**spoiler alert** From the local library. This is a collection of 22 essays on the Arthurian tradition at Glastonbury. Most of it is made of questions...more**spoiler alert** From the local library. This is a collection of 22 essays on the Arthurian tradition at Glastonbury. Most of it is made of questions about Arthur’s burial, but there is a little about Joseph of Arimathea, the name Glastonbury and a few editions of the texts written here. Because it’s all made up of essays it has taken me an embarrassing amount of time to read, but I am finally done, and shall stick with happy scholarly books about extinct birds next week. :p
(the end of myths?) Yet not even Whiting’s martyrdom of the abbey’s downfall in 1539 could halt the legend-making process. As a pious colophon, theGlastonbury Thorn which flowered at Christmas time on Werall Hill was transformed into Joseph’s flowering staff in the early eighteenth century. The resultant legend related how the travel worn Joseph rested on Wearyall Hill (owing to a folk etymology of Weall), and his knotted staff burst into bloom. Just as St Joseph of Naereth, the foster father ofJesus, was known in ancient tradition by his flowering staff, so undoubtedly it seemed fitting that the alter Joseph, the guardian of Christ’s body, should be similarly endowed. The Victorian age also introduced a miracle working fountain known as the Chalice Well, a folk etymology for Chal(c) welle, which, unlike the grtail, could boast of few, if any cures.
(Vera historia Arturis is very interesting) The most striking parts of the tale – the mysterious handsome young man with the poisoned lance, the chapel with the narrow entrance and the terrible mist and darkness which descended during the funeral – have their closest parallels in the native Welsh romances, such as the moment in the story of Pryderi where Pryderi and Rhiannon enter a magic caer or fortress and touch a marvellous golden bowl: they are rooted to the spot, unable to speak ‘And with that, as soon as it was night, lo, a peal of thunder over them, and a fall of mist, and thereupon the caer vanished, and away with them too. The spear is similar to the poisoned spear with which Gronw Bebyr slew Llew Llaw Gyffes. The adoption of native Welsh story motives into Latin narrative (outside the pages of Geoffrey of Monmouth) (pp110) is not common. The two latin romances which derive more or less directly from welsh material, the Historia Meriadoci and De Ortu Walwanii, would therefore be prima facie candidates for common authorship with the Vera Historia.
(Ynys witrin never existed?) By the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it would seem that welsh tradition viewed Glastonbury above all as the site of the abbey, the place of pilgrimage perhaps, with Arthurian connections certainly, but more of a Christian holy place than the resting place of the king, Arthur, who would rise again… It should be stressed that during this period the name of the true mab darogan (‘the son of prophecy’) or returning saviour-king was not Arthur, but Owain, Yvain de Galles (or Owin Lawgoch’) Owain Glyndwr and Owain Tudor were identified with this Owain, and the legend was concsiouly manipulated during the fifteenth century with the aim of (p177) securing support for the Tudor dynasty. (less)
**spoiler alert** Pretty cool book, detailing lots of the most important medieval artefacts in the medieval period. The most discussed are the round t...more**spoiler alert** Pretty cool book, detailing lots of the most important medieval artefacts in the medieval period. The most discussed are the round table at Winchester, Arthur’s grave at Glastonbury, and the crown and seal of Arthur. The author sees these relics as essentially religious and political in nature and so discusses lots of medieval politics, particularly those through the time of King Edward who is discussed as a lover of the Arthurian legends. Three quotes:
The more earnest visitor [to Glastonbury], we might imagine, abhorring what he or she considers to be the crass comercialisation of the modern age, turns away from such baubles and heads towards the serenity of the ruined abbey, or the windsweapt walk up to St. Michael's on the Tor, seeking what they imagine is the true medieval Arthurian spirit of the place. However, what such visitors fail to realise is this: that the origin of Glastonbury's medieval Arthurian connectionsare deeply entwined with the very same commercial forces that they are fleeing, and in many ways the bustle of the tourist shops and the new-age boutiques are much more representative of the medieval attitude towards the usefulness of the town's Arthurian provanence.
