Tag Archives: blogs

Cool Stuff on Other Blogs VIII

I’ve been pretty busy preparing for a significant work activity and haven’t had time to really buckle down on Irenaeus. Also, I am not entirely happy with my first post. To me it’s a bit disjointed and – this is coming from the person who wrote it – once I posted it and re-read it I was left with something of a “so what?” feeling. It’s not a complete waste of electrons as it has some decent information but it reads as if I didn’t have a clear point or objective I was trying to communicate. I don’t write blog posts like I do my professional work. Once I feel comfortable with a topic I just start typing it up in WordPress. But for my subsequent Irenaeus posts, I think I’ll at least write out a first draft in a word processor program and edit that. There’s just too much there. I debated pulling that post and doing a complete re-write and didn’t, partly because Irenaeus the heresiologist is just a prologue to why I think understanding him relative to the early church matters. But it showed me I need to do something different next time.

Up to about a month ago the blogosphere had been relatively quiet. But over the past few weeks things have really taken off. I don’t know why unless as the fall semester approaches people have recharged themselves mentally and are starting to think about their respective areas of expertise. Whatever the reason, being as I’m not going to offer anything remotely original for a little while, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at what other folks have been posting about. I’ve organized these “Cool Stuff” posts in different ways since I’ve been doing this, including chronologically by posts. This time, I’m going alphabetically by blog title.

This is the eighth of these round-up-type posts that I’ve done and I have a feeling Jonathan Jarrett is batting 100% for appearances with his blog, A Corner of Tenth Century Europe. And as his is at the top of my blog list alphabetically, I’m going to lead off with a recent post where he highlights a relative lack of sources from southwest Europe around the year 1000 and an example of how charter evidence can sometimes add information to the narrative history of the region, in this case related to the sack of the Iberian peninsula town of Manresa by Muslim forces around 997.

A recent post on Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives, while not medieval, is another example of how archaeological finds often have been misinterpreted by researchers, and then used to support bias. In this case, the blogger (I’m not sure if the author is searching for anonymity however, though you can easily deduce who this is, said author will remain unnamed here) discusses the assumption that the remains found at Western Hemisphere sacrificial sites were of individuals who were; a) women, b) virgins, and c) beautiful. Additional analysis has shown that these first two assumptions are not always true and the third premise is both unprovable and subjective enough to where it really shouldn’t be talked about without other supporting evidence.

A new and very active blog is archaeodeath by Howard Williams of the University of Chester. He has posted a lot and what’s also great is that much of his archaeological investigation includes taking his family along. What a great way to further your profession! If you’re interested in archaeology and haven’t come across his site yet, take a long, hard look. Very frequent (I’m jealous), quality posts which often include a lot of pictures. I’ll link to one from just yesterday where he explores Anglesey Island sites (Anglesey Island is just off the coast of Wales).

I’d have to check to be sure but I bet Bones Don’t Lie, written by Katy Meyers, a Michigan State grad student, has made it on these Cool Stuff posts every time since I started following her blog. This is another very active blog. Over the summer she posted regularly about a research trip to England and her latest post is one on how Quicklime has often been misused in modern novels and is far more effective in preserving bodies than destroying them.

At Heavenfield Michelle Ziegler recently posted about Bede’s relating how St. Oswald interceded against the plague in the late 7th century and how this contributed to Oswald’s cult.

Historian on the Edge recently posted a journal article he wrote in 1992 about Viking Violence and how it was perceived in (mostly British) sources.

Magistra et Mater recently posted summaries from a couple of IHR Early Medieval Seminars. Each of these seminars discuss aspects of state formation and continuity/change, the first for 7th and 8th century Egypt, the second for later Anglo-Saxon England.

On Norse and Viking Ramblings Viqueen has a post about how Valkyries are portrayed in Scandinavian literature. I really haven’t gotten to my Viking/Scandinavian reading yet but this post was a nice complement to a presentation by Phil Purser that I heard a couple of years ago.

Karen Jolly provided an interesting post, along with quite a few pictures, of the monastic site of Glendalough on Revealing Words. I like living in the US most of the time but I do get envious of Europeans when I see posts like this.

Continuing with the monastery theme, Tim Clarkson posted a summary of a lecture on Kirkmadrine, a religious site in Southern Scotland on his blog, Senchus. Actually, he posted a summary of what can be found on a link to a description of the lecture (is this a summary of a summary?). You’ll need to go to Tim’s post to get to that one.

