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

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

En français

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

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

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

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

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

In service,
Joel Messerer
East Kingdom Deputy Webminister for Services

En français

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traduction par Behi Kirsa Oyutai


Filed under: Announcements Tagged: webminister

Unofficial Court Report: St. Eligius Arts & Sciences Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YIS,

Malcolm Bowman, Brigantia Principal Herald


Filed under: Court

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

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

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

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

This includes:

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

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

http://moas.eastkingdom.org/cms/?page_id=304

Thanks and appreciation to:

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

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

~p.w.

Save


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

Temple with oldest mural in Peru engulfed in flame

History Blog - Mon, 2017-11-13 23:18

The remains of a 4,500-year-old temple in Peru’s pre-Incan Ventarrón archaeological complex was devastated by fire on November 12th. As estimated 95% of the temple complex has suffered heavy damage as high winds fanned the flames faster than the archaeologists on site and the firefighters could contain them. One of the walls of the temple was decorated with a gripping mural of a dear being caught in a net. At about 4,000 years old, it’s the oldest known mural in Peru and the oldest in the Americas that has been absolutely dated and archaeologically excavated. It has been severely damaged by the smoke and heat. Whether there’s any hope of repair or recovery is uncertain at this time. While most of the fire is out now, we won’t know more until it has been entirely extinguished and archaeologists have the chance to examine the devastation.

Huaca Ventarrón was discovered in the Lambayeque region of northern Peru in 2007. Radiocarbon dating of the mud brick structure and artifacts revealed that the large complex was built in three phases, each named after the decorative motifs in the artwork — the “Temple of fish and opossum,” “Red-White Temple or Deer Hunting,” and “Green Temple” — over the course of the thousand years between 2,600 and 1,600 B.C. This is very early in the Mesoamerican timeline, a period now known as the Initial Formative or Preclassic Era, and the murals and objects discovered there feature iconographic and architectural approaches that have not been found anywhere else.

Since the site was opened to visitors in 2014, the monumental architecture, a matrix for later cultures who inhabited the coastal desert region of northern Peru, and the murals have made Ventarrón an important stop on archaeological tours of the Lambayeque region. More than 15,000 people, the overwhelming majority of them Peruvian nationals, have visited the site, often in conjunction with a trip to see the famed Lords of Sipan Moche tombs and museum nearby.

Indeed it was the director of the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum Walter Alva, who in 2007 led the excavation that discovered the Ventarrón temple complex, tasked with announcing the horrifying news.

“I have received the lamentable and tragic news of a fire that has destroyed the archaeological monument of Ventarron,” museum head Walter Alva said in a statement. […]

The fire devastated the ancient mural as well as pottery vessels and records of the Ventarron Archaeological Comoplex in Pomalca, in the Lambayeque region, television images showed.

Workers from the Pomalca agribusiness company triggered the blaze when they ignited a sugarcane field.

“We are losing an exceptional monument unique to its generation,” said Alva, who discovered the site in 2007. “I hope there is an investigation and responsibility established.”

“I can only express my outrage and sadness for this irreparable loss.”

The temple’s central staircase leads up to an altar that archaeologists believe was used to make offerings to the gods and to worship fire. Never disrespect the local gods, people. If history teaches us anything it’s that they’ll get back at you with as painful an irony they can devise.

The Culture Ministry in Lima is investigating the fire and will file charges based on cultural patrimony protections should they find there was any negligence or failure to adhere to all statutes regarding potentially dangerous activities near historically significant sites. I can’t say I’m holding my breath on this one.

If you can stomach it, here is video of the fire ripping through the temple complex. It was shot by archaeologist Ignacio Alva Meneses.

Incendio en la huaca Ventarrón: los murales más antiguos de América se encontraban allí (Video: Ignacio Alva Meneses) https://t.co/OWLLqfmwdF pic.twitter.com/fY7iDqdozr

— Agencia Andina (@Agencia_Andina) November 13, 2017

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gold Chain Muster Thanksgiving Weekend

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-11-13 19:23

Sir Ariella vs. THLord Rouland at the Gage Meet ‘n’ Beat, War Practice 2015. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Greetings All Fighters!

The Chivalry of Æthelmearc invite you to join us for a regional fighting practice in the Shire of Hunter’s Home on Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving, November 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The site has indoor and outdoor fighting space, including room for long weapons. It is not far from I-79 at 1898 Grant Street, Utica, PA 16362.

Please drop armor at the site and then park at the Fire hall at Grant and Academy Streets one block away. Sir Arnthor lives nearby and is available for questions about the site or directions. For questions or suggestions, please contact Sir Ariella by email or on Facebook (Cara McCandless) or Sir Arnthor.

We hope to see you all there!


Categories: SCA news sites

Notably unromantic portrait of Admiral Nelson found

History Blog - Sun, 2017-11-12 23:46

A portrait of Admiral Horatio Nelson depicting his war wounds in all their unvarnished glory has been rediscovered after 100 years out of public view and knowledge in private collections. It will go on display at Philip Mould & Company’s Pall Mall gallery starting November 13th. To celebrate its return, it will be displayed next to meticulous replicas of the fanciest accessories depicted in the painting: Admiral Nelson’s iconic bicorne hat, recreated according to his precise instructions Lock & Co. Hatters of St James’s who made the original hat by Nelson’s commission, and the still-lost Chelengk jewel very conspicuously pinned to the front of the hat in the portrait.

It was painted in 1799 by Leonardo Guzzardi, an artist at the court of Queen Maria Carolina and King Ferdinand of Naples and Sicily. Maria Carolina, 13th child of the formidable Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I of Austria, sister to Marie Antoinette of France, was a great patron of the arts and had a particular fangirl admiration for Admiral Nelson. She herself may have commissioned Guzzardi to capture Nelson’s likeness when the hero, painter and monarchs were in Palermo after their majesties’ hasty departure from Naples with French troops hot on their heels. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d sought a portrait of the admiral. Earlier in Naples she had told her son she’d have a portrait painted of Nelson so he could stand under it every day and say “Dear Nelson, teach me to be like you.” (Maria Carolina had a lot in common with her mother.)