Geoffrey however, had mentioned the town of Oxford as the home of one Sir Boso of Rydychen, which the Saxons would later name 'Oxenford'; Boso the reader is told, is one of Arthur’s many knights . Boso fights in many of Arthur's battles and even accompanies Gawaine on an embassy to the Roman Emperor Lucius Hiberius. When the Emperor's nephew begins insulting the Britons, Gawain grows angry and kills him; Boso fights bravely alongside him. Geoffrey never emphasises Oxford for its learning. Rather, it is Boso whose actions take precedence. Subsequent writers, espeically those associated with Oxford, were not so circumspectly. Geoffrey had made no such claim for rival Cambridge and his testimony to Oxford's antiquity would later be picked up by the historians of the fourteenth century: Ranulph Highden would insist that Oxford had been founded by the English monarch Alfred the Great, in 886. Alfred's posthumous reputation as a patron of learning led to the assumption by Oxford historians that he must have founded the ancient University of Oxford. Who else could have done so? Further claims in the French Lancelot cycle that Merlin's scribes included the future master of the first school at Oxford both confirmed and extended Oxford's enviable antiquity. For Cambridge, famously founded by a group of Oxford dons who had murdered a prostitute and then fled he town, the need to create a more respectable and venerable origin proved irresistible...
In 1207 a sword said to have been tha of Tristram appeared in a list of King John's regalia; this item is never mentioned again, prompting some scholars to assume that is must have dissapeared. Othes have not been so certain, amon them R.S. Loomis (who first discovered the passage in question) and Ditmas. They believed that his sword bacome Curtana or Curtein, one of the three swords later carried in coronation ceremonies of Eleanor of Provence, Hunry III's queen, in 1236, although known there as the sword of St Edward the Confessor. Curtana, which has appeared in coronation ceremonies ever since (even if the sword must be remade from time to time), was known as the Sword of Mercy by 1483 (the others being the Sword of Justice Spiritual and the Sword of Justice Temporal).
**spoiler alert** Kindled for free. This is Jules Verne in South America, Australia and New Zealand! Not much to add really, three quotes:
(awesome kno...more**spoiler alert** Kindled for free. This is Jules Verne in South America, Australia and New Zealand! Not much to add really, three quotes:
(awesome knowledge) Think, my friends, of a continent, the margin of which, instead of the center, rose out of the waves originally like a gigantic ring, which encloses, perhaps, in its center, a sea partly evaporated, the waves of which are drying up daily; where humidity does not exist either in the air or in the soil; where the trees lose their bark every year, instead of their leaves; where the leaves present their sides to the sun and not their face, and consequently give no shade; where the wood is often incombustible, where good-sized stones are dissolved by the rain; where the forests are low and the grasses gigantic; where the animals are strange; where quadrupeds have beaks, like the echidna, or ornithorhynchus, and naturalists have been obliged to create a special order for them, called monotremes; where the kangaroos leap on unequal legs, and sheep have pigs' heads; where foxes fly about from tree to tree; where the swans are black; where rats make nests; where the bower-bird opens her reception-rooms to receive visits from her feathered friends; where the birds astonish the imagination by the variety of their notes and their aptness; where one bird serves for a clock, and another makes a sound like a postilion cracking of a whip, and a third imitates a knife-grinder, and a fourth the motion of a pendulum; where one laughs when the sun rises, and another cries when the sun sets! Oh, strange, illogical country, land of paradoxes and anomalies, if ever there was one on earth—the learned botanist Grimard was right when he said, 'There is that Australia, a sort of parody, or rather a defiance of universal laws in the face of the rest of the world.'" … Was there no means of calming this angry sea? A last expedient struck the captain. "The oil, my lads!" he exclaimed. "Bring the oil here!" The crew caught at the idea immediately; this was a plan that had been successfully tried already. The fury of the waves had been allayed before this time by covering them with a sheet of oil. Its effect is immediate, but very temporary. The moment after a ship has passed over the smooth surface, the sea redoubles its violence, and woe to the bark that follows.
