ricardienne: (Default)
What would an election be without the weird historical analogies?

(1) Obama as Augustus. The parallels are certainly there (I saw them before I hunted down this post) -- nation divided by partisan strife, young unknown initially dismissed by political establishment defeats veteran soldier/politician and his much-vilified female ally from exotic location, promises to restore greatness and unity, is hailed as savior -- but the blogger rather inexplicably seems to think that Augustus was an uncontestably Good Thing...
(2)Barack Socrates Obmama. This one, I just don't get. Socrates was a controversial figure among his contemporaries, so is Obama? I think you need to try a little harder.

(3)And, of course, Voting for Obama was like fighting for Henry V, in a way. Actually, this one I do endorse. (Yeah, I am proud to have voted in this election, and I am going to tell my grand-children about watching the returns!) (more about that analogy (old.)
ricardienne: (augustine)
So I am quite certain JK Rowling was inspired by this at least a bit for the graveyard scene in Goblet of Fire (I do happen to think this, but it is also an excuse to put this up, a sort of early Hallowen kind of thing):

From Cassisu Dio's Roman History, Book LXVII Epitome, Ch. 9:

At this time, then, he [Domitian] feasted the populace as described; and on another occasion he entertained the foremost men among the senators and knights in the following fashion. He prepared a room that was pitch black on every side, ceiling, walls and floor, and had made ready bare couches of the same colour resting on the uncovered floor; then he invited in his guests alone at night without their attendants. And first he set beside each of them a slab shaped like a gravestone, bearing the guest's name and also a small lamp, such as hang in tombs. Next comely naked boys, likewise painted black, entered like phantoms, and after encircling the guests in an awe-inspiring dance took up their stations at their feet. After this all the things that are commonly offered at the sacrifices to departed spirits were likewise set before the guests, all of them black and in dishes of a similar colour. Consequently, every single one of the guests feared and trembled and was kept in constant expectation of having his throat cut the next moment, the more so as on the part of everybody but Domitian there was dead silence, as if they were already in the realms of the dead, and the emperor himself conversed only upon topics relating to death and slaughter. Finally he dismissed them; but he had first removed their slaves, who had stood in the vestibule, and now gave his guests in charge of other slaves, whom they did not know, to be conveyed either in carriages or litters, and by this procedure he filled them with far greater fear. And scarcely had each guest reached his home and was beginning to get his breath again, as one might say, when word was brought him that a messenger from the Augustus had come. While they were accordingly expecting to perish this time in any case, one person brought in the slab, which was of silver, and then others in turn brought in various articles, including the dishes that had been set before them at the dinner, which were constructed of very costly material; and last of all came that particular boy who had been each guest's familiar spirit, now washed and adorned. Thus, after having passed the entire night in terror, they received the gifts.

And then, after a bit more of Domtian's Evil Deeds there is this really weird little note, which is actually why I am making this entry in the first place:

During this period some persons made a business of smearing needles with poison and then pricking with them whomsoever they would. Many persons who were thus attacked died without even knowing the cause, but many of the murderers were informed against and punished. And this sort of thing happened not only in Rome but over practically the whole world.

Doesn't that sound like the urban legend about HIV-positive people who go around intentionally stabbing innocent victims with used needles? They certainly were like us, those Romans. ;)
ricardienne: (Default)
You know what annoys me? Going to the supermarket and seeing fruit that says "tree-ripened" or something but that clearly isn't. Who do these companies think they're fooling? And how can they get away with such a blatant lie?

I have been tenatively pursuing information of Aquilius Regulus (The link is perhaps not a particularly reliable source, but most of if it is straight out of Pliny, so it's probably not any more inaccurate than anything else) -- a lawyer, informer, and legacy-hunter under Nero and Domitian. Not much connection with Regulus Black, then. The accounts of gold-digging and persuading little old ladies to include him in their wills put me more in mind of Tom Riddle than anything. He seems to have lived into Nerva and maybe Trajan's reign, so no clear parallel there. Oh well.


May. 31st, 2006 02:15 am
ricardienne: (angelo)
Aren't these hats absolutely nifty? I wish I could knit like that, but the only one I think I might be able to do is the Monmouth Cap (and that's because I found several other patterns for it elsewhere on the web.) I feel so unskilled.

