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Today is the Pent Literary Arts Deadline!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2016-03-05 09:28

Tonight at midnight (March 5)  is the deadline for Literary Arts category entries for the Pent!

The LITERARY ARTS category consists of the following:

Lit1: Research Paper
Lit2: Musical Arrangement & Composition
Lit3: Poetry & Prose Written Entries

Entries in Literary Arts must be received by the Pent Coordinator no later than March 5. Entries must be sent electronically to carnabyservices at yahoo dot com (email link also here). If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of sending, contact the Pent coordinator. You may attach your entry as a Word document or as a pdf.

Please make sure your name IS NOT on the entry itself.

Send the following information with your email and use “Pent Literary Entry” as your subject line:

SCA Name
Legal Name
Email
Phone Number
Address
Title of Work
Category Entering

The works will be assigned an entrant number (for blind judging purposes) and then forwarded to the judges. If you are entering the Literary Arts Category, we will automatically pre-register you and assign your general entrant number; this number will also be used for any other entries you have for the event.

General Pent information can be found on the Pent website. You can pre-register for the Pent on the Pent website as well – save some time that morning!


Categories: SCA news sites

14 men convicted in massive museum theft ring

History Blog - Sat, 2016-03-05 00:14

Remember the bumbling idiots who stole two Chinese Qing Dynasty artifacts worth $3 million from the Durham University Oriental Museum in April of 2012? It turns out they were just the stupid tip of a large and dangerous organized crime iceberg. Fourteen of them have been found guilty of stealing and plotting to steal Chinese antiquities and rhino horns from multiple museums and auction houses. Four masterminds were convicted on Monday, which allowed the Durham police to release the news about the full scope the plot and the connection between all these cases.

This is the culmination of a four-year investigation named Operation Griffin that began with the April 2012 thefts at Durham University, but the Oriental Museum was first targeted in January of that year. An Irishman tried to use decorators’ tools to steal a Ming Dynasty ceramic sculpture from a cabinet. The glass broke and the would-be thief was caught in the attempt to flee. In February four men tried to steal a rhino head from the Norwich Castle Museum. The head was so heavy they dropped it and ran. These four were later arrested and convicted. In March another bunch of crappy criminals tried to steal a rhino libation cup from Gorringes auction house in Lewes. They got confused and took a much cheaper bamboo bowl instead and were overpowered and arrested outside the building.

This pathetic litany of failure seemed to come to an end with the April 5th theft of the two Chinese jade pieces from the Durham Oriental Museum. At least they managed to cut a hole in the wall, take the objects they meant to take and get out before the police arrived. The dumbassness kicked in when they hid the loot on wasteland next to Harle Street on the outskirts of Durham. They neglected to note the exact spot and when the team of people dispatched to retrieve the artifacts arrived 16 hours later, they were unable to find them.

We owe this marvelous failure to a local resident who, after trimming his Leylandii hedge, threw the branches over his fence, unwittingly covering up a few million dollars worth of jade. Many frantic phone calls between the thieves and their bosses ensued. The police dubbed this “Panic Day” and it was key to their understanding that these thefts were part of a major criminal conspiracy.

The two dimwits were caught by the police so the gang wrote the loot off and quickly planned to replace the stolen goods with new stolen goods. On Friday the 13th of April, four thieves broke into the Fitzwilliam Museum and stole 18 very valuable pieces of Chinese jade. After so many failures, this was the motherlode. The thefts from Durham and Cambridge combined were worth about £17 million ($24,197,000) on the legal market, but on the Far East black market they were worth far more. Police estimate they could have gone for as much as £57 million ($81,131,000). Deep-pocketed Chinese collectors have been spending millions for heritage pieces at auctions and from dealers. Many have no particular concern about how the objects were acquired and are willing to pay whatever price no questions asked.

Another succesful raid took place a year later on April 17th, 2013, when three men broke in the National Museum of Ireland Archives and stole four 100-year-old rhino heads to sell their horns on the Chinese market. Rhino horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine, and with so few rhinos left in the wild, the price of their horns is astronomical. Those eight horns on the rhino heads in the museum’s storage facility were worth an estimated £428,000 ($610,000).

Six of the men convicted for this conspiracy are connected by family or business to a community of Irish Travellers in Rathkeale, County Limerick. That’s why the gang is known as the Rathkeale Rovers. The four convicted Monday — Daniel “Turkey” O’Brien, John “Kerry” O’Brien, Richard “Kerry” O’Brien Jr. and Michael Hegarty — are all family or friends. They didn’t sully their hands doing any of the burglaries. They just coordinated things from the safety of the Traveller camps. Instead, petty criminals were hired to do their dirty work, which is why so many of these thefts ended in ridiculousness, and why a slow 15-year-old boy who had never been to secondary school was arrested for the Fitzwilliam thefts, convicted and ultimately sentenced to four months.

Police believe at least one of the artifacts stolen from the Fitzwillian was deliberately chosen as a replacement for the jade bowl lost in Durham, which means this may well have been a commissioned theft, something often bandied about after important art and artifacts are stolen, but almost never really happens. One of the 14 convicted in the plot is Chi Chong Donald Wong, an antique-watch dealer and property owner in London and Hong Kong who acted as fence and middle-man between the Rathkeale leaders and buyers in Hong Kong. Police busted him twice with plastic bags stuffed full of thousands of pounds in cash.

The police investigation found that the conspiracy reaches far beyond the borders of the UK. The gang has been stealing and smuggling rhino horn all over the world for years.

The robberies in Britain were part of a much wider picture of criminality across Europe. A year before Supt Green’s team started work, the European policing agency Europol released details of its own assessment of an organised crime group stealing rhino horn across Europe.

Europol charted dozens of robberies of rhino horn and had identified an organised crime group Irish Travellers – dubbed by the media as the Rathkeale Rovers or the Dead Zoo gang – as being behind them. A single rhino horn – valued for its (ineffective) medicinal qualities in China and the Far East – could reach €200,000 (£156,000), it said. The group was active in North and South America, South Africa, China and Australia.

For years, the gang had been targeting museums, but because there were only a few raids in each country, nobody had joined up the dots. The criminals reinvested the proceeds in property and luxury cars – much of it back in Rathkeale in Co Limerick – while continuing to live in their caravans. All of the key players were still in circulation.

The British team fed their information about telephone numbers, suspects, car number plates into the intelligence pool gathered by Europol. “It lit up their database like a Christmas tree,” a police source told The Independent.

Since the arrests, there have been no new thefts of Chinese artifacts or rhino horns in the UK. Unfortunately none of the artifacts stolen from the Fitzwilliam have been found. Police think they were quickly shifted overseas for sale to Chinese buyers and are likely gone forever.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Æthelmearc Herbal and Apothecary Guild About to Grow Roots

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2016-03-04 13:29

Hi there!

Someone started a Facebook Page about herbal and apothecary guild work in the Known World and, after some discussion, it became clear that Æthelmearc didn’t have one and would like a kingdom guild.

Botany is one of those subjects that goes hand in hand with medieval research. Whether attempting to cure an illness, make or dye cloth, or design a garden, plants are always important to our SCA persona.

The Æthelmearc Herbal and Apothecary Guild will be focused on all aspects of plant use throughout the Middle Ages, with the caveat that we include Anachronisms such as modern-day safety and knowledge. We shouldn’t poison ourselves with bracken ferns when it has recently been discovered they are severely mutagenic, right?