(just funny) "Yes, Europe! Who does Europe belong to?" "Why, to the English," replied Toline, as if the fact was quite settled. "I much doubt it," returned Paganel. "But how's that, Toline, for I want to know that?" "England, Ireland, Scotland, Malta, Jersey and Guern-sey, the Ionian Islands, the Hebrides, the Shetlands, and the Orkneys." "Yes, yes, my lad; but there are other states you forgot to mention." "What are they?" replied the child, not the least disconcerted. "Spain, Russia, Austria, Prussia, France," answered Paganel. "They are provinces, not states," said Toline. "Well, that beats all!" exclaimed Paganel, tearing off his spectacles. "Yes," continued the child. "Spain—capital, Gibraltar." "Admirable! perfect! sublime! And France, for I am French, and I should like to know to whom I belong." "France," said Toline, quietly, "is an English province; chief city, Calais." "Calais!" cried Paganel. "So you think Calais still belongs to the English?" "Certainly." "And that it is the capital of France?" "Yes, sir; and it is there that the Governor, Lord Napo-leon, lives."
(ignorance of the time) This was the signal for a fearful scene of cannibalism. The bodies of slaves are not protected by taboo like those of their masters. They belong to the tribe; they were a sort of small change thrown among the mourners, and the moment the sacrifice was over, the whole crowd, chiefs, warriors, old men, women, children, without distinction of age, or sex, fell upon the senseless remains with brutal appetite. Faster than a rapid pen could describe it, the bodies, still reeking, were dismembered, divided, cut up, not into morsels, but into crumbs. Of the two hundred Maories present everyone obtained a share. They fought, they struggled, they quarreled over the smallest fragment. The drops of hot blood splashed over these festive monsters, and the whole of this detestable crew groveled under a rain of blood. … Lord Glenarvan came to meet them, and, as a stranger, announced his name and rank. The gentlemen bowed, and the elder of them said, "My Lord, will not these ladies and yourself and friends honor us by resting a little beneath our roof?" "Mr.—," began Glenarvan. "Michael and Sandy Patterson are our names, proprietors of Hottam Station. Our house is scarcely a quarter of a mile distant." (less)
**spoiler alert** Kindled for £5. I'm not sure what to think of this book. On the one hand it is obviously not as good as it's hyped up to be. Even ap...more**spoiler alert** Kindled for £5. I'm not sure what to think of this book. On the one hand it is obviously not as good as it's hyped up to be. Even apart from occasional clumsiness of grammar, I instantly took a dislike to the majority of the characters and their actions. Someone needs to tell the author that not every villain needs to be a sexually deviant sadist and not every child (children making up a large proportion of the main characters) has to be a little brat. On the other hand, the book definitely kept my attention all the way through, even if it didn't hook me until half way in. It's also a decent length at 860 pages (which I didn't have to lift as I read on kindle, hahah). The best parts are when the funny characters come out, and Martin has done well to give them a sense of humour of their own. Focussing each chapter on a new character gives the book a breath of fresh air in an otherwise very cliched storyline. Also some of the concepts are just cool, as cliched as they are, perhaps a bit like watching a star wars film. Unfortunately most of the best parts of the book would be spoilers, so just two quotes here to illustrate:
“Oh, my sweet summer child,” Old Nan said quietly, “what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods.”
“I can teach you history, healing, herblore. I can teach you the speech of ravens, and how to build a castle, and the way a sailor steers his ship by the stars. I can teach you to measure the days and mark the seasons, and at the Citadel in Oldtown they can teach you a thousand things more. But, no man can teach you magic.”(less)
**spoiler alert** Amazon 1p cool book with lots of details about birds in the 20th and 19th centuries, as well as in Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Babylo...more**spoiler alert** Amazon 1p cool book with lots of details about birds in the 20th and 19th centuries, as well as in Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Babylonian mythology. Good source on the great bird myths, cormorant fishing, falconry, cockfighting, pigeon racing, and a little about domesticated animals. Lots about where some ideas originated, such as shakespeares bits of folklore. Three quotes:
(As I always suspected) The raven is not always a bird of ill omen. Despite its black plumage and sinister croaking and its feeding on corpses, it fed Elijah in the wilderness; and among the North American Indians it was a culture hero.
