hodie-scolastica
4thmansionofthemoon:


Woman Kills a Would-Be Rapist and is Presented with his Belongings, manuscript illumination, 12th c., Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS Graecus Vitr. 26-2, fol. 208r.
According to the text of the Madrid manuscript of the “Synopsis historion,” a Byzantine chronicle written by John Skylitzes, “There were some Varangians dispersed in the Thrakesion theme for the winter. One of them coming across a woman of the region in the wilderness put the quality of her virtue to the test. When persuasion failed he resorted to violence, but she seized his Persian-type sword, struck him in the heart and promptly killed him. When the deed became known in the surrounding area, the Varangians held an assembly and crowned the woman, presenting her with all the possessions of her violator, whom they threw aside, unburied, according to the law concerning assassins.” In the image depicting these occurrences, the woman uses a spear to kill her attacker, and the other Varangian men approach her with armfuls of clothing.
Courtesy of Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

4thmansionofthemoon:

Woman Kills a Would-Be Rapist and is Presented with his Belongings, manuscript illumination, 12th c., Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS Graecus Vitr. 26-2, fol. 208r.


According to the text of the Madrid manuscript of the “Synopsis historion,” a Byzantine chronicle written by John Skylitzes, “There were some Varangians dispersed in the Thrakesion theme for the winter. One of them coming across a woman of the region in the wilderness put the quality of her virtue to the test. When persuasion failed he resorted to violence, but she seized his Persian-type sword, struck him in the heart and promptly killed him. When the deed became known in the surrounding area, the Varangians held an assembly and crowned the woman, presenting her with all the possessions of her violator, whom they threw aside, unburied, according to the law concerning assassins.” In the image depicting these occurrences, the woman uses a spear to kill her attacker, and the other Varangian men approach her with armfuls of clothing.

Courtesy of Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

Christian II of Denmark is, like, sooooo recursive.
Ah yes, King ‘Christiern’ II (b. 1481 - d. 1559) was one crazy cat. He had a steamy affair with a Dutch debutante called Dyveke, wrestled over whether Denmark should become Protestant or stay Catholic, sponsored the man who was in many ways the father of Danish literature (the printer, preacher and bible translator, Christiern Pedersen), lost the throne in a coup - oh, and he killed 82 Swedish bigwigs in one day in an event known as “The Stockholm Bloodbath” [see: http://bit.ly/1hnyHde]
He also was totally meta. Check out this portrait of the man himself… holding a portrait of the man himself. The portrait is by Pieter van Coninxloo (d. 1513).

Christian II of Denmark is, like, sooooo recursive.

Ah yes, King ‘Christiern’ II (b. 1481 - d. 1559) was one crazy cat. He had a steamy affair with a Dutch debutante called Dyveke, wrestled over whether Denmark should become Protestant or stay Catholic, sponsored the man who was in many ways the father of Danish literature (the printer, preacher and bible translator, Christiern Pedersen), lost the throne in a coup - oh, and he killed 82 Swedish bigwigs in one day in an event known as “The Stockholm Bloodbath” [see: http://bit.ly/1hnyHde]

He also was totally meta. Check out this portrait of the man himself… holding a portrait of the man himself. The portrait is by Pieter van Coninxloo (d. 1513).

A Bad Romance. [NSFW]

abi : bataba : iestaba
kukr : kuc kutu kys

Abi bataba iestaba
Kúkr kyss kuntu, kyss!

abi bataba iestaba [love charm inscription?]  
Cock, kiss that cunt, kiss it! 

St Ol 4 is a runic inscription, probably intended as an aphrodisiac charm, from Oldenburg in Germany. Thought to have been carved in the eleventh century, it hails from a time when the division between East and West Norse was not so pronounced. Did the amorous carver come from Iceland/Norway or Denmark/Sweden? Geographically, the latter seems slightly more probable, so I’m going to go ahead and chalk up this charming little sweet nothing as “Shit East Norse Sources Say”.

While we’re about it, it’s worth stressing that despite popular perceptions, there is very little to suggest that runic characters themselves were considered “magical”. True, writing was often seen as imbuing objects with strange power, so we do find a lot of amulets inscribed with runes, but there it is the act of recording and inscription itself which seems to have imbued an object with supernatural potency, rather than any associations with runic letters per se. So when the cock-obsessed carver behind St Ol 4 offered this up this little romantic memento, he almost certainly didn’t think it would work because he was writing it in runes. Rather, it was simply that he was writing at all. In a semi-literate society, an amulet carver possessed the power of being able to inscribe an object with a lasting declaration of his/her will, to make it “speak”, to preserve for eternity a moment of desire in the hitherto ephemeral passage of time.