Another blog I’ve only recently been following is Surrey Medieval, authored by Robert Briggs. In it he discusses work he’s been doing, primarily focused on the County of Surrey in England. I’ll link a detailed post he recently put together summarizing statistical evidence of coins finds in Surrey, along with some interesting implications which the nature of these finds provide.

Maybe this post is really about blogs I’ve only recently come across. In any case, Michael Cheong provides a post which includes some humorous passages from Bald’s Leechbook on The Eastern Anglo-Saxonist. I find Medieval medicine very interesting myself and I enjoyed this post.

Gabriele of This Old Fort recently provided an excellent post on a Roman Signal Post at Scarborough. And as usual, she provides great pictures to go along with her description of the site.

That’s it for this time. Hopefully I’ll figure out what I want to say about Irenaeus in the near future.


Posted by on August 11, 2013 in Other Blogs


Tags: , ,

Versatile Blogger Nominations


I’ve received these occasionally and generally ignore them but I’ll take this one for two reasons. First is that it doesn’t ask you to link back to a commercial site complete with cookies but all I need to do is post the image. Second, while it’s a chain letter, unlike some of the Facebook or e-mail messages that pop up, it’s harmless and hopefully only has the consequence of increasing traffic to other blogs. I guess I’ll add a third reason; because Michelle Ziegler from Heavenfield nominated me – thanks Michelle!

I’ve often been told that without rules life is chaos. While I’m not sure how valid that statement is, there are rules for accepting this nomination. These are:

  1. Display the logo
  2. Thank and link back to your nominator.
  3. State seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers.
  5. Link back to a specific blog post on each blog so the blogger is notified.

I try not to talk a lot about me. Though I’ve been told that all writing is, at its core, about the author – or is that a guideline just for fiction? I’m going to stay away from what’s on my About this Blog page. If you think this blog looks interesting, you’ll likely get there eventually.

  1. While I have no history degree or training, while in college I found that I had an affinity towards the social sciences, particularly sociology and anthropology. I have always been fascinated by what makes people be, er, people and why we behave the way we do, particularly in groups. Besides my frustrated ambitions to write fantasy, I think this is why I enjoy history. It’s also why you’ll find very little here about things like how a battle was fought or period clothing. I like the social evolution end of things and while the two previously mentioned examples may be related to social aspects (the French at Agincourt anyone?) these aren’t the topics I tend to gravitate to.
  2. Before I went back for my graduate degree I trained horses professionally for about 7 years. I also did a little rodeo.
  3. This is for those new to this blog. I’m a book fiend. My friends are completely baffled by this. There are jokes out there about women and shoes – well, I don’t know how much truth there is in them but you could sure apply them to me and books.
  4. I’ve never been overseas. My international experiences have been limited to Canada, Mexico, and Honduras(an International Ag Project in college). I absolutely expect that the first year after I retire I’ll make the IMC at Leeds. And it’s likely that this will be part of a month or more in Europe.
  5. In my real job I do a fair amount of GIS work. I’ve idly thought that after I retire I could farm myself out to Independent Scholars to help them with the spatial display of information (most folks associated with colleges likely have someone on staff to help them).
  6. I work for a University but have no teaching or research appointment. My appointment is 100% Extension. The Extension system in the US is located(organizationally) in Agriculture Schools at what are known as Land-Grant Universities. I’m not even going to try to explain it here.
  7. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Response, specifically in Agrosecurity and in a couple of specialties within that.

Now I have to come up with 15 blogs to nominate. I think I’m going to just nominate blogs which I consider interesting and which have been fairly active, without worrying about whether they’ll pass it along. Five of the blogs I’d normally consider have been nominated by Michelle.