(Ancient Falconry) Falconry has a good claim to being the oldest sport. Even if we question the belief that it was practiced in China as long ago as 2000 B.C., there is a Khorsabas bas-relief in Iran dating from about 1700 BC which appears to depict a falconer with a hawk perched on its wrist. There is little doubt that the sport was knon in China in the seventh century B.C. and not much later in Jaan, India, Persia, and Arabia. …but… perhaps because cock-fighting was enjoyed by all classes, it has added more expressions to the English language than has falconry, which in Europe as never a sport of the common man.
(on the superiority of omina oblativa over omina impetravia) The psychological effect of favourable omens on an army could be important. In the third century BC Agathocles of Syracuse was fighting the Carthaginians with an inferior force composed mainly of Greeks. Before this battle these men were greatly heartened by seeing owls, birds sacred to the goddess Athena, perching on their banners; they defeated the enemy. They did not know that their commander had arranged for the owls to be caught and released at the critical moment. Prognosticians may act the other way and reduce morale. When the Spaniards arrived in Peru in the sixteenth century, it happened that auguries of impending disaster were current. If it had not been for these, which caused the inca emperor to believe defeat inevitable, he would hardly have allowed a handful of invaders into his capital, thereby smoothing the way for his own death and the destruction of the empire.(less)
**spoiler alert** Interesting book. The history is very expertly written, and this will definitely teach you a bit about the history of cornwall (and...more**spoiler alert** Interesting book. The history is very expertly written, and this will definitely teach you a bit about the history of cornwall (and the westcountry west of the parrett/pencelwood in general). The authors assumption of population movements to go with movements of culture is outdated, and there are several too many exclamation marks in some places, especially in his King Arthur theories. However, in general this book is well worth the read. Three quotes:
(On the "Celtic" church?) Although it still remained Catholic many of the religious practices of the British Church were out of line with that in favour on the Continent. These differences were particularly emphasised as the continental organisation was Diocesan while in Britain and in Dumnonia it was still largely Monastic in orientation. In particular there were two outstanding differences in the British Church which greatly concerned Rome. Firstly Easter was still calculated in Britain using the Jewish eighty-four year cycle while in 457 the Church of Rome abolished this procedure. Secondly the British monks had their tonsure in a distinctive style very different to that on the Continent.
(A Duchy of Cornwall for the Black Prince…) there is no doubt that the motive in part behind Edward’s action was that he wished to confer upon his beloved son, the Black Prince, a prestigious title and honour which would be acknowledged in the international community. However it was also an acceptance that in the far South West of his realm there existed a separate Cornish nationality.
(Technical stuff) The Duchy is comprised of three main structures which can be identified in terms of the historical contexts of their creation. The first is described as the ‘Antqua Maneria’ or the estates that formerly belonged to the earldom. The second is the ‘Forinesca Manera’ or the estates outside of Cornwall but given to the Duchy in the original charter for its foundation. The last section is termed as the ‘Annexta Maneria’. These are the holdings, both in and out of Cornwall, gained since the original creation of the Duchy.(less)
**spoiler alert** On the one hand he doesnt set my teeth on edge through most of this book (except in the admittedly commonly messed up ideas of ancie...more**spoiler alert** On the one hand he doesnt set my teeth on edge through most of this book (except in the admittedly commonly messed up ideas of ancient gods for the celtic festivals) but on the other hand.. most of this book is a bit boring. It brings together evidence from the law codes, mainly Crith Gabala with archaeological research to paint a picture of how Irish society really worked. Three quotes:
What really gave life to the rather forced idea that ancient Ireland resembled the India of the Rig-Veda was the convergence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century of several strands of international scholarship and nationalist political ideology, all of which had a strong theoretical and comparative interest n the ancient Aryan culture of India.