Also, cocks.


"I, Johanes Pfefferkorn, born a Jew and now a Christian, greet all of you who keep that promise and those articles of faith that you promised when you received baptism and the Christian faith. And I advise you all to protect yourselves from the Jews and Jewish affairs, particularly because by not doing so people forsake the salvation of their souls. May God protect you all."

Ah, anti-Semitism. Surely one of the top ten pasttimes of the Middle Ages, ranking somewhere between “Relentless Feudal Oppression” and “Dying of Preventable Causes”. Sadly, East Norse ain’t immune to that bug. Johannes Pfefferkorn (d. 1523) was a German Catholic convert from Judaism [see more: http://bit.ly/1behvnX]. He wrote a number of anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic pamphlets, one of which, Ich heyss eyn buchlijn der iuden beicht, was translated into Danish as Judæorum Secreta. 

Jonathan Adams (Uppsala Universitet) has recently published a groundbreaking edition and study of this Danish version, from which the above translation is taken. As Adams notes, the illustration of Johannes is not Johannes at all. It’s basically from the “Clip Art” used by early printers which the Danish printer, Poul Ræff, had purchased from a German by the name of Matthæus Brandis. Thus, “Johannes” makes another appearances in Ræff’s print run of Manuale Curatorum secundum vsum ecclesie Rosckildensis.
See: Jonathan Adams. Lessons in Contempt. Poul Ræff's Translation and Publication in 1516 of Johannes Pfefferkorn's The Confession of the Jews. (Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 2013) p. 190, 204.

"I, Johanes Pfefferkorn, born a Jew and now a Christian, greet all of you who keep that promise and those articles of faith that you promised when you received baptism and the Christian faith. And I advise you all to protect yourselves from the Jews and Jewish affairs, particularly because by not doing so people forsake the salvation of their souls. May God protect you all."

Ah, anti-Semitism. Surely one of the top ten pasttimes of the Middle Ages, ranking somewhere between “Relentless Feudal Oppression” and “Dying of Preventable Causes”. Sadly, East Norse ain’t immune to that bug. Johannes Pfefferkorn (d. 1523) was a German Catholic convert from Judaism [see more: http://bit.ly/1behvnX]. He wrote a number of anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic pamphlets, one of which, Ich heyss eyn buchlijn der iuden beicht, was translated into Danish as Judæorum Secreta

Jonathan Adams (Uppsala Universitet) has recently published a groundbreaking edition and study of this Danish version, from which the above translation is taken. As Adams notes, the illustration of Johannes is not Johannes at all. It’s basically from the “Clip Art” used by early printers which the Danish printer, Poul Ræff, had purchased from a German by the name of Matthæus Brandis. Thus, “Johannes” makes another appearances in Ræff’s print run of Manuale Curatorum secundum vsum ecclesie Rosckildensis.

See: Jonathan Adams. Lessons in Contempt. Poul Ræff's Translation and Publication in 1516 of Johannes Pfefferkorn's The Confession of the Jews. (Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 2013) p. 190, 204.

Not with a bang, but with a whimper Solen

Solen Östensson

Effter min fader ärffde jac göta rike
tha thäkte mik enghen wara min like
mina men giodo mik eth par
the drenkte mik i eth miöda kaar

After my father I inherited the land of the Goths
so I thought no one was my equal.
My men played me a trick:
they drowned me in a mead barrel.

Lilla rimkrönikan, Svenska medeltidens rimkrönikor, SFSS 17:1, 1865

Pride before a fall, as they say. 

The Italian Job

image

+ kuþluk * lit … … … …a × sun * sin * auk * at * sik * sialfa * han * to * a lank*barþa*l—ti *

Guðlaug let [ræisa stæina at Holm]a, sun sinn, ok at sik sialfa. Hann do a Langbarðal[an]di.

Guðlaug had this stone raised in memory of Hólmi, her son, and for herself. He died in Lombardy. 

The bulk of inscriptions on runestones are commemorative (as in, they remember the dead, not as in “save up tokens with the Daily Mail”). This one, U 133 from Sweden, is quite representative of the genre. Like many other runestones, it was later pinched for use as a building material - it currently makes up part of the wall at Täby Church. What makes it a bit special is that it is one of a pair (the other being U 141). The message is basically the same on both stones, except that the other stone does not contain the detail “and for herself”. Taken together, they do much to convey the impression of Guðlaug’s lasting grief for her son, fallen on a distant foreign shore. 

