I only saw this last week, and I have to admit that it made me sad: James Powell, distinguished scholar, legendary crusades historian, and wonderful human being, passed away on January 27 of this year.  Those who saw him a year ago at the St. Louis Crusades Conference will remember a man slowly bowed by age, but in no wise lacking in fire and enthusiasm for medieval studies.  I was especially sorry to hear that the cause of his passing was a car accident, the last thing one would have expected.  I had the pleasure of meeting him several times in the last few years, and of receiving advice and encouragement from him in my own projects.  The passing of another great scholar of the old school.

On a topic roughly apropos of Dr. Powell, Medievalists.net recently posted an interesting article on the Order of Lazarus in the Latin Kingdom (the order was a chivalric confraternity of leper knights, and was especially popular in England). Other recent articles I’ve found interesting include excavations of Viking settlements in Dublin, and a round-up of Episode 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones–I’m seriously regretting not having cable right now, as everyone’s telling me that they’re actually doing justice to the series.

A last bit of medieval news, and a site I should add to my medieval list, is The Electronic Grosseteste.  About time Lincoln Cathedral’s most famous member got his own site!  Definitely worth checking out, if you’re into Grosseteste and medieval theology.

Moving to non-medieval items, first and foremost I’d like to draw your attention to a thought-provoking article by Edward L. Ayers on the Disunion blog, on “The Causes of the Civil War, 2.0.” Using computer-assisted searching for word and phrase patterns in digitized documents, the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab has created a lab called “Hidden Causes of the Civil War,” backed by the university’s Virginia Secession Convention resources.  As Ayers discusses, the results of this new research plays some havoc with both the “slavery” and “states rights” interpretations of the cause of the Civil War.

Lastly, Robert Citino has the first of what will be several fascinating articles on U. S. Army maneuvers in Louisiana in 1941–footage of which, if I’m remembering correctly, was incorporated into Abbott and Costello’s Buck Privates comedy.  And of course those who are Patton buffs will know that he had a decent role in these maneuvers. For a more in-depth look at the context and sweep of the story, see Dr. Citino’s “America Goes to War” at history.net.

Ok, that’s it for now.  Another post is coming soon, before the Kalamazoo conference on Wednesday!!

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