In this portrait Nelson is emaciated and battle worn, with a scarred head, a missing arm (undetectable in the rendering), a blood-shot eye, and largely missing eyebrow. The portrait is uncompromising, so much so that one past owner, no doubt discomforted by the broken eyebrow, had it painted in to match that on the right. The wound had happened during the heat of engagement with the French at the Battle of the Nile at Aboukir Bay in Egypt in August 1798, whilst standing on the quarter deck with Edward Berry. A shard of iron struck Nelson’s forehead, slicing the skin and leaving an inch of skull visible. The piece of flesh, cut at jagged angles as seen in this portrait, hung down over his right eye, leaving him momentarily blinded. Such was the shock that Nelson, caught in the arms of Berry, famously cried out “I am killed. Remember me to my wife”. He was taken below deck, where the surgeon treated the wound with adhesive strips and gave Nelson opium to reduce the pain. His treatment, however, was supposedly interrupted by news that the French flagship L’Orient was on fire, at which moment Nelson ran back up on deck. This moment is captured by a theatrical portrait attributed to Guy Head [National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, BHC2903], in which Nelson is shown on deck with a burning ship beyond, blood dripping from his bandage onto the shoulder of his white shirt. The injury left Nelson disorientated and severely concussed, and the pain of the wound was such that he was forced to wear his hat tilted back, as seen in the present work, for some months.

Positioned conspicuously on top of his hat is the legendary Chelengk jewel. The jewel, made of diamonds, was gifted to Nelson by the Grand Sultan Selim III on 13 December 1798, in appreciation for saving Aboukir Bay (then part of the Ottoman Empire) from assault by Napoleon. The impressive jewel attracted wonder but also adverse comment, especially when Nelson took to wearing it – unofficially – on his naval uniform hat in a show of undaunted vanity. The gift also included a scarlet pelisse lined with sable fur and two thousand sequins (a type of small gold coin), to be shared amongst the wounded.

All of Guzzardi’s portraits of Nelson derive from a single head-type painted in early 1799 in Palermo, where the artist and subject had flown following the Jacobin revolt in Naples in December 1798. Guzzardi, about whom very little is known, was described at the time as a ‘Celebrated Artist at Palermo, Portrait Painter to the King’, and although few of his works have survived, the existing examples reveal a highly distinctive style with a preoccupation for vivid flesh tones, bold colouring and sharp treatment of facial features.

The first painting Guzzardi did of Nelson was a full-length portrait depicting him in the full dress uniform of a rear admiral. He stands in the foreground on the deck of a ship, his left hand pointing in a weirdly awkward way towards a naval battle behind him on the right, a representation of the Battle of the Nile. The scarlet pelisse is draped over a chair under his pointing finger and the Chelengk jewel takes up half the front of his pushed-back hat.

There are 14 replicas of this portrait known to exist, some painted by Guzzardi, and the group can be split into two according to the admiral’s accessories. In the first iteration, he wears only the insignia of the Order of the Bath and the St Vincent naval medal around his neck. The later works include the star of the Turkish Order of the Crescent, a private issue gold medal for the Battle of the Nile and the official naval gold medal for the Battle of the Nile. While the newly rediscovered painting has the full complement of medals, experts believe they were later additions, that this portrait is one of the early group.

Art historians have known about this particular version of the portrait from archival records and photographs, but the last time its location was known was 1897 when it was documented in the collection of Alfred Morrison, an avid collector of Nelsoniana. He had bought it from Thomas Gullick, a London art dealer who had found the painting rolled up and gathering dust somewhere in Italy in the early 1880s. Even though less than a century had passed since it was painted, and even though the sitter has some very unique distinguishing features and was once one of the most famous people in the world, both the artist and the subject were unknown at that time. Gullick identified it right quick and tried to sell it to Earl Nelson (he passed) and the National Portrait Gallery (they also passed).

Morrison’s vast collection was broken up and sold by his widow. Some pieces went up for auction, others were sold privately. There are extant records of these sales but none of them mention this painting. It made its way to the United States where it was acquired by George M. Juergens of New York. A friend of the family bought it after Juergens’s death in 1987. That friend still owns it today. It seems he’s willing to sell it, however, as Philip Mould & Company is accepting purchase inquiries.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Ex-grasshopper found in Van Gogh painting

History Blog - Sat, 2017-11-11 23:26

Conservators have discovered the body of a definitely deceased grasshopper resting in disarticulated peace among Vincent van Gogh’s Olive Trees. Mary Shafter at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, was examining the work under a microscope as part of a research project for the upcoming catalogue of the museum’s collection of 104 French paintings when she spotted the little guy entombed in the deadly embrace of van Gogh’s thick impasto in the shadow of the first olive tree on the right. At first she couldn’t tell what it was; she thought it might be the leaf debris or an imprint left by leaf on the paint when it was still wet. A closer inspection at the foreign body revealed that it had a head (a decapitated one) and was animal, not vegetable.

Van Gogh liked to paint out of doors, en plein air, as the French (and art historians) call it. Conservators working on his paintings often find leaves, sand, specks of dirt, even small bugs embedded in the canvas. Grasshoppers are not so common. The members of the Nelson-Atkins team were excited by the grasshopper find, and at the prospect of the creature adding new information to the record about when Van Gogh painted Olive Trees. The general date is known, 1889, which was a troubled time for the artist. The year before he’d had his massive break-up out with his former bestie Gauguin followed in short order by the ear cutting incident. In 1889 Van Gogh checked himself into the asylum at the Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and remained there into 1890. The team hoped that if the grasshopper’s date of death could be identified from its stage in the growth/reproductive cycle or seasonal changes, then they might be able to conclusively determine whether Van Gogh painted Olive Trees during his stay in the mental health ward.

Paleoentomologist Dr. Michael S. Engel of the University of Kansas and American Museum of Natural History in New York City, came to their aid. He observed the insect under the microscope and realized that it was incomplete. The scattered body parts were missing the thorax and abdomen. He also was able to discern no sign of movement in the paint where the grasshopper’s bits were embedded, which means it was dead and dismembered before it hit the wet paint. This grasshopper was not pining for the fjords anymore by the time it landed on its eternal resting canvas. It therefore had nothing to contribute to the dating of its now thoroughly glamorous coffin.

So the trapped grasshopper came to nothing, new data-wise, but it’s still a thrilling little slice of Van Gogh’s process frozen in time. He was deeply passionate about capturing life in movement in its natural setting. In one letter to his brother Theo from 1885, he went off on an extended rant about artists who reuse the same old backdrops, tableaux vivants, orientalist and heroic themes, rehashed styles, even models in their studio set pieces, how phony and lifeless their depictions were. He named names too.

Perhaps you think that I’m wrong to comment on this — but — I’m so gripped by the thought that all these exotic paintings are painted in THE STUDIO. But just go and sit outdoors, painting on the spot itself! Then all sorts of things like the following happen — I must have picked a good hundred flies and more off the 4 canvases that you’ll be getting, not to mention dust and sand &c. — not to mention that, when one carries them across the heath and through hedgerows for a few hours, the odd branch or two scrapes across them &c. Not to mention that when one arrives on the heath after a couple of hours’ walk in this weather, one is tired and hot. Not to mention that the figures don’t stand still like professional models, and the effects that one wants to capture change as the day wears on.

That passage, which is not really a complaint so much as a recognition of how valuable working outdoors was to him despite the million irritants, explains exactly how the grasshopper likely got into the paint. He was either blown onto the wet canvas by wind or perhaps got stuck on it when Van Gogh lugged the large, heavy painting back home.

Visitors to the museum have been fascinated by the find. The grasshopper bits are less than half an inch in size and can’t possible compete with the density, vibrancy and complexity of Van Gogh’s brushstrokes, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from doing their utmost to spot the wee body parts in the shadow of that tree.

While the grasshopper becomes an engaging topic for museum visitors, more significant research on Olive Trees is underway. Analysis by Mellon Science Advisor John Twilley confirms that van Gogh used a type of red pigment that gradually faded over time. These findings suggest that areas where van Gogh employed this red, either alone or mixed with other colors, appear slightly different today than when the painting was completed.

“Color relationships were central to van Gogh’s practice,” said Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Art. “Since we now know that portions of the canvas where van Gogh employed this particular red pigment have faded, those color relationships are altered.”

The artist’s letters often referred to his works by their dominant colors, which means the more recent changes in appearance can present uncertainty as to which painting van Gogh alluded to in his descriptions. With funding through the museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Endowment for Scientific Research in Conservation, more research is being conducted to evaluate the impact of these color shifts. The research is expected to clarify the original appearance of Olive Trees and to offer a clearer understanding of its place within van Gogh’s series of works on this theme.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report: Fall Crown Tournament 2017

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2017-11-11 18:09

Their Majesties, Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde, rulers of the East, did determine they needed heirs.  Thus it was on the 4th day of November, AS LII, they ventured to their Barony of Bergental, and held their Crown Tournament.

The entrants presented themselves to their Tsar and Tsaritsa.  Then, they received words from the Kingdom Marshal of Armored Combat, and the rules of the list from the Troubadour Herald.  Their Majesties did say some words, and opened a court.

Ivan and Matilde called before them Alton Hewes.  They spoke of his prowess in combat, and called forth the Order of the Silver Tyger.  He received a medallion, and a scroll by Palotzi Marti.

The Tsar and Tsaritsa next invited before them Dmitri Stephanovich.  They spoke of his artistic skills, and called for the Order of the Silver Brooch.  He received a medallion.

Next, their Majesties called before them Thomas of Effingham.  Having previously received a writ, they placed him on vigil for the Order of Defense.

Ivan and Matilde called before them Viktor Dominik.  Having previously received a writ, they placed him on vigil for the Order of Chivalry.

Their Majesties invited Briony of Chatham into their court.  She reported that her term as Mistress of the Guild of Athena’s Thimble was over, and named Vienna de la Mer as her successor.

 

Their Majesties suspended their court, and the Crown Tournament began.

 

Photo by Leonete D’Angely

It was a day of impressive, honorable and chivalrous combat, and at the end Brennan mac Fergus faced Matthew d’Arden.  Both fought well, but Brennan emerged victorious.

 

Their Majesties crowned Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaolain Princess of Tir Mara, and Brennan mac Fearghus Prince of Tir Mara, and the heirs to the Crown of the East. 

 

 

Not long after the end of the tournament, Their Majesties held court.

 

The Tsar and Tsaritsa invited the Ladies of the Rose to join them.  The nine Roses did select and award tokens to gentles who had impressed them.  Further, they presented the Shield of Chivalry to Euric Germanicus.

Next was Matthew d’Arden called into Court.  For placing second in their Crown Tournament, they named him Admiral of the Armies, and he received the traditional hat.

The Admiral of the Armies with his very fine hat -photo by Brendan

Their Majesties next invited Damian Isolfsson into court.  The named him a Lord of the Court, presenting him with an Award of Arms, and a scroll by Aradyn Ghyoot.

Ivan and Matilde next welcomed before them Duncan Kerr.  They spoke of his prowess as an equestrian, and called for their Order of the Golden Lance.  They inducted him into the order, presenting him with a medallion and a scroll featuring illumination by Carmelina da Vicari and calligraphy by Harold von Auerbach.

The Tsar and Tsaritsa called forward the children.  As always, they entertained the populace in attendance as they chased the toybox. 

Matthew d’Arden is tasked with running the toy box

Their Majesties welcomed into their court Kellenin de Lanwinnauch.  She was made a Lady of the Court, receiving an Award of Arms, and a scroll by Wulfgar Silverbraid with words by Theodora Bryennissa, called Treannah.

Ivan and Matilde invited Kai of Mountain Freehold to attend their court.  He was made a Lord of the Court, receiving an Award of Arms with a scroll by Aelisif Hoarr Kona.

The Tsar and Tsaritsa did welcome into their court all those attending their first, second or third event.  The newcomers received tokens, and were welcomed into the SCA.

Next was Þórý Veðardóttir invited into court.  Their Majesties invited the Order of the Silver Wheel to attend.  Þórý was presented with a medallion, and a wood scroll by Elen Alswyth of Eriskay.

Ivan and Matilde next invited Eloise of Coulter to attend then.  She was accompanied by several members of the Order of the Laurel who were present, and read a petition signed by numerous members of the Order of the Laurel of the East, denouncing the actions of Mord Hrutsson.

That unfortunate business complete, Their Majesties invited the Kingdom Exchequer, Ignatia la Ciega, to attend them.  Her term of office was up, and they presented her with a sock, the symbol of her freedom.  They called for Hugh Tauerner, who spoke his fealty, and became Kingdom Exchequer.

The Tsar and Tsaritsa invited before them Bryon De Burgh.  They spoke of his prowess with Thrown Weapons, and presented him with a medallion for being the 2nd in the kingdom to achieve the rank of Master Thrower.  Not finished yet, they inducted him into the Order of the Silver Mantle.  His induction into said order made him a Lord of the Court, and Awarded him Arms.

Their Majesties called before them Thomas of Effingham, to answer the question for which he’d sat vigil.  Thomas was inducted into the Order of Defense, receiving a Patent of Arms, a coat, three separate collars and a pair of gloves, as well as a scroll illuminated by Camille des Jardins, with calligraphy by Eva Woderose and words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Next was Marieta Charay invited before the Court.  Her scribal works noted, their Majesties called for their Order of the Silver Brooch.  Marieta received a medallion, and a scroll by Eva Woderose with words by Alys Mackyntoich. 

The order not yet complete, the Tsar and Tsaritsa invited before them Antonii Machinevik.  They inducted him into the order, presenting him with a medallion made by his own hand, and a scroll with illumination by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova,

photo provided by Antonii

calligraphy by Þóra Eiríksdóttir, and words by Merrill Wyntere.

Though the order departed from the presence, their Majesties had further business with Antonii Machinevik.  

photo by Leonete

Speaking of his prowess in armored combat, they called for their Order of the Chivalry.  Antonii was presented a writ to sit vigil at A Market Day at Birka, and received a scroll by Tola knitýr. 

photo provided by Antonii

 

 

 

Ivan and Matilde called for Viktor Dominik to answer the question for which he’d sat vigil.  Viktor was knighted, receiving a Patent of Arms as he was inducted into the Order of Chivalry with belt, spurs and chain.  He received a scroll by Aleksei Dmitriev.

Court complete, Their Majesties and their newly crowned heirs departed.  Long live the Tsar and Tsaritsa!  Long life the Prince and Princess!  Long live the Kingdom of the East!

In Service,

Malcolm Bowman, Brigantia Principal Herald

PS – Thank you to the heraldic staff for the day.  Kirsa Oyutai, Maria von Ossenheim, Lucien de Wyntere,
Lorenzo Gorla, Audrye Beneyt, and Lorita da Siena for working as the sign herald.

Photos taken by Brendan Crane, except where marked otherwise. 


Filed under: Uncategorized

Hilarious exhibition at Frans Hals Museum

History Blog - Fri, 2017-11-10 23:34

The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, northwest Netherlands, will tickle visitors’ funny bones with an exhibition dedicated to depictions of laughter in the paintings of Dutch Golden Age masters. The Art of Laughter: Humour in in the Golden Age is the first museum exhibition to treat the subject of hilarity in 17th century artworks with the seriousness it deserves. It’s the first show to focus on the topic at all, which is curious when you consider how rich a vein of it runs through the artworks of the period.

Frans Hals is often called ‘the master of the laugh’. More than any other painter in the Golden Age, he was able to bring a vitality to his portraits that made it appear as if his models could just step out of the past into the present. Hals was one of the few painters in the seventeenth century who dared portray his figures – often common folk – with a hearty laugh and bared teeth. Merriment and jokes are prominent features in his genre paintings; artists in the Golden Age frequently used it in their work. Now – centuries later – the visual jokes are harder to fathom. A great deal of new research into the field has been carried out, particularly in the last twenty years, and we are beginning to get an idea of the full extent of seventeenth-century humour. […]

The exhibition showcases some sixty masterpieces from the Low Countries and beyond by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Judith Leyster, Adriaen Brouwer, Gerard van Honthorst, Jan Miense Molenaer and Nicolaes Maes. Works by these and other artists will be shown in the context of an introduction and seven specific themes, including mischief, farce and love and lust, and one room is devoted to each of them. The exhibition ends with the comical self-portrait, in which painters feature in their own jokes. Thus humour eventually arrives at the artists themselves, creating an intriguing finale. There will also be a small selection of joke books, incredibly popular in the seventeenth century, which confirm the reputation of the Dutch as an unusually cheerful and humorous people. According to an Italian contemporary, the writer Lodovico Guicciardini, who was living in the Low Countries at that time, the Dutch were ‘very convivial, and above all jocular, amusing and comical with words, but sometimes too much.’

I wonder if the Frans Hals Museum has detected any hidden poopers in the artworks on display. The Edwardian curators of the Royal Collection were not amused by the Dutch penchant for ribald humor as expressed in their Golden Age paintings. It’s funny to think of the vast chasm in curatorial outlook between the priggish post-Victorians and the modern Dutch who take such pride and pleasure in the joie de vivre evinced by their Old Masters, even to the point that they’ve thorougly researched the paintings so we too can get the jokes that viewers in the 17th century would have gotten at a glance.

The paintings on display are a deep bench, loaned from institutions all over the world. In order to defray the cost of shipment, insurance, installation and security, entrance to the exhibition will cost an additional €5 on top of the general museum entrance fee. It’s still a bargain, though, because one ticket to The Art of Laughter will also get you into the companion exhibition, A Global Table, which looks at Golden Age still lifes with their tables and sideboards groaning with food, as primary sources of information on the effect of the Netherlands’ colonial holdings and global trade network on how people ate back home.

One of the 53 paintings in the Laughter exhibition, Gerard van Honthors’ absolutely charming Smiling Girl, a Courtesan, Holding an Obscene Picture, which is totally a meme waiting to happen (suggested caption: “Guess what? THIS GUY’S BUTT!”), is still in the process of being moved from the Saint Louis Art Museum. It won’t get to Haarlem until the end of the month. For now, her mischievous grin is represented by a reproduction created by artist Rinus van Hall in 24 hours. Here’s a nifty time-lapse video of him at work:

The The Art of Laughter runs from November 12th, 2017 through March 18th, 2018. A Global Table opened late last month and runs through January 7th, 2018.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

BBM Bergental Yule Feast Announcement

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-11-10 10:20
The days grow shorter, the leaves fall, and the mornings bring frost on the ground.  Our thoughts turn to… mustard soup?
Remember the Feast of Simple Fare?  The smells, the tastes, the sensation that you won’t need to eat for about a week?  Mustard soup… roedd grodd mit floedd (cold berries and cream)… spinacci… bockwurst… mustard soup…  For many of us, Simple Fare was a tradition – cherished for decades, and remembered fondly afterwards.   Good lords and ladies, we are offered an opportunity to revisit happy memories – and tastes – that few people are afforded.  As a special favor to Eloise, Baroness Beyond the Mountain, Mistress Elizabeth Vynehorn has agreed to bring us the highlights of the Simple Fare feast for BBM/Bergental Yule.  All the best dishes will be there: will you?   Feast spots are still available, but going quickly.  Send in your reservation today – you can even do it via PayPal.   It has been five years since the last Feast of Simple Fare was held.  Who knows how long it will be before we do it again?  If you remember it fondly, come revisit old times.  If you never had the opportunity to attend, come see what we’re talking about.   We look forward to welcoming you to our Barony.  Come hungry. Event details can be found at: Yule 2017
Filed under: Events, Uncategorized

London Mithraeum is finally home again

History Blog - Thu, 2017-11-09 23:43

The remains of the Temple of Mithras discovered under central London’s Walbrook Square in 1954 has returned to its original location and it looks great, better than it has in 50+ years. The temple, first built around 240 A.D., was unearthed by archaeologists William Francis Grimes and Audrey Williams in the very last days of a two-year archaeological survey of the site before the construction of new office buildings. The temple was identified as a Mithraeum when the beautifully sculpted head of Mithras, complete with Phrygian cap, was found. A reporter happened to be there and took a picture. Mithras’ beauty caused a sensation and almost half a million people came to visit the excavation.