Leaving conflict and turning to normal social interaction we can see that in almost every respect, honor-price governed the social capacity to interact with others beyond one’s domestic group. An important outcome was that social relations that were not inherently hierarchic (as were clientship and apprenticeship, for example) were confined to relations between peers. This produced a society that, in terms of sumptuary rules and general snobbishness, approached an almost caste-like condition—though lacking the rigidity of caste.
The patrilineal rule was ultimately a defence against the sister’s son’s connections with outsiders – principally his father’s people. As such, patrilineality was a counter to clientship, designed to limit the options that individuals had as to where to place their loyalties. It is therefore not surprising to find that the ingrained ambivalence expressed in early Irish literature towards the sister’s son had, as its counterpart, the suspicion levelled t the incoming wife—she too came trailing other ties and cherishing her own agenda. These bad-wife stories, in which the wife usually betrays her older husband with a younger man, who is either the husband’s son or close companion, cam e from a milieu which, though it cannot have been too happy, gave to literature (from the British Celtic tradition) the cycle of Arthurian romances in which is found ‘the only European myth of adultery’.(less)
**spoiler alert** Book with some very interesting ideas. Huge nationalistic and migrationist biases, but otherwise quite refreshing. All the evidence...more**spoiler alert** Book with some very interesting ideas. Huge nationalistic and migrationist biases, but otherwise quite refreshing. All the evidence is here, even if the conclusions are rubbish. Archaeological and homonymic evidence is very good. The pictures are pretty too:
(author ready to embrace norse mythology) the really important consideration for us to reach after studying Wayland Smith is that chance has played an extraordinary part in the survival of the written and graphic evidence of him : three of the four native sources came within a hair’s breadth of utter destruction and the fourth is so allusive as to be useless for reconstructing the original tale without outside help. What is true of Wayland is likely to be true of others. We may note too, the remarkable agreement between Old English and Old Norse versions of the tale in spite of a difference of some four or five hundred years in the setting down of the story in England and Iceland. Wayland’s Bones’ are everywhere scattered about the Old English landscape; it will be my task to assemble as many as may be into an articulate skeleton and then to clothe that skeleton with flesh. Many bones are no doubt destroyed or lost for ever, and the resurrected being will have to limp, even as Wayland himself did of old.
(occasional nationalist and racist arguments) but none of these interbreedings was what might be called in genetical terms ‘a violent out-cross’ such as would have been the case if Britain had been successful invaded by an armada of Chinese or Red Indians or African Bushmen. Apart from any alteration in physical appearance that would have befallen the new Island Race under such circumstances, one has only to suppose a pagoda in Canterbury, a totem-pole in Trafalgar Square and rock paintings on the Cheddar Goge to begin to imagine the cultural changes that would have ensued.
(Branston at his best when sticking to philological evidence) it is rewarding to speculate from what we know of Indo-European vocabulary as to the kind of life its speakers led. We can say they were hunters and grazers wandering after wild beasts and fresh pasrture; but they also knew how to sit down in one place, for a season at least, to enable them to plough, cultivate, sow and harvest a crop. They were able to grind grain and bake it into bread. Their vocabulary tells us that Indo-European speakers knew the ox, cow, horse, sheep and pig as well as the goose and duck, but they did not know the ass, camel, lion, tiger nor elephant. Whaterver else they drank, they certainly recognised the uses of milk. It is important to understand something of their family life: the words for father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter and grandchild are all original Indo-European. ‘Widow’ is original and so is ‘daughter-in-law’ but not ‘son-in-law’. One may deduce from this that among Indo-Europeans it was customary for the son when he married to take his wife to live in his father’s house; while married daughters went to live with their husband’s parents.
**spoiler alert** Kindled for free: Pretty cool book by one of my favourite authors, Thomas Stephens. This is where the famous classification of Talie...more**spoiler alert** Kindled for free: Pretty cool book by one of my favourite authors, Thomas Stephens. This is where the famous classification of Taliesin’s poetry historical-forgery was first originated. Lots of really cool information, some of it still cutting edge, lots of it outdated (like his poor misguided trust in the barzaz briezh). Three quotes:
(amusing style) it cannot but be interesting for candid Saxons to learn how their countrymen were regarded at this period by their more civilised opponents. … I believe I have now gone over as much ground as the reader can reasonably be expected to travel ; and, at parting, take leave to ask if, at the period under consideration, the Kymry were not among the most intelligent and intellectual of the inhabitants of Europe ? We wait the answer in perfect confidence.