They also give us a tantalising glimpse into the social history of medieval Scandinavia. Women commissioning runestones was certainly not unheard of, but note that Guðlaug does not mention Hólmi’s father at all. Was there a separate stone commemorating his fall on the same expedition, now lost? Or more likely, to my mind, was Guðlaug a single mother - one who amassed enough wealth and power to commission her own runestones? The addition of the element “and for herself” in U 141 makes me wonder if this stone was erected posthumously. But as is so often the case when we strain our ears to hear the broken whispers of runestones, this must all remain conjecture.

P.S. Normal service of knob gags and sarcasm to be resumed next time.

Awesome Philmer

Philmer store theodoricus son kallader ok vilkin

Jak hiolt effter min fader alla hans land
ok wan ther til medh manlig hand
greciam macedoniam pontum asyam oc yliricum
oc drap egipti konung hin starka vesosum
hernit rytza konung twang jak oc tha
mik at skatta men han liffua ma
sidhen aflade jac eth sinne
widelandz fader fader medh en märinne
än endadis i göta rike mith liiff
aff allers ssot ok ey aff kiiff

Philmer the great, Theodoricus son, also called Vilkin

I held after my father all his lands
and also won with manly (brave) hand
Greece, Macedonia, Turkey and the Balkans
and killed the Egyptian king, the mighty Vesosum
Hernit, the Russian king, I also forced
to pay me taxes if I let him live.
Then I begot, one time,
the grandfather of Widelandz with a mermaid
But my life was ended in the land of the Goths
from old age and not from strife

Lilla rimkrönikan, Svenska medeltidens rimkrönikor, SFSS 17:1, 1865

The establishment of Sweden as the mightiest and most special country in this chronicle is quite delicious, isn’t it?

And a mermaid!

Badass Goderic

Goderic ericsson som kallas theodoricus

effter myn fader fik jak göta rike
thy skulo alle for mik wike
jak slo oc van medh min starka hand
alla herra ok rike nordan grecara land
huar then kempa jak sporde oc fan
medh starke jak them öffuer wan
konungh hercoles lot mik sin syster giffua
at jac ville honum ey aff greken driffua
än edadis i göta rike mith liiff
aff allers soot oc ey aff kiif

Goderic Eriksson who is called Theodoricus

After my father I was given the land of the Goths
and therefore all would give way to me
I beat and won with my strong hand
all lords and countries north of Greece
Wherever I asked after and found champions
with strenght I conquered them
King Hercules gave me his sister [in marriage]
so that I wouldn’t drive him out of Greece
But my life was ended in the land of the Goths
from old age and not from strife.

Lilla rimkrönikan, Svenska medeltidens rimkrönikor, SFSS 17:1,1865

Surely, everyone knows that Hercules felt threathened by the Swedish king? 

A beginning is a very delicate time..

image

(PLEASE ADOPT THE ABOVE RHYTHMIC MOTIONS WHILE YOU READ THE OLD SWEDISH ORIGINAL PLZKTHX)

 Uilin ij mrkia ok hỏra

hwath fordhom kunno the hedhno gỏra

ij forstandin thʒ ey wl

vtan ij gỏmin thʒ mʒ snille ok skl 

aff konung alexander wil iak sighia

thʒscriptin sigher wil iak ey thighia

ij tolff aar wan han wrlena sik 

honom gafwo skat badhe fatighe ok riik

som aldre sidhan ngin fik

hwarte dỏdher ller qwik

hwath wan tidrik van berna ok percefal

herra gawain ok ektor  ra ij thera tal

the fingo stor hug ok gingo at sofwa

litith wil iak tholik sigher lofwa

__________________________________

Will you all listen and believe,

what the heathens of yore could achieve,

not by logical deliberation,

but with cunning and prevarication?

Of King Alexander, I wish to speak.

Of what books say, I’ll not be meek.

In twelve years he won the world for himself.

They paid him tax alike: the poor, those of wealth.

This no one else ever achieved,

whether still living or now deceased.

What of Dietrich von Bern, Sir Parcival,

Sir Gawain and Hector and them all?

They took great blows and went to sleep

Little praise shall I of them speak.

Knittelvers is an originally German verse form which flourished in Scandinavia as the East Norse increasingly diverged from West Norse. While not as intricate as the alliterative skaldic verse that had traditionally dominated Old Norse poetry, you can’t deny that its rollicking rhythms are well suited to a spot of joyful prancing about. This is from the Old Swedish Alexander romance, Aff Konung Alexander. Much like its earlier West Norse counterpart, Alexanders saga, did for Old Icelandic, it represents a major aesthetic breakthrough in East Norse.

Konung Alexander. En Medeltids Dikt från Latinet vänd i Svenska Rim. ed. by G.E. Klemming. (Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söner, 1862) p. 3.

Get your free edition on here: http://bit.ly/19xJrgc