Here is the next installment of my week-in-review from Þæt Eald-Ænglisce Blog’s Twitter feed.
Although I’m no big fan of Normans, it is still necessary to study them for the obviously huge role they played in European history. Fortunately, Medievalists.net has recently made a post containing a collection of articles on Normans and another post containing an article on William the Bastard. Perhaps the Normans were able to beat the Anglo-Saxons because of achy Anglo-Saxon joints. At least under King Canute those unfortunate Anglo-Saxons might have received some disability compensation.
For the archaeologically minded, there’s currently an exhibition on the lost library of Alcuin’s York ongoing until mid-April, and medievalists.net recently posted an article on salvage recording of remains at Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.
Before leaving behind the Anglo-Saxons, make sure not to lose the great opportunity to read the latest issue of postmedieval online.
An exciting piece of news for fans of Vikings and sailing is that a replica of the famous Oseberg Viking ship is to be built and sailed this year. As a Viking it may have been better to be at sea, as it appears, and it may be difficult to believe, that even the notorious Vikings suffered from fake swords! That must have made it easier for some to enter Valhalla – not the easiest thing to accomplish, as the Saga of Biorn clearly demonstrates. Having brought up the well-known word saga, and with the upcoming release of the ‘Thor’ movie, it is obvious that Old Norse literature and culture are received well-enough in the contemporary Western world. But what about when it first became known outside of Iceland?
March seems to be a hot time for saints of the Celtic peoples. Of course on the 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day, and on the 5th was St. Pirran’s Day, St. Pirran being the patron saint of Cornwall. The 1st of March saw the annual celebration of the patron saint of Wales, St. David, who died on that date back in the year 589. On St. David’s Day there are many celebrations and various activities throughout the country and abroad, and this is the day that you can see Wales’ traditional costume. If St. David’s Day sparks some interest in Welsh history, then you might consider checking out a couple new books covering the agrarian history of England and Wales from prehistory to medieval times. Another source to check out is an aptly named article, “Thirteenth Century Farm Economies in North Wales“.
Moving north from Cornwall and Wales we come to Cumbria, which was home to the Brittanic Cumbrians, a population that spoke a ‘P-Celtic’ language and which had strong ties with the Welsh. The Senchus website (a great resource for medieval Scottish studies) recently published a post on King Dunmail, who may or may not be the Dunmail after whom a cairn is named in Cumbria. And via the King Dunmail post I found Esmeralda’s Cumbrian History & Folklore which looks to me to be the up-and-coming premier blog on Cumbric studies.
Now moving even farther north, we come to Scotland. There was recently a talk on the Glenmorangie project on Early Historic Scotland, AD 300-900, slides from which can be seen at the preceding link. Archeological work recently carried out at the site of the Bannockburn battlefield yielded no major finds, but that’s okay, the work was done just as a precaution before the site undergoes some landscape work. Something I found interesting was an article made available by medievalists.net on street cleaning in late medieval Aberdeen Scotland. Those who are Scottish or have Scottish heritage might like to read a couple of articles on Viking genes and Pictish genes among the modern population of Scotland. If it turns out you have Pictish genes, you need to start getting in tune with your Pictish heritage, which you can start doing by viewing the Pictish Dupplin Cross in 3D.
On March 27th the census will be conducted in Scotland, and this time there will be a question asking about the Scots language. For those who may not know about Scots, it is a language derived from the Northumbrian dialect of Old English and has been strongly influenced by Old Norse as well as Low German. It is, in fact, the language most closely related to Modern English. If you are interested in learning more about Scots, I’d highly recommend visiting the site of the Scots Language Centre. Also read more about the Scots language initiative for the upcoming census at the Aye Can website. And there will be a talk on the Scots language at the British Library on March 3oth. All the discussion raised by the upcoming census question brings up another language myth, namely that it is a waste of time to learn Scots or Scottish Gaelic.