(favourite bard-quote truth against the world) Under the name of Merddin, the editors of the Myvyrian Archaiology place the " Hoianau," the " Avallenau," " Kyvoesi Merddin a Gwenddydd ei Chwaer," the " Gwasgargerdd," and " I Ysgolan." The Hoianau, which were supposed to be as old as the sixth century, will, with the Avallenau, be shown to belong to the thirteenth century, and the Kyvoesi to the tenth ; the Ysgolan here alluded to will be found identical with the Ysgolan, whom our poets and historians have conjured up in the Tower of London to destroy an imaginary heap of books ; and the real Ysgolan of actual history will be produced in the third chapter to answer for himself. From this it would seem that not one of the poems which are attributed to Merddin, is likely to be his.
(knowledgeable author) Here we have " ent " for the past tense, " ynt " in the pre- sent, and " ant " in the future. Whether these arose from the greater skill of Aneurin, or from the alterations of the copyist, I know not; but that alterations have been made is evident, from the fact that in other places Taliesin is made to use the future termination ant in both the past and present tenses. Perhaps the only safe conclusion would be that the usage at that period was confused and unsettled, and that the use of the terminations " ant " and " ent " has been introduced since that of " ynt." " Ynt " is sometimes improperly used in the past tense by the bards of the twelfth and subsequent centuries; and even at the present day "ant" is as frequently used in the past as in the future tense by writers careless of elegant diction.(less)
**spoiler alert** Kindled for very cheap, another pretty good book. Lets get it straight though. The author is so incredibly ethnocentric and romantic...more**spoiler alert** Kindled for very cheap, another pretty good book. Lets get it straight though. The author is so incredibly ethnocentric and romanticist the book is a bit hard to read. Whenever she starts talking about inter-species gender, or the beautiful Indonesians (don’t even mention that last painful chapter) I get a bit sick. She is really amazing at orangutans, and no-one knows them more, but her book displays (in my opinion) views on gender, race and religion with the sophistication of a 15 year old girl. Orangutans also seem less human-like than chimpanzees and gorillas. In fact, one of the events in the book actually sickened me, and made even me wish she listened to the old primatologists and had her researchers go armed. That was much worse than even the sexual deviancy in Gorillas in the Mist, although admittedly not quite as bad as the habituated chimpanzees like Noam Chimpsky. Anyway, three quotes of things she does do quite well.
(Science and Interelatedness) Although the details of the homioid (human/ape) lineage are still mired in puzzles and controversy, the general outline of this family tree is clear. All the great apes share a common ancestor with humans, as demonstrated by their similar body structure, similar behaviours, and similar DNA. The genertic clock and other evidence suggest that orangutans branched off from our common family tree between ten and fourteen million years ago, and gorillas, eight to ten million years ago Humans and chimpanzees became distinct lines around five million years ago, while bonobos and chimpanzees probably diverged from each other less than a million years ago. Chimpanzees are “blood relatives” who share almost 99 percent of our genetic material. Once blood groups are matched, humans could receive a transfusion from a chimpanzee (but not a gorilla or an orangutan). Indeed, some scientists believe that assigning humans and chimpanzees to different families is arifiial. Humans, argues UCLA physiologogist Jared Diamond and others, are the third chimpanzee.
(the bright, hopeful side of her humanistic over behaviouralist approach) One bright spot was the time I spent in the Los Angeles zoo studying the six immature orangutans housed there. When I first arrived, several of the orangutans were playing with their own feces. On subsequent visits, I did everything i could to enliven their drab existence, surrepticiously feeding them milk, raisins, coffee, and fruits and brining them small pieces of brightly coloured cloth. The primary keeper for the orangutans, a heavyset, muscular ex-marined with tattoos on his arms, approved. The feces eating and smearing soon stopped.
