Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Once again, Kim Rendfield has a nice look into Frankish society (Carolingian, of course - not Merovingian).  Meet:  The Insulted Princess.  It's exciting to me how fascinating a character can be, whose name we don't even know for sure.

Some wonderful images of women - insulted and otherwise.  Gallery taken from The Women's Library - which also includes documentary history of bracing variety.  Membership is free, and they are able to assist with specific research needs.

Stonehenge's visitor center has opened, complete with the curiously smooth-complected reconstruction of a Neolithic man's face.  He reminds me of a cross between Val Kilmer and a cousin of mine - except for the seriously state of the art dermabrasion and a moisturizing regimen that must've put the other Neolithic gents to shame.  I know it's very turn-of-the-millennium, but he looks positively Metrolithic.

When I was a kid, we still used to use the phrase, "Excuse my French."  How many of you know where that came from?  I do ...  Take a trip to the Hundred Years War, and get some context on why English was, essentially, a whole lot of dirty words.  For three and a half centuries.  Courtesy English History Authors.

"It means many different things to different people."  My own experience of the use of the term Celt crosses continents and a huge swath of centuries.  What comes to your mind when you see the term Celtic?  English History Authors has a look at whether the label even has any meaning ...  (I can think of a person or two who'd wig out at the idea the term actually means 'barbarian' - but then, I have my issues with that term, myself.)


Scheherazade said...

I'm familiar with the Greek 'keltoi', barbarian--it is mentioned fairly frequently in any discussion of the etymology of the word. It doesn't particularly bother me that the Greeks thought of non-Greeks as barbarians, anymore than the fact that everyone seems to think of non-themselves as barbarians--off the top of my head I can think of terms like goyim, gaijin, gringo, gadje--apparently I've collected a lot of 'g' terms! I don't think the Chinese for foreigner is a particularly flattering term, either. Any time we get all of our information about a culture (especially an ancient one we can't really see anymore) from a single source, it's bound to be biased in some ways. :)

DLM said...

You're pointing to my problem with the entire concept of "barbarianism" here.

Though it's not as urgently present-tense for me as the ongoing dregs of the fight for Civil Rights in my own country, my problem with any term meaning "barbarian" lies in the clear echo and ramifications of institutionalized bigotry. In historical terms, this leaves entire societies and populations at the mercy OF that bigotry, resulting in the unthinking bias which even today, after MILLENNIA have passed, thinking of Rome, for example, as some sort of marvelous Camelot lost - and "the Barbarians" as a lot of dirty and un-artistic nits.

The perception of "barbarians" as some semi-pointless mass, operating without any sort of intellect nor discernment, is bothersome not only for its incorrectness, but also because it gives us permission to bigotry about the past as a chunk - to not have to understand nor to study (nor to care) because why invest in what is so clearly inferior.

Humanity suffers calamities and setbacks, but in no period of history have actual human souls, *en masse*, genuinely lost spiritual nor cognitive ground for periods of centuries. Even constraint doesn't actually remove human capacity, and indeed challenge and oppression clearly stimulate us on the deepest levels. It is invalid to write off societies - whether we don't share their culture OR THEIR TIME as if any population of people are as a whole "less" than any other group.

Sorry, that's not me intending to go off on you, per se. Clearly I adore your blog, and the art you share is the most marvelous argument for my very point. You seem to have me, though, very much quantifying the thrust of my own blog! And one major theme here is that I think all bigotry is stupid - and bigotry about the past is a bias so many people never even realize they have nor realize even exists, because it seems "no harm/no foul" to pass judgment on the long dead ...

DLM said...

I should add, of course, my thanks for reading, and for commenting! My apologies that I vented my spleen first rather than remembering my manners.