Tumblr: full of pretty pictures!

Today, in lieu of content, I shall bring you shocking news. Contrary to popular belief, the social networking site known as Tumblr is not exclusively devoted to nudity and pictures of cats. Here are some medieval and/or otherwise pertinent things you can find on Tumblr:

  • Medieval Love – lovely medieval things.
  • Medieval – much the same, but with a greater propensity to post manuscript images.
  • Old Book Illustrations – mostly 19th/early 20th century engravings, but that category covers matters Arthurian. I dunno about you, but I have a huge soft spot for 19th-century engravings, especially the ones based on pre-Raphaelite and Symbolist art.
  • Better Book Titles – what it says on the tin. (On its own domain, but also a tumblr. How confusing.)
  • Shit my students write – “Publicising to the intertubes” is beyond my personal boundaries of Stuff To Do With Alarming Or Amusing Things In Essays, but sometimes I wonder if I could induce my students to proof-read better by showing them some of these as a warning.
  • Fuck Yeah, History Major Heraldic Beast – there’s an explanation I could give for these memes (an image photoshopped onto a bi-coloured background, meant to typify and mock a particular group of persons), but I shan’t. Point is, this is how (some) history majors vent their frustration and mock themselves. It is amusing, in a repetitive sort of way.
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A fun story about dead kings!

My favourite kind of story. Over at Heavenfelth, Michele talks about the humble and very much dead King Oswine, who was murdered by King Oswiu after a period of intrigue involving battles that never happened and treasonous retainers. She also talks about the reasons why Bede might have included this story in his history.

What interests me about this story, though, is that Oswiu’s queen, Eanfled, was Oswine’s cousin.  So she demanded weregild from her husband – it was to be paid in the form of the foundation of a monastery at Gilling. Now, as Michelle notes, Oswiu had seriously pissed off the church by killing Oswine, so Eanfled probably had some powerful churchmen backing her demand. But it’s interesting to me that the demand was framed as weregild, not merely as penance; and that a wife could claim weregild from her husband for the death of a cousin. I don’t recall ‘found a monastery’ ever appearing in any of the law codes on weregild that I slogged through, although obviously this is a couple of centuries earlier than said codes. But that still leads me to conclude that this is a very odd social/legal transaction, and all the more interesting for it.

Besides, as Michelle noted in the comments, that means that the monastery of Gilling was founded to pray for both Oswine (murdered) and Oswiu (murderer). There’s a special sense  of narrative coherence to that.

Vale, Academichic

I’m really rather sad to see Academichic close up blogging for the forseeable future (although I do admire their coherent conclusions to the blog). I liked their blog a lot: I’ve not yet found anything in the fashion-blogosphere with the same combination of ‘things I could see myself wearing’ and ‘conversations about clothes that I find interesting’.

I think I’ve said on here – I’ve been angsting probably more than is warranted about clothes in the last year or so, and in some ways picking up reading Academichic might have contributed to that.1

A couple of links to Academichic posts I found particularly interesting:

E., on the history of floral patterns and on the history of the brand Bannana Republic

S., on visible-pregnancy in academia; wedding rings and job interviews and the practice of corseting

First E, then S and then A and then S again on cultural appropriation in fashion.

I have been particularly interested in A.’s posts, which are often about dressing as a queer woman in academia.

So, there we go. Not medieval at all2, but Academichic has been a constant in my blogroll for quite a while now.


1. I have, in fact, a lot less angst about dressing now than I did a year ago. I think a lot of my concern was about going through a professional shift (pure student to student-and-teacher), and one in which I was deeply invested (as opposed to my previous shift into the public service, in which I didn’t think of professional clothes as self-presentation so much as an ill-defined uniform – L. of Academichic had an interesting post on the difference between dressing as drag and dressing as uniform which I found quite apt). Anyway, that’s another post and probably not one for this blog.
2. There’s a medievalist over at In Professorial Fashion, but her content never touches on her field.

Also, recommended reading

My friend nummalite has commenced blogging her way through the reading list for her major field. Nummulite is both a medievalist and a classicist; she’s interested in gender and queer theory, and in the theory of transformative works. With just a few posts so far, she already has tags for the eternal problem of robots; ladies, please; and ofc/jesus. Nummalite is lovely, and her updates on her adventures in medieval lit are both charming and insightful. Ergo, you should read her blog too!