  1. Steve Muhlberger of Nipissing University has Muhlberger’s World History Steve is a medieval history professor currently working on various aspects of chivalry along with high and late medieval warfare. When I think of a versatile blogger though, he is the first person who comes to mind as he blogs about current events and social issues as much as he does about history.
  2. Magistra et Mater is a historian in Britain (since she’s in Britain should I type “an historian”?) who has focused her research on studies of early medieval masculinity. She’s not exactly pseudonymous but enough so that I’ll not provide information on her latest book which looks very interesting – pretty sure I’ll be picking up a copy once I start reading about that period.
  3. Not my period but Kathleen Neal is an Australian medievalist who has a great blog, In Thirteenth Century England. The focus of her blog’s pretty self-explanatory but occasionally she ventures into other areas. The post I linked to immediately sent me scrambling to Google to see what kinds of autocompletes I could come up with.
  4. I love Bill Caraher’s The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World blog. He’s an archaeologist from the University of North Dakota and includes a ton of information, including some excellent book reviews.
  5. I recently discovered theculturegirl. I always take a look at the blogs of people who follow me and if I like them, as I did this one, I follow them myself. The author’s a PhD candidate in Medieval History.
  6. I mentioned The Lost Fort in my last post. In addition to writing a lot about (mostly) Medieval Germany (more properly the HRE and surrounding areas) she always includes great pictures.
  7. Viqueen is a very well respected blogger who teaches and does research on the Viking Age and in Old Norse language and literature. Her blog is Norse and Viking Ramblings.
  8. Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic is a blog written by folks from the University of Cambridge.
  9. Another Archaeology blog is Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives authored by a University of California at Berkely Anthropology Professor.
  10. Chris Armstrong is a Professor of Church History at Bethel Seminary. He has a very interesting blog, Grateful to the Dead. The post I’ve linked to includes the paper he gave this year at Kalamazoo.
  11. I know nothing about the author (this is another blog I found because the author started following mine) but I like Antiquarian’s Attic.
  12. Christian Opitz writes L’Historien Errant. Some very interesting art history posts.
  13. From the Garden to the City is written by a Masters Degree student studying Late Roman History. Our interests mesh and I like this one a lot.
  14. Things Medieval is a group blog whose authors are, mostly, graduate students in history.

I thought I was going to get to 15 but, except for the blogs Michelle mentioned in her post none of the others I wanted to nominate have posted within several months. Guess I’ll be one short.


Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Blogology, Other Blogs


Tags: ,

Cool Stuff on Other Blogs VII

I’m in a strange place just now. For the tiniest period I feel in control of my life and that I am actually working rather than being worked over by my job. I suspect that this happy confluence of events will end in two days after another meeting with about 20 co-workers where I’ll talk about what I’ve been doing and how (gulp) I’m willing to offer it to a broader audience. I’m sure this is a good thing but every time I’ve presented on this, for the following two weeks I’ve been swamped.

Anyway, this afternoon after getting home I started trying to catch up on my blog reading. Once I did that I realized there have been some interesting and fun posts written. I decided to only go back a month because I can’t really remember when I fell behind but I suspect it was somewhere around when I was in DC in April as this recent hectic period began shortly thereafter.

So whatever I’m mentioning here has a) been written within the last month and b) doesn’t involve Kalamazoo because it’s impossible for anything about Kalamazoo to be considered remotely cool when I wasn’t there. Also, many of these bloggers have had multiple good posts (as I’m sure have some of those I haven’t linked). If you like what they’ve written, take a look at some of their other work.

Here we go, from most recent to oldest.

Over at Senchus, Tim posted about the Battle of Dun Nechtáin which, being relatively unfamiliar with Scottish history, I had never heard of. Apparently I should have, or at least have remembered Bede’s account as this battle, where in 685 the Picts defeated the English of Northumbria, apparently led to an extended period where it sucked to be English.

Katy Meyers of Bones Don’t Lie offered a summary of a recent article on Scandinavian burials where, once again, a researcher has found that mortuary remains often leave a lot to be desired when it comes to determining specifics about those who were buried. I haven’t read the article mentioned (though I may try to take a look at it) but it’s becoming almost a rule of mine that when it comes to history things are almost always more complex than they first appear.

I very much appreciated a post by Lucas at From the Garden to the City about Early Islamic Sources. Why did I enjoy it so much? Because much of what he talks about echoes how I feel about Late Antique Western Europe. It’s not that there aren’t sources. With the exception of Britain (and here I may be less correct than I think I am as I have a bunch of books about the Anglo-Saxons which I haven’t read yet), there are a lot of sources. The problem is these aren’t coherent narrative histories in the pattern of a Thucydides, or even Ammianus Marcellinus. They are small, often contradictory pieces that make up a puzzle which, often, when you find a piece and think you figure out how it fits, find that it makes another piece suddenly appear out of place. And I’m not even doing the research; just reading what the researchers have to say.

At Contagions Michelle summarized research done in a 6th century Bavarian cemetery which conclusively indicates that Yersinia pestis was the causal agent for the Justinian Plague. Granting that finding the organism in multiple locations spread across a wider geographic area would provide even stronger evidence, it’s getting more difficult for people to argue for some other disease.

As usual, just picking one of Jonathan Jarrett’s posts was tough but I thought his discussion of when is a monk really a monk and when is he someone else based on late 10th century charter evidence to be very interesting. Here you have someone, or possibly but unlikely more than one someone’s of the same name, sometimes writing charters as a cleric and sometimes as a layperson. If it is one person, why? I hope Jonathan gets a chance to look at these charters in person and I really hope they’re written by the same person because that would be just waaaaaay interesting, as was the post.

Taking this identity confusion one step further is Esmeralda’s Cumbrian History where she talks about an Irish Saint, Bega, who may actually have been – wait for it – a bracelet. I mean, it’s one thing to not know if you’re a monk or a layperson, quite another to have trouble figuring out if you’re a Saint or a piece of jewelry. I very much enjoyed how she walks through how this may have happened.

Finally, I’ll offer a post written an even 30 days ago by Gabriele of the Lost Fort where she discusses 14th century disputes over the duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg. What I always enjoy about Gabriele’s posts, along with her detailed narratives, are the wonderful pictures. Now 14th century Germany is well outside my area of interest but these types of accounts are always interesting.

I’m currently in the middle of reading Irenaeus. Hopefully I’ll have the time to post about what he has to say once I finish.


Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Other Blogs


Tags: ,

Cool Stuff on Other Blogs VI

Just back from Thanksgiving and while I have half of another Kalamazoo post written and an idea for something I think is interesting about Early Christianity, I won’t have time to finish those today. Instead I want to post a summary of some interesting stuff from other blogs, something I haven’t done in a while.

Jonathan Jarrett has a post I find very interesting about the spread of the three-field agricultural system in Western Europe. This is something of a “state of the question” post discussing some of the sources and problems with figuring out how and why this major change came about. There’s also a very nice image of the three-field system.

Katy Meyers’ Bones Don’t Lie Blog has become one of my very favorites. She’s a very active blogger and her posts are filled with information. I highly recommend you start following her blog if you’re interested in archaeology, particularly mortuary archaeology. Her recent post on a study of two medieval Irish cemeteries and the wounds found on remains is a nice example of why I enjoy her blog so much.

I often mention posts from Heavenfield but this time I’ll point to one from Michelle Ziegler’s other blog, Contagions. She discusses a study of Leprosy in Medieval Scandinavia including the finding of an Asian strain which raises a bunch of questions of transmission paths.

Esmeralda’s Cumbrian History and Folklore has a recent post about spoons found dating from the iron age in England. These spoons do not seem to be suitable for eating which hints at some sort of ritual use.

Magistra et Mater has started posted her Leeds reports. Her opening day report discusses monasticism, medieval hygiene, and gender studies. They’ve moved the date of Leeds (this is the International Medieval Congress) a week earlier which greatly enhances my chances of making it before I retire, though I’m almost certain this won’t be in 2013.

Viqueen recently provided a post on Norwegian Churches which I enjoyed a great deal. What was interesting to me was her mention of the inscriptions found on a chair in Heddal depicting a scene from a Norwegian legend, one which seems to me to be very non-Christian.

Through a post by Tim Clarkson on his blog, Senchus, I’ve now discovered his Heart of the Kingdom Blog about early medieval Govan (a section of Glasgow). The post in question is a detailed (for a blog post) discussion of the Barochan Cross, an early medieval free-standing cross, which were likely once fairly common along roads in Scotland.

I always enjoy Gabriele’s The Lost Fort. Even when the topic doesn’t particularly interest me, she posts great pictures. She recently posted about Castle Reichenbach, built in the later 11th century in (modern) Germany. She posts a lot of details about the various conflicts that took place in and around this castle during the medieval period but I have to confess that it’s her first footnote which will probably stay with me the longest.

Though it’s not in my period I enjoy Kathleen Neal’s In Thirteenth Century England a great deal. She recently put up a post about the Reformation (more properly, about how it had its roots in the Medieval Period) which includes a great flowchart she developed. I saved it using her name for the filename so hopefully I remember to ask her permission should I ever use it for something.

That’s it for now. I’m afraid I haven’t been a very good participant in National Blog Posting Month. This is getting to be an old refrain but I do intend to get back to more regular posting at some point. But for the rest of today I need to prep for a regional Drought Conference in Ohio on Tuesday.