The ensuing public outcry forced the city to abandon its original plan — the demolition of the temple to make way for ugly concrete squares of cheap mid-century offices — and come up with a compromise solution. The excavation would be extended and once the archaeologists were done, the temple remains would be removed and reinstalled a few hundred feet away at ground level so the public could enjoy it. In 1962, plan B was completed and London’s Mithraeum was reconstructed on an empty patch of land on Victoria Street. The objects discovered would go the Museum of London, except for the incredibly rare surviving wood benches and joists from the temple’s original floor, preserved in the waterlogged soil where the lost Walbrook River had once coursed. They were thrown out like so much trash.

Unfortunately plan B was poorly executed. Modern concrete was used to patch up holes and build up some of the lost masonry. The temple was not installed in its original configuration and was basically unrecognizable compared to how it had looked in situ. Things did not improve as the city grew up around it, leaving it looking like a random, weird, squat rectangle of brick and mortar benches.

In 2010, the Walbrook Square site was bought by Bloomberg LP who planned to build a grand new European HQ there. Of course they knew about the potential for archaeological remains under the site, so an in depth survey was commissoned and this time the soggy muck of the lost Walbrook River turned in an even more spectacular feat of preservation. The excavation unearthed entire city streets, large slices of Roman London from its earliest days in 40 A.D. to the final withdrawal of Roman troops in the 5th century. Wood streets, wood walls, wood wells, a wood door, thousands and thousands of assorted objects made of leather, wood, textiles as well as metal and stone. The oldest dated writing ever found in Britain was discovered on one of hundreds of Roman wood tablets from the Bloomberg dig.

The Bloomberg coporation has far deeper pockets than the small potatoes real estate developers in 1954, so it made ambitious plans to include all of these archaeological marvels in an underground display space in the Bloomberg. Not only would Roman London’s many layers be viewable to the public, but it would foot the bill to rescue the poor, benighted reconstructed temple remains from their incongruous street-level location and overmortared neglect. The temple would return to its original location, dismantled, cleaned of modern interpolations and reinstalled in situ as it had once been. There it would have the chance to be seen in its proper context, safe from the elements, and would even be reunited with another piece of the temple that was discovered during the recent excavation.

Tha planned opening date for the new Bloomberg building and its greatest of all basements was 2017, and right on schedule, the London Mithraeum at Bloomberg SPACE opens November 14th.

Michael Bloomberg, the founder of the company, said they were stewards of the ancient site and its artefacts. “London has a long history as a crossroads for culture and business, and we are building on that tradition.”

The Mithraeum incorporates a new daylit art gallery at ground level with an opening installation, Another View from Nowhen, by the Dublin artist Isabel Nolan. A huge glass case displays more than 600 of the 14,000 objects found on the site, including a wooden door, a hobnailed sandal, a tiny gladiator’s helmet carved in amber, and a wooden tablet with the oldest record of a financial transaction from Britain.

You can’t just walk in to see this archaeological treasure. Entrance is free of charge, but you must book first to guarantee entry. Click this link to book tickets, and have a poke around the website while you’re at it because it’s really very good. They worked hard to collect images and footage of the 1950s excavation and have incorporated them effectively on the site.



Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Call for Applicants – Society Webminister

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-09 15:30

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is seeking candidates for the position of Society Webminister.

This position reports to the SCA Board of Directors through the Office of the President. The Society Webminister is a supervisory position of Kingdom Webministers, and is not involved in maintenance of the Corporate website (www.sca.org).

The Society Webminister is responsible for the following duties:

1. Ongoing development and revision of the Society Webminister’s policies and procedures, as detailed in the Society Webminister Handbook. This work will include solutions for website issues as they develop; observing trends; awareness of potential issues and streamlining webministry policies to provide better service to the SCA.

2. Develop and enforce clear guidelines for local SCA group websites based on the standards found in the Society Webminister’s Handbook.

3. Warranting of kingdom-level Webministers.

4. Supervision of all kingdom-level websites, including proper use of domain names, monitoring content, regular reporting from Kingdom Webministers, and enforcement of the Society Webministry policies and procedures.

5. Acting as a subject matter expert and resource regarding issues related to websites at the kingdom and local levels.

6. Quarterly reporting to the Board of Directors for the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

Required Qualifications:

* Moderate to expert proficiency in web-related technologies (e.g. HTML, Java, PHP, ASP, web hosting issues, etc.);
* Microsoft Word proficiency;
* The ability to clearly communicate via email, phone, and in written reports; and
* Dependable email access, internet, and phone access.

Desired Qualifications:

* Prior experience as a Webminister in the SCA; and
* Prior experience as an officer at the Kingdom or Baronial level.

Those interested in the position of Society Webminister should submit hard copies of résumés (both professional and SCA related, including offices held and honors) to the attention of ‘The Board of Directors’, SCA, Inc., P.O. Box 360789, Milpitas, CA 95036-0789. Electronic courtesy copies should also be sent to resumes at sca.org and it at sca.org. The deadline for applications is extended until December 31, 2017.


Filed under: Corporate, Official Notices

Unofficial Court Report Arrows Axes and Ales; Barony of An Dubhaigeainn

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-09 14:30

After a beautiful day full of activities and relaxation the court of
Their Excellencies Prefect Titus Aurelius Magnus and Baroness Sorcha of
Stonegrave began.

Their excellencies called before them Lord Peter of Hawkwood, who
thanked everybody for their participation in his archery tournament. He
was given a small duck token as thanks for his past year of being
champion, and he called Angel of An Dubhaigeainn in as the new champion.
At 14 years old he is the barony’s youngest champion! Angel received the
regalia and a scroll done by Mistress Suzanne Neuber de Londres.

Michael Leg Bain was then called upon by Their Excellencies to enter
court. He also received a Duck Token of thanks and he named Lord Magnus
de Londres as the new Thrown Weapons champion. Magnus however had to
leave the site early and thus was unable to take his place with the
other champions. So Tommaso the fencing champion was kind enough to hold
the spear regalia for the duration of court.