I got impatient with my farthingale this morning, mostly because I think I am going to have to take out the straw rings and put something more reliable in, so I decided to start draping the bodice of my dress, because I shouldn't need an accurate sense of how the skirt will fall for that, should I? I want to do a doublet-style bodice, because a) They look much nicer than the standard low-cut kind, b) I've already made several "Renn-Faire" Elizabethan bodices, and c)women's doublets were semi-controversial in the 16th century, because they were men's clothing, and this makes the project more interesting!* I haven't decided whether to do the doublet + shirt + separate skirt/kirtle version or the doublet + attached or at least matching skirt + sleeves. I'm kind of leaning towards the latter, because all of the paintings of the former kind have lots of poofs and bows and decoration that I'm not sure I could do at all.

I managed to download Phillip Stubbes' Anatomie of Abuses to get the exact passage, which I transcribe here (I don't know how to get the s that looks like an f (does anyone know how to make this character? It looks all wrong when I change it to regular s), so I have to change it -- sadly, no Stan Freberg joke here):

Philo. The women also there haue dublets & Ierkins, as men haue heer, buttoned vp the brest, nd made with wings, welts, and pinions on the shoulder points, as mans apparel is for all the world; & though this be a kinde of attire appropriate onely to man, yet they blush not to wear it; and if they could as wel chaunge their sex, & put on th ekinde of man, as they can weare apparel assigned onely to man, I think they would as verely become men indeed, as no they degenerat from godly, sober women, in wearing this wanton lewd kinde of attire, proper onely to man.

It is written in the 22 of deuteronomie, that what man so euer weareth woman's apparel is accursed, and what woman weareth mans apparel is accursed also. Now, whether they be within the bands and lymits of that cursse, let them see to it them selves. Our Apparell was giuen vs as a signe distinctiue to discern betwixt sex and sex, & therefore one to weare the Apparel of another sex is to participate with the same, and to adulterate the verities of his owne kinde. Wherefore these Women may not improperly be called Hermaphroditi, that is, Monsters of bothe kindes, half women, half men.

Spud. I neuer read nor heard of any people, except drunken with Cyrces cups or poysoned with the exorcisms of Medea, that fmaous and renouned Sorceresse, that euer woulde weare suche kinde o attire as it is not onely stinking before the face of God, offensiue to man, but also painteth out to the whole world the venereous inclination of their corrup conuersation.

I mean with a recommendation like that, who wouldn't want to make one?

Hee! Stubbes is incredibly subtle: his pamphlet is entirely about that fictional country Aligna… I don't think I'll have time to read the whole thing, but the bits I am finding are quite funny.
ricardienne: (Default)
Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!*
442 years.

(Today is also the birthday of Michael Moore and Timothy McVeigh. Also International Book Day, and the feast of St. George, which is quite appropriate. And Beer Day in Germany, according to wikipedia.)

The thing that struck me today is how recent Shakespeare is. It hasn't even been 450 years since he was born. 442 years before Shakespeare, Eleanor of Aquitaine was born. That's amazing to me. We're only as far away from Shakespeare as Eleanor was. Chaucer was born a little over 200 years before Shakespeare was. 200 years after Shakespeare was born, the French and Indian war was on. Dante was born 300 years before Shakespeare. Three hundred years after Shakespeare, we're in the middle of the American Civil War.

To put things in perspective a little bit more, and because I'm obviously addicted to wikipedia. Virgil died in 19 b.c. Tacitus died in 117. Augustine died in 430.

I guess this is what Early Modern means -- as close, or closer, really, to the modern world as to the ancient world, but it does seem as though time is speeding up.
It's interesting to think about which writers get first names and which by their last. No one would ever call Dante, "Alighieri" but I think all English authors get last names, probably because they all have the same first names so it would get confusing. Classical authors get their cognomen, usually, although Cicero used to by called Tully. Homer only has one name.
ricardienne: (Default)
November 3:

1493 - Christopher Columbus first sights the island of Dominica in the Caribbean Sea.
1793 - French playwright, journalist and feminist Olympe de Gouges is guillotined.
1918 - Austria-Hungary enters an armistice with the World War I Allies, and the Habsburg-ruled empire dissolves.
1970 - Salvador Allende is inaugurated as president of Chile.

I also have many U.S. elections on my birthday. Sadly, the last one was 1 day too early. Not that it would have mattered anyway.

39 - Lucan, Roman poet (d. 65)
1500 - Benvenuto Cellini, Italian artist (d. 1571)
1874 - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canadian novelist (d. 1942)
1895 - Grand Duchess Olga Nicolaievna Romanova (d. 1918)

361 - Constantius II, Roman Emperor (b. 317)
1428 - Thomas Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury, English military leader (mortally wounded in battle (at the siege of Orleans, if you care to know) (b. 1388)
1926 - Annie Oakley, American sharp-shooter (b. 1860)
ricardienne: (Default)
…when you spend an afternoon analyzing the clothing in Tamora Pierce novels. You also know that you are a hopelessly irredeemable geek.

