And now for something completely different...

Dame Aoife, ever the eclectic, graces us this week with a list of links that didn't fit into any of her multitude of catalogs, but are intersting nonetheless. Here are the odds and ends, for your edification.

Greetings, my Faithful Readers!

Sometimes I run out of inspiration for this weekly (sort of) column. This week, what you're getting is a compilation of weird things I've been collecting...definitely "completely different" from my usual columns. With the dulcet tones of South Park screaming from my living room, it seemed a week for the strange to prevail. So, can you trust the article on Elizabethan Toilet paper? Do you care if folding knives are medieval? Did you ever wonder about ancient condoms? Have trouble reconciling your parasol with your persona? Wonder what sort of medieval pick-up line would work best for you? Read on to find out. But be warned: SOME of this list is serious but uncataloged. And some of is pure crrrrrrraaaaaapppp!

So, walk this way to a list of links on the unusual...


The address speaks for itself. Be sure to check out Spamalot.

Wickipedia: History of the Umbrella

History of Folding Knives
(yep, they're medieval according to this site)
(Site Excerpt) Folding knives probably were invented for protection. The blades could disappear into the handle and only be brought out when the owner needed to use it. Folding knives were known to the ancient Romans but their popularity grew rapidly during the Middle Ages. Knives with two blades that folded did not become common until the 18th century. The pocketknife, a small folding knife, became popular when pockets were added to trousers.
Also See:
The History of Portable Eating Utensils
(Site Excerpt) A folding pocket knife, perhaps the consummately portable multi-purpose tool, was first made in the 1st Century by the Romans to be used on journeys of exploration or conquest. As the popularity of sheathed knives grew, the manufacture of pocket knives waned. By the late 16th Century, however, pocket knives began to regain popularity especially in America. Unlike sheathed knives, which were generally conspicuous and sometimes cumbersome, pocket knives were easily, safely, and invisibly carried in the pocket like the knife on the left. Men of all trades, from farmers to academics, carried pocket knives to aid in various tasks, including eating on the go.

BBC: World's Oldest Condoms
(Site Excerpt) The oldest known condoms in the world - 17th Century creations made of animal and fish intestine - are to leave the UK to be displayed at a Dutch sex exhibition. The five contraceptives were excavated from a medieval toilet in Dudley Castle in 1985 - they are thought to have lain there since before 1646.

How medieval feet suffered for their shoes
(Site Excerpt) The shocking evidence for the mutilation caused by the late medieval fashion for extremely pointy long-toed shoes is lying on an archaeologist's desk in Portsmouth. The distortion of the bones is so extreme that he first thought he was looking at the ravages of disease.

History of the Kilt
(Site Excerpt) It is generally recognised that the first tartans were the result of individual weavers own designs, then were slowly adopted to identify individual districts, then finally clans and families. The first recognisable effort to enforce uniformity throughout an entire clan was in 1618, when Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, wrote to Murry of Pulrossie requesting that he bring the plaids worn by his men into "harmony with that of his other septs."

History of Men's grooming (and make-up!)
(Site excerpt) There is evidence that the Vikings also liked to wear make-up as the Arab traveler Ibrahim Al-Tartushi who visited the Viking trading hub of Hedeby in 950AD wrote: "there is also an artificial make-up for the eyes, when they use it beauty never fades, on the contrary it increases in men and women as well". What he was observing was probably the use of kohl as men's makeup

Viking Age Human Sacrifice
(Site Excerpt) Norse warriors were sometimes buried with slave girls with the belief that the women would become their wives in Valhalla. A detailed eyewitness account of such a burial was given by Ahmad ibn Fadlan as part of his account of an embassy to the Volga Bulgars in 921. In his description of the funeral of a Rus' notable, a slave girl volunteers to die with her master. After ten days of festivities, she is stabbed to death by an old woman (a sort of priestess who is referred to as 'Angel of Death') and burnt together with the deceased in his boat (see ship burial, Oseberg).

Wickipedia: Medieval European Toilet "paper"????
(Site Excerpt) The Dark Ages of Early Medieval Europe are the subject to great speculation that is unsuited to a scholarly account of this nature. The first reliable information about specialised bathroom facilities in post-Conquest England comes from contemporary accounts of the Peasants' Revolt. Believing that John of Gaunt was responsible for the shortage of hemp and linen essential to the manufacture of comfortable toilet paper, the rioters abandoned their leader Wat Tyler in 1381 and demolished London's Savoy Palace. This sumptuous dwelling was famous for John of Gaunt's collection of paper goods and ornamental bathroom fittings.

Politics of Racial hatred
(Site Excerpt) The origin of The Inquisition, which insisted heretics be stripped of wealth and life, was firmly established in the early 1200s. Gregory IX, declared general legislation in which the penalties of death, banishment and confiscation of property were formulated so clearly as to be incontestable. No mention of torture. Catholic bishops could subject their towns to the full rigor of imperial laws and answer to no one.

Medieval Hunting and Falconry
A list of links on the subject.

Gode cookery's Medieval Macabre page
Lots of Medieval Weirdness here!

Medieval Sourcebook: Medieval History in the Movies

Put a tiger in your trunks: Edible aphrodisiacs
by Bob Bankard
(Site Excerpt) Aphrodisiacs have been around before written history, and have changed very little in form, utility and logic ever since. For the most part, you could consider their various forms as 'gilt' by association; they either worked well for the animal who used it, before you severed it from it source, or it has a certain visual resemblance to the parts you hope to inspire.

Stefan's Florilegium: Humor-msg
Click Uncataloged (at the bottom of the menu), and then Humor-msg. While you're at it, look at some of the other uncataloged items.

Bodger & Grift's Medieval Pickup Lines
(Site Excerpt) You should be glad I'm not a Viking. You would have been ravaged and plundered by now.
What's a nice maiden like you doing in a dungeon like this?
Come up and see my scrolls.