I will be at Ice Dragon 2016 and would love to talk with like-minded people about starting an Herbal Guild here in Æthelmearc.
I can also be reached at Firewaterpro@gmail.com, and there is an interest thread on the “SCA Æthelmearc” Facebook Page.

I look forward to accomplishing much with you.

Lady Maggie Rue

 


Categories: SCA news sites

Anglo-Saxon island settlement found

History Blog - Fri, 2016-03-04 00:21

Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield have found an Anglo-Saxon island settlement in Little Carlton, Lincolnshire, that they believe to be one of the most important discoveries in decades. It was metal detectorist Graham Vickers who made the first find: a solid silver stylus. He reported it to Lincolnshire Finds Liaison Officer Dr. Adam Daubney who identified it as a writing implement from the 8th century. It was used to inscribe words on wax tablets; the flat end (which is now bent, probably from an encounter with farming equipment) is an eraser. Pull it through the wax and it resets the field.

A decorated solid silver stylus was a very high status object in the Middle Saxon period. Inspired by his find, Mr. Vickers returned to the plough field and kept detecting, noting the GPS coordinates of every find so the archaeologists who followed him could map out the site. He wound up unearthing hundreds more artifacts: 20 styli, 300 dress pins, more than 100 coins and a very rare lead tablet inscribed with the female Anglo-Saxon name “Cudberg.” Vickers found more than 77 pounds of lead on the site, all relatively common finds. The fact that there’s a name inscribed on this tablet is unusual anyway, and a woman’s name makes it unique.

The coins are all sceats, a type minted in England, and in parts of modern-day Denmark and the Netherlands. Sceats are often found at important trading sites and since they were widely used in northern Europe and have been found in France as well, they were apparently a widely accepted international currency. Most sceats have no inscriptions to record where they were minted and there’s a bewildering variety of iconography. The pictured coin, for example, may not represent any actual king. It seems the minters roughly imitated Roman, Celtic and Germanic coin types because they were their idea of how coins should look.

Another intriguing find is a glass domed bead made from recycled Roman glass. The core is made of re-melted and reshaped Roman glass. The swirly bars of colored glass on top are very refined and could have only have been made by an expert glass maker. The surface shows signs of abrasion, which could have been done to shape it or mount it. Archaeologists think it’s a gaming counter, but if so it’s a very fancy one and it could be a decorative embellishment from a larger piece like jewelry or a bowl.

The University of Sheffield realized from the quality, number and nature of the finds that Mr. Vickers had stumbled on something remarkable so Dr. Hugh Willmott and graduate student Pete Townend from the Department of Archaeology did geophysical and magnetometry surveys of the site. The data was then 3D modelled so they could better understand how the lay of the land and how it was used in the 7th and 8th centuries.

The imagery showed that the island they had discovered was much more obvious than the land today, rising out of its lower surroundings. To complete the picture the researchers raised the water level digitally to bring it back up to its early medieval height based on the topography and geophysical survey. [...]

Students from the University have subsequently opened nine evaluation trenches at the site which revealed a wealth of information about what life would have been like at the settlement.

They found a number of intriguing items including an area which seems to have been an area of industrial working, as well as very significant quantities of Middle Saxon pottery and butchered animal bone.

Archaeologists believe this wasn’t your average Middle Saxon settlement. So many writing implements, jewels and coins indicate this was a monastery or a center of trade and finance, perhaps part of an international trading network. There are very few surviving documents from this period in Lincolnshire. Reading the artifacts and context of this site will contribute significantly to historical understanding of the area in 8th century.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Region 2 Archery Muster April 10th

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-03-03 18:32

Attention All Archers!!

The Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands invites you to a Regional Muster
celebrating Archery, Thrown Weapons, Youth Fighting, and Arts & Sciences at
the Castle home of Their Royal Highnesses of Æthelmearc, Byron and Ariella,
on April 10th. This is the day after Their Coronation. The muster will begin
at 10:00 in the morning and continue until 5:00 pm.

The archery and thrown weapons ranges will be open at 10:00 am and archery from the towers, led by THLord Deryk Archer, will begin at 1:00 pm.

The main archery goal this day is to shoot and submit rounds for the
Gwyntarian Winter Challenge which closes later that week. There will also be
training if we have enough marshals. The Barony’s loaner gear will be
available.

Please bring something for a pot luck. We’re going to be there all day, so
let’s eat. Pop, water, plates, bowls, and utensils will all be provided.

Their Highnesses have asked that you dress in garb for the day.

The Castle address is 755 Stonegate Drive, Wexford PA 15090.

In service to the Barony-Marche and the Kingdom,

Mestari Urho Waltterinen
crossbow1953 (at) earthlink (dot) net

Photo by HRH Byron.


Categories: SCA news sites

The Scarlet Apron Cooking Competition at War Practice

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-03-03 08:36

If you are a baker, join us!
If you are a baker, a butcher, a saucier,
A fry-er, A boil-er, a sugar paste sculptor…
If you love to cook, come add fuel to our fire,
For your passion and skills we want you to show us.
Join us!
Join us!
Join us!

Introducing The Scarlet Apron – a new cooking competition to be held at
Æthelmearc War Practice (May 19-22, 2016)!

This competition is open to any and all comers who have a penchant for the
medieval culinary arts. No matter if you are new to period cooking, or if
it is old hat to you, you are welcome at our table!

The theme for our inaugural year is sure to be a feast for the eyes as well
as the belly – Illusion Food! Anyone wishing to participate must create an
example of such a food from anywhere in SCA-period. This could be an
interpretation of a subtlety that has been described in a cooking text, or
an original creation that can be considered “period-plausible” based on its
design, construction and the materials used to create it.

All contestants should follow these guidelines:

1. The entry should be made and assembled prior to judging – this is not a
competition at which contestants must cook their final product on site.

2. The finished product should be constructed from at least 50% edible
material.

3. The use of period construction techniques, including internal shaping
structures and edible ingredients is preferred and encouraged.

4. The final product should be registered, signed in, and ready for judging
by 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 21. The judging will take place in the Great
Hall alongside the A&S competition. Registration/sign-in will open Saturday
at 10:00 AM. The final judging will  occur between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM,
with the winner announced during court that evening.

5. Contestants should provide a brief written overview (one page, maximum)
of their entry, including their inspiration (if it was based on a specific
subtlety, the original text of its description; if it was based on
something else, then those details), a complete list of the materials used,
and a description of how they created the structure.

6. Contestants can choose to sit with their entry during the judging period
in order to answer questions from the judges and the populace, however it
is not required.

7. Plating and presentation are integral to this competition. Each
contestant will get no less than half of a six- or eight-foot table, which
should be adorned as befits the entry.

Entries have three potential categories to win: Youth (for contestants age
5-12), Populace Choice, and Overall Winner. Cooks of all skill levels are
encouraged to enter!

Any questions should be directed to the competition coordinator, Edelvrouw
Lijsbet de Keukere (lijsbet.vandelfthout@gmail.com, Keirin Lazauskas-Ralff
on Facebook). We are  so excited about this competition, and are looking
forward to seeing the beautiful and delicious pieces of art you create!