Today is link day!

My friend Kari has just launched her own academic blog. Strange Student is (going to be!) full of resources for self-directed learning. Kari plans to lend some help and advice to students who come to higher education through non-traditional pathways (such as homeschooled young people or mature-age students), provide resources for those who want to learn more outside of the classroom, and to provide links to the best online education materials (with a history-specific bent).

On Mondays she’ll be posting about college (university), and she’s started off with a clear, concise post entitled Is College Right For You. I don’t know if I’ve got any followers who are debating their possible university career, but if you are, you might want to check out Kari’s post – you’ll get a lot more in the way of balanced advice from her than from me (pssst UNIVERSITY IS AWESOME). Dean Dad, Kari’s series might interest you; likewise anyone who’s in a student-advisory type capacity in academic administration.

Look! A Distraction!

While I’m engaged in a probably-doomed effort to finish my thesis in the next twelve hours, you should all go over here. Eggs Maledict, another of our nutty crowd of wannabe medievalists at USyd, has a little rant about how ‘history from below’ hasn’t penetrated the ranks of medieval boy history military historians.

Delbrück, the Clausewitz-ian (my term, clearly) historian, decided that medieval warfare was essentially individualist, primitive and stupid. His entire writing on the topic displays poor use of sources and a number of conclusions based on faulty assumptions. Verbruggen cut Delbrück to pieces in his work, but it’s been almost ignored by modern historians. I have my own conspiracy theories about this which relate to another ‘great’ historian of medieval warfare, Smail. He published shortly after Verbruggen and somehow managed to completely eclipse the Belgian, who, in an edited and expanded edition of his original work, showed a number of holes in Smail’s work. Almost no-one acknowledges Verbruggen, which is strange, because he makes his arguments much more incisively than Smail, particularly in his criticism of Delbrück; Verbruggen is especially sharp on Delbrück’s use of sources and suggests that the German lacked familiarity with them, being over-reliant on his students.

You tell ’em, Eggs :D. And better you than me: I’ll be over here with my early 11th century manuscript historians.

ED: Oh, and while we’re at it, if you follow this link you will find that K has a “Who’s Who In The Holy Land From 1174 to 1187” type post.

Three Things:

1. You have no idea how much I hate the Sermo Lupi ad Anglos right now (unless of course you read my LJ, in which case you saw all the frothing at the mouth). Every time I think I have an idea, I can’t pin it down; it turns out to be wrong; it turns out I have two contradictory ideas; it turns out someone else already thought it and it’s not quite right; or despite the fact that my gut and a reasonable amount of historical evidence tells me that Wulfstan did not particularly want AEthelred back in 1014, I still can’t figure out how to read the Sermo except as advocating the return of AEthelred. What kind of person presides over the ordination of a new bishop of London, despite said bishop not being in your province, and despite the current bishop of London being in exile with your exiled king, and then turns around the next day and says ‘you know, it’s very sinful to kick out the king, we should get him back’. AND THEN KEEPS PREACHING SAID SERMON FOR FOUR OR FIVE YEARS, even after said king has been exiled and the young Viking dude you rejected in 1014 is now on the throne.  WTF, Wulfstan, WTF?

Oh, and the Thing is due in three weeks. Someone please preside over my execution immediately.

2. Hey, a medieval blog I didn’t know about! Hannah is studying at Melbourne with Stephanie Trigg, and is writing her honours thesis on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She’s talking about “Duality and Ambiguity”, being the ways in which the poet sets things up with two possible interpretations; and about the relationships between devotional and romantic literature in SGGK. Gawain, however, is not all she talks about: check out her blogo-biography of Henry VI.

3. Oh, and I can tell my blog’s up and running again when I start getting loopy porn search hits on a daily basis. To the person hunting for Gawain slash fic, try a Google advanced search restricted to livejournal.com, that should do the trick.

For the benefit of the person who wanted to see medieval women naked, here are both Eve AND Adam naked. Eve is the one on the right, who appears to have two nipple rings. Adam is the one with the pot belly. (Apologies to the illuminator of MS Junius 11 for my terrible LOLmanuscript):