Fortunately (for me), last week was a tad bit slower at the Twitter feed. Before getting into the main topics, I would like to direct you towards a nice round-up of Arthurian links at the Senchus website, as well as an article via Medievalists.net on Arthur of Dalriada. Also, if you want to read primary source material in the original manuscript form, then visit this awesome site on paleography. And now to the main event…
Oh Staffordshire Hoard, how I love thee! Even though finding a hoard isn’t always a good thing, with the new Staffordshire Hoard site (read a news release about the new site) and the photography of the Hoard items such as the beautiful pectoral cross it’s hard to not love you. And reading papers from Staffordshire Hoard Symposium makes you all the more fascinating. But we shouldn’t forget about Sutton Hoo, which even has its own blog and will soon hold an exhibition with a replica of the burial chamber – no Anglo-Saxon crosses there, I bet! While the Staffordshire and Sutton Hoo finds are great, we shouldn’t overlook other places, such as a Saxon site at Springhead in Kent.
While the work of Anglo-Saxon goldsmiths and blacksmiths was exceptional, even pieces like this bead necklace, which Anglo-Saxon women apparently wore quite a bit, are astounding. Well, by Anglo-Saxon women I of course exclude nuns. Monasticism and the like seems, after all, to have been relatively popular given the number of monasteries spread throughout early medieval Britain. Little wonder, given the violence as evidenced directly by cranial trauma at cemetery and less-so by monstrosity in Old English and Old Icelandic literature (if you wish to read the literature in the original language, you’ll need to know the main features of Old English and grammatical points like Class 4 Strong Verbs). But getting back to a more historical view, download a podcast on Aethelred the Unready and consult the podcast bibliography if you wish to consult some scholarly resources.
Most readers of this blog likely know about the Viking age in Caithness and Orkney (if not, then consider purchasing The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings). But I bet most people don’t know that in Orkney there are even Viking mice! I wonder if the Viking mice wear those famous horned Viking helmets? And is death an erotic pleasure journey for the mice as it appears to have been for the men? Is the color green symbolic to Viking mice? That last point I doubt – I do think they prefer red (just ask Mickey Mouse).
Back in Scandinavia, there is a modern question about the future of Swedish archeology. Regardless the future, the present of Scandinavian archeology has yielded new finds on itinerant kings. And from a mythical point-of-view, there seems to be a correlation between the Odinic tradition and Syrian and Indian mythologies.
One link has already been given for (Anglo-Saxon) crosses above, and now I have some more links for you, whether you want them or not. The theme of fate in early Irish texts indicates that the Irish have long been strong believers in the supernatural. It comes as little wonder then that they invested time and energy in the design of their crosses. Attend an Irish high crosses exhibition and take a look at the Cross of Cong to see what I mean.
Ireland, however, isn’t the only Celtic land to have crosses. Cornwall is full of Cornish Celtic crosses. In fact, more generally Cornwall has a wealth of ancient sites, and you can get into touch with Celtic Cornwall through the organization Gorseth Kernow. If you really wish to get a feel for the Celtic side of Cornwall, perhaps the best way to do so is by learning the Cornish language. It might be interesting, first of all, to learn a bit about the Cornish language in medieval times.
Scotland too certainly isn’t short on its share of historical sites. Don’t believe me? Check out then the Glenmorangie Early Historic Scotland Project and an article on 13th century castles. Likewise, Scotland has plenty of its own crosses, many created by the Picts, who are well-known for their practice of tattooing which to this day influences modern tattooing. Anyway, you can see some of the splendid Pictish stones at St Vigeans Pictish Stones Museum (note that to visit now requires pre-booking). If you like the Pictish stones, then you might also fancy attending an upcoming Pictish throne exhibition. Before going to the exhibition, considering reading up a bit with an article on Scotland’s dark ages and a short post on Picts, and by visiting an old internet site on Picts.
Lastly, I don’t know if this is funny, sad, or what-have-you, but read one author’s accusation that the Welsh language made him miss the train. Do you agree or disagree with his arguments? I leave you to form your own opinion.