Yours In Service,
Edelvrouw Lijsbet de Keukere


Categories: SCA news sites

Western Han tomb is Marquis of Haihun’s

History Blog - Thu, 2016-03-03 00:01

The immensely rich and well-preserved main tomb in the Western Han Dynasty cemetery near Nanchang, China, has been confirmed as that of Liu He, emperor for less than a month (from July 18th to August 14th 74 B.C.) and finally Marquis of Haihun. As they had hoped, archaeologists found a white jade seal at the waist of the human remains in the interior coffin of the tomb. The base of the seal is inscribed “Liu He.” As if that weren’t explicit enough, another jade seal was found in the tomb inscribed “Seal of Master Liu” and several of the gold coins and bamboo slips also bear his name.

The tomb is the largest and best preserved Western Han tomb ever discovered. It is packed to gills with archaeological treasure, and I don’t just mean the gold although there’s a crapload of that too. A total of 285 gold coins, in fact, each weighing about 250 grams, have been found packed in lacquer boxes. Archaeologists believe they were gifts from the emperor to Liu He. There’s also a stack of 20 gold plates, each 23 centimeters (nine inches) long, 10 centimeters (four inches) wide and 0.3 centimeters (.12 inches) thick. It’s far and away the most gold ever found in a Han Dynasty tomb.

In total more than 20,000 objects have been excavated from the tomb since digging began in 2011. If archaeologists had begun a day later, the tomb would have been emptied out by looters, its priceless archaeological information destroyed. Excavation began as an emergency response to a report that the tomb was being raided. In the process of stealing the saleable stuff — gold coins, bronze bells, bronze lamps, two million bronze coins, jade — the earliest known portrait of Confucius, 3,000 wooden tablets and bamboo slips would almost certainly have been damaged or destroyed. The tablets that have been examined so far are copies of reports the Marquis submitted to the Dowager Empress Shangguan and the Emperor Xuan. The bamboo slips haven’t been read yet, but if they’re like other examples found in Western Han tombs, they are likely medical and agricultural books.

The discovery of the tomb and its contents may well redeem Liu He for the history books. Before now, all the information on the record about him was written by the people who overthrew him 27 days after he took the throne. According to the victors, Liu He, grandson of Emperor Wu, the Han dynasty greatest’s emperor who reigned for 54 years (141-87 B.C.), and successor to his uncle, Emperor Zhao, was a spendthrift, depraved, disrespectful horndog who had all the sex, food and hunting he could during his four weeks as emperor when he supposed to be in mourning for his grandfather. When he was deposed, he was charged with 1127 counts of misconduct.

His tomb, however, shows no sign of this purported unprincipled profligacy. There is no decoration or content of any kind referring to his brief stint as emperor. As a marquis, he was allowed a grave mound no longer than 13 meters, but his was significantly shorter than that. The sheer amount of reading material in the tomb indicate that he was a man of learning. Archaeologists speculate that instead of being a drunken, gluttonous party animal, Liu He may have been a bookworm which didn’t suit the political machinations of the imperial courtiers. On the other hand, he may have just grown up a lot in the 15 years between his deposition and death.

More than 400 artifacts from the tomb have gone on display at Beijing’s Capital Museum. The show runs for just three months until June 2nd, and the museum is expecting big crowds. It’s only the second time any objects from Liu He’s tomb have been exhibited, and the first time outside of Jiangxi. When the Jiangxi Provincial Museum put 120 pieces on display last year, more than 180,000 people came to see them. The Beijing Capital Museum has crowd control plans in place. They will allow 1,000 individual visitors a day in the first week, with groups being given priority. After that, the limit will be raised to 5,000 people a day.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Savor the Arts & Sciences!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-03-02 20:53

By Lady Cairdha Eilis O’Coileian.

You walk into the hall…tables filled with every kind of thing ever envisioned by man…you are struck by colors, sounds, scents, textures…gold, silver, leather, and more…beauty as you have never seen…it can be overwhelming.

Whether an Art/Sci display or competition, people can be unsure how to understand the situation before them. In general, we all tend to gravitate toward what we know.  No one has a desire to ignore the work others have done, but we are all drawn to the things most familiar to us and to what we know and understand.  The question is…is that good enough? The beauty of the SCA is it gives us an opportunity to see things beyond what we know…to see beyond our modern experience. It is important for everyone to explore those thing they are NOT familiar with…the new…the unexplored.

Far too often people get drawn into the beauty of wonderfully crafted items of clothing, exquisite and ornate scrolls filled with detailed illumination and precise calligraphy, skillfully and painstakingly crafted pieces of armor, hand-spun and woven creations, and delicate sewing crafts…and yet, there sitting on a table just a few feet away is a humble meat pie or mysterious, bottled liquids. Perhaps you say to yourself, “well, I’m not hungry” or “I don’t want to drink alcohol this early” or even “I’m not sure I want to try this.  Did you close your eyes as you passed the scroll?  Did you not desire to touch and feel the craftsmanship of the garb or armor?  Why then would you pass up the opportunity to experience the skills and hard work put forth by the cook or brewer? One bite will not make you full. One sip will not make you drunk.

I challenge you. Take the time and experience the consumable side of the Arts and Sciences. Do not be afraid to open up your mouth and mind to the world of food and drink. If the artisan is present, engage them. Learn about their craft, its history, its technology. Hear the joy and excitement they have, the very same shared by all of us who play in the realm of Art/Sci. I challenge you to SAVOR the Arts and Sciences!


Categories: SCA news sites

Class Schedule for Hrim Schola

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-03-02 19:35

The Finalized Class Schedule for Hrim Schola which is taking place on March 19th in the Barony of Dragonship Haven (Meriden, CT) has been posted to the event listing on the East Kingdom website.

 


Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events Tagged: Arts and Sciences, classes, Hrim Schola

Spring Crown Tournament Letters of Intent/ Tournoi de la Couronne – Lettres d’Intention

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-03-02 18:24
En Français Greetings unto all those intending to enter Spring Crown Tournament, Please be aware that both the combatant and the consort must submit a letter of intent, either through the following link (preferred) or by email to TRH Prince Kenric and Princess Avelina with a copy to the Kingdom Seneschal. If by email, a joint email is preferred.  http://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/925981/lang-en The Letter of Intent must be received by Coronation, April 9, 2016. If using email, the letters of intent must include all of the following information for both combatant and consort: Society name, legal name, address, telephone number, years of residency and be accompanied by proof of membership with membership number & expiration date that is valid at least thirty days after Crown. If both entrants are combatants, then that should be clearly indicated. TRHs also request that combatants bring heraldic shields for the list trees. In Service to the East, I remain Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia

En Français:

Salutations!

À tous ceux souhaitant participer au prochain Tournoi de la Couronne.
Soyez avisé(e) que le(la) combattant(e) et son(sa) consort doivent présenter une lettre d’intention, soit en utilisant le lien suivant (ce que nous favorisons) soit par courriel à Leurs Altesses, le Prince Kenric et la Princesse Avelina et en plaçant en copie la Sénéchale du Royaume

http://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/925981/lang-en

Les lettres d’intention devront être reçues avant le Couronnement du 9 avril prochain. Si vous choisissez le courriel, il devra contenir les informations suivantes à propos du(de la) combattant(e) et de son(sa) consort : Nom SCA, nom mondain, adresse, numéro de téléphone, nombre d’années de résidence dans le Royaume et une preuve de membre SCA avec le numéro et la date d’expiration.

Il est à noter que votre membership doit être valide pour au moins 30 jours après la date du Tournoi. Il est important de spécifier si les deux participants(tes) sont des combattants(tes). Leurs Altesses demandent que les combattants(tes) apportent un Écu armorié pour le présentoir de la lice.

