]

Our photo of the week comes from a Gospel book that was made at the Benedictine monastery of the Holy Savior at Helmarshausen, Germany, around 1120 to 1140. The image is part of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Categories: History, SCA news sites

Æstel Submissions Due January 1

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-12-27 10:07

A reminder that Æstel submissions for the February issue are due on January 1. Send them to ae.chronicler@aethelmearc.org.

In Service,
Kingdom Chronicler

Categories: SCA news sites

Alexander Hamilton powder horn for sale

History Blog - Sun, 2015-12-27 04:38

A powder horn engraved with Alexander Hamilton’s name that most likely belonged to the Founding Father himself is going up for auction next month. The seller is dentist Dr. Warren Richman who bought it from a patient in 1990. He has spent decades documenting the artifact, trying to find conclusive evidence that it belonged to the man whose name is on it not once but twice. An arms appraiser, a forensic documents expert and Alexander Hamilton’s great great great great great grandson Douglas Hamilton all agree that it’s the real deal. They believe he carried gun powder in it when serving under General George Washington during the Revolutionary War and that the carving was done by Hamilton’s own hand.

Born in Charlestown, the capital of the island of Nevis in the British West Indies, the illegitimate son of Rachel Faucette Lavien, an unhappily married woman who had fled her husband, and James Hamilton, one of many lesser sons of British nobility who had left home to seek his fortune in the Americas, Alexander was abandoned by his father and two years later lost his mother to fever when he was 11 or 13 years old. (His year of birth is uncertain, either 1755 or 1757). Young Alexander was left with nothing but a couple of dozen books, so he went to work as a clerk for an American shipping company. The future Secretary of the Treasure, founder of the Bank of New York and engineer of a new country’s monetary system was so good at the business that he was left in charge of the firm for five months in 1771 while still a teenager.

Alexander Hamilton had other unmistakable gifts as well. He wrote an account of a hurricane published in the Royal Danish American Gazette that so impressed community leaders they raised money to send him to the North American colonies to advance his education. Hamilton arrived in New Jersey in 1772 and, after a year of college preparatory studies, enrolled at King’s College (modern-day Columbia University) in New York City in the fall of 1773.

He quickly became involved in the hot political topic of the era and earned a reputation as a lucid and effective advocate for the patriot cause. When armed conflict broke out between the British Army and colonials at the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, Hamilton volunteered for the New York militia. This is the fulfillment of a long-hold wish expressed in a letter to his friend Edward Stevens when Hamilton was just 14 years old and clerking for food:

To confess my weakness, Ned, my ambition is so prevalent that I disdain the groveling conditions of a clerk to which my fortune condemns me. I would willingly risk my life, though not my character, to exalt my station. My folly makes me ashamed, yet Neddy, we know that such schemes can triumph when the schemer is resolute. Oh, how I wish there was a war!

That deep drive to rise up in the world, to make something of himself, to fight in a war which affords men of talent and bravery the chance at field promotions, medals and fame explains the alacrity with which he joined the Revolutionary cause. It also explains some of the engraving on the powder horn.

Alexander’s father James was the fourth son of Scottish nobleman Alexander Hamilton of Grange, and the younger Alexander proved keen to affirm that connection throughout his life. He wanted to have his never-legitimized heritage publicly recognized. He put the coat of arms and crest of the Grange branch of the Hamiltons on his personalized bookplates. He named his house in New York The Grange after the family seat.

The powder horn has multiple elements of the arms of the Hamiltons of Grange. There’s a unicorn — the symbol of Scotland also seen in several Hamilton crests — with a five-petaled flower on its hip. The more stylized, geometric version of a five-petaled flower, the cinquefoil, is on the Grange coat of arms. A roundel engraved on the horn has that formal version of the cinquefoil. It’s too faded to be sure, but it looks like it’s not just a plain cinquefoil, but a cinquefoil ermine (dotted with black shapes that represent the black-tipped tail of the winter stoat). The Hamilton of Grange arms use cinquefoil ermine.

Other engravings aren’t necessarily specific to the Hamilton family but are very much in keeping with Alexander’s yearning to make it big. There’s an engraving of a large house with a large enclosed property and several forking streams, symbolizing landed wealth. Another roundel holds a group of fasces, the tied bundle of wooden rods that in Ancient Rome represented magisterial authority.

The year engraved on it is 1773, the year Hamilton went to King’s College. Carving your name and symbols on a power horn in anticipation of a war that hasn’t started yet sounds like a studenty thing to do, especially a student who had openly yearned for war when he was barely into his teens.

One engraved phrase is odd, though. It reads: “First When When [sic] Came To Ohio.” The auction catalogue says it’s a “reference to American settlement,” which okay, but really? Why? Why wouldn’t it be “First When Came To New Jersey” or “First When Came To New York”? The extra word doesn’t bother me — he made other mistakes in the carving, like not leaving enough room for the final r on the large engraved “Alexander.” Ohio, not one of the 13 colonies, was a British territory until after the war. The first US settlers of Ohio were Revolutionary War veterans who founded the city of Marietta.

Authentic powder horn of Alexander Hamilton or no, it is estimated to sell for $25,000 – $35,000 and the starting bid is $10,000. The auction is on January 11th.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Five homes, one laundry reopened at Pompeii

History Blog - Sat, 2015-12-26 17:30

Five dwellings and one laundry facility at the ancient site of Pompeii have been reopened to the public after an extensive program of restoration: the House of the Cryptoporticus, the House of Paquius Proculus, the House of Sacerdos Amandus, the House of Fabius Amandio, the House of the Ephebus and the Fullonica (laundry) of Stephanus. The restorations were part of the EU-funded Great Pompeii Project, created to address the precipitous decline of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which focuses on repairing the most significant and at-risk structures. Work was taking so long that in October the EU threatened to pull funding if they didn’t get cracking, which is why the announcement that these six major restorations have been completed was made with much fanfare two months later.

The House of the Cryptoporticus is a lavishly decorated building complete with a luxurious four-room bath complex. In its heyday it was part of one of the largest homes in Pompeii which was divided in two around 20 years before the apocalypse. Eighteen women and children fled to what they hoped was safety in the House of the Cryptoporticus during the 79 A.D. eruption of Vesuvius. Unfortunately there was no such thing as safety in Pompeii that day and they all fell victim to the volcano’s wrath. It was also severely damaged during Allied bombing in 1943, particularly the peristyle (quadrangular garden).

The frescoed walls and mosaic floors of the cryptoporticus (exterior covered passageway), the bathing rooms, the summer triclinium (dining room) and the oecus (main hall or salon) have been restored. A fresco in the peristyle that managed to survive World War II in relatively decent condition has been returned to its former splendor. It’s a religious shrine, a lararium, with a portrait of Hermes in a niche to the left where offerings would be left. A large looping snake dominates the wall. It is surrounded by green boughs. A beautiful peacock and a small altar with a snake wound around it complete the picture.

The House of Paquius Proculus is known for its electoral graffiti, one of which gives the house its name. It’s not a large home, but it has some of the most beautiful mosaic floors in the city. Black-and-white and color mosaics adorn the floor of the atrium with scenes of animals and geometric borders. A black dog chained to a door bares its teeth on the floor of the entryway to dissuade any who would step foot on him with malicious intent. The triclinium has lost most of its mosaic floor, but in the center is an exceptional survivor: a Nilotic panel of pygmies fishing, one of whom falls into the water where hippopotami and snapping crocodiles await him eagerly.

The House of Sacerdos Amandus has a spectacular triclinium with floor to ceiling frescoes in the third style depicting the adventures of mythological heroes Hercules, Perseus, Odysseus, Daedalus and Icarus.

The House of Fabius Amandus is a modest structure, a typical example of a middle class Roman home. That’s significant in and of itself, but it’s also decorated with fourth style red panels on a yellow field with architectural features and with lovely mosaic floors.

The House of the Ephebus, named after the bronze statue of a youth that was once part of a fountain in the sumptuous structure. It was the home of wealthy merchants and it shows. It’s actually three houses joined into one, and is replete with high quality mosaic and fresco decorations of floors and walls. Restorers reconstructed the reclining couches of the triclinium. The summer triclinium in the garden is decorated with erotic frescoes of Egyptian theme and surrounded by columns.

The Fullonica of Stephanus was excavated from 1912 to 1914 and is a fascinating composite of private and commercial, a patrician house that was fully restructured and adapted to use as a laundry. A room west of the vestibule is decorated in brilliantly colored fourth style frescoes. Large panels of bright red with decorative borders are topped by architectural features with garlands and birds on a white background. Archaeologists believe this was the main office of the fullonica where people checked their garments in and out.