(orangutan memory, conservation and intelligence) One day, Rod and I gathered all the unripe fruit under a particular penjalin tree while TP foraged in the canopy above. TP even dropped a few fruits our way after testing and rejecting them.We constructed a pyramid of fruits over a foot high on the forest floor. When TP left the tree that afternoon, he didn’t even glance at the ordered pile. Rod and I looked forward to an hour of gorging on the luscious fruits the next time TP visited the tree, probably in a few days’ time. … Right on schedule, three days later, TP walked along the forest floor in a direction we recognized, heading twards the penjalin tree with our mound of fruit beneath. Rod and I almost salivated in anticeipation. Apparently we were not the only ones planning a succulent feast. Without pausing for a second, and without veering from his initial course, TP walked directly to the pile of now ripe fruit, plopped down, and noisily devoured every single one.
(local if romantic cultural interest) A kris is the traditional dagger that used to be carried by all men of high birth in Java and still is used on ceremonial occasions. The ivory, metal or wood handle is ornately carved with figures to ward off evil spirits, and the blade is pounded and twisted into a spiral, said to produce a deep, jagged wound.,Before a battle or an assassination, the owner would treat the blade with arsenic, and sometimes snake venom, to make the weapon more deadly. Kris lore runs deep in Indonesia. There are many stories about a kris talking, flying, turning into a snake, even fathering a human child. But most important, a kris often belongs to a class of objects called pusakas. A pusaka has magical power. Pusakas stay with their legitimate owner; they cannot be stolen, because they eventually return to the man who has the power. At the same time, the person who attains the power cannot forget the pusaka. (less)
**spoiler alert** Book of essays, half in Welsh half in English. Pretty good for scholarship on the Cynfeirdd. I'd definitely join the Cylch yr henger...more**spoiler alert** Book of essays, half in Welsh half in English. Pretty good for scholarship on the Cynfeirdd. I'd definitely join the Cylch yr hengerdd if i got the chance. Three quotes:
Behind the work of Aneirin and Taliesin lies a centuries-old poetic tradition, whose conventions in rhythm, alliteration , and rhyme, and probably even in certain formulaic patterns, were resistant to the major changes which marked the development of Welsh out of Brittonic, and successfully spanned the ‘great divide’ which this implied. The Cynfeirdd therefore deserve more properly to be regarded as forming a link in a continuous chain of Celtic eulogistic poets…
An incipient legend about Aneirin is discernible in the Gododdin. This legend does not seem to have developed, and between the thirteenth and sixteenth century Welsh tradition is strangely silent about Aneirin. Yet, from the early sixteenth century onwards it is Aneirin the philosopher and moralist, the composer of the Iry Mynydd stanzas whose name is preserved in popular tradition… The gnomic text in the book of Aneirin might be cited to confirm the view that Aneirin was considered at an early date to have composed wisdom literature of this kind. Conversely, the inclusion of a gnomic text in the Book of Aneirin perhaps by accident, might have ggiven subsequent generations the idea that this kind of verse was Aneirin’s forte. Perhaps indeed Gorchan Addefon was the only part of the Book of Aneirin which was at all intelligible for many generations..
I should very tentatively suggest that we do owe Canu Llywarch Hen to Merfyn, but only in an indirect sense. I would suggest that far from trying to promote the existing traditions about Llywarch, Merfyn or his successors did their best to surpress them. It may have been this official disapproval that induced one or more people to write down the surviving oral traditions about Llywarch in order to rescue them from disappearance. An attempt was made to create from the rather fragmentary and contradictory materials some kind of whole. Certainly the englynion in the Red Book and, more so, those in the Black Book, have every appearance of having been written up as ad hoc collections rescued from numerous, perhaps un-reliable, sources. If this surmise is at all correct, the process might be considered analogous with the final writing of the Pedeir Keinc; for the latter may have been written down just at the time when they were going out of currency. The compilers of Canu Llywarch, like those of the Pedeir Keincm seem to be drawing on a tradition of which they ‘did not fully possess the secret’.(less)