Their Excellencies invited Padraig into court, and two Padraigs stood.
One was beckoned up as the brewer of delicious beer, the other was
welcomed to relax as the drinker of the delicious beer. Padraig Legionis
was declared champion of brewers and received a scroll by Lady Onora
Inghean Ui’Rauirc.

Tommaso Parlapiano was invited before Their Excellencies. He was
presented with a scroll that was due from a prior and extremely wet
Potted Arms event, and confirmed as Fencing Champion.

Their Excellencies demanded the presence of Laird Eanraig the
Bonesetter. He also was due a scroll from Potted Arms, acknowledging his
long time continual and overlapping positions of champion of various
arts that awarded him a pension.

His Excellency David Vasquez de Valencia was invited before Their
Excellencies. They explained that in the rush and excitement of
everything happening at St. Andrews, they missed giving him a gift. A
small basket was handed over and with a look of surprise, then joy, then
cunning, he thanked Their Excellencies then ran away with his dark
chocolate espresso beans, avoiding the grabbing hands of his friends.

Mistress Suzanne begged a boon of Their Excellencies and asked Lady
Monkey Makgee to come into court. Suzanne announced she would take
Monkey as a protege and an apprentice and had a contract read out,
scroll done by Master Vettorio Antonello.

After they both, Their Excellencies, and all Peers present signed the
contract, Mistress Suzanne was asked to talk about the East Kingdom 50
year project she was leading for our Barony.

Since there was nobody attending an event for the first time, Their
Excellencies moved on to the last order of business, each gathered up
some Bronze Duck tokens and proceeded to hand them out. Including
chasing down Henrik of Surtur’s Brood to force him to accept the token
of appreciation. Others who willingly accepted the tokens were Aislinn
of Surtur’s Brood (2), David Fishman, Eanraig the Bonesetter, Fiona the
Volatile (2), Fredis or Theolmork, Jean Xavier Boullier (2), Jenna
Chldslayer, Medb of O’Donnchada, Monkey Makgee (2), Peter of Hawkwood
(2), Ronan Fitzrobert, Saravit of House Three Skulls, Stefan Kurth,
Slaine Baen Ronain, and Suzanne Neuber de Londres.

YIS
Lady Sláine báen Ronán, OSW
Deputy Herald
An Dubhaigeainn


Filed under: Court Tagged: An Dubhaigeainn, baronial court, court report

Bhakail Yule Feast Sold Out

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-09 13:00

From Dame Brunissende Dragonette, the Bhakail Yule Feast Steward:

Bhakail Yule feast is now sold out.

However, you can still register for offboard attendance by using this link: http://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/254742

We look forward to seeing you there

Brunissende


Filed under: Uncategorized

East Kingdom Curia at Bhakail Yule, December 9th.

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-11-09 11:05

Greetings to all who see these words,

Ivan and Matilde, Tsar and Tsaritsa of the East Kingdom, will hold a Curia at the Yule Revel in Renaissance Germany, in the Barony of Bhakail (Philadelphia PA), 9 December 2017, starting at 10:00 am.

As required by East Kingdom Law III.H.3., notice has been sent via email to all those who have seats on the Curia Regis. If you are a Kingdom Officer as listed in EKLaw IV.A., or a local branch seneschal, and you haven’t received the email notice, please
1. check and verify your official email address as listed in the November issue of Pikestaff;
2. use a working email address to send me a note (lawclerk@eastkingdom.org) so I can get the notice to you and we can figure out why the original email didn’t.

Details of the agenda will be posted on the Seneschal’s web page as soon as they are available.

in service,
Eadgyth aet Staeningum
Clerk of Laws


Filed under: Announcements, Law and Policy Tagged: curia

Bologna’s medieval Jewish cemetery rediscovered

History Blog - Wed, 2017-11-08 23:43

Bologna’s medieval Jewish cemetery has been rediscovered almost half a millennium after it was obliterated by order of Pope Pius IV. Unearthed between 2012 and 2014 during archaeological explorations of a site slated for housing development, the cemetery contains 408 graves, all aligned in parallel rows heads pointing to the west, and zero gravestones. It’s a miracle the former remained in any way intact considering what happened to the latter.

The discovery announced by the Bologna and was presented Tuesday at a news conference by Bologna Mayor Virginio Merola and other officials, including Bologna’s chief rabbi and Jewish community president.

The graves discovered included those of women, men and children, the regional superintendence for archaeology stated at a press conference Tuesday. Some had been buried with ornaments made of gold, silver, bronze, hard stones and amber, the superintendance [sic] said.

Pope Pius IV, canonized a saint by Pope Clement XI in 1712, would be appalled to hear any burials had been found unmolested and complete with grave goods. He certainly tried his utmost to ensure the opposite outcome. A zealot and ascetic who as a youth had eagerly worked as an inquisitor before being elected to the Holy Office permanently in 1550, Antonio Ghislieri rose in the ranks to become inquisitor general for all of Christendom in less than seven years. He was appointed by Pope Paul IV who, not coincidentally, was also a major proponent of the Inquisition and of an anti-Semitism so hateful and brutal that Hitler used his ghettoization system as a blueprint for his own.

When Ghislieri was elected pope in 1566, he picked up where his mentor had left off, rejecting the slight softening of the draconian anti-Jewish laws Pope Pius IV had attempted when he succeeded Paul IV. Pius V promulgated the Bull Hebraeorum gens sola on February 26, 1569, which opens with much the same gross nonsense Paul IV’s Bull had opened with:

“The Jewish people fell from the heights because of their faithlessness and condemned their Redeemer to a shameful death. Their godlessness has assumed such forms that, for the salvation of our own people, it becomes necessary to prevent their disease.”

The forms in question were usury, helping thieves and robbers profit from their illegal activities (pawning, maybe?), and the worst crime of them all “lure the unsuspecting through magical incantations, superstition, and witchcraft to the Synagogue of Satan and boast of being able to predict the future.” They probably turned people into newts too, but their victims got better before trial.

The Bull concludes with the decree banishing all Jews from the Papal States, excepting those in Rome and Ancona, within 90 days. A convent in Bologna was explicitly instructed by to destroy the cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery in the Europe which had been in continuous use since the 14th century, by the Pope later that year.

In November 1569, Pius handed over the cemetery to the nuns of the nearby cloister of St. Peter the Martyr and directed the sisters “to dig up and send, wherever they want, the bodies, bones and remains of the dead: to demolish, or convert to other forms, the graves built by the Jews, including those made for living people: to remove completely, or scrape off the inscriptions or epitaphs carved in the marble.”

