art-of-swords

art-of-swords:

Late Anglo-Saxon Sword 

  • Dated: AD 875
  • Found: 1874 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England

An iron sword fragment and hilt were found near Abingdon in Oxfordshire in 1874. The decoration on the sword hilt indicates this was a high status weapon dating from around AD 875. The style of the guards and pommel (Peterson style L) also suggest the sword dates from the late 9th to 10th century.

The sword hilt forms one of the most important examples of the late Anglo-Saxon silversmith’s art. The hilt is decorated with six silver engraved mounts; the engraved ornament on the mounts is in the Trewhiddle style - named after finds made at Trewhiddle, Cornwall. This style combines engraving and inlay with niello (black sulphide of silver).

The upper and lower guards are curved and contain various interlaced designs, including birds, animal and human figures, and foliate patterns. The figures on the upper guard have been identified as the four symbols of the evangelists.

The style of leaf used next to the figure of the eagle on the upper guard has also been identified on early tenth century embroideries from Durham, on the back of the Alfred Jewel and a number of other objects dating to this period.

The pommel incorporates two outward-looking animal heads, with protruding ears and round eyes and nostrils, now fragmentary. The lower portion of the iron blade is missing, however X-rays of the sword show that the blade is pattern welded.

The sword was acquired by Sir John Evans and presented to the Ashmolean in 1890. It is on display in the ‘England 400-1600’ gallery on the second floor.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Ashmolean Museum

mediumaevum

mediumaevum:

Inside the Codex Rotundus lays a 266 page book of hours in Latin and French.

The manuscript is unique in form and size: the pages are cut approximately circular in shape and measure a little over 9cm in diameter. The book binding feat here is enormous: since the layers are bound together on a mere 3cm book spine, the body of the book must be held together by 3 clasps.

The original clasps were re-used when the book was rebound in the 17th century; each clasp an artful monogram shaped in the form of different gothic alphabetic letters.

How cool is this?

Book Review… Marjane Satrapi, “Persepolis”

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Rating: image (4.5/5 stars)

Summary: Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming—both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

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Excerpt from Wikipedia:

"The Twa Corbies" is a related Scottish version of the song ["The Three Ravens"] with a more cynical tone. There are only two scavengers in “Twa Corbies”, but this is the least of the differences between the songs, though they do begin the same. Rather than commenting on the loyalty of the knight’s beasts, the corbies mention the hawk and the hound have abandoned their master, and are off chasing other game, while his mistress has already taken another lover. The ravens are therefore guaranteed an undisturbed meal, as no one else knows where the man lies, or even that he is dead. They discuss in some gruesome detail the meal they will make out of him, plucking out his eyes and using his hair for their nests. Some themes believed to be portrayed in "Twa Corbies" are: the fragility of life, the idea life goes on after death, and a more pessimistic viewpoint on life. The loneliness and despair of the song are summed up in the final couplets;

O’er his banes [bones], when they are bare,The wind sall [shall] blaw for evermair

There may be a few different versions of this anonymously authored poem. The full text of at least one version of the poem is as follows:

As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies making a mane;
The tane unto the t’other say,
‘Where sall we gang and dine to-day?’‘

In behint yon auld fail dyke,
I wot there lies a new slain knight;
And naebody kens that he lies there,
But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair.

‘His hound is to the hunting gane,
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
His lady’s ta’en another mate,
So we may mak our dinner sweet.

‘Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
And I’ll pike out his bonny blue een;
Wi ae lock o his gowden hair
We’ll theek our nest when it grows bare.

‘Mony a one for him makes mane,
But nane sall ken where he is gane;
Oer his white banes, when they are bare,
The wind sall blaw for evermair.’