The impluvium (the sunken pool meant to catch rain water from the open roof) in the atrium was converted into a wash tub with the addition of walls. This was likely the delicate cycle of antiquity since the tougher, dirtier, badly stained fabrics were stomped on by laundry employees in larger tubs out back. There are three large square tubs in the main laundry facility and five oval tubs. Clothes were soaked in a mixture of water and unrine. Urine with its precious ammonia was a key element in ancient cleaning. It was collected from animals and humans, harvested from public bathrooms.

After the fabrics soaked for a while, they were trampled by the laundry workers. Then the cloth was treated with fuller’s earth — a type of clay that served as a fabric softener — and rinsed very, very thoroughly. Garments were laid out to dry on the roof or outside the entrance before getting ironed in the fullonica’s man-sized press.

Visitors to the restored fullonica will see a demonstration of how fabrics were treated in ancient Roman laundry facilities. Special tours covering all six of the newly reopened homes will be offered from now until January 10th.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Holiday Heraldry

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-12-25 11:03

From the East Kingdom Gazette, heraldically correct holiday names and armory for the Feast of Fools. Yes, you can document Feliz Navidad and Hanna Ka Harry!

“The Feast of Fools was popular festival in medieval England and France, held on or about January 1, celebrating the biblical principle that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27). During the Feast of Fools, mock bishops, popes and other high officials were elected, servants and masters changed places, and other foolery and foolishness was celebrated.”

The complete article and all the heraldic submissions can be found here. Enjoy!


Categories: SCA news sites

Santa Claus enters the fray on the side of the Union

History Blog - Fri, 2015-12-25 03:47

The great 19th century political cartoonist Thomas Nast is widely credited with having created the look of Santa Claus as we know him today. Inspired by Clement Moore’s description of the “jolly old elf” in his 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, aka The Night Before Christmas, Nast first depicted Santa in the January 3, 1863, issue of Harper’s Weekly. On the cover was a scene captioned “Santa Claus in Camp” in which Saint Nick brings toys and good cheer to Union soldiers. It seems that Santa, much like Nast himself who was a staunch Republican and abolitionist, had picked a side in the Civil War, and he wasn’t at all subtle about it.

Santa’s blue (of course) coat has white stars on it and his pants have red and white stripes, similar to garb donned by other patriotic icons drawn by Nast like Columbia and Uncle Sam. He has delivered parcels to the soldiers. One finds a sock inside, doubtless a welcome gift in the bleak midwinter after the devastating loss at Fredericksburg which saw more than 12,000 of his comrades killed, wounded or taken captive. A drummer boy in the foreground stares with wide-eyed surprise at the jack-in-the-box that leapt out of his present.

But it’s the toy Santa is holding that is most remarkable. Here’s Harper’s explanation of it:

Santa Claus is entertaining the soldiers by showing them Jeff Davis’ future. He is tying a cord pretty tightly round his neck, and Jeff seems to be kicking very much at such a fate.

Inside the same issue was a more sentimental approach to enlisting Santa in the Union cause. Nast’s two-page cartoon entitled “Christmas Eve” frames two Christmas scenes: a mother looking out the window praying while her two children sleep, and a lonely soldier by a campfire, presumably her husband, looking at a picture of his wife and children. Below them are vignettes of war and fresh graves. Above them Santa Claus brings consolation in the form of presents to the family home and to the front.

By Christmas of 1865, Santa’s wartime support of the Union had softened from stringing up effigy Jefferson Davis with his own hands to presiding over a Christmas pageant starring Ulysses S. Grant as the giant killer from Jack and the Beanstalk. Sure, the decapitated heads of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, John Bell Hood and Richard Ewell are at Grant’s feet, but it’s just metaphoric playacting and anyway Santa’s involvement is restricted to a wink and an avuncular smile, possibly a touch on the gloating side.

After the war, Nast continued to draw Santa Claus for seasonal issues of the magazine. It was Thomas Nast who introduced the idea that Santa Claus has a toy workshop in the North Pole, although in his vision Santa did all his own labour. “Santa Claus and His Works” was printed in the December 29, 1866, issue of Harper’s. Santa’s address is noted in the border encircling the central vignettes as “Santa Claussville, N.P.” His January 1, 1881, panel of Santa Claus was hugely popular and endlessly reproduced. It became the predominant view of Santa Claus until Coca-Cola commissioned Haddon Sundblom to make them a jolly soda-shilling Santa in 1931.

Suffering from financial troubles, in 1889 Nast published a collection of his Santa cartoons from Harper’s Weekly in a book called Christmas Drawings for the Human Race because “they appeal to the sympathy of no particular religious denomination or political party, but to the universal delight in the happiest of holidays, consecrated by the loftiest associations and endeared by the tenderest domestic traditions.” Santa hanging puppet Jeff Davis is in there, but the overwhelming majority of the drawings are tender post-war confections of children (his own kids were his models) and toys and sleighs on roofs. The day of the partisan Santa was over.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report from Yule at the Palazzo in the Barony of Bhakail

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-12-24 20:38

On the 12th Day of December 2015, Anno Societatis L, Their Majesties Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri did hold court at the Yule at the Palazzo in the Barony of Bhakail.

This is the business that occurred during their court:

Name Award Calligraphy and Illumination Ravenna de’Witte  Award of Arms C&I: Cassandra Arquest de Northumbria
W: Rowen Cloteworthy Alanna of Ravenstar Award of Arms Katherine Barr &
Chris Barr Thornguard Julianna von Altenfeld  Burdened Tyger (Backlog from Iron
Bog Investiture / K&Q Champions at
Aesa feilinn Jossursdottir Domiana Almodovar  Burdened Tyger (Backlog from Iron
Bog Investiture / K&Q Champions at
Aesa Lokabrenna Sturladottir Elisabeth (Lyssa) Underhill  Writ for Laurel No Scroll Quintus of Bhakail Award of Arms Astrid Feilan
w: Rowen Cloteworthy Osric Feologildsson Award of Arms   Mariette de Bretagne Alesone Gray of Cranlegh  Writ for Laurel No Scroll Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadim min Bhakail al-Sheikha Writ for Pelican Samuel lo Bianco Silver Crescent C&I: Palotzi Marti

W: Kolozsvári Árpád Mael Eoin mac Echuid  Writ for Pelican C&I: Eularia Trewe
W: Alexandre Lerot de Avigne

 Additionally, a presentation was made to the crown by Cassandra Arques.

The court Heralds for the day were led by Martyn DeHalliwell, with additional assistance from Elizabeth Eleanore Lovell, Rowen Cloteworthy and Sabine de Kerbriant


Malcolm Bowman, Eastern Crown Herald

Filed under: Court Tagged: court report

The East Kingdom College of Heralds presents its Feast of Fools submissions!

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-12-24 17:47

The Feast of Fools was popular festival in medieval England and France, held on or about January 1, celebrating the biblical principle that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27). During the Feast of Fools, mock bishops, popes and other high officials were elected, servants and masters changed places, and other foolery and foolishness was celebrated. More information about the Feast of Fools can be found here:

This Feast of Fools letter, celebrating the holiday season, was prepared based on responses to a challenge I issued to East Kingdom heralds to document holiday names and create holiday armory. Contributors to this letter of mis-intent include: Alesone Gray of Cranlegh, Edwyn le Clerc, Seraphina Golden Dolphin, Godefroy de Lisieues, Conall Blue Talbot, Lillia Pellycan, Violet Sea Star, Lilie Dubh inghean uí Mórdha, and, of course, myself.
Alys Pantheon et Ogress, usurping Blue Tyger’s place for Foolery!

1: Christmas Tree -New Name & New Device
Per chevron throughout gules and vert estencelly Or

Submitter desires a feminine name.

Christmas — Withycombe under header spelling Christmas which states: “this, like other names of church festivals was sometimes given to children born on that day (cf. Pentecost, Easter, etc.) and is found from the 13th C down to the present day. It gave rise to a not uncommon surname. It has now been largely replaced by Noel.” In addition, it is found in the Family Search Historical Records as a female given name:

Christmas Pell; Female; Christening; 22 Dec 1594; Quadring, Lincoln, England; Batch: C03102-2 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQR9-K4R)

Tree is a surname found in “Index of Names in the 1582 Subsidy Roll of London” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/english/engsurlondon1582n-z.html)

2: Comfort Ann Joy -New Name

Submitter desires a feminine name.

Meaning (tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy) most important.

Comfort is a male given name dated to 1620 at pp. 149-50 of Bardsley’s Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature; it is also dated to 1634 at p. 204 of the same source. Comfort is also found as a female given name in the Family Search Historical Records:

Comfort Crumpe; Female; Burial; 01 Mar 1631; St. Dunstan, Stepney, Middlesex, England; Batch: B02857-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JCV2-ZV7)

Ann is a female given name dated to 1593 in “English Names found in Brass Enscriptions” by Julian Goodwyn (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/brasses/women.html).