Au Service de l’Est, je demeure
Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia


Filed under: En français, Events, Official Notices Tagged: Crown Tournament, Letter of Intent, spring crown

Non-Member Surcharge Wording Changes

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-03-02 16:50

From the Seneschal and Exchequer’s offices:

Greetings from Mercedes and Ignatia,

We recently attended the Known World Kingdom Exchequer and Seneschal Symposium in Trimaris where the Society Exchequer announced a change in the wording of event announcements. Many people do not like the way that the non-member surcharge has had to be listed in event announcements as it is a bit off-putting. Society recently related an alternate method for listing the fees to address this.  In the East Kingdom, an event fee will now be referred to in announcements as the REGISTRATION FEE, it should no longer be referred to as a gate fee, site fee, door fee or entry fee in announcements or event calendars.

It is important that all Seneschals, Exchequers and Autocrats comply with this new wording on all event announcement, including ones on platforms other than the Eastkingdom.org calendar. The EK Calendar is being updated to reflect this language.
A discount for minors must be listed or you will be required to collect NMS from non-member minors.  A discount on any ‘group/category of adults’ does not avoid the NMS fee requirement if that person is not a member.  In addition, you may NOT ‘comp’ any non-member to attend an event, ever. This includes paying the NMS out of group funds.  The non-member fees will still be referred to as Non-member surcharges outside of the announcements and will still continue to be reported as NMS.   Feast Fees and/or Day Board Fees are still listed separately.

Below are examples of how you may list your event registration fees so that you can avoid the NMS wording that people find distasteful.  For the purposes of the example below X=$10, which represents the cost of the event fee per person (prior to any NMS amount).
Event Registration Fees Pricing:
1.    Adult(18+):    $X+5=  $15  Member:   $X=  $10      Minor(<18): $X-.50=   $9.50
OR
2.    Non-member:    $X+5=  $15  Member:   $X=  $10      Minor(<18): $X-.50=   $9.50
OR
3.    Registration Fee: $X+5=  $15  Minor(<18): $X-5-.50=   $9.50
Adult Members receive a $5.00 discount on the registration fee with proof of membership. ($10)
OR
4.  I am sure someone will come up with another option for stating the fee structure for an event.

Remember these are only examples – the ‘minor’ prices are normally broken into several categories for most groups.

In Service,
Maestra Ignacia la Ciega,
East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer
exchequer@eastkingdom.org

and

Mercedes Vera de Calafia
East Kingdom Seneschal
seneschal@eastkingdom.org


Filed under: Law and Policy, Official Notices Tagged: Exchequer, NMS

Matthias Buchinger: no hands, no legs, great artist

History Blog - Wed, 2016-03-02 00:41

The art of micrography, drawings composed of lines of text so miniscule they are all but unreadable to the naked eye, is a traditional Jewish artform developed in the 9th century. One of its greatest masters did it without hands.

Matthias Buchinger was born on June 3rd, 1674, in a town near Nuremberg. He had no arms below the elbows and no legs below his upper thighs. According to an 1833 article in The Dublin Penny Journal that cites the nephew of a friend of Buchinger’s, his parents were “distressed at his unnatural form” and “concealed him as much as possible.” Other than that there’s a record of an unnamed individual matching his description at a fair sideshow in Leipzig in 1694. His first concrete entrance in the historical record comes in the first decade of the 18th century with his earliest surviving artworks.

By then he was in his 30s and was 29 inches tall. He was also a polymath genius, accomplished not just in calligraphy and drawing, but in playing multiple musical instruments, sleight-of-hand (minus hands), creating miniatures in bottles, carving wood, threading a needle, shooting and bowling, all accomplished by the dextrous use of small fin-like appendages at the ends of his arm stumps. Buchinger traveled all over Europe, from Augsburg to Amsterdam to Paris to Copenhagen to London to Belfast, displaying his many talents and tricks to amazed crowds and crowned heads alike. Poetry was written about “the Little Man of Nuremberg.”

Nobody could do him as much justice as he did himself. Here’s how he described himself in a 1724 engraving publicizing his performances.

“This is the effigies of Mr. Matthew Buchinger, being drawn and written by himself he is the wonderful little man of but 29.inches high, born without hands, feet, of thighs, June the 2. 1674. in Germany, in the Marquisate of Brandeburgh, near to Nurenburgh. He being the last of nine children, by one father and mother, viz. eight sons, and one daughter. The same little man has been married four times, and has had issue eleven children, viz. one by his first wife, three by the second, six by his third, and one by his present wife. This little man performs such wonders as have never been done by any; but himself. He plays on various sorts of music to admiration, as the hautboy, strange flute in consort with the bagpipe, dulcimer and trumpet; and designs to make machines to play on almost all sorts of music. He is no less eminent for writing, drawing of coats of arms, and pictures to the life, with a pen. He also plays at cards and dice, performs tricks with cups and balls, corn and live birds; and plays at skittles or nine-pins to a great nicety, with several other performances, to the great satisfaction of all spectators.”

Notice that his self portrait in that engraving is a micrograph. The curls of his peruke contain the complete 27th, 121st, 128th, 130th, 140th, 149th, and 150th Psalms, plus the Lord’s Prayer.

Buchinger wasn’t just tooting his own horn to draw an audience, either. Eyewitness reports matched his account. Here’s a review from James Paris, who saw him in London on March 10th, 1731:

“He did with his stumps what many could not do with their hands and feet so well as he in playing at cards, dice, ninepins, shuffel-board and roily-poly. He did cutt paper in several curious shapes, forms and figures. He writ, cast accounts, and designed very prettily; comb’d, oyl’d and powdered his perruque very well; load and discharge a pistol and did never fail of hitting the mark. He darted a sword at a mark exactly at a great distance and performed a great many other strange things.”

Said spectators included three successive German emperors and one king of Britain. He moved to England from Hanover in 1717, three years after the Elector of Hanover became King George I. Hoping to secure a lucrative appointment from the new king, he presented him with an instrument of his own invention. King George gave him a nice prize of 20 guineas, but no job, so he kept moving. He traveled through England, Scotland and Ireland, finally settling in County Cork. By the time of his death in County Cork in 1739, Buchinger was a wealthy man. He left behind a widow and at least 14 legitimate children. He was reputed to have had 70 mistresses and dozens of illegitimate children.

Sixteen of his drawings are now on display in Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger’s Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay, an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Magnifying glasses are available so visitors can attempt to read the miniscule calligraphy. Even magnified it’s still almost impossible to read. How he managed to write such tiny letters without the aid of a magnifying device of his own (and we know he didn’t use them because he drew so many pieces in front of an audience) is still a mystery today.

As a renown master of sleight-of-hand and collector of historical marvels, Ricky Jay has been fascinated by Buchinger’s talent and bravado for three decades. Most of the Buchinger drawings in the exhibition are on loan from Jay’s collection. Buchinger’s work is joined by his other masters of micrography, including a portrait of Martin Luther by Johann Michael Püchler, who worked in Nuremberg when Buchinger was young and who may have taught him but certainly inspired him. The exhibition brings the art of lettering into the modern era with pieces by Jasper Johns and other contemporary artists. It runs through April 11th, 2016.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gulf Wars Road Closings

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-01 19:18

Noble Æthelmearc,

The following was just passed along to me by the Seneschal of Meridies. If you are driving to Gulf Wars you should pay attention to this as this
closure does effect one of the major routes south from some parts of Æthelmearc. The report notes that the road could be closed for up to three weeks.