Not that there's too much method to it: I swear the description of Thayet's dress from Lioness Rampant is straight out of Gone With The Wind.

But, by the Kel books, she seems to have settled down. Male dress is either "breeches," "shirt" and "tunic" or, on fancy occasions, "hose," "shirt," and "tunic." Women seem to wear either "undergown" and "overrobe (overgown)" or "(under)gown" and "(sleeveless) surcoat."

These are, of course, woefully vague terms. Female costume for just about the entire period consisted of some sort of two-layers of dress. When she says "surcoat," though, I tend to think <link:http://www.silkewerk.com/images/luttrell1.jpg|"sideless> (i.e. mid 14th c), even though I personally tend to imagine them more in standard 15th c. or late 15th c./Burgundian clothes. I think she did mention on Sheroes once that her clothing tends to "Gothic" (or at least she thinks it does).

So fine. But what about the men? I suppose one could call something like this a tunic, as well as this kind of thing. But there isn't anything I would call "breeches" until the 16th century. Which is definitely out of period, at least, as far as I can tell. The other problem would be this "tunic" thing. Men, of course, were wearing robes/houpplandes/surcoats just as long as women (almost) for the 14th-15th centuries. Young men might wear short tunics (although I don't like the word "tunic" at all for this: way too vague and, I mean really: would you call any of these things "tunics" I wouldn't.) But older men would wear longer garments. And I'm sorry: calling this a tunic is stretching it. Really stretching it.

I have to conclude that Tamora Pierce just doesn't like the idea of guys not wearing pants. She'll let them get away with it on fancy-dress occasions, but not normally. None of her Manly Middle-Aged Men are going to be caught dead in an ankle-length gown!

I know, I should just get over it. They're fantasy novels, not historical ones. The author can do what she likes with clothing. But it bugs me. All of this pseudo-medieval fantasy that really isn't bugs me.

When I write my pseudo-medieval fantasy novel… If the women wear pointy hats, the men are going to wear houpplandes, too. With 12+ yards of cloth, if they can afford it. So there.


Oct. 14th, 2005 03:53 pm
ricardienne: (Default)
So, contrary to what it may have seemed, that last post was not made because of any connection between Severus Snape and Severus Bishop of Melevis. However, while we're on the subject…

St. Severus of Treves
A missionary of Gaulish descent who seems to have lived slightly after Augustine, his feast day is October 15 (tomorrow).

St. Severus of Avranches, who lived a few hundred years later in Normandy. His feast day is February 1, and his patronage(s) seem to involve clothmakers and -workers and those who suffer from migraines.

This last should not be confused with Severus of Ravenna, who was a weaver himself, until he was miraclulously elected Bishop of Ravenna in 382, and whose Feast is also February 1.

St. Sulpicius Severus was made the Bishop of Bourges in 584. His Feast is January 29. He is notable for writing a Life of St. Martin of Tours

St. Severus the Prebestyr is an Orthodox saint whose feast day is June 27. He brought a man back to life long enough to give him the last rites. This would seem to be the same story as that of Severus of Androcca, who is celebrated on February 15.

Severus of Barcelona was martyred by Visigoths in 633. His Feast is November 6, and he is also known as Severus of Rome.

St Severus of Antioch, also known as St. Severus the Great, was the Patriarch of Antioch during the early sixth century, and formulated a lot of very complex theology which apparently is integral to Eastern Orthodox Christology. His Feast is celebrated (at least in the Syrian Orthodox Church) on the Thursday after the tenth Monday before Easter Sunday.

Emperor Septimius Severus effected many reforms in and brought stability to the Roman Empire, ruling from 193-211 AD.

Alexander Severus (ruled 222-235) was a more or less well-meaning but ineffectul wimp, who was killed by his own soldiers when he tried to buy off the enemy rather than fight them.

Severus II, or Flavius Valerius Severus, was a late emperor who only held the title for a year (306-307). There was a two-emperor system going on anyway, and a civil war on top of it all. He tried to seize power and basically failed.

Libius Severus, nicknamed Serpentius (now that's interesting!) was a "Shadow Emperor" from 461 to 465: a puppet of the patrician-barbarian powers that actually held sway in Rome.

More peope named Severus )

Severus: a perfectly good Roman name that probably won't be getting revived any time soon.

Here is a site about St Augustine's very good friend (as we saw below) Severus of Milevis


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