Joy is an English surname found in the Family Search Historical Records:

Hellen Joy; Female; Burial; 18 Dec 1576; Searby-With-Owmby, Lincolnshire, England; Batch: B05335-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JHB8-8ZG)
Appendix A allows double given names in late period English.

3: Dominyk Asinus -New Name

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Meaning (Dominic the donkey) most important.

Dominyk is a saint’s name. The Middle English Dictionary s.v. confirmāciǒun (n.) dates Saynt Dominyk to c. 1450.

Asinus is a surname dated to 1202 in R&W s.n. Ass. Asinus is Latin for ass or donkey.

4: Feliz Navidad -New Name

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Language (Spanish) most important.

Culture (Spanish) most important.

Meaning (I want to wish you a merry Christmas) most important.

Feliz is a Spanish given name found in the Family Search Historical Records:

Feliz Azpiroz Paz, M, Christening, 18 Jan 1584, SANTA CRUZ, LANZ, NAVARRA, SPAIN, Batch: C85023-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FT52-N9Q)

Navidad is a locative byname also found in the Family Search Historical Records:

Martin De Navidad; Male; Marriage; 21 Jan 1585; Santiago Apostol, Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain; Batch: M87106-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FFJD-RYB)

Appendix A permits unmarked locative bynames in Spanish, so dropping the de presents no problem.

5: Hanna Ka Harry -New Name & New Device

Argent, a menorah within a mullet of six points voided and interlaced, a chief and a base azure.

All elements are found in the Family Search Historical Records:

Hanna is a female given name:

Hanna [no surname]; Female; Burial; 30 Jul 1625; St. Dunstan, Stepney, Middlesex, England; Batch number B02853-0 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JCVX-PX9)

Ka is an English surname:

Elizabeth Ka; Christening; 29 Sep 1583, Saint Nicholas, Colchester, Sussex, England: Batch Number K13795-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NKN2-S61)

Harry is also an English surname:

Anne Harry, Burial; 29 Apr 1598, England; Batch number B39202-5 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JC94-BJ8)

6: Jolly Seyntnycolas -New Name

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Meaning (jolly old Saint Nicholas) most important.

Jolly is a English surname dated to 1585 in “Surnames in Durham and Northumberland, 1521-1615” by Juetta Copin (https://www.s-gabriel.org/names/juetta/parish/surnames_ijk.html). Such surnames can be used as given names by precedent. [Alton of Grimfells, 4/2010 LoAR, A-East].

Seyntnycolas is a surname dated to 1462 s.n. St Nicholas in Reaney & Wilson

7: Joyeaux Noel -New Name & New Device

Submitter desires a feminine name.

All elements are found in the Family Search Historical Records:

Joyeux is found as an English surname, which can be used as a given name by precedent. [Alton of Grimfells, 4/2010 LoAR, A-East].

Marie Joyeux, F, christening, 06 Aug 1636, THREADNEEDLE STREET FRENCH HUGUENOT,LONDON,LONDON,ENGLAND, C04903-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V5L2-71H)

Noel is found as an English surname:

Humfrey Noel, M, Christening 06, Jun 1583, Wigan, Lancashire, England P00556-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N5Q1-PZJ)

8: Merry Christmas -New Name

Submitter desires a feminine name.

Client requests authenticity for 16th cen. English.

All elements are found in the Family Search Historical Records:

Merry is a 16th Century English female given name:

Merry Tomson, female, marriage, 1577, Metheringham, Lincoln, England. Batch No. M03021-3, (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NFH3-MXF)

Merry Brower, female, marriage, 1580, Rye, Sussex, England. Batch No. M14836-1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N6KJ-6N1)

Christmas is a 16th cen. English surname:

Tannekyn Christmas, female, burial, 10 Apr 1561,St. Botolph Aldgate, London, England, Batch No. B02101-3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NRX4-R6L)

Anthonye Christmas, male, burial, 02 Nov 1580, Mayfield, Mayfield, Sussex, England, Film No. 001067249. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QJD6-LYFS)

As both elements are found c. 1580 in Sussex, England, this name meets the submitter’s authenticity request.

9: Merry Christmas -New Alternate Name: Mery de Cristemasse

Submitter desires a feminine name.

Culture (Anglo-Scots) most important.

Mery is a female given name found dated to 1502 s.n. Marion in “Early 16th Century Scottish Lowland Names” by Sharon Krossa (http://medievalscotland.org/scotnames/lowland16/womenalpha.shtml).

de Cristemasse is a byname found at p. 72 of “Middle English Bynames in Early Fourteenth-Century London” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/english/bynames1319.pdf).

10: Nicolas Claus -New Name

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Nicolas is a Flemish given name dated to 1538 in “Flemish Given Names from Bruges, 1400-1600” by Loveday Toddekyn (https://www.s-gabriel.org/docs/bruges/given-list.html).

Claus is a surname dated to 1445, 1446, 1462, 1468, 1469 and 1526 in “Names from Antwerp, 1443-1550” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael and Kymma Godric (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/dutch/surnamesplaiser.html)

11: Noel Blanche -New Name

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Language (French) most important.

Meaning (White Christmas) most important.

Noel is a male given name found in “French Names from Chastenay, 1448-1457” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/french/chastenay.html)

Blanche is a surname found in “French Names from Paris, 1421, 1423, & 1438” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/french/paris1423surnames.html).

12: Nowell Nowell -New Name

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Sound (No-ell No-ell) most important.

Language (English) most important.

Culture (London, England) most important.

Meaning (the salutation of Angel Gabriel) most important.

Nowell is a male given name found in “Index of Names in the 1582 Subsidy Roll of London” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/english/engmasclondon1582.html).

Nowell is found as a surname dated to 1576 at p. 257 of “Dictionary of Tudor London Names (May 2014)” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/english/tudorlondon.pdf)

13: Nowell Nowell -New Alternate Name: Noel Noel

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Sound (No-ell No-ell) most important.

Language (French) most important.

Culture (France) most important.

Noel is a male given name with five instances found in “Names Found in Commercial Documents from Bordeaux, 1470-1520” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/bordeaux.html)

Noel is a surname found in the same article s.n. Pierre (Pierre Noel).

14: Rudolf Shiny Nose -New Name & New Device

Argent, eight tiny reindeer statant proper

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Meaning (shiny nose) most important.

Rudolf is the vernacular form of Rudolfus, Anglo-Saxon author of the Life of St. Leoba, who lived c. 836 (http://www.pase.ac.uk/pdb?dosp=VIEW_RECORDS&st=PERSON_NAME&value=1921&level=1&lbl=Rudolf)

Shiny Nose is the Lingua Anglica form of the Old Norse descriptive byname nefglita is an Old Norse byname found in Geirr Bassi at p. 26 meaning “nose- glitter, shiny nose”.

Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse can be combined as long as both elements are dated prior to 1100, which these are.

15: Rudolf Shiny Nose -New Badge

(Fieldless) A reindeer statant proper sustaining with its nose a roundel gules

16: Saturne Allia -New Name

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Saturne follows the 16th-17th century English pattern of naming people after classical deities. [Faunus de Arden, June 2014, A-An Tir]. It is found in this spelling referring to the planet in a number of 1580s astrological texts (see A Companion to Astrology in the Renaissance edited by Brendan Dooley; https://books.google.com/books?id=5622AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA183) and Anatomy of the Abuses in England in Shakspere’s Youth, A.D. 1583 (https://books.google.com/books?id=qkw_AQAAMAAJ).

Allya is a 16th century English byname in Family Search:

Johanna Allya; Female; Christening; 05 Mar 1571; SAINT MARYS, HANLEY CASTLE, WORCESTER, ENGLAND; Batch: C04216-1, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NGNP-1M8)

The i/y swap in English is well-established. This evidence therefore supports the spelling Allia.

17: Sleigh Bell -New Name & New Device

Per fess gules and vert, a sledge argent between three hawk’s bells Or

Sleigh is a 16th cen. English surname found in the Family Search Historical Records. This surname can be used as a given name by precedent. [Alton of Grimfells, 4/2010 LoAR, A-East]

Izabella Sleigh; Female; Marriage; 27 Oct 1590; All Saints, Derby, Derby, England; Batch: M03587-2 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NVM9-65K)

Bell is a surname found in “Surnames in Durham and Northumberland, 1521-1615” by Juetta Copin (https://www.s-gabriel.org/names/juetta/parish/surnames_b.html)

This armory uses the image of a sledge found in the Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry, which states:

A sledge is a vehicle for traveling over snow or ice, consisting of a carriage set atop runners; it’s also called a “sleigh” in modern America. It’s a period charge, found in the canting arms (German Schlitten) of von Schlitsted, 1605 [Siebmacher 170]. The sledge faces to dexter by default.

18: Winter Wonder Land -New Name & New Device

Azure semy of escarbuncles argent, a sledge Or

Submitter has no desire as to gender.

All elements are found in the Family Search Historical Records.

Winter is found as an English female given name:

Winter Brandwood, F, Christening, Altham Lancashire, England; Batch: C01937-0 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:ND5F-T6L)

Wonder is found as an English surname:

Charles Wonder, M, 05 Nov 1609, Yarborough, Lincoln, England; Batch: C03388-2 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N1SW-PTY)

Land is also found as an English surname:

Issabell Land, F, 1620, ALL SAINTS, NEWCASTLE-UPON TYNE, NORTHUMBERLAND, ENGLAND; Batch: C39520-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NDJZ-D4F)

Appendix A permits double surnames in late-period English.

This armory uses the image of a sledge found in the Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry, which states:

A sledge is a vehicle for traveling over snow or ice, consisting of a carriage set atop runners; it’s also called a “sleigh” in modern America. It’s a period charge, found in the canting arms (German Schlitten) of von Schlitsted, 1605 [Siebmacher 170]. The sledge faces to dexter by default.

19: Yule Log -New Name

Submitter desires a masculine name.

Both elements are found in the Family Search Historical Records.

Yule is a 16th cen. English surname, which can be used as a given name by precedent. [Alton of Grimfells, 4/2010 LoAR, A-East].

George Yule; Male; Marriage; 23 Jun 1589; Polstead, Suffolk, England; Batch: M06302-2 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLMR-NYN)

Log is an English surname:

Fenandus Log; Male; Christening; 13 Aug 1607; Stone, Stafford, England; Batch: C39591-4 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NRLN-4QR)

Filed under: Heraldry, Uncategorized Tagged: heraldry, humor

The Sound of (Medieval) Music – Part II: Folk and Field

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-12-24 12:51

by Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres.

Greetings of the Yule Season! Welcome back to my penultimate article on the Bardic arts in the SCA. So far in this series, we’ve talked about bards and what makes a good one, the types of music one can encounter within the SCA, what a contrefait or “filk” is and isn’t, and the particular modes of music that flourished throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance in the church, known as plainchant modes. This time, we’re going to talk a little bit about what wasn’t well preserved from the period: Medieval folk music.

I mentioned before that one of the most obvious reasons we have so much music from the church and the court from within our era is simply that it’s the stuff that got written down. Wealthy patrons sponsored the creation of huge books collecting the music and translating it into notation. That notation evolved and eventually became almost recognizable as modern notation (though modern notation was still a few centuries away at the time our period covers). Other cultures had different ways of preserving their musical heritage, mostly through an oral tradition but sometimes with other systems of musical writing. They also had systems of composition that were and are markedly different from the liturgical sound that is the basis of so much extant music from the Medieval and Renaissance periods in western Europe.

What about people who didn’t have more than a Sunday morning exposure to church music, or formal training, or even people who didn’t grow up in an area where liturgical music and Gregorian plainsong were prevalent? What about people who didn’t compose for the purpose of church or court, or who weren’t familiar with the “rules” that governed that kind of music? For every court composer or noble amateur who was educated (by the church, incidentally), there were presumably dozens of musicians, performers, and peasant amateurs who were not. They likely adapted many of the tunes they heard in church and repurposed them in the form of contrefait. (In fact, we know for a surety that they did.) But they also just as likely composed their own tunes along lines that may be much more similar to modern folk melodic structure than one might think.

In addition, there are dozens of settings in which liturgical music simply won’t get the job done. No one rouses an army and stirs them to run into battle to the dulcet tones of a lute. Just being loud is not necessarily a recommendation, either. The Waits of local areas played loudly, but they evolved into entertainment over time from their original purpose as a warning system. Similarly, court music is simply not suited to the tavern hall, or the threshing house, or the marketplace, as any busker can attest. The sound is too delicate. Dance music has huge variety and moreover has to be played loudly to be heard, so it can attract the sort of attention and liveliness that is called for in those circumstances, but it still doesn’t achieve quite the same result as a chorus song or patriotic anthem, or a drinking song. (Though there are many dance tunes that acquired lyrics over time!) There are basic human needs which have not changed in thousands of years, and for the most part, the music that fills those moments speaks in melodies that do not necessarily correspond to the extant music we have from the Medieval period. The songs of the people were likely much more robust and simpler than church modes.

The problem is that whatever they were writing or singing, little to none of it survived.

So what did it really sound like?

Well, we have a few examples. We have some rounds, catches, and canons. We have a few drinking songs dating back to the 12th century, notably from the Carmina Burana. From later in period we have published books of broadsides by Purcell, Ravenscroft, and others. The Renaissance provides a much higher number of pieces, but then again, the same principles of survival apply: the majority of them are not populist in origin. We have large numbers of suriviving lyrics, with tunes which have been extrapolated or revised based on other suriviving music.

For the most part, we’re left to imagine.

And while it’s true that the harmonics of the time resulted in some intervals, chords, and rhythms that sound “funky” to a modern ear, if one isolates the melody line, often they are not too far off from something that might sound “folky” to a listener today. By the time we reach Middle English, the line between “Medieval sounding” and “traditional sounding” is very blurry indeed.

Take for example one of the better known drinking songs: In Taberna Quando Sumus from the Carmina Burana. Here’s an excellent recording via YouTube.

Ignore the accompaniment and just listen to the melody of the chorus. It’s in minor key – not in a church mode. It’s repetitive, it’s eminently singable, and it’s not too far off, in many ways, from a melody an SCA bard might come up with.

Just for giggles, compare the melodic structure of In Taberna to an SCA bardic classic: Heather Alexander’s March of Cambreadh.

Really, not terribly far off.

Here’s another example. “Dives and Lazarus” is a very popular tune that survives and has been used many times with variations or new lyrics. It’s better known to many as “The Star of the County Down.”  There are also familiar Christmas carols that date back to our period of study, that are not only familiar because we still sing them, but because they have a “folk-like” structure and modality. Now, this is not to suggest that any tune can be justified as Medieval-sounding. There are certainly songs written for or used within SCA contexts that contain much more aggressively modernistic melodic progressions, structures, and even tricky intervals that bear little to no resemblance to any extant Medieval music. Nonetheless, it demonstrates that songs did exist that were not written in Church modes or with a terribly unusual structure.

But don’t we just have to limit ourselves to what we know existed?

If you’re researching a piece or trying to stick to a specific mode, then yes. The problem with that premise is it pre-supposes the need to do that, when there’s far more to the question of composition than what survived. There’s just so little extant Medieval music that did not originate in the church, or the court, or somewhere in between. Compared to what must have existed at the time, it’s a drop in the bucket.

Here’s some food for thought, and forgive the modern statistical intrusion, but bear with me. According to Billboard, the premiere music rating service, approximately 75,000 albums were released in the U.S. in 2010. An average album has about 12 tracks on it, but let’s say 10 just to account for EPs, singles, and so on, and to give us a nice round number. Even if we assume that half of those recordings were of exclusively non-original material, that is, new recordings of pre-existing music, that’s still 37,500 new albums’ worth (at a guess) produced and registered with Billboard, or 375,000 individual pieces of music – and that doesn’t count albums that *aren’t* registered with Billboard. That’s for one calendar year.

Classical music scholars consider the Medieval period to cover music between 800 and 1400; the Early Music project acknowledges music from before the 12th century but concentrates on the era from 1100 forward. They divide the era thus due to the emergence of surviving polyphony that appeared at that time, slowly overtaking the previous three centuries of plainchant. Our period comprises 1,000 years (600-1600 CE). Still, let’s be conservative and limit calculation to the 300 years between 1100 and 1400. Let’s further limit ourselves by factoring only 1% of the estimated number of new songs written in 2010 as an estimate, to account for the smaller populations and geographical area of Europe. One percent of 375,000 is 3,750 new compositions per year. Over 300 years, that’s 1,125,000 songs that might have been composed during that amount of time. And that’s just one third of our span.

So, while we do have examples and abundant resources on what has survived, the comparative number of songs that might have been written and lost is astronomically high.

That’s one reason why I, for one, am not too fussed if an SCA-composed piece is not particularly “Medieval” or even “Renaissance” sounding. What we consider to be that “sound” corresponds to a narrow definition and a very limited repertoire of surviving music. Of course, our stated purpose is to strive to recreate the period with the greatest achievable level of authenticity. As long as original compositions avoid using constructions that adopt those aforementioned “modernistic” devices, I submit that it is hitting that mark. It still may not be to every taste, or may sound too much like “folk music” for those purists who only wish to listen to actual period music – but that is not the same distinction as something that is “indistinguishable” in its use of modes or construction from a composition by a court composer of the era.