In Service,
Duke Christopher
Seneschal

I wanted to inform the populace of your Great and Fair Kingdom about the
Road Closure of I75 South in Tennessee. As you may already know this, I
just wanted to touch base with you so that those headed south for Gulf Wars
can choose another route to war besides I75.

Here is the report.

Please post this information in those places you deem appropriate to
relieve your citizens from being stuck for hours in slow and standing
traffic on the way to Gulf Wars using I75.

Respectfully,
Master Aylwin Watkyns
Kingdom Seneschal, Meridies


Categories: SCA news sites

Going to Gulf Wars? Beware of I-75 Closure

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-01 14:45

This article was originally posted on the Midrealm Gazette.

For those of you planning your sojourn to Gulf Wars, please choose an alternate other than I-75. I-75 is closed in Tennessee close to the Kentucky border (north and southbound lanes) for the next several weeks due to rock slides.

http://www.lex18.com/story/31330190/i-75-blocked-in-tennessee-at-jellico

Respectfully,
Master Aylwin Watkyns
Kingdom Seneschal, Meridies


Filed under: Announcements Tagged: Gulf War

Location Change for Fencing Muster this Sunday!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-01 09:48

Hello, all!
Because Cal U’s Women’s basketball team did super well (yay) and is hosting the playoffs, we got moved. We will now be at the Performance Center on Sunday, March 6th, from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. 

There will be a class or two, a White Scarf meet and beat, and melee. Lots of Melee in preparation for the coming War Season. There will be a Academy Tournament is there is interest and time. There’s a lot of things to be done, so I am keeping things slightly loose. 

Aemilia Soteria (Erin Wunderlin) will be running an MOL class or two — so non fencers who are interested (and fencers, and marshals, and MIT’s) can learn more about what they need to know to run tournaments more smoothly. (Even if you are not an MOL yourself, there are things you can learn for when you marshal your own tournament.)

Food: Bring your own, travel to town, or take part in our Tavern Bake sale!  (The Union food options will be closed.)

Parking: If you buy a pass off of us, it’s 5.00/day.  If you park in town and walk, it is free, if you do nor buy a pass they will give you a ticket for $25.00 — since stuff is going on this Sunday, they will be patrolling. There is also a metered lot if you only want to come for an hour or two. (It’s roughly a dollar an hour until you get past three hours, then it is cheaper to buy our pass.)

But Parking is RIGHT next to the Union.  Here is a map.
The map may confuse you — Lot 17 is not listed, but there is a red and black area that is marked for construction. I am using this map because while the construction is all done, it’s really easy to see where you need to go. Lot 17 is the red and black striped area. The Union is encircled in red. 

Directions:
Use this handy dandy page to get to campus: 

Now, when you get to campus, drive down the main road…you will pass between the two towers. You will eventually have no choice by to turn right, going up a hill.

Lot 17 is on your left. The Union is next to the parking lot, a green roofed, red brick building. Entrance is on the side. Go left. Go past the food court  Do not go down the stairs. The Performance Center is towards the right. 

I hope to see you all there!
Gabby

 


Categories: SCA news sites

Arts & Sciences Research Paper #7: Life Before Toilet Paper

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-01 09:00

Our seventh A&S Research Paper comes to us from Baroness Charitye Dale, of the Barony of Settmour Swamp. She examines a question that would have affected our personas practically every single day – how did people manage before toilet paper? (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)

Life Before Toilet Paper

Ancient public toilets in Ephesus

There are some things in our society that are so basic, so integral to our lives that we cannot imagine going without.  Toilet paper is one of these items.  Since 1857, when toilet paper first became commercially available, we have used it to cleanse after using the bathroom.  This begs the question; what did people use to clean themselves before toilet paper?  This work will provide an overview of what people used to cleanse themselves after defecating in Rome, China, Japan, India, the Islamic states and various areas of Europe between 400 C.E. and 1600 C.E.

Contents
Rome
Buddhist Precepts for Monks in India
Islamic Precepts for Worshippers
Japan
Western Europe
China
Bibliography
Notes

Rome
We begin in Rome, in the communal toilets adjacent to the city’s bathhouses.  These communal bathrooms were semi-circular or rectangular rooms containing long benches along the walls, with individual round spaces carved into them.  Running water flowed underneath them to wash away the waste.  According to William E. Dunstan in his book Ancient Rome, “Public latrines, though often lavishly decorated with statuary and singing fountains, proved dimly lit and poorly ventilated.  They became overcrowded retreats for the unprivileged living in multistory tenements lacking toilets.” [1]

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, in his series of letters known as Moral Letters to Lucilius references a sponge affixed to a stick as being used for cleansing after defecating.  In his 70th letter, he relates a tale of suicide in which this implement, commonly referred to by scholars as a spongia, played a pivotal role.  “A captured German, who was making ready for the morning exhibition, withdrew in order to relieve himself, the only thing he was allowed to do in secret and without the presence of a guard.  While so engaged, he seized the stick of wood, tipped with a sponge, which was devoted to the vilest uses, and stuffed it, just as it was, down his throat…”[2]  To date, there appears to be no other specific reference to the spongia in ancient text.

Sources speculate that the spongia would be stored in either a bucket of salt water, or would be placed in front of the public toilet in a stream of running water that ran in front of the commode in communal bathrooms.  These spongia were used by everyone who utilized the public toilets.

The Roman elite used chamber pots or toilets within their own homes instead of using the communal commodes whenever possible.  Instead of the spongia, it is conjectured that they cleansed with rosewater and soft wool while in their homes.[3]
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Buddhist Precepts for Monks in India
We move from Rome to India, where Buddhist monks were fastidious about cleanliness.  So fastidious, in fact, that they had very particular rules regarding the use of the bathroom.  These rules are outlined, in detail, in early versions of the Vinaya Pitaka, the Buddhist canonical for monks.  Each of the seventeen rules were to be followed each time one used the toilet facility.

  1. One should not defecate outside of the cesspool.
  2. While standing outside, one should clear his throat.
  3. Anyone sitting inside should also clear his throat.
  4. Having put aside the (upper) robe on a bamboo pole or a cord, one should enter the place properly and unhurriedly.
  5. One should not pull up one’s lower robe before entering.
  6. One should pull up one’s lower robe while standing on the toilet shoes.
  7. If the place is splattered it should be washed.
  8. One should not groan or grunt while defecating.
  9. One should not wipe oneself with a rough stick.
  10. One should not drop the wiping stick into the cesspool.
  11. If the basket for wiping sticks is full, the wiping sticks should be thrown away.
  12. One should then cover oneself (with one’s lower robe) while standing on the toilet shoes.
  13. One should not leave hurriedly.
  14. One should not leave with one’s lower robe pulled up.
  15. One should pull it up while standing on the rinsing-room shoes.
  16. One shouldn’t make a smacking sound while rinsing.
  17. One should not leave any water remaining in the rinse vessel.[4]

Further evidence to the Buddhist doctrine of cleansing after defecation is found in an anecdote within their guidelines for monks which tells a story of the consequences of not rinsing oneself after defecating:

