It was a relatively busy over at the Twitter feed the preceding week. Naturally this is partly due to St. Patrick’s Day, but there happened to appear a number of other items of interest as well.
Before jumping into the main categories, I have a couple of general interest sites worth visiting. The first is a post on medieval cartularies of the British Isles – from the post you can view digitalized versions of the aforementioned cartularies. Secondly, have a look at the calendar for Yorkshire-Archaeology events; the events cover a wide range of interests and time periods. Of course, while you’re at that, I’d recommend also checking out my post on conferences and the like (if you know of any events worth adding, just leave a comment at that post). In case you are only interested in Anglo-Saxons, then…
…another place to check for events is the National Trust events calendar which is chock-full of Anglo-Saxon events. It might help, before going to such events, to have a bit of background knowledge on Anglo-Saxons. A good place to start with is David Crowther’s podcasts in his English history podcast series. Last week two new podcasts were released – one on the last king in Jorvik and the other on the reign of Edgar the Peaceable. I highly recommend giving them a listen. Also read a concise biography of Alfred the Great and then download a few podcasts on Alfred at David’s site.
A couple written resources to check out at your local library are an article on Anglo-Saxon sculpture and another on an early medieval inscription at Holcombe, Somerset. If you are too lazy to go to the library, then stay firmly seated and read about Anglo-Saxon human sacrifice and Anglo-Saxon and Viking needlework, or access the 4,500 items available at the Woruldhord Project.
A news item that appeared last week was an article on making a Saxon king’s grave an official monument. Sounds like a good idea. But several people have left comments pointing out that that area seems a prime location for a future traffic roundabout, haha!
If there is something worth not missing, indubitably it must the opportunity to have a special guided tour of Staffordshire Hoard first Wednesday of each month (how I envy you who go!) and the upcoming Staffordshire Hoard tour. If you aren’t able to go on any of the special tours, make up for it by looking at photos of the photo work of the hoard.
Most people know of the Scandinavian migrations throughout Europe, with some Vikings in the East and others as far west as Iceland, Greenland, and North America. I’m sure during those invasions, magical medicine was practiced by the Vikings to heal their wounds. And in their down time, they obviously played games such as chess, as evidenced by the Lewis chessmen, which are to tour soon. Anyway, we know that the inhabitants of the British isles were nonplussed with the invaders, for obvious reasons. That, however, does raise an intriguing question on how people with Vikings names were viewed by the English. And to wrap up with Norse stuff, watch a video of the presentation of a paper on Drengskapr and Mannjafnaðr in the Icelandic Sagas.
The reason this twitter review is so late this week is due to the sheer volume of links I accumulated the past week on Celt-related topics. I’ve been dreading writing this section, and kept putting it off until today finally. Now let me get to it!
Last week I gave a link for creating a piece of your own Celtic jewelry. If you liked that, then you’ll also like a new link to make your own beadset ring. Once you have your new, shiny jewelry, you might need to ward off fairies. Perhaps Merlin and Arthur can help you with that, as well. Speaking of Arthur, it is generally held that he is a Celtic hero from the period when the Romans withdrew from Britain and the Germanic tribes were invading. There must have been many clashes between the Celts and the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians, but what about Celtic and English linguistic contact?
The Celtic languages are perhaps in a weird place, at the moment. For example, at the Expolangues conference there is only a single person who acts as representative for the entire Welsh language and does so without any support from Wales. In Scotland, the Gaelic language returns to Scotland’s woodlands, but at the same time there is the argument that public signs in Gaelic or Scots are a waste of money. And while the Irish language is gaining popularity, there is still the question whether Irish can survive in the long-run; after all, there is blatant non-compliance with Irish-language laws.
There is also the question of the revival of the Manx and Cornish languages. I believe I’ve provided elsewhere some resources for the Cornish language (I’ll check on that later), so I’ll take this chance to give some additional resources for Cornwall, including a link to a new book on Cornish studies, one to a historical timeline of Cornwall, another link to a site about the historic environment of Cornwall, and also one for the Cornwall Archaeological Society (which I believe I linked to last week as well). And because I didn’t have much on Wales last week, here’s a short paper for you on Cardiff Castle.
Via Iain Forbes’ Twitter feed I always find a lot of articles on Picts. This week he linked an article on the state of Pictland and Dark Age Picts. Picts are well-known for the carved stones they left behind. You can read about the carved stones policy of Historic Scotland. If you find that interesting, you might wish to read more broadly on early medieval North Sea sculpture. The effect of Christianity in early historic Scotland is easily evidenced in many of the Pictish stones and North Sea sculptures. Christianity in medieval Scotland is present in the remnants of medieval churches. Recently a preservation award was given to make the medieval Christian church Teampull na Trionaid safe for visitors.
Now for the main focus of last week…Ireland. Having just mentioned Scotland, a good place to start seems to be with a paper on Irish-Scottish connections in the first millennium A.D.. While on the topic of early Ireland, read about the excavation of an early medieval Irish site and give a look over a short paper on kingship in early Ireland. Once you know about early Irish kingship, you’ll be able to have a greater understanding of the medieval king of Ireland Brian Boru. Unfortunately for the Irish (I suppose whether it was “unfortunate” depends on whom you speak to), the medieval period also witnessed the beginning of Norman in Ireland, such as with the lordship of Meath. I suppose it was the Normans who ordered the building of a medieval grain mill in Dublin that was recently discovered during a construction project at Meeting House Square in Temple Bar.
As most people are aware, St. Patrick’s Day was on the 17th, so for those interested in the saint, listen to a podcast on the history of St. Patrick, visit the History Channel’s pages on St. Patrick’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day symbols and traditions. Although Patrick converted the Irish to Christianity, nonetheless there still remained strong pagan influences on Irish Christian art, such as recapitation in Irish hagiography. It is even argued that a manipulation of common memory took place in early Irish hagiography. Furthermore, belief in mythical beings continued on into the modern period. Such pagan beliefs got incorporated into Irish Christianity, with priests saying, for example, that leprechauns were descended from Cain.
To finish a little lazily, because frankly this post has sapped my energy, read about wisdom literature in early Ireland, which I’d venture to say can be traced back either directly or indirectly to St. Patrick. Of course, you can only have literature if you have human beings writing, so lest we forget about the humans behind the literature, read about the “scribes” in medieval Ireland. I wonder if medieval Irish scribes carried their works around in such fashionable Irish book-satchels.