I think that for many years, there’s been an entrenched assumption that the only “authentic-sounding” music is music that sounds just like composers such as Hildegard von Bingen, Peter Abelard, Adam de la Halle, Guillaume de Machaut, or any of the handful of others whose music has survived. That assumption is, to my mind, analogous to the old days when the only form of heraldry used, recommended, and accepted by the College of Heralds was modeled after Fox-Davies and a handful of other resources specialized mostly around English and French heraldry. The heralds revised their position to become more accepting of other cultures’ rules and standards, and thus more flexible about serving the SCA populace with personae from outside that narrow sphere. In a similar way, our expectations about SCA music are unnecessarily restrictive. We need to broaden the spectrum of what qualifies as “authentic” in its structure.

Of course, there are limits. I love musical theatre but I would not be remotely tempted to compose a modern-era musical theatre style song and expect it to sound appropriate within most SCA contexts. If I did introduce something modernistic, I would attempt to mask it in ways that blend better into the milieu of our events – or I would be using it for deliberate anachronistic dissonance. Skill plays some role, here, too, and the saying about “knowing the rules in order to break them” may well apply. There are certainly SCA musicians who write music intended for a broader audience, whose pieces sometimes take significant departures from a standard SCA-style melodic structure. On the other hand, even there, a lot of the feeling of modernity can be attributed to the arrangement of accompanying instruments. Some of Heather Dale’s studio albums feature electric guitar – but when she sings the same song at Pennsic, accompanied only by a bodhran or her penny whistle, the feeling is dramatically different and more “Current Middle Ages” in tone. Again, go back to the Carmina Burana piece and if you can, ignore the cadences of the accompanying instruments. Focus on the melody. It’s almost classic “SCA bardic” style. And it’s one of the oldest drinking songs we have.

The important and essental exception to these practices of avoiding the modern is the area of contrafait – but for that, see my filk article and how that’s not always going to be the right choice to evoke the right emotional response in a given SCA moment.[1] Remember that, as with all these guidelines for the bardic arts, there are three fundamental principles which must be observed:

  1. The material chosen must speak to some emotional grip on the audience;
  2. The performance must move the audience to that emotional place;
  3. The audience must be able to see, hear, and understand the performance.

Therefore, for achieving of the feeling of “Medieval folk music,” I hold that composers are justified in using simple melodic constructions which draw inspiration from ballads, chansons, and other sources, but that do not necessary correspond point by point to the surviving “rules” of plainchant or even early polyphony – because that structure was not necessarily the only thing that was being produced.

There is one other reason it may be appropriate to include the typical “SCA Bardic” sound as a legitimate approximation of perioid style. It’s important to remember that “period” original music (excluding contrefacta) wasn’t “old” music at the time it was written. But that will be the topic of my next (and final) article in this series.

Here are some additional sources of existing Medieval music and known composers:

http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/beginlst/medieval.htm – a selection of exemplary recordings of Medieval music

http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/beginlst/nocds.html – an excellent survey of the development of music from antiquity to the Baroque

http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-music/ – a very cursory overview of Medieval music, musicians, and instruments

[1] Unless it is, that is. Anyone who was at Pennsic Opening Ceremonies may remember that “Æthelmearc is awesome!” because when Lego hands me a song opportunity on a platter, sure, I’m going to go for the cheap laugh. But that’s contrafacta, not a composition crafted specifically for the SCA. And it’s also important to note that the intention of that was primarily humour, and secondarily something that incorporated a timely cultural reference and co-opted it for the emotion of the day. Most importantly: It worked.

Categories: SCA news sites

Thames mudlarks find tiny gold Tudor accessories

History Blog - Thu, 2015-12-24 01:51

A group of tiny gold objects from the early 16th century may be all that’s left of an extremely snazzy hat. Twelve small gold artifacts have been found in the Thames mud by eight different people over the past few years. When treasure hunters and licensed Thames mudlarks find artifacts of note in the tidal muck of the river, they bring it to archaeologist Kate Sumnall, the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Liaison Officer for London. Sumnall realized that the gold artifacts are very similar and since they were all found in one area of the Thames foreshore, she believes these tiny gold objects were originally been attached to a single piece of clothing which has long since rotted away. A hat is a likely candidate, since a strong gust of wind could have dislodged it from its wealthy owner’s head and driven it into the river whereas a jacket, say, tends to stay put.

Such metal objects, including aglets – metal tips for laces – beads and studs, originally had a practical purpose as garment fasteners but by the early 16th century were being worn in gold as high-status ornaments, making costly fabrics such as velvet and furs even more ostentatious. Contemporary portraits, including one in the National Portrait Gallery of the Dacres, Mary Neville and Gregory Fiennes, show their sleeves festooned with pairs of such ornaments.

Several of the pieces have the same gold loops and gold rope design. A few are inlaid with enamel or colored glass. Because they’re so small, the amount of gold is minimal — less than could fill an egg cup, apparently — but any gold at all has to be reported to the local Finds Liaison Officer who documents the discovery before passing it on to British Museum experts who assess it for the coroner’s inquest. At the inquest the coroner decides whether the object qualifies as treasure under Britain’s Treasure Act — anything more than 300 years old containing more than 10% gold or silver — and thus belongs to the crown.

Sumnall works at the Museum of London Docklands. Once these artifacts have been declared treasure (a foregone conclusion because of the gold), the museum wants to acquire the group for its collection.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Beethoven composition found in Connecticut home

History Blog - Wed, 2015-12-23 03:16

An autograph sketchbook page of a composition by Ludwig van Beethoven discovered in a Greenwich, Connecticut, home has sold at auction for $120,000 including buyer’s premium. The sketchleaf was previously unknown to Beethoven scholars and is a rare intact page to survive the dismemberment and sale of Beethoven’s sketchbooks after his death.

It was found hanging on a wall of a Greenwich woman by Brendan Ryan, an appraiser for Butterscotch Auction Gallery. A music major, composer and Beethoven fan, Ryan immediately recognized Beethoven’s handwriting. To confirm its authenticity and identify the composition, Ryan enlisted his former music history professor and mentor Dr. Carmelo Comberiati of Manhattanville College who had studied Beethoven manuscripts as a Fulbright scholar in Vienna. Comberiati identified the music as the first movement chorus, “Ruhend von seinen Thaten,” of Opus 117 or König Stephan, incidental music commissioned by Emperor Francis I of Austria for a stage production on the occasion of the opening of the new Pest Theater in Hungary. (King Stephen I was the founder of Hungary; hence the subject matter).

Beethoven received the commission in the summer of 1811 while he was taking the waters in the Bohemian spa town of Teplitz. He had fallen ill in the spring, plagued with migraines and a high fever, and went to Teplitz on his doctor’s advice. He was there for six weeks. It took him just two of those weeks to compose the music for König Stephan.

Beethoven’s composition process is beautifully illustrated in the chaotic activity on the page. He first wrote down all his ideas and then streamlined them into the finished work.

An expert on historical musical manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Jeffrey Kallberg, said it was an important and exciting discovery.

“Beethoven manuscripts turn up on the auction market with some regularity, but usually they’re known manuscripts. What makes this particularly interesting is this hadn’t garnered any notice — it’s been in this private collection,” said Kallberg, who viewed the piece on-line from his office in Philadelphia. “It’s a new manuscript, or a page from a manuscript, so that’s pretty exciting.”

It also captures quintessential Beethoven.

“He was famous for his sketching, and he sketched copiously. And it’s the archetypical looking Beethoven sketch — he had God-awful handwriting, he was working fast, it has the look of a messy genius.”

Pages from this sketchbook come in a variety of sizes and types because Beethoven made the sketchbook himself by sewing together whatever paper he had lying around with a needle and twine. They are identifiable as part of the same book because they all have the same three stitch holes on the side which is how scholars are able to connect the individual leaves that were sold off and scattered after his death. Four other complete pages from the sketchbook are now in the collection of Beethoven-Haus in Bonn (one, two, three, four). Other known pages survive only as fragments that were cut up by dealers and sold to tourists and fans.

This particular page made its way across the Atlantic Ocean in 1886 when William Künzel of Leipzig, Germany, sold it to Fred M. Steele, a prominent Chicago lawyer and autograph collector. The Steele autograph collection was auctioned off after the death his widow Ella in 1918, but it seems the sketchleaf was sold before that, in around 1915, to the seller’s ancestors in Greenwich. It’s been in the family for a hundred years. The new owner is a leading German antiques dealer, so it looks like the sketchleaf will be heading home.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

New Gazette Series: Artisan Profiles!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-12-22 15:44

The Gazette is starting a new monthly series profiling artisans throughout the Sylvan Kingdom. Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe has kindly offered to take the helm with the interviews; the Gazette is happy to introduce our new columnist! We encourage everyone to nominate artisans for the column; contact information can be found at the end of the article.