“Now at that time a certain bhikkhu, a brahman by birth, didn’t want to rinse himself after defecating, (thinking,) ‘Who would touch this vile, stinking stuff?’ A worm took up residence in his anus. So he told this matter to the bhikkhus. ‘You mean you don’t rinse yourself after defecating?’ (they asked). ‘That’s right, my friends.’ Those bhikkhus who were of few wants … criticized and complained and spread it about, ‘How can a bhikkhu not rinse himself after defecating?’  They reported this matter to the Blessed One…”[5]

The monks utilized what they referred to as a wiping stick to scrape feces after defecating.  The stick was smooth and slightly rounded, and was used to remove large pieces of feces before the monks rinsed themselves with water.
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Islamic Precepts for Worshippers
Buddhism is not the only religion that has strict rules about personal hygiene.  Worshippers of Islam had similarly stringent requirements for cleanliness.  The Qur’an is adamant about personal hygiene, which is why it is not surprising that Muslims also had very specific rules when it came to cleansing after defecation.  Abu Hureyrah, companion to the prophet Muhammad, narrated many edicts to the followers of Islam; cleansing after defecation included, between 590 and Muhammad’s death in 632 C.E.  “When any one of you goes to the Gha’it (toilet to defecate), let him take with him three stones and clean himself with them, for that will suffice him.”[6] He also stated, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah come out of the toilet without first (cleansing himself) with water.”[7]

Rules, based on the narrations of Abu Hureyah, are outlined in Qadaa’ Al Haajah.  A redacted set of these rules is itemized below.

  1. When entering the toilet, one should say the A’udhu (isti’adha) and Basmala and then recite a prayer.
  2. When entering the toilet, one should not have in one’s hand anything on which the name of Allahu ta’ala or any verse of the Qur’an al-karim is written.
  3. One should enter the toilet with one’s left foot and exit with one’s right foot.
  4. One should recite the prayer “Alhamdu-lil-laa-hil-la-dhi adh-haba ‘a-nil a-dhaa wa ‘a-faa-ni” when exiting the toilet.
  5. After cleaning one’s private parts, one should cover them immediately.
  6. One should neither face the Qibla nor turn one’s back toward it while urinating or defecating.
  7. One should remove the feces on one’s anus with one’s finger and wash one’s hand. If there are still traces of filth, one should wash them with water.
  8. One should dry one’s private parts with a cloth after washing them.
  9. One should not look at one’s private parts or spit into the toilet.
  10. One must not urinate into any water, on a wall of a mosque, in a cemetery, or on a road.
  11. Cleaning the private parts with stones and similar materials is an acceptable substitute for cleaning them with water.[8]

One will note that the process of cleaning oneself after defecating is specifically addressed.  The utilization of one’s own hand appears to be the preferred method, followed by rinsing and washing the hand.

Japanese wiping sticks. This Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73 and is freely available at //commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nara_period_toilet_paper.jpg under the creative commons cc-by-sa 3.0 license.

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Japan
The Japanese, like the Indian Buddhists, used sticks to clean themselves after defecating.  Flat, rounded sticks, called chu-gi, were uncovered in ancient cisterns dating as far back as 750 in the ancient Japanese capital of Nara.  During what is called the Nara Period, between 710 and 784, the capital had 10-15cm trenches dug and water diverted through them, making a drainage system.  Citizens would squat over these trenches, with a foot on each bank of the trench to urinate and defecate; the waste being washed away from the city.  The dirty sticks would be washed in the running water, and retained for future use, or dropped in the trench for disposal.[9]
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Western Europe
In Western Europe, materials available for sanitation varied based on your wealth and social standing.  It is conjectured that rags were used throughout Europe and were the most common materials used for anal cleansing.  Ronald H. Blumer states his work entitled Wiped:  The Curious History of Toilet Paper that clothing too threadbare to be worn would be utilized for anal cleansing repeatedly until it was no longer fit for that purpose as well.[10]  Archeological digs under monasteries in Europe have found remnants of the tattered, holey rags used by monks and nuns for toilet purposes.  Finer wools and linens worn by the elite were used for their sanitary needs once they were no longer suitable to be worn as clothing.

Not everyone used rags, however.  In the household records of Duc de Berry in 1400, for example, there is reference to quantities of flax and hemp being purchased in a raw, unspun state for the express purpose of anal cleansing.[11]  And though few household records like these have survived, literature has.  Toilet humor–also known as scatological humor–is not a wholly modern notion.  La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel, written by François Rabelais between 1532 and 1564, was full of scatological humor.  Chapter 1.XIII, “How Gargantua’s wonderful understanding became known to his father Grangousier, by the invention of a torchecul or wipebreech” is a perfect example.  This chapter of the famous work is solely dedicated to the discussion of anal wiping:

“I have, answered Gargantua, by a long and curious experience, found out a means to wipe my bum, the most lordly, the most excellent, and the most convenient that was ever seen.  What is that? said Grangousier, how is it?  I will tell you by-and-by, said Gargantua.  Once I did wipe me with a gentle-woman’s velvet mask, and found it to be good; for the softness of the silk was very voluptuous and pleasant to my fundament.  Another time with one of their hoods, and in like manner that was comfortable.  At another time with a lady’s neckerchief, and after that I wiped me with some ear-pieces of hers made of crimson satin, but there was such a number of golden spangles in them (turdy round things, a pox take them) that they fetched away all the skin of my tail with a vengeance.  Now I wish St. Antony’s fire burn the bum-gut of the goldsmith that made them, and of her that wore them!  This hurt I cured by wiping myself with a page’s cap, garnished with a feather in the Switzers’ fashion.

“Afterwards, in dunging behind a bush, I found a March-cat, and with it I wiped my breech, but her claws were so sharp that they scratched and exulcerated all my perinee.  Of this I recovered the next morning thereafter, by wiping myself with my mother’s gloves, of a most excellent perfume and scent of the Arabian Benin.  After that I wiped me with sage, with fennel, with anet, with marjoram, with roses, with goud-leaves, with beets, with colewort, with leaves of the vine tree, with mallows, wool-blade, which is a tail-scarlet, with lettuce and with spinach leaves.”[12]

By the end of his diatribe, there is seemingly nothing that the young man won’t use.  In fact, when he comes to wiping with paper, he has this to say, “Who his foul tail with paper wipes, Shall at his ballocks leave some chips.”[13]

Though a humorous work of fiction, it does provide insight to what might have been used for anal cleansing.  The author is clearly utilizing the absurd in the name of his art, but it is not unreasonable to take grains of truth from the document.  It is quite likely that leaves, moss, straw, discarded pieces of clothing, etc. would have been utilized by all walks of life depending upon their region and the materials available to them.