Four ornate Jewish gravestones now displayed in Bologna’s Civic Medieval Museum are believed to have come from this cemetery.

Archaeologists found evidence of the sisters’ (or somebody’s, at any rate) handiwork in more than a third of the graves, 150 of which bear clear the tell-tale marks of deliberate, malicious desecration. The tombstones are simply gone. Destroyed so thoroughly as to not leave a trace, or employed in some other context where they are unrecognizable as anything but a piece of stone.

The human remains found in the graves will be given a respectful burial at a time and place yet to be determined.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pylos warrior tomb’s tiniest treasure is its greatest

History Blog - Tue, 2017-11-07 23:45

When the intact grave of a Bronze Age man was discovered in Pylos, southwestern Greece, two years ago, it was so dense with luxurious grave goods that it set a new record for the wealthiest single grave ever found in Greece. Its location, next to the so-called Palace of Nestor of Trojan War fame, and the richness of the contents even generated breathless speculation that this might be the tomb of a Homeric hero. Entirely groundless speculation — the shaft tomb is around 300 years older than the palace which was destroyed in 1,180 B.C. — but it’s an inescapable side-effect when archaeologists discover ivory-handled, gold-covered weapons, four gold signet rings, more than 1,000 semi-precious stone beads, silver and bronze cups, a massive gold chain, 50 seal stones decorated with Minoan motifs, carved ivory and ever so much more, enough to reignite a million childhood fantasies of pirate booty treasure maps where X always marks the spot.

After the dust from the dig had settled, the team, led by University of Cincinnati archaeologists Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker, had unearthed more than 3,000 burial objects, all of which were sent to the Archaeological Museum of Chora for triage, study and conservation. One of the objects was a small sort of kite-shaped piece caked in thick lime accretions entirely obscuring its surface. It was put in the To Do pile while conservators focused on the larger ticket items, like the heaps of gold, weapons and jewels.

They were finally able to beging cleaning the wee thing — it’s less than an inch and a half long — a year later and discovered that under all lime scale was one of the greatest pieces of art in Greek history. It’s a sealstone, not made of precious metals like the signet rings found in the tomb, but of agate. This one’s value is in the astonishing detail and precision in the miniature carving.

The “Pylos Combat Agate,” as the seal has come to be known for the fierce hand-to-hand battle it portrays, promises not only to rewrite the history of ancient Greek art, but to help shed light on myth and legend in an era of Western civilization still steeped in mystery. […]

Davis and Stocker say the Pylos Combat Agate’s craftsmanship and exquisite detail make it the finest discovered work of glyptic art produced in the Aegean Bronze Age.

“What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn’t find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later,” explained Davis. “It’s a spectacular find.”

Even more extraordinary, the husband-and-wife team point out, is that the meticulously carved combat scene was painstakingly etched on a piece of hard stone measuring just 3.6 centimeters, or just over 1.4 inches, in length. Indeed, many of the seal’s details, such as the intricate weaponry ornamentation and jewelry decoration, become clear only when viewed with a powerful camera lens and photomicroscopy.

“Some of the details on this are only a half-millimeter big,” said Davis. “They’re incomprehensibly small.”

The miniature masterpiece portrays a victorious warrior who, having already vanquished one unfortunate opponent sprawled at his feet, now turns his attention to another much more formidable foe, plunging his sword into the shielded man’s exposed neck in what is sure to be a final and fatal blow.

This thing is unbelievable. I think I’ve stared at the fallen fighter on the left for a solid hour.

Here is an enlarged drawing of the artwork so you can see the astonishing detail the carver was able to achieve with whatever meagre magnification options were available in 1,500 B.C. (or maybe none at all):

Beyond all the superlatives that can and should be showered upon this marvel of artistry, researchers believe the sealstone reveals new information of major significance about Minoan culture and their interactions with the Mycenaeans who so thirstily drank of Minoan culture and spread it throughout the Greek mainland.

In a series of presentations and a paper published last year, Davis and Stocker revealed that the discovery of four gold signet rings bearing highly detailed Minoan iconography, along with other Minoan-made riches found within the tomb, indicates a far greater and complex cultural interchange took place between the Mycenaeans and Minoans.

But the skill and sophistication of the Pylos Combat Agate is unparalleled by anything uncovered before from the Minoan-Mycenaean world, say the researchers. And that raises a bigger question: How does this change our understanding of Greek art in the Bronze Age?

“It seems that the Minoans were producing art of the sort that no one ever imagined they were capable of producing,” explained Davis. “It shows that their ability and interest in representational art, particularly movement and human anatomy, is beyond what it was imagined to be. Combined with the stylized features, that itself is just extraordinary.”

The revelation, he and Stocker say, prompts a reconsideration of the evolution and development of Greek art.

“This seal should be included in all forthcoming art history texts, and will change the way that prehistoric art is viewed,” said Stocker.

For more about the Griffin Warrior tomb, check out this thoroughly documented, content-rich website created by Davis and Stocker and the Pylos team. Pictures are a bit small, alas, but they need to pinch bandwidth pennies because conserving an enormous quantity of priceless archaeological artifacts is an expensive proposition, especially trying to keep the fragmentary bronze armour from falling apart. You can contribute to the project here. All donations go directly to conservation.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Sasanian loom discovered in Northern Iraq

History Blog - Mon, 2017-11-06 23:03

Archaeologists excavating the site of Gird-î Qalrakh in the Iraqi-Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah have discovered a loom from the Sasanian period, around the 5th or 6th century A.D. The loom weights, made from clay, survive in a mudbrick structure with mudbrick shelving and/or benches in the interior. (Make sure to click on the image to see it full size because everything is baked mud color and looks the same in the small pic. You can see the round loom weights with holes in them clearly on the center left of the shot in the large version.)

Sasanian and even more ancient Neo-Assyrian remains have been found at Gird-î Qalrakh since it was opened to archaeological exploration after the ouster of Sadam Hussein, but the site is still largely unexplored, an alluring terra incognita that attracted the attentions of Prof. Dirk Wicke, expert in Near Eastern Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology at Goethe University in Frankfurt. In 2015, he secured funding to lead a team of Goethe University archaeologists and students to the Shahrizor plain in Northern Iraq. This year’s six-week dig is the program’s second campaign.