What is your SCA name and persona?
Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe is a resident of Bruges in the year 1593. She has spent her entire life in Bruges, even living in The Princely Béguinage Ten Wijngaerde for a few years in her teens and early twenties. She chose to leave the grounds of the Béguinage when she married and now resides near the center of town where her husband teaches music. They have a daughter.

How long have you been in the SCA and what was your first event?
I have been in the SCA 27 years. I don’t remember the name of my first event and spent all but a few minutes in the kitchen. I do remember that my boyfriend at the time (Lord Raphael Anton de la Talbot) got his AoA at that event. I spent the first few years in the SCA hanging out with Lady Adriana Ramstar and a chunk of people from CMU.

What is your main area of study or focus in the SCA?
Food History.

You’ve been involved with A&S on an official level – what did you do and what did you like about it?
I have been privileged to serve as a Baronial A&S Minister in the BMDL, as Deputy Kingdom A&S Minister, and as the Chancellor of the Æcademy. I always saw my role as being one of creating a space or environment where people could then grow, and change that environment as they needed for them to be successful and to grow. I wanted to be sure that artisans had the opportunities that they needed because my jobs as Deputy KMoAS and Chancellor of the Æcademy were about supporting and nurturing A&S in the Kingdom.

My favorite part of all of those jobs was the opportunity to interact with more people than I ever would have if I had not served in those offices. Seeing the extent of how talented and creative people are in Æthelmearc solidified my belief that what we have in our Kingdom is matchless in its quality. I started doing Artisan of the Month when I was Deputy KMoAS because I wanted to share as much of the talent I was seeing as I could.

How has research changed since you joined the SCA?
I can really only speak to my specialty. I joined in 1988 so there wasn’t nearly the amount of historical food information available that we have now. Primary resources were something that you only got to see if you were traveling to Europe and made contact with a museum or were fortunate enough to already be in an academic or professional field that allowed access to those kinds of documents. Now, since there are so many primary sources available, the base knowledge of your average medievally inclined SCA cook is much broader and deeper than it was 25 years ago.

Because there is so much information available, it allows the SCA cook the ability to delve into different aspects of medieval cooking and feasting, including the medieval palate and how it differed from modern palates. Being able to focus on execution of recipes and broaden our areas of research changes how we as cooks perceive medieval food and we can then share that with others. Sharing these insights into the medieval palate forges a stronger relationship with the cuisine and, in my opinion, strengthens our understanding of medieval life in a way that would have been harder to do 20 to 25 years ago because we were just struggling with getting basic information and incorporating that into what we do as cooks.

A lot of people are scared off by the term “documentation.” What advice would you give to take away the fear?
Documentation is my favorite thing in the world. I love research and I love putting together all of the pieces of information in written form. Documentation is merely putting together all of your research in a logical fashion to demonstrate what you know about medieval process and explaining your own process in a logical way. If you have taken one university-level course, you already know the basics of academic writing, which is about half of what you need to know to write solid documentation.

There shouldn’t be fear because you’re relaying information you already know and sharing conclusions you’ve already drawn. It’s like showing your work in math class, you’re just walking someone else through the steps so that they can understand what you did and glean what you learned and know about the particular item or art. Think about it as writing down what you say when you’re all excited about something and sharing the cool thing that you learned while you were reading something. Clearly, there is a bit more to it, but at its core, that’s exactly what documentation is – you being excited and knowing stuff.

What are some things people can do to encourage the arts in our Kingdom?
Filmmaker and writer Kevin Smith made an important point about encouragement in the arts that resonates with me and certainly applies to what we do in the SCA, “It costs nothing to encourage an artist and the potential benefits are astounding. A pat on the back to an artist now could one day result in your favorite film…or the song that saves your life. Discourage an artist and you get absolutely nothing in return, ever.”

To encourage an artist, it can take as little as leaving a personal token with their A&S entry to let them know that you were there and you saw their stuff or taking a moment to find someone whose work particularly reached you to let them know what they did made a difference to another person. What it takes on your part is showing up – taking a moment out of your event to look at the entries in the A&S display and then follow up on that however you’re comfortable (not everyone is comfortable with face-to-face contact).

If you want to take things to another level, offer to coordinate an A&S display at a local event – create the space for artisans to show off how cool their stuff is. Attend your next local schola or Æcademy – knowing that someone is interested in what you do or what you have to say about your art can make a huge difference for someone. If you’re feeling ambitious, put in a bid for an A&S event (either Kingdom or local) in order to showcase the artisans in your area – if you are interested in ideas for A&S events, please contact me, I have a handout that I can send you, or if you prefer a conversation, let me know that and we can speak by phone or in person (depending on your location).

The most important step is to show up and take a moment to acknowledge what you’ve seen. It costs nothing to show appreciation and you never know when even the smallest gesture will make a massive difference to someone else.

Anything else?
I’m so excited to be doing profiles on the artisans in Æthelmearc again. I’ve said it before and will say it again (and again, and again): I believe that the artisans and scientists in Æthelmearc are the best in the Known World. I am continually inspired and thrilled by what I see in A&S displays, at Pennsic, and at Ice Dragon – at every level. I’ve seen work done by someone who bught something to their first event that inspired me just as much as work done by someone who has been working in their art for decades. We just seem to attract talented people.

How can people contact you to be part of the Artisan Profiles?
I prefer email (jenn.strobel@gmail.com). I encourage recommendations. I travel more than I used to, but can’t be everywhere and know everyone. Also, do not assume that you have to have an A&S award to be profiled. Passionate beginners are just as interesting and worthy of writing about as experienced artisans.



Categories: SCA news sites

Otzi has the world’s oldest known tattoos

History Blog - Tue, 2015-12-22 08:45

Otzi the Iceman, the exceptionally well-preserved 5,300-year-old mummy discovered by hikers in the Otzal Alps on September 19th, 1991, is officially the world’s oldest known tattooed person. You might have assumed that to be the case considering he died around 3,250 B.C., but there was another candidate for the title: a South America mummy of the Chinchorro culture believed to have died around 4,000 B.C. who has a line of dots on his upper lip forming a pointillist mustache.

The Chinchorro people lived along the Pacific coast of what is today Chile and south Peru between 7,000 and 1,100 B.C. Chinchorro mummies, both natural and deliberate, have been found from early in the date range. They are the oldest known human mummies but only one of them is known to have a tattoo. The mummy with the mustache tattoo was discovered in the bluffs of El Morro overlooking the city of Arica, Chile, in 1983. It’s a male who was around 35–40 years old when he died. Radiocarbon testing of a sample of lung tissue in the 1980s returned a date of 3,830 years BP (before the present).

So according to the radiocarbon dating, Otzi is significantly older than the Chinchorro mummy, but a simple mistake in the scholarship misread 3,830 BP as 3,830 B.C. and the error was unwittingly picked up and repeated by subsequent researchers. The new erroneous date was then transposed to 5,780 BP, which in turn was mistakenly read as 5,780 B.C. in a later study. And thus a simple reading error was compounded over 20 years of scholarship to add 4,000 years to the Chinchorro mummy’s age.

Now that this error has been spotted and corrected, Otzi’s tattoos are confirmed to be the oldest known. As an aside, the Princess of Ukok who is famed for her intricate, highly artistic tattoos of fantastical animals and dates to 400–200 B.C., is 13th (or so, there are three other Pazyryk culture tattooed mummies from the same date range) on the list of oldest known tattoos.

Otzi’s tats are nothing like the Princess of Ukok’s. They are simple in design — groupings of parallel lines and crosses — and were not decorative. There are 61 lines and crosses tattooed on his body, the last of them discovered recently almost 25 years after the Iceman’s body was found. The tattoo was hidden in the darkened skin of his ribcage and was only identified thanks to a new study that used multispectral photographic imaging techniques to scan his entire body in a range of light from IR to UV.

Most of the tattoos are in areas that radiological studies confirm must have been painful due to degeneration and chronic illness, which indicates they had a therapeutic purpose rather than a symbolic one. The ribcage tattoo isn’t on a worn joint, his legs or his spine like the others, but Otzi suffered from several afflictions that could cause chest pain — gallbladder stones, whipworms, atherosclerosis — so it too could have been intended to alleviate pain.

The tattoos were made by cutting fine lines into the epidermis and then rubbing charcoal dust into the cuts. Since almost all of the tattoos are on acupuncture points, researchers believe the cutting may have been an early form of acupuncture which first appears on the historical and archaeological record in China around 100 B.C. but documenting what was already an established practice by then.

