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Showing posts from July, 2014

Medieval News Roundup: The Viking Facebook, drunken archaeologists, competitive jousting in Australia and ranting about Lancelot

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The Verge takes a look at some of the interesting work being done by statistical physicists Ralph Kenna and Pádraig Mac Carron on medieval sources. Using their background in understanding connections, they examined works such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge to learn more about the relationships between the characters found in its pages.
What Kenna and Mac Carron found was that the epics fell between the real networks and the fictional ones. The network in The Iliad is relatively realistic, and Beowulf's also has realistic aspects, with the exception of the connections to Beowulf himself. That chimed with the idea from the humanities that he, unlike some others in the story, may not have existed. The Táin's network was more artificial. Interestingly, however, they found that a lot of the Táin's unreality was concentrated in just a few, grotesquely over-connected characters. When they theorized that some of those characters might actually be amalgams — for instance, that some of the …

An interview with Deborah Harkness, author of The Book of Life

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Deborah Harkness, professor of history at the University of Southern California, has just published the final novel in her All Souls Trilogy. It follows the story of Diana Bishop, a historian and modern-day witch, Matthew Clairmont, a 1500-year-old vampire, and an enchanted manuscript at Oxford University's Bodleian Library.

Click here to read DuJour’s executive editor, Nancy Bilyeau, interview Deborah about The Book of Life

See also Deborah reading an excerpt from her novel:

Vikings: Lives Beyond the Legends - exhibition now underway at Royal BC Museum

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For those living in North America who were envious of the British Museum's recent exhibition on Vikings, there is now an exhibition under way at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. Vikings: Lives Beyond the Legends features over 500 artifacts. It will be on display until November 11th.

You can see this preview of the exhibition:



 For more details, please visit the Royal BC Museum website


Is this how the Bayeux Tapestry would have ended?

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The famous Bayeux Tapestry ends with the defeat of King Harold's army and the flight of the Anglo-Saxon soldiers. However, most scholars believe that the original tapestry would have ended with the coronation of William the Conqueror. 
Now, a community project from the British island of Alderney has recreated the missing piece of the Bayeux Tapestry. It depicts several scenes that they believe would have been in the original tapestry, including a scene where William is crowned on Christmas Day, 1066. 
Professor Robert Bartlett of the University of St.Andrews tells the BBC: "It has often been pointed out that the opening of the tapestry has a figure of King Edward the Confessor enthroned, and that around the middle point of the tapestry there is an image of William's enemy Harold enthroned.
"It would be a neat symmetry and make perfect sense of the story if the end of the tapestry had showed the victorious William enthroned, which is what the Alderney team have chosen to…