Medieval items of interest: State Finance, Battlefields, and the Roman Empire
Just a couple of short items that might be interesting to those of you who find ancient/medieval things of…interest? Ever notice how certain words tend to repeat themselves? Like, “loquacious parrots are loquacious”? It’s so easy fall into this trap. I mean, just the other day I noticed that one of my job cover letters used the construction “preparation has prepared,” etc. Really?? Needless to say, that has been corrected. My personal favorite repetitive construction is “nomilicious noms are nomilicious.” Can’t argue with that.
ANYway, my rumination on military acts as locations of memory is still being formed, but I’m taking a short break from tearing the dissertation apart again to list a few items that I want to close on my browser…
My friend Chris acquainted me last week with the European State Finance Database, a collection of data on a wide range of scholarly questions contributed by scholars from around the world. Definitely worth checking out, especially for those of you who appreciate data sets.
Now, in my field we’re all tolerably familiar with English Heritage and their Register of Historic Battlefields. For the first time the other day I actually read their explanation of why battlefields are important, and it’s worth thinking about in terms of our own pedagogy and scholarly approach to these topics (naturally this feeds into “battlefields-and-military-experience-as-memory-locations”):
Battlefields are significant in four ways:
- As turning points in English history, for example the Norman Conquest which followed the Battle of Hastings in 1066, or the turmoil of the Civil Wars in the seventeenth century which changed the roles of monarchy and parliament. The reputations of great political and military leaders were frequently built on battlefield success.
- Tactics and skills of war still relevant to the defence of the country evolved on historic battlefields
- Battlefields are the final resting place for thousands of unknown soldiers, nobles and commoners alike, whose lives were sacrificed in the making of the history of England
- Where they survive, battlefields may contain important topographical and archaeological evidence which can increase our understanding of the momentous events of history which took place on their soil
Apparently a scholarly team is going to report on findings in a first-century Jewish tomb in Jerusalem. Some of the ossuaries apparently have (authentically?) early Christian symbols on them, and unlike the now-discredited “Jesus Family” ossuary are apparently genuine. We’ll see. As you can read, there’s an unavoidablely large amount of conjecture built into this possible analysis, but time usually tells with items like this.
Speaking of that time period, someone posted a link the other day to an interactive map of the Roman and Celtic worlds. A bit general in some ways, and has just a suggestive hint of a false comparison between “Roman” lands and “Celtic” lands as monolithic blocks, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
That’s all for now. Back to the dissertation…