The objective of the excavations on the top and slope sections of the settlement hill, some 26 meters high, was to provide as complete a sequence as possible for the region’s ceramic history. Understanding the progression in ceramics has long been a goal of research undertaken on the Shahrizor plain, a border plain of Mesopotamia with links to the ancient cultural regions of both Southern Iraq and Western Iran. These new insights will make it easier to categorise other archaeological finds chronologically. The excavation site is ideal for establishing the progression of ceramics, according to archaeology professor Dirk Wicke: “It is a small site but it features a relatively tall hill in which we have found a complete sequence of ceramic shards. It seems likely that the hill was continuously inhabited from the early 3rd millennium BC through to the Islamic period.”

However, the archaeologists had not expected to find a Sasanian loom (ca. 4th-6th century AD), whose burnt remnants, and clay loom weights in particular, were found and documented in-situ. In addition to the charred remains, there were numerous seals, probably from rolls of fabric, which indicate that large-scale textile production took place at the site. From the neo-Assyrian period (ca. 9th-7th century BC), by contrast, a solid, stone-built, terraced wall was discovered, which points to major construction work having taken place at the site. It is possible that the ancient settlement was refortified and continued to be used in the early 1st millennium BC.

That’s an extraordinary leap forward in understanding of a little known site accomplished in only six weeks, and it’s only scratching the surface. Dr. Wicke plans to return with his team next year to pick up where they left off, but first he has to ensure they have the financial support for a proper excavation and that the volatile political climate will be stable enough to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unique Punic War lion helmet found off Sicilian coast

History Blog - Sun, 2017-11-05 23:47

A team of divers have made a unique discovery on the seabed off the coast of Sicily: a Punic War-era helmet with a lion decoration. It is a Montefortino helmet, a Celtic style that was spread from central Europe down the boot of Italy to Western Europe. They typically are a half ovoid shape with a small knob at the crest and cheek flaps tied under the chin by leather straps. Rome adopted the helmet style and then forcibly adopted much of the world while wearing them, so they also became known as “Roman helmets.” The lion, or possibly a lion skin posed in an aggressive stance, decorates the crest knob. This is the first lion decoration ever found on this type of helmet. The only example even vaguely in the same category had some kind of bird decoration, but it was very stylized and can’t be pinned down. The lion, on the other hand, is clearly a lion.

Marine archaeologists have dated the helmet to 241 B.C., based on some of the pottery remains at the find site, the style of the armour and the date of a battle which has proven an incalculably rich source of archaeological material from the First Punic War. Egadi, an island in the Aegadian archipelago about 4 miles off the west coast of Sicily. It was the site of one of the last naval clashes of the First Punic War. In 241 B.C., 200 Roman ships went up against 100 Carthaginian ships in the Battle of the Egadi Islands. Well, actually, the Roman ships appear to have gone up against other Roman ships, mainly, captured by Carthage in previous naval battles such as the Battle of Drepanum (249 B.C.) in which Polybius claimed 97 ships had been taken and absorbed into the Punic navy. Rome’s superior numbers took the day this time, and Carthage was soundly spanked. So soundly, in fact, that they surrendered shortly thereafter ending the First Punic War.

The net effect of Carthage’s deployment of Roman vessels is that even though Rome won the Battle of the Egadi Islands most emphatically, the ship parts, cargo and weapons strewn on the seafloor are predominantly Roman. The lion helmet could be as well, but that can’t be confirmed because of how widespread the Montefortino helmet was at the time of the First Punic War.

Possibly the lion-theme decoration can be traced back to a city allied with Rome where the influence of the myth of Hercules – who was often represented wearing lion skin on his head – was strong.

It is also possible that the lion insignia indicated a rank of authority within the Roman army at this time. “The helmets could have been worn by any number of mercenaries of South Italian or Sicilian origin. The problem is, both sides were hiring in the same areas,” Royal told Haaretz. “The Romans also wore a version of this style. Hence, some helmets were likely worn by mercenaries in service of the Carthaginians, but some may also represent Roman soldiers lost in the battle.”

Also representing shipfuls of dead Roman soldiers is the large number of bronze battering rams (rostra) which are still rare finds, but have increased geometrically thanks to Egadi’s extraordinary pile of Roman battle detritus. Out of the 13 battering rams found so far at Egadi over the past decade, only two of them have inscriptions identifying them as Carthaginian. The others have inscriptions too, but all of them in Latin.

The vicious, spiky-looking bronze battering rams are of great historical significance because of their badassness and rarity, yes, but finding so many in one place connected to a single battle has provided scholars with a unique opportunity to study the ships they used to be attached to, now long since rotted away in the balmy Mediterranean waters. The rams were fixed to the prow of ships, custom cast to ensure a perfect fit along the bows. Researchers can calculate the dimensions of the keels based on the size and shape of the rostra.

Based on those measurements, the researchers believe the ships were triremes, the principal type of warship in the Roman-era Mediterranean, which boasted three decks of oarsmen.

The archaeologists calculate that the ships could not have been more than 30 meters long and just 4.5 meter in beam, far less than the 36 meters previously estimated for the Athenian trireme. […]

In battle, the trireme was propelled solely by its 170 rowers. These wooden ships are believed to have been able to achieve a speed of 10 knots at the critical moment of impact.

Rams mounted below the waterline had three horizontal planes that would slice into their targets’ timbers, cracking the enemy ship. The dispersal of amphorae and other goods on the seabed indicates that ships were indeed sunk, but did not break up.

The lion helmet, the other helmets and battering rams recovered this season are currently being cleaned and conserved. Archaeologists to learn more about the one-of-a-kind lion helmet and to expand our understanding of Rome’s naval capabilities by studying the finds.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Mourning, Memories, and Merriment: Dual Wake Next Weekend

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2017-11-05 18:29

Wake for Masters Augusto Guiseppie de San Donato and Brandric Slaywrock
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Canton of Beau Fleuve

 There will be a memorial party for Joe and Brandric next Sunday from noon until whenever at the Wrights Corners Fire Company (4043 Lake Avenue Lockport, NY 14094) — an afternoon of stories, memories and music with food and drink. There will be live music, games, and an open mic, Garb is optional, food will be potluck with wings & beef on weck (possibly others), open bar (with additional donations welcome).

 There is no admission or charge. Donations to defray expenses may be accepted but are NOT required.

Ccoordinator and site liaison for the event is THL Wolfgang Starcke, who is reached most easily via email or on Facebook.

This is  a pet-friendly site, dogs are allowed outdoors, service animals are allowed inside, but please clean up after them.

Site is wet: alcohol is permitted for adults 21 and over.

Open flames are allowed.

A request has been made to set up a thrown weapons range. Please bring your weapons; we will be throwing, rain or shine.
Categories: SCA news sites