Ærend-gewrit: Wicu 28 March – 3 April 2011 on Twittere

Before getting into the Twitter feed week-in-review, I want to first present a really great resource, and that is the British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography. If you are interested in doing research into any period of British or Irish history, give that page a try.

Anglo-Saxons:

Have modern film adaptations butchered the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf? Yes, according to one paper, especially in regard to drinking and debauchery. But that probably comes as no surprise to most people. Maybe if Anglo-Saxons were living today, they’d file suit against the film producers for the butchery. Read the new issue of Heroic Age to learn a bit about Anglo-Saxon laws, then imagine such a scenario.

Summer is fast approaching, and so too the summer tour of the Staffordshire Hoard. Make sure to book your place as the tour is a big hit. Before attending one of the events, learn a bit more about the Staffordshire Hoard gold, read a Q&A session with Kevin Leahy, one of the leading experts on the Hoard, and watch the original National Geographic show on the Staffordshire Hoard

Norse:

The Norse Mythology Blog has recently launched a fun and exciting addition, and that is NorseTube! It is the official YouTube channel for the blog, and it includes a fun selection of relevant videos. Of course, don’t forget that there is also Þæt Eald-Ænglisce Blog’s YouTube channel as well. If you have any videos you feel I should add to the collection, please leave a comment at the channel or in the comments for this post. I hope to add some more videos to the collection in the coming months.

Other exciting news, of a more ‘scholarly’ sort, let’s say, is the newly established Hjaltland Research Network which will conduct research into the Viking past of Shetland (and here’s another article, in case you can’t get enough).

Vikings, as we all know, were less than saints, and as such it isn’t shocking to hear about the Viking slave trade. And one person at a history forum recently suggested that Muslim silver supported the Viking raids raids throughout Europe. What do you think? Put in your two cents at the forum.

And lest I forget those who love Old Icelandic literature, here is the Viking Society for Northern Research’s Saga Book XXXIII which includes a paper on the Gylfaginning.

Celts:

What could be a better segue into the Celts topic than a single paper on a Pictish burial and Norse settlement in Scotland? And Pictish stone-lovers rejoice, as there is a new lottery boost for Pictish stone and I have for you a webpage on Pictish Ogham inscriptions. If you are less interested in Celtic Scotland and more so in ‘Germanic’ Scotland (for lack of a better term), then perhaps you will prefer to read an interesting article on the dialects of the Scots language.

The Irish History Podcast blog published an absolutely fascinating post on the influence of paganism on Irish Christianity – I highly recommend giving it a read. For an additional look at the interworkings of paganism and Christianity in medieval Ireland, read a paper on the Battle of Clontarf which shows an interesting mishmash of historical fact and religious fiction.

Speaking of fact and fiction, I have two pieces of news in Wales which fit right in – one piece good, and the other potentially bad. To start with the bad, action is needed in order to save a hill farm in an area which is an important setting for the tale of the famous Welsh dragon. The good news, just to cheer you up a bit, is that Cardigan Castle has just received a substantial sum of money to aid in restoration work.

My Cornish readers – if I have any – will hopefully appreciate and enjoy a paper on medieval Cornish hedges. And for Cumbrians and anybody interested in Cumbria, a couple new posts were recently published on Eveling (faerie king or Celtic god?) and Owain map Urien.

Posted in Ærend-Gewrit (Messages) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Leornung: Ælfas ond Dweorgas ond Wyrd, oh my!

Certainly at least some of my readers must be interested in ancient Germanic mythology. And why not, it is quite interesting after all! Here are a couple of links to get you learning about Elves in England and dwarves in Norse mythology. Follow that up by following a short discussion on the issue of belief of wyrd in a Christian Anglo-Saxon world. If all that has piqued your interest, then read an interesting interview with a professor of Icelandic studies and check out the five books she recommends.

In the interview mention is made of the connection between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings. If you wish to learn more, then buy an awesome poster on Anglo-Saxons and Vikings and look at a variety of Viking brooches in England. I wonder in what ways the Viking villages in the Danelaw (and elsewhere) looked similar to and different from Anglo-Saxon villages. Speaking of all this, did you know about the connection between Chippenham, King Alfred, and Vikings? In the long run, Anglo-Saxons and Norse just never managed to get along, and in the end a combination of Norwegians and Normans did the Anglo-Saxons in.

Lastly, many who are interested in the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings are interested in their respective languages as well. Such people will therefore most likely want to check out the Journal of English and Germanic Philology. And if you are decently versed in Old Norse, please help a newbie out by participating in a short discussion on the Old Norse preposition i.

Posted in Leornung (Learning), Sprǣc (Language), Stǣr (History) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ærend-gewrit: Wicu 21-27 March 2011 on Twittere

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…

Anglo-Saxons:

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.

Norse:

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.

Celts:

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.

Posted in Ærend-Gewrit (Messages) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tīdunga: Lichfield Anglo-Saxon Bonanza!

If you have read even one post here at this blog, then you already know that the Staffordshire Hoard will go on tour this summer, and that one stop is the cathedral in Lichfield. If you will attend the Lichfield event, then you will get to see, in fact, an Anglo-Saxon bonanza! It seems to me that Lichfield will be the place to be for Anglo-Saxonists. Well, Lichfield AND Sutton Hoo – there will be a new exhibition there which replicates the original burial chamber. Sounds exciting!

Get into that Anglo-Saxon mood by downloading an Anglo-Saxon history app for your phone, communicating with followers of neo-Anglo-Saxon heathenry, reading about Maps and Monsters and swords, and watching a video on Medieval England. For a more literary look, read The Word Exchange (and check out an article with input from one of the co-editors). It may help to first learn a bit of Old English grammar though. In case you consider taking a class on Old English, first check out an interesting article about a professor of Old English. While you are learning Old English, you might as well study the wider period of the English language from Old English to Middle English.

If you could care less about Anglo-Saxons and their language, and demand Viking resources, then worry not! You can read about the Norse genesis of the world, and if you have any questions afterwards, ask away at a tumblr page on Norse mythology/history. You can alternatively do a little legwork of your own and read books on Old Norse themes. If you are already knowledgeable in Norse mythology, then consider fleshing out and fixing up a rough Wikipedia article on Svartálfar and Svartálfaheimr.

Posted in Tīdunga (News) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ærend-gewrit: Wicu 14-20 March 2011 on Twittere

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…

Anglo-Saxons:

…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.

Norse:

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.

Celts:

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.

Posted in Ærend-Gewrit (Messages) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments