Posts Tagged ‘Edward III’

Ok, so the responses I got from the “two cows” post were good, but also comparatively few.  So, here’s my attempt at humor.   I apologize a) if any of the references seem obscure, b) for the occasional use of ellipses to denote words unfit for polite company (they are more-or-less appropriate for their subjects), and  c) for any part of these jokes that don’t work (a given, me being,well,  myself).

Essential background: Last night, starting at 10 p.m., I had ahead of me a 12-hour train ride from Chicago to Rochester, and, not at that point being able to study OR sleep, decided to use my time profitably. As you can see….

Again, with apologies, and clear renunciation of normativity…


A Norman Knight: You have two cows. They stitch historical tapestries for you, and plot revolt in the North. They and their cousins suddenly start appearing in great numbers in Byzantium, where in 1084 they get their revenge for Hastings. You create post-colonial studies.

A German Knight: You don’t need two cows, you take whatever you want from Italy. One day you’re going to track down and kill the b*** that lampooned you in Aymeri of Narbonne.



Saw this news item from my friends at, and oh boy this is exciting!!  We’re all familiar (or should be) with Emperor Frederick II’s reputation as a multi-lingual man of affairs (though Heng’s description of him as a “Mozarabic emperor” is verrrry…hyperbolic, let’s say).   As a person and a ruler, he elicited wildly varying reactions during his own time, and these have continued to our own times.  Ibn Al-Jawzi thought him a shallow, clever materialist, and physically not a very imposing specimen–“had he been a slave, he would not have been worth two hundred dihram.”  Certainly not his grandfather’s martial image, that’s for sure.  The defining modern study of Frederick, Kantorowicz’s massive volume, portrayed him as an urbane visionary centuries ahead of his time–the “great man” whose dreams were frustrated by fate and malevolent forces.  David Abulafia’s revisionist biography tries so hard to portray Frederick as typical of his times that you start to wonder how he caused such a stir at all–in other words, if he was that typical of a medieval ruler, how did all that trouble with the Papacy, the Italian cities, and even his own German kingdom come about?   The best  biography to date is Wolfgang Sturner’s brilliant 2-volume study, Friedrich II, but unfortunately for many of you (including my students) it’s only in German, so until I translate it you’ll have to wait.

Ah, the exciting news item!   (more…)

[So much for November 1…]

Part…whatever…of “How the Blog Suffers When Serious Work is Happening.”   SO much piling up and so many interesting things happening, but how on earth to get to it all.  I envy scholars such as Jeffrey J. Cohen and his associates at In the Middle, who manage to balance a lot more than I do and still turn out fascinating posts on a regular basis…   It’s long past due that I write posts that do more than give the ubiquitous calls-for-papers, especially, as the work has progressed to the point where my thoughts are clearer on some of the topics at hand.

First, a short recap of recent happenings, just in case you were curious.  October was one exhausting month…I got back from the Texas Medieval Association conference at Baylor just past midnight on the 3rd, and promptly went off to teach at 8 that same morning. The conference itself was a really great experience–lots of great new people met, and new ideas heard, presented, and discussed, especially in the field of crusade studies.  AND then finally got my truck repaired–great feeling (it was one of those oil leaks that keeps you feeding the truck a few quarts of oil every week. Which gets very expensive).  Then had to ramp up my training schedule again, as it was announced that previous week that there would most likely be testing in 14 days or so, and training always suffers when the work gets intense.  Fortunately, while I’m no longer 21 or so, I’m in quite good shape, and getting back “into the groove” isn’t that much of a struggle any more. I can  run a 5k whenever I feel like it, train for hours every week (I average about 10 hours of training–both martial arts and conditioning–per week), and deliver a reverse punch or a roundhouse kick with a reasonable amount of confidence.    And in due course I did pass my exam, despite being very nervous, exhausted, and suffering mildly strained ligaments in both shoulders (don’t ask).  Finally, it’s job season again, and all those application deadlines, at the which I thought a few weeks ago “I have time,” well, they’re fast approaching.  It just doesn’t end.

But I wouldn’t be doing anything else.  And that, so I’ve been told, is a good sign, a small indicator that perhaps I am cut out for this after all…

ANYWAY, so much for the personal update. On to professional items… (more…)