Posted by on November 25, 2012 in Other Blogs


Tags: ,

Thursday at Kalamazoo: Books, Sessions and Bloggers

Before I get started I want to mention that if anyone happens to read these and feels that I’ve been inaccurate, please either e-mail me or comment. I’ve been corrected plenty of times. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Thursday morning I went to breakfast and ran into a friend who was among a group of people Paul Gans first dragged to Kalamazoo over ten years ago. By 8:00, as has been the case for every Kalamazoo since I began attending, I was at the doorway of the exhibit area. I don’t have any cute stories about hunting for specific books like last year. I did meet an individual who I’d interacted with on Library Thing, David Kathman. Of course I then had to inform him that as he was talking about the 14th century I wouldn’t be hearing his paper in favor of a session organized by Ralph Mathisen. Somehow Dave managed to go on living (I know this because I saw him again Sunday).

After the usual perusal of half-price Ashgates, $5 Penguins, etc., I walked up to the Bernhard Center for Session 43, “Medieval Environments I: Food Shortage and Subsistence Crises in Medieval Europe”, which has also been discussed by Michelle Ziegler. Choosing sessions is always interesting. In picking where I was going pre-conf, I had thought I might not go to a Thursday morning session as nothing seemed that interesting to me. More time for books, right? But the night before, as I was marking my brand new program book, I found this one and wondered why I wouldn’t have wanted to attend it. I just pulled out my original book and I hadn’t identified this as a possibility. I have no idea why.

Kathy Pearson of Old Dominion opened with, “After the ‘Fall’: Feeding Rome in the Early Middle Ages.” This was a discussion of the food supply for the city of Rome in the 6th and 7th centuries. She discussed how, while Rome’s population from the period of Justinian’s Gothic Wars was radically reduced from that of the Empire, it was still substantial. With an estimated population of 25,000 to 40,000 it was the largest city in Western Europe at the time, and periodically it would swell significantly due to pilgrims and refugees. She discussed evidence of trade networks (diminished but still present) such as from North Africa and Sicily, the existence of papal estates, demolition of buildings within the walls in favor of arable ground, and crop yield estimates. This paper was heavy with information. Ultimately, Pearson believes that it is likely that as much as half of the land area within the walls was used for agricultural production. If this is the case she believes that if the population of the city was 25,000, then the city (this includes the surrounding countryside) would have been nearly self-sufficient, however with a population of 40,000 Rome would have needed to rely on larger networks.

From Tim Newfield of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor we received a new look at the Carolingians in “Shortages and Population Trends in Carolingian Europe, ca. 750-c.950.” Newfield believes that theories describing a fairly steady population growth during the Carolingian period should be regarded with caution. His main thesis is that the Carolingian Empire was subject to fairly regular and significant food shortages, which he divided into two categories; famines and lesser shortages. I won’t include all of his information however he identified 10 famines from 762/4-939/44 and 12 lesser shortages from 752-919, usually the result of unfavorable weather. He believes that these food crises would have generated in a strong demographic response, likely in the range of a 5-20% population reduction, and that while a post-shortage baby boom was likely, population recovery would have required twice the duration of the shortage (for a 2-year shortage it would take 4 years to regain the lost population). He believes that in order for relatively continuous growth to have taken place shortages must have occurred a minimum of 5-9 years apart while he believes it is very likely that they were more frequent. This was an interesting paper. There seems to be a growing body of evidence which shows that things may not have been quite as good during the Carolingian period as has sometimes been argued. I’m hopeful that a form of this paper shows up in EME or another journal where he can provide more details. The validity of this paper hinges on the quality of its information, particularly regarding the shortages, which there’s little time to explore in a 20-25 minute paper.

I can’t help wondering if the later time period for the final paper was the cause of my not identifying this as a session to attend. In any case, Philip Slavin of McGill University took us into the later Middle Ages with, “Alternative Consumption: Fodder and Fodder Resources in Late Medieval English Economy, ca. 1250-1450.” Slavin examined the use of fodder in feeding draft animals, how these changed over time, and what these changes may indicate. He divided fodder into two categories; grassland, consisting of pasture and meadow hay and; crops, consisting of oats, legumes and straw. 1 There are some interesting changes which took place during this period which he discussed with the help of some useful charts and graphs. One of these was that in 1300 over 2/3 of all fodder was sold by Lords with the remainder being fed while by 1400 roughly half was sold. He believes this points to a decline in the demesne economy and a possible increase in peasant wealth. Between 1300 and 1400 the percentage of oats in rations declined radically while pasturage and hay fed increased, indicating a shift of land from arable to pasturage, possibly due to a labor shortage. As a result of the reduction in the level of oats fed, animals became weaker, something he believes is supported by archaeological evidence from Wharram-Percy as this has revealed skeletal pathologies in animals including lesions and weakened bones.

