Welcome to Carnivalesque 45 – a blog carnival of Ancient and Medieval findings!
Lots of people are talking conferences – it’s a way of not thinking about grading, of course. J. J. Cohen at In the Middle gets some organizational information about what sort of audience to expect for his paper at the Leeds Congress and breaks out into a rash:
Yeah, nooo pressure at all. I’ll just wear a nice suit and juggle oranges on a unicycle while reading from my translation of Judith Butler’s Giving an Account of Oneself into medieval Latin. Slowly.
Dr. Virago complains at Quod She about her future office, but then she shows pictures of the Modern Panopticon! She’s right – those are a lot of windows to clap to.
What brings people to the blogs they read? Jonthan Jarrett at A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe (IN a Corner of Tenth-Century Europe? I’m not sure) looks at his referrer logs and decides to do something for the searchers.
If I leave aside the porn searches and count only strings that look academic, the two things that bring people to this blog from search engines more than anything else are, firstly, my piece on the First Crusade, which is good as that’s what it’s there for, and secondly, the piece I wrote about Charles the Simple, because it includes a reference to and a map of the Treaty of Verdun. It’s searches for “treaty of Verdun” that bring people to that, and they can’t really be getting what they want out of it. I’m not going to try and fill that gap here, because there are already better sites out there explaining what the Treaty was, but I will do two things. Firstly, I will make an important point about the Treaty’s effect, and then I will do what I do best, or at least most, and tell you a story from a charter that helps to illustrate the sort of thing that was going on.
Dr. Weevil is also checking meta-blog information. He blogged a bit from 14th century essayist Yoshida Kenko that reminded him of the essence of blogging:
If I fail to say what lies on my mind it gives me a feeling of flatulence; I shall therefore give my brush free rein. Mine is a foolish diversion, but these pages are meant to be torn up, and no one is likely to see them. (Kenko, Essays in Idleness 19, tr. Donald Keene)
Belatedly wondering if anyone else had quoted Kenko’s proto-blogger manifesto, I did a Google search on “Kenko + blogger + Idleness + flatulence”. The first result of “about 93” was my own 11:57pm post, dated (timed?) “9 minutes ago”, which means that Google had it in their database approximately 25 minutes after I posted it. I would be less impressed if I had even 0.1% (e.g.) InstaPundit‘s traffic.
Speaking of meta-blogging, how many of us started out as anonymous bloggers only to be outed? Or noticed? It just happened to Another Damned Medievalist.
Disiecta membra! Got to love them! Carl Pyrdum at Got Medieval shows us a marginal guy ripping himself apart! And monkeys!
We don’t always have to reinterpret the same ol’ same ol’ – we can dig up new stuff! But then we find ourselves in an arms race with, you know, the public. Who sometimes dig things up without consulting the experts. Alun Salt at Archeoastronomy considers all sorts of issues along these lines – starting with Great Britain’s current finding regime, the Portable Antiquity Scheme. The broader consideration is of how we might encourage a world in which a conserved heritage is more valuable than a marketed heritage. Lots of links for people interested in ethics and morals of archaeology. Here’s the Portable Antiquity Scheme in case you don’t already have it bookmarked.
Talking about the ethics and morality of archaeology, Dr. Martin Rundkvist at Aardvarchaeology offers a guest entry by Florian Freistetter of Astrodicticum Simplex – who manages to go to a lecture and restrain himself from standing up and shouting by taking diligent notes:
A few weeks ago, on 17th October, I had the dubious pleasure of attending a lecture by Erich von Däniken with the title Götterdämmerung, “Twilight of the Gods”. The great hall in Jena’s Volkshaus was rather full: I believe there were 650 to 700 people there. It was a strange feeling, being in the same room as all those people and knowing that most of them would probably believe what Däniken was going to tell them.
Speaking of aliens, Michael Drout, in his only political blog posting, asked Why Settle for the Lesser Evil?
Gesta at On Boundaries posted on a Chris Wickham lecture, ‘The problem of the dialogues between medieval history and medieval archaeology.’ Gesta links comments on the same lecture by Jonathan Jarrett and Magistra et Mater, and notes:
What is interesting from my point of view is that clearly I had my teaching head on rather than my research head in this lecture. While Magistra and Jonathan were mulling over the implications for the way they write history, I was pondering how we start to address the problems at undergrad level. I fear I am becoming institutionalised.
Do you know what Zenobia really looked like? Judith Weingarten has some ideas. Coin pictures at Zenobia, Empress of the East!
And since we’re turning to the classical world, let’s talk Classics as a major – and one of those awkward conversations we sometimes have this time of year during registration for Spring classes. Are your students declaring majors? Michael Gilleland at Laudator Temporis Acti has Ed Turner’s letter to young Ted Turner (yeah, that Ted Turner) on the subject. Ed wrote:
“I am appalled, even horrified, that you have adopted classics as a major. As a matter of fact, I almost puked on my way home today.”
How would you help Ted answer Ed?*
Edward Cook at Ralph the Sacred River tells us why the Jesus Bowl is just another crock. Everyone loves Magic Bowls, but this one’s nothing special.
And a different sort of bowl – and back to the idea of the morality of digging up or owning things, Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber talks about buying a Song dynasty bowl. Read the comments.
Just remember, don’t go buying things as if the sales catalog is accurate! David Nishimura at Cronaca pointed out a couple of stories about a Fatimid ewer selling at Christie’s for 3.2 million pounds. The same piece had been cataloged in January of 2008 as a 19th century claret jug and valued at 100-300 pounds. Jug, ewer – is it the price point that inflects the nomenclature? Whatever – caveat emptor!
The December 2008 (early modern) will be hosted at Investigations of a Dog. Go make suggestions!
*Fun fact to know and tell – Ted Turner started Latin under the same man I did, W.O.E.A. Humphreys at the McCallie School. Note that I am not listed as one of the notable alumni.