It is suggested in numerous works on the subject that leaves, moss, shells, and the like would have been used for cleaning after defecation, though none of these works have been able to provide evidence to support their assertions.  It is not unreasonable, however, to make such a conjecture.  A soft leaf, unspun wool, and straw would have proved to be useful if no other means of cleansing were available.
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China
While their Western counterparts were using leaves, rags, or sponges soaked in saltwater, and other areas of Asia were using sticks to clean their anuses, the Chinese were manufacturing paper to address their sanitary needs.  There is little written on the invention, manufacture, and use of the predecessor to the modern toilet paper, but there is mention of paper being used in the eliminatory process as far back as the first century.  Joseph Needham, in his collection of works entitled The Science and Civilisation of China, cited that the Chinese used paper made from rice straw for sanitary purposes.  Chinese scholar Yan Zhitu stated in 589 that “paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes.”  Additionally, an Arab explorer during the Tang Dynasty, is noted as having stated “They [the Chinese] are not careful about cleanliness, and they do not wash themselves with water after they have done their necessities, but they only wipe themselves with paper” in his memoirs detailing his travels to China.[14]

The Chinese eventually began manufacturing a specific type of paper to use after defecation, known as tshao chih.  According to Chinese records maintained by the Imperial Bureau of Supplies, over 720,000 sheets of tshao chih were manufactured in 1393 alone.   The imperial family, however, received “…15,000 sheets, three inches square, light yellow, thick but soft, and perfumed.”[15]  In fact, the use of tshao chih was so prevalent, Zhejiang Province (aka Chekiang Province) alone used ten million packages of 1,000 to 10,000 sheets in 1393 for its population of 2,138,225.[16]

Until the 19th century, paper was made exclusively by hand, and therefore, was more expensive to procure.  It would have been more cost effective to use materials that were readily available, such as leaves and old rags instead of paper.  As paper became easier and less expensive to manufacture, its use for cleansing after defecating became more common and eventually took its place as the preferred method for cleaning in most parts of the known world.  Today it is estimated that modern Americans use approximately 100 rolls of toilet paper per year.  With nearly 390,000,000 people in the US, Americans use 39,000,000,000 rolls of toilet paper each year.
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Bibliography

Bennett, Howard. “EVER WONDERED about the history of toilet paper?” The Washington Post (2009): 1-2.  Accessed 10/27/2014.

Bhikkhu, Thannissaro, ed.,  The Buddhist Monastic Code II. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, 2001.

Blumer, Ronald, H. Wiped:  The Curious History of Toilet Paper.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd edition, 2013

Chavez, Amy “From the ditches of nara to the Otohime, a lav story” The Japan Times (2014): Accessed 12/27/2015

Dunstan, William E. Ancient Rome. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2011.

Guanglin Liu, William. The Chinese Market Economy, 1000-1500.  Albany, NY: State University of New York Press (2015).

My Religion Islamic. “Islamic Toilet Etiquette” (2015):  Accessed 12/28/2015

Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 5, Part 1:  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1954.

Rabelais, Francois; Translation by Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty. Gargantua et de Pantagruel: 1653

Schofield, Hugh. “Filthy secrets of medieval toilets” BBC News (2003):  Accessed 10/27/2014

Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. “Moral letters to Lucilius” Letter 70 :  Accessed 02/15/2016

“The Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad at Your Fingertips”: Accessed 02/15/2016

“Islamic Toilet Etiquette“: Accessed 02/15/2016
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Notes

[1] Dunstan, William E. Ancient Rome, pg 359.

[2] “Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 70”

[3] Dunstan, 359

[4]Bhikkhu, Thannissaro, ed.,  The Buddhist Monastic Code II, pg. 108

[5] Ibid, pg. 107.

[6] Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 44 

[7] Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 354

[8] “Islamic Toilet Etiquette“ 

[9] Chavez, Amy “From the ditches of Nara to the Otohime, a lav story” The Japan Times

[10] Blumer, Ronald, H. Wiped:  The Curious History of Toilet Paper

[11] Ibid

[12] Rabelais, Francois, La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel Chapter 1.XIII

[13] Ibid, pg 78.

[14] Needham, Joseph Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 5, Part 1

[15] Needham, 123

[16] Guanglin Liu, William The Chinese Market Economy, 1000-1500, p 13 Appendix A
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Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences

Pennsic Choir Registration

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-01 08:30

The following article appeared in the The Æthelmearc Gazette yesterday and is reposted with their permission.  Our thanks to them for sharing this wonderful article.

Greetings, choral singers!

Lady Tangwystl verch Gruffydd of the Barony of Northwoods in the Middle Kingdom has graciously volunteered to serve as Director of a Known World Choir at the upcoming SCA 50 Year Celebration event in June!

If you are interested in participating in the KWC performance at this event, please join the group Known World Choir at 50 Year Celebration for updates and information. You can also get updates on the Known World Choir website.

Please also follow this link to fill out a short registration form.

The earlier you register, the better the Director will be able to plan for the 50 Year setlist and the performance itself. You can change/adjust answers later if needed, so please don’t hesitate to sign up today!

Additionally, those who register by March 22nd* will have an opportunity to suggest pieces for our 50 Year Celebration performance.

*Registration will continue after March 22nd, but after that point setlist will be finalized.


Filed under: Announcements, Arts and Sciences, Pennsic Tagged: choir, Music, singing

Colon cancer gene found in Hungarian mummy

History Blog - Tue, 2016-03-01 00:57

Mutations of the Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene associated with the developement of colorectal tumors are common in the modern population, but because lifestyle and environmental factors like obesity, physical inactivity and chemical exposure prevalent today contribute to cancer rates, human remains from earlier times in history provide a unique insight into the evolution of disease. With soft tissue diseases like colorectal cancer, it’s difficult to find evidence in remains most of which are skeletal.

Mummies can bridge the gap, especially natural mummies with surviving tissue that was not embalmed. The mummies of more than 265 people buried in the crypt of the Church of the Whites in Vác, Hungary, between 1731 and 1838 have already proven a boon to medical research. The crypt was bricked in decades ago and forgotten until it was rediscovered by construction workers in 1994. The steady, cool temperature, continual low-level ventilation and the anti-microbial and moisture-absorbing properties of the pine shavings in the coffins created a perfect storm of preservation. There’s also extensive surviving archival information about the people buried in the crypt, which gives researchers valuable information about familial relations, professions, age, dates, etc.

Last year a study found 12 different strains of tuberculosis in DNA extracted from the Vác mummies. Now a new study has found a genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer in one of the mummies.

The researchers used genetic sequencing to identify mutations in APC genes that were isolated from the mummies. “Mummified soft tissue opens up a new area of investigation,” Prof. Hershkovitz says. “Very few diseases attack the skeleton, but soft tissue carries evidence of disease. It presents an ideal opportunity to carry out a detailed genetic analysis and test for a wide variety of pathogens.”

“Our data reveal that one of the mummies may have had a cancer mutation. This means that a genetic predisposition to cancer may have already existed in the pre-modern era,” Dr. Sklan says. “But we’ve found this mutation in only one individual so far. Additional studies with a larger sample size should be conducted in order to draw more meaningful conclusions.”

The discovery of the gene doesn’t mean the individual ever had colon cancer, of course. While very well preserved, the sample was still desiccated and, well, mummified, so researchers weren’t able to distinguish tumors from normal colon tissue.

This is an important breakthrough in the analysis of ancient DNA and the study of the evolution of disease. Until now, ancient DNA studies have primarily focused on extracting the DNA of pathogens. This is the first published study to report the presence of cancer or mutations association with cancer in the DNA. Research on ancient cancer has had to make do with bone lesions and microscopic evidence.

The study has been published in the journal PLoS ONE and can be read free of charge here.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Event and Court Report: The College of Three Ravens

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-02-29 20:06

photo by Tiercelin

The Barony of Thescorre’s 38th College of Three Ravens opened on February 20th, with a well-attended series of classes on everything from underwear to death.

Though snow covered the ground a few inches deep, the sun was out and the day was warm. The site opened at 9am, and classes began at 10am, and ended at 4pm. About 150 attended the event, run by Lady Elen Woderose.