Although Ötzi is the oldest tattooed human, the paper’s authors conclude this will likely change: Ötzi’s tattoos are indicative of social and/or therapeutic practices that predate him, and future archaeological finds and new techniques should someday lead to even older evidence of tattooed mummies.

“Apart from the historical implications of our paper, we shouldn’t forget the cultural roles tattoos have played over millennia,” [study co-author Lars] Krutak says. “Cosmetic tattoos — like those of the Chinchorro mummy — and therapeutic tattoos — like those of the Iceman — have been around for a very long time. This demonstrates to me that the desire to adorn and heal the body with tattoo is a very ancient part of our human past and culture.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gulf Wars Æthelmearc Camp Information

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-12-21 19:34

Greetings from the Gulf Wars Land Liaison,

The Sylvan Army at Gulf Wars. Photo credit: Erin Kelly

For those of you who haven’t heard, I’ve been asked by Their Majesties and Highnesses to be the Land Liaison (Land Agent, using Pennsic terms) for the Æthelmearc encampment at Gulf Wars this year.  If you are planning on going, but have never been there, it’s a lot easier (at least for us) than Pennsic in terms if preparation and set-up, and there are many old hands to help you along.

There are two deadlines for pre-registration: the USPS mail-in deadline with a Jan 31 postmark, and the online PayPal deadline, which has not yet been announced, but is expected to be some time between Feb 15 and Mar 01. Land allotment for camping at GW is almost the same as camping at Pennsic, so if you put the same number of people in your tent at GW as you do at Pennsic, that shouldn’t be an issue. More information can be found on the Gulf Wars website.

We will be having a camp meal plan, details TBA, but it will be coordinated by Mistress Illadore, giving her a full three months after moving back from The West to get ready for it. :)

GW Land staff will be sending all official information via email, and so to minimize steps, and to accommodate a number of gentles who are going to Gulf Wars (some of whom are on royalty staff and need to be in the know), I will be conducting all official GW Æthelmearc encampment business and information dissemination using a GoogleGroup (it just sends all posts to it to members’ email, just like the
kingdom distribution list), so anyone interested in going who wants to camp with Æthelmearc, please send me your email address and both SCA and mundane names (for checking the pre-reg list I’ll get from GW Land) either via PM on Facebook, or directly to koredono@gmail.com

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you all there with us.

In Service,
Magariki Katsuichi no Koredono, KSCA
曲水 勝一 の 兵殿
Æthelmearc Gulf Wars Land Liaison

Categories: SCA news sites

Tomb of Tutankhamun’s wet nurse, maybe sister, opens

History Blog - Mon, 2015-12-21 09:06

The tomb of Pharoah Tutankhamun’s wet nurse Maia was opened to journalists Sunday for the first time since it was discovered in 1996. It will be opened to the public next month. The rock-cut tomb is in the necropolis of Saqqara, about 13 miles south of Cairo, and was discovered by French archaeologist Alain Zivie in 1996.

The tomb consists of the cult chambers with three decorated rooms and the underground, mostly undecorated, burial chambers. The first room of the cult chapel of her tomb is dedicated to the life of Maia.

She was the wet nurse of the king, educator of the god’s body and the great one of the hareem. Nothing is known about her parents. Tutankhamun is depicted on one of the tomb’s reliefs featuring the boy king sitting on Maia’s lap and the king is mentioned several times in the tomb’s inscriptions.

There is also a badly damaged scene showing Maia in front of the king. The second room is dedicated to the burial rites associated with Maia. Maia is shown in front of offering bearers. She is depicted as a mummy in relation to the opening of the mouth ritual and she is standing before the underworld god Osiris.

This large and elaborately decorated tomb could be an indication that Maia was not just an important figure because she nourished the young king, but because she herself was a member of the royal family. Recently an ostracon was found in the tomb that titles Maia “Mistress of Women,” a significantly higher title than wet nurse, even when the nursee is a future pharaoh. Zivie believes the depictions of Maia on the reliefs share “the same chin, the eyes, the family traits” of Tutankhamun. The tomb of Akhenaten, Tutankhamun’s father, in Tel el-Amarna has a wall carving showing the burial of Maketaten, second daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, which is attended by a woman breast-feeding a baby. She is identified as Meritaten, the eldest daughter of Akhenaten, and the baby’s she’s feeding may be Tutankhamun. If true, that would make Tutankhamun’s wet-nurse his sister or half-sister.

The necropolis was extensively reused starting in the 7th century B.C. as a cemetery for mummified animals. Between the 30th Dynasty (380-343 B.C.) and the Roman period, Saqqara was a major center of animal cult worship and networks of galleries were carved out of the rock of the plateau to house the mummified remains of huge numbers of cats, dogs, bulls, ibises, baboons and more. In 2011, archaeologists discovered an incredible eight million animal mummies, mostly dogs but some cats and mongooses as well, in a catacomb near the temple of Anubis just to the east of the Bubasteion.

The area where Maia’s tomb was found is known as the Bubasteion, identified in Papyrus documents from the Late Period as the sanctuary of the cat goddess Bastet. Unlike the massive dog catacomb which was dug in the Late Period, the Bubasteion recycled the New Kingdom rock-cut tombs. Alain Zivie, then part of the French Archaeological Mission of Saqqara (FAMS), now director and founder of the French Archaeological Mission of the Bubasteion (MAFB) which has been excavating the necropolis since 1986, was the first to recognize in 1976 that the rock-cut tombs were originally created not for animals, but for important courtiers and high-ranking officials of 18th and 19th Dynasty Egypt.

The MAFB team has cleared more than a dozen tombs that were filled with debris and sand and whose original walls were obscured by Ptolemaic-era walls and pillars erected to support the rock ceilings which by then were in danger of imminent collapse. The new walls and pillars added in the conversion of the tombs to cat mummy catacombs helped preserve the original wall decorations — reliefs and paintings — and even hid some of the original burial gifts behind them. Maia’s tomb was full to the ceiling with sand, rubble and Ptolemaic modifications, which is why it has taken close to 20 years to fully excavate, clean and shore up the structure to make it safe for visitors.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

A look inside a crocodile mummy

History Blog - Sun, 2015-12-20 12:44

The British Museum has performed a new study of a 2,500-year old crocodile mummy which is now on display for the first time in 75 years. Scanning Sobek: Mummy of the Crocodile God, is one of The Asahi Shimbun Displays, a series of short exhibitions that explore objects in a new light. In this case, visitors will get to see the crocodile itself and the new information about the creature’s life and death revealed in the study.

The mummy is a Nile crocodile that dates from 650 – 550 B.C. and is four meters (13 feet) long. It was mummified after death, dried in natron and then coated in beeswax and pitch before being wrapped in linen bandages. The mummy was a representation of the god Sobek, the crocodile-headed deity which symbolized the power of the pharaoh, fertility, military strength and protection from harm. Crocodiles, which lay as many as 80 eggs in one clutch and which ferociously protect their young, carrying hatchlings on their backs or even in their mouths, were seen as great generators and guardians, powers that took godly form in Sobek and the pharaoh. The British Museum mummy has more than 25 mummified hatchlings on its back, representing that combination of generative and protective power evinced by the Nile crocodile.

It was one of about 300 crocodile mummies discovered in the Per-Sobek temple in Kom Ombo, a site about 30 miles north of Aswan in southern Egypt, and in the neighboring animal necropolis of el-Shatb. The Kom Ombo temple was the largest and most important center of worship of Sobek in Egypt during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras. Built in the 2nd century by Ptolemy VI Philometor on the site of an earlier temple to Sobek by 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Thutmose III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.), the unique symmetrical double temple had two sections, the southern one dedicated to Sobek, the northern to falcon god Horus the Elder. The necropolis, with hundreds of crocodile graves cut into the hard rock, was in continuous use from the Middle Kingdom through the Greco-Roman period.

The temple bred sacred crocodiles, the mummified eggs and juveniles used as votive offerings to the god. Sacred crocodiles bred at the temple were treated with kid gloves, adorned with jewels and hand-fed. Worshipped as the incarnation of the god himself, they lived out their natural lives and were mummified after death. They were probably as tame as fearsome Nile crocodiles could get. In Book XVII of his Geography, Strabo describes priests feeding a sacred crocodile in Crocodilopolis, modern-day Faiyum, the largest center of cult worship for Sobek.

[T]here is a sacred one there which is kept and fed by itself in a lake, and is tame to the priests. It is called Suchus; and it is fed on grain and pieces of meat and on wine, which are always being fed to it by the foreigners who go to see it. At any rate, our host, one of the officials, who was introducing us into the mysteries there, went with us to the lake, carrying from the dinner a kind of cooky and some roasted meat and a pitcher of wine mixed with honey. We found the animal lying on the edge of the lake; and when the priests went up to it, some of them opened its mouth and another put in the cake, and again the meat, and then poured down the honey mixture. The animal then leaped into the lake and rushed across to the far side; but when another foreigner arrived, likewise carrying an offering of first-fruits, the priests took it, went around the lake in a run, took hold of the animal, and in the same manner fed it what had been brought.