This was a very good session and made my forgetting my program book well worth the trouble. This session was sponsored by the Environmental History Network for the Middle Ages (ENFORMA), a group I may have to keep an eye on. They sponsored several other sessions during Congress though this is the only one I made.

Following this session I headed back to the Exhibit area to resume my prowl through the books. I found that in addition to Ashgate and Cambridge selling books at 50% off, Brill had the same discount for its display copies, resulting in me finally owning one of their volumes. Yes, I have indeed arrived. I made it through a bit less than half the exhibit and decided Loome might take too much time so I returned to Bernhard, had some lunch and headed to Session 95, “The Ties That Bound I: Early Medieval Prosopography”.

Unfortunately only one of the three presenters made it to this session. However the one paper, “Becoming Barbarian: An Examination of Stilicho in Fifth-Century Latin Sources” by Deanna Forsman of North Hennepin Community College was very good and made the walk worthwhile. She discussed source mentions and descriptions of Stilicho to assess his historical portrayal as a barbarian rather than as a Roman. A portion of this was a comparative analysis of Stilicho and Aetius. She had a really good slide which showed substantial parallels between the two, yet Aetius is generally referred to as a Roman while Stilicho is not. In examining the literature, Forsman found that source material is generally positive about Stilicho and almost all refer to him as a Roman. The only negative depictions come after Stilicho’s death and of those, only Orosius refers to him as a barbarian and he is the sole source for his being considered half Vandal. 2 Forsman believes that Jerome’s reference should be interpreted as Stilicho being called semi-barbarian, like a barbarian, or even equating to “barbarian-lover”, not that he was half barbarian as this has commonly been interpreted as. 3 Even Rutilius Namatianus, in a vituperative condemnation, doesn’t refer to Stilicho as anything but Roman.

Ultimately Forsman does not believe it likely that Stilicho was referred to as a barbarian while alive and that his being half Vandal is somewhere between unproven and unlikely. Stilicho certainly thought of himself as Roman and the bulk of the sources seem to support him. Good paper and Forsman gave an excellent presentation. There is a followup question of why, with so little evidence for this, did Stilicho come to be known as a barbarian? I can make a couple of conjectures (for example, Orosius wrote his Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri septem at the request of Augustine who may have helped disseminate this) but nothing concrete.

Next I looked outside, didn’t see a shuttle and set out for Valley III for my next session. I think this was the trek which woke my hip up. I can walk a long time with no trouble at an amble but when I need to push the pace a little it doesn’t take long for it to start speaking to me. I went to a four-paper session and I only have notes which would allow me to post a coherent summary of one of these. I have a bunch of data points but not much in the way of the overall themes or messages of the presentations. This was a 3:30 session which is a low energy time for me, at least when I’m short of sleep but I don’t recall dozing off or even having a hard time concentrating (as opposed to a session Saturday – not sure if I’ll mention that when I get to it). However I’m afraid I can’t offer much in the way of useful summaries so I’ll just leave this one alone entirely.

In any case, once the session ended I dropped my notepad in my room and headed to the Valley III registration area for the Blogger Meet-up. We hung around in the lobby for a bit before heading to the room. I’ve previously mentioned the Bloggers who were there but I think I left out one. At least I think Lisa Carnell has a blog, titled The View from Kalamazoo.

Several folks who don’t (but should) blog were in attendance. I’m not sure on the protocol for this so I’ll leave them unmentioned but I did appreciate meeting them. ADM did a nice job organizing this. Good snacks, a couple of wine selections and a variety of beer choices. We hung around, told stories/lies and I started to trot out what would become my 2012 Kalamazoo conversational theme, a combination of, “How I go about doing my job is very different from you,” with a liberal dose of, “My University doesn’t expect me to know how to write.” This last isn’t completely true but we have communications people who review our more formal pieces before they are unleashed on the general public. I only thought of this because at the time I thought I was meeting with my Comm. staff person and a graphics designer on the Tuesday after K’zoo (said meeting has been pushed back to this coming Friday) about a publication I’m currently working on.

There were also some creative ideas for new blogs which I shall allow to remain in the room for the time being. However Vaulting had a really good one which I think she should have a go at. We had a bit more time than at last year’s meetup, or at least this seemed to be the case