A delicious sideboard was cooked by Lady Marguerite de Neufschasteau and the Thescorre Cooks’ Guild, and included stuffed breads, vegetable soup, fruit, eggs and fresh farm cheeses. At the end of the day, many of the attendees sat down to a wonderful dinner planned by Lord Padraig na Féasóige Ua Céileachair, based on period Spanish cuisine.

Mistress Antoinette and a classroom of happy gilders.

Classes
For those interested in scribal activities, classes on quill making, gilding, vellum, and several on manuscripts were not to miss.

Clothing enthusiasts could learn about something regardless of their level, from T-tunics to the Greenland Gown, hats to Elizabethan undergarments.

Classes on death, both during and after, filled the schedule with The Honorable Lady Beatrice de Winter’s Bling Out Your Dead class and another on the multiple interments of Richard III, as well as Baron Master Fridrikr’s Draugar class about Norse zombies.

Brewing and Period Foods, Asian Medicine and Samurai Cooking, Cheese and Irish Food kept people’s appetites up, and Fencing, Belly Dance, Equestrian, and European Dance kept people moving.

Elska and Mistress Matilda measure ingredients

There were several classes to engage children in the afternoon, including a roundtable on Service in the SCA for Kids, hosted by Lady Elisabetta de Venetia who grew up doing service, Tudor Soap Balls with Elska and Simon Fjarfell, and Sweet Scents Perfume, also taught by Lady Elisabetta, joined by Mistress Francesca della Rovere. The kids got very messy (and yet also clean) kneading soap and herbs, learned how to make themselves smell nice, and enjoyed every moment.

 

photo by Tiercelin

One of the highlights of the event was a presentation on Falconry by Lady Marguerite de Neufschasteau, whose teacher brought two beautiful birds to show off: a Falcon and a Cooper’s Hawk.

Falcon and falconer

Court
Her Majesty Etain began the court by inviting the children attending the event to take bags of activities to the back of the hall.

She then invited Baroness Sadira to open her court.

Baroness Sadira asked all those for whom it was their first event to come up and be seen.

She then inducted Lady Elisabetta de Venetia into the Order of the Broche for her art and teaching, and gave her a scroll from a past event.

Her Excellency gave Raven’s Eggs to her “brute squad” for always being dependable and helpful to her.

She then gifted Mistress Alison of the Many Isles with a travel-sized camel, for her willingness to help tote things hither and yon.

The Kingdom Court Report can be found below, but certainly a highlight was the induction of Lady Elisabetta de Venetia, who taught two classes during the day and helped out wherever she could, into the Order of the Keystone. She was brought to tears when her Pelican, Mistress Ekaterina Volkova, gifted her with the keystone of her Pelican, Duke Morguhn Sheridan.

Of the event, Lady Elen said: “We had a good time this year. We had plenty of teachers and plenty of students, and for a schola, that’s what counts, isn’t it? The pleasant weather was a bonus.”

Official Court Report

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Magnus Tindal and Etain II, basileos kai basilissa Æthelmearc: the Business of The Empress’s Court at The College of 3 Ravens, 20 February Anno Societatis L, in the Barony of Thescorre, accompanied by Her Excellency Sadira, Baroness of Thescorre. As recorded by THL Sophie Davenport, Seedling Pursuivant, with the assistance of Baroness Helena al-Zar’qa, Fleur d’Æthelmearc Herald.

The Empress called forth Cecelia Vogelsankino and presented a Sigil to her for all of her help in caring for the Royal children during Their reign. She then called forth the children present and sent them with Cecelia and bags of goodies to keep them occupied during the proceedings.

The Empress then gave Her Excellency leave to conduct her business.

The Empress called for Perote Campbell and presented him with a Sigil. She then recognized Baroness Marianna Pietro Santi in absentia with a Sigil.

The Empress called for Lord Howard Bowman and presented him with a Cornelian for his courtesy and helpfulness with the MoL at recent events. Scroll is a work in progress by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova .

The Empress called for Raibert Wright and presented him with a Cornelian for his courtesy and any years of cheerful training of new fighters. Scroll by Lady Mairghread Stiobhard inghean ui Choinne.

The Empress called for Gabriel the Cheater and Awarded him Arms for being a valuable fighting asset and his willingness to help where needed. Scroll is a work in progress by Lady Arselan Egesig.

The Empress next called for Guillermo de la Cruz and Awarded him Arms for his very helpful nature and conducting himself in a most noble manner. Scroll by Lady Genevote Nau d’Anjou .

The Empress then called for Simon Peregrine. His lovely daughter came forth and explained he was not present. It was then explained that while he has been with us only a short time, he has made quite an impression in Thescorre by becoming the Baronial Archery Champion and is a Marshall in training and thus was inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce. The scrolls are by Lady Vivienne of Yardley and Baroness Juliana Rosalia Dolce di Siena and Tiarna Ard Padraig O Branduibh.

Jared of Thescorre

The Empress next called for Lord Jared of Thescorre and told him how impressed she is with his thrown weapons training and winning the Thescorre Thrown Weapons championship. She then inducted him into the order of the Golden Alce. The scroll is a work in progress by Juliana Rosalia Dolce di Siena and Tiarna Ard Padraig O Branduibh.

The Empress then called forth Lady Elisabetta de Venetia and spoke to her about her unending service, from retaining to serving feast, set up and tear down of events. She was reminded to pay heed to her Pelican and take time to enjoy events once in a while. The Empress then inducted Elisabetta into the Order of the Keystone and her Pelican, Baroness Ekaterina Volkova bestowed her with the ancestral medallion of the household belonging to His Grace Morghunn. The scroll is by Duchess Branwyn ferch Gwythyr.

The Empress announced that Nicholas the Bastard was Granted Arms and inducted into the Order of the Gage at the Valentine’s Day Muster, on February 14, in the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands. Words by THL Sophie Davenport.

The Empress next wished to see Lady Mairghread Stiobhard inghean ui Choinne and spoke of the beautiful artwork she produces and gives away in the form of award scrolls. She was so impressed that she Granted Mairghread Arms and inducted her in the Order of the Fleur d’AEthelmearc. Mistress Gillian Llewylen of Ravenspur presented her with a medallion and the scroll is a work in progress by Master Jon Blaecstan.

Lady Marguerite de Neufschasteau, who created the dayboard, was gifted with Her Majesty’s token of Inspiration.

That being all of Her business, the court of the Empress was closed.

(all photos not otherwise credited are from Master Fridrikr)

~ Reported by Duchess Branwen ferch Gwythyr

 


Categories: SCA news sites

Known World Choir at SCA 50 Year

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-02-29 14:07

Greetings, choral singers!

Lady Tangwystl verch Gruffydd of the Barony of Northwoods in the Middle Kingdom has graciously volunteered to serve as Director of a Known World Choir at the upcoming SCA 50 Year Celebration event in June!

If you are interested in participating in the KWC performance at this event, please join the group Known World Choir at 50 Year Celebration for updates and information. You can also get updates on the Known World Choir website.

Please also follow this link to fill out a short registration form.

The earlier you register, the better the Director will be able to plan for the 50 Year setlist and the performance itself. You can change/adjust answers later if needed, so please don’t hesitate to sign up today!

Additionally, those who register by March 22nd* will have an opportunity to suggest pieces for our 50 Year Celebration performance.

*Registration will continue after March 22nd, but after that point setlist will be finalized.


Categories: SCA news sites