The Kom Ombo temple was in ruins from Nile flooding, earthquakes and centuries of stone quarrying for building projects when it was cleaned, restored and rebuilt as much as possible by French engineer and archaeologist Jacques de Morgan in 1893, then acting Director of Egyptian Antiquities. A selection of the surviving crocodile mummies from Kom Ombo are on display in the new Crocodile Museum near the temple that opened in 2012. The British Museum’s crocodile mummy was discovered during Jacques de Morgan’s work on the site and donated to the museum in 1895.

The mummy was scanned at the Royal Veterinary College using high-resolution computer tomography. The scans were used to create a 3D model displaying the details of the crocodile’s insides and the contents of his stomach confirms at least part of Strabo’s account.

Not all organs were removed by the embalmers and the stomach contents – the remains of the crocodile’s last meal – are still present. The crocodile appears to have been fed select cuts of meat prior to death, including a cow’s shoulder bone and parts of a forelimb.

Exact replicas of these bones – 3D printed from the scan data – are displayed next to a four-metre CT scan visualisation of the crocodile. The bones were found inside the stomach along with numerous small irregular-shaped stones, which the crocodile swallowed for ballast and to assist digestion, as well as several unidentified small metal objects.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Hitler really did only have one ball

History Blog - Sat, 2015-12-19 09:36

The popular World War II song deriding the testicular constitution of top Nazi officials appears to have hit at least one nail on the head: Hitler really did only have one ball. The song, believed to have been written by a clever propagandist for the British Council in 1939, sung to the tune of the Colonel Bogey March originally put Goering in the first line with the one ball, but soon the two switched places in the verses and the song became a runaway success as a marching song for Allied troops and among school children on bus trips ever since.

The new evidence comes from a recently surfaced medical certificate issued in 1924 by Dr. Josef Brinsteiner, the staff physician of Landsberg Prison in Bavaria where Hitler spent a few happy months after being convicted of treason. On the night of November 8th, 1923, Hitler, his Nazi Party cronies and 600 Sturmabteilung (SA) militia staged an armed takeover of a political rally in a Munich beer hall and attempted to overthrow the government of Bavaria with the overthrow of the Weimar government in Berlin as the ultimate target. Hitler was inspired by Mussolini’s 1922 March on Rome which had successfully installed Fascist rule in Italy, but the putsch was disorganized and came to a swift end when the Bavarian police fired on the marchers at the Munich Odeonsplatz on November 9th. Sixteen people, including four policemen, died.

Hitler was arrested on November 11th and tried three months later for high treason. He was convicted by sympathetic judges and sentenced to five years of the mildest type of imprisonment (no hard labour, long visiting hours, comfy cell) in Landsberg Prison, with the possibility of parole after six months. He was busted smuggling uncensored letters out of the prison, so his parole was slightly delayed. Hitler ended up serving 264 days of that sentence, a productive and apparently fun-filled nine months during which he dictated Mein Kampf to his fellow convict and future Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess.

The doctor’s report was part of a bundle of about 500 records from Landsberg Prison that were sold at auction on July 2nd, 2010, in Fürth, Bavaria. The seller’s father had acquired them in the 1970s at a flea market in Nuremberg. It seems they were stolen from Landsberg by the then-head of the prison in the 1960s. After his death, his estate was sold off at the flea market. There are no doubts as to documents’ authenticity.

They describe an imprisonment virtually indistinguishable from a vacation at a nice B&B with bars on the windows. Every time Hitler had a visitor, the prison kept a record of the visit on a card. There are 330 cards, which means Hitler had quite the busy social schedule for the 264 days he spent at Landsberg. His close friend and supporter Ernst Hanfstaengl (who was half American, btw, and eventually turned coat and informed on his former bestie to Roosevelt) described his visits to Hitler in Landsberg as looking like he had “walked into a delicatessen. There was fruit and there were flowers, wine and other alcoholic beverages, ham, sausage, cake, boxes of chocolates and much more.”

The estimate sale price for the Landsberg records was 25,000 euros ($27,000) but sale was blocked and the papers seized by the Bavarian government after they were quickly classified as nationally valuable archives. They’ve been in the State Archives in Munich ever since, and now Peter Fleischmann, the Head of the Nuremberg State Archives, has published an annotated edition of the papers after five years of study.

Dr. Brinsteiner examined prisoner No. 45 (Hitler, Adolf) on November 12th, 1923, the day after his arrest. He noted in the “Record book for protective custody” that Hitler suffered from “right-sided cryptorchidism,” meaning his right testicle had never descended. Other than that, he was “healthy, strong” and weighed 78 kilograms. There’s no reason to think the good doctor was lying as he, like much of the rest of the prison staff, was a nationalist and Nazi sympathizer.

Hitler’s testicles have been the subject of much speculation over the years. As early as 1943 Dr. Eduard Bloch, Hitler’s Jewish childhood physician who fled to America in 1940, was asked by the US military about the Führer nads. He assured them they were “completely normal.” In 1968, a Russian journalist published a book that included the report of an autopsy done on Hitler’s body by Soviet doctors in the bunker after the fall of Berlin. They claimed his left testicle had not only not descended, but was nowhere to be found up in there. That autopsy report had other errors, however, and the Soviets first insisted that Hitler had escaped with his life so the source is less than reliable.

In 2008, Polish priest and amateur historian Franciszek Pawlar claimed that he had heard from a German army medic that Hitler had lost a testicle from a shrapnel wound suffered at the Battle of the Somme. The Somme rumor had been floating around for years by then, one guy’s hearsay confirmation of it wasn’t exactly a slam dunk. The Landberg medical report, on the other hand, isn’t obscured by time, propaganda, mythology or gossip. It makes no comment on any resemblance to Himmler’s, the size of Goering’s and presence or absence of Goebbels’.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Crusader Ale & Beernog

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-12-18 19:21

A holiday brewing recipe from Lord Wolfgang Starcke.

As some of you may know I play around a lot with early styles of beer. Alternative bittering agents were common in many regions well into the 17th century or later and are even making a small come back today. Juniper berries, spruce tips and an amazing array of other plants & spices have been used to provide that bitter note to offset the natural sweetness you get from a fermented malt beverage.

The spread that accompanied the Crusader Ale at Janos’ vigil, photo by Sir Ian Kennoven.

I’ve experimented several times using a mix of spices as the bittering component. This recipe was made for the vigil of Master Janos Meszaros at the Rhydderich Hael Baronial Investiture.

Crusader Ale

2 gallons of water

Batch started with 8oz of amber malt, cracked and steeped in a cheesecloth up to 160 degrees then removed whole grains and added: 3 lbs of amber dry malt extract, 1 lb of English dark dry malt extract. Brought the wort up to a boil for 1 hour.

I probably got some interesting burnt caramel notes from accidentally singeing the cracked malt. I failed to notice my cheese cloth resting on the bottom of the pan so it got a bit more direct heat than intended.

In a different pot:

Steeped the spice mix in cheesecloth with 1 gallon of water for an hour and then added to the wort before cooling.

Spice mix:

All spices started whole and were hand cracked/ground in a mortar & pestle.

4 inches of cinnamon stick
1 tbs cumin seed
1 tbs cardamom pods (seeds removed from pod then ground)
1 tsp whole coriander
1 tsp whole clove
1/2 tsp grains of paradise (was going to use long pepper but couldn’t get it quickly)
1 tsp nutmeg (shaved)

After cooling to 95 degrees, added Nottingham ale yeast and let ferment for 10 days at room temperatures (65-75) before transferring to a keg.


Although rarely seen now, Beernog was served well into the early 20th century. Sometimes called “Hunters Punch” or a variety of other names it is a warm & rich winter treat.

6 cups of ale
6 cups of half & half or light cream
6 egg yolks
1 cup (or more to taste) sugar
Spices as desired (usually cinnamon and nutmeg)

Heat the beer in a crockpot or stockpot on low, make a thin custard in another saucepot with the egg yolks, cream and sugar, then combine the beer and custard in the crockpot. Add the spices and steep, keeping warm until serving. Serve in mugs or punch cups and dust with more nutmeg if desired.

You can also add the brandy or rum of your choice, either to the whole batch or per mug while serving.

Cautionary note on the beer: Unless you really like bitter drinks, do not use an IPA or anything hoppy for this. You want a nice smooth vanilla stout, caramel porter or an un-hopped ale if one is available.

Enjoy the season and stay warm & happy by the fire!
Wolfgang Starcke
Guildmaster Æthelmearc Brewers Guild

Categories: SCA news sites