Medieval Cats

Medievalists.net has an article titled Why Cats were Hated in Medieval Europe that I liked. It references Irina Metzler’s article Heretical Cats: Animal Symbolism in Religious Discourse which seems to be only available in German, and Joyce Salisbury’s The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages which is available in English as an ebook.

15th century manuscript from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Medievalisterrant chimes in with a post on Cats as pets in the Middle Ages.

Happy St. Brice’s Day

November 13th, 1002 Æþelræd Unræd ordered the slaughter of all the Danes in England. Although at that point Aethelraed could only really enforce his will in about a third of his domain, this ill-advised plan did manage to cause the death of Harald Bluetooth’s daughter Gunhilde, and in some histories the St. Brice’s Day Massacre leads directly to the conquest of England by the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard (Gunhilde’s brother) and Sweyn’s son Knut the Great.

Cryptic sword

British Library museum shelfmark 1858,1116.5

13th century double-edged European knightly sword, 2lb 10oz (1.2kg), 38″ (964mm) long and 6½” (165mm) across the quillons. Found in the river Witham, Lincolnshire, in July 1825, and presented to the Royal Archaeological Institute by the registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln. The blade was broken near the tip and mended “in modern times” according to the British Library website.

Said to bear an indecipherable inscription “+NDXOXCHWDRCHWDRCHDXORUN” inlaid in gold wire on one side, but to me it looks more like “+NDXOXCHWDRCHWDRCHDXORVI+”.

Medieval Wool Tunic

Researchers at the University of Oslo are going to re-create an iron age diamond twill wool tunic, starting with the correct breed of sheep. The reproductions will be displayed at the University’s Museum of Cultural History and the Norsk Fjellmuseum in Lom.

There have been plenty of reconstructions of linen tunics. This particular wool tunic is the oldest complete article of clothing found in Norway, part of the Lendbreen series of finds revealed by retreating glaciers.

The White Tower

The header today is a panoramic view of the Tower of London, taken by #1 son. This is only part of that panorama – the whole thing can’t really be made to fit WordPress’s header aspect.

When I was younger I had a mental image of the Tower as something resembling a chess rook, with the heads of traitors on spikes over the portcullis and shivering naked miscreants suspended in cages from the walls.

Even though I’ve known for decades that my vision of William the Conqueror’s citadel was totally wrong (well, except the heads and cages part) I was unprepared for the sheer size and magnificence of this fortress. I wish we’d had more time to explore, and I hope we can go back some day.

Historical European Martial Arts Wiki

Wiktenauer is an ongoing collaboration among researchers and practitioners from across the Western martial arts community, seeking to collect all of the primary and secondary source literature that makes up the text of historical European martial arts research and to organize and present it in a scholarly but accessible format.

948 A.H. today

With all due deference to the judgement of the lords of creation on all subjects connected with policy and science, we venture to think that our learned friends, the archæologists and antiquaries, would do well to devote their intellectual powers to more masculine objects of enquiry, and leave the question of the Bayeux tapestry (with all other matters allied to needle-craft) to the decision of the ladies to whose province it belongs.

One for Falcone

Armorial bearings of Royal Navy Vice-Admiral Samuel Butcher, commander of the 50-gun frigate HMS Antelope and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Butcher family arms

Arms: Vert, an elephant argent. Mantling vert and argent. Crest: On a wreath of the colours, a branch of a cotton-tree fructed proper. Motto: “Be Steady”.

Image from page 278 of “Armorial families: a directory of gentlemen of coat-armour” (1905).

Colorful Medieval Map of Britain

Julian Harrison at the Medieval Manuscripts blog has done a better job of writing about this map than I can, so I will just quote him and link to his post.

It’s a medieval view of Britain, one of four surviving maps by Matthew Paris, historian and cartographer at St Albans Abbey. Scotland is shown at the top, joined to the rest of the British mainland by a bridge at Stirling (‘Estriuelin pons’). Moving southwards are depicted two walls, one dividing the Scots from the Picts (the Antonine Wall) and the other the Scots from the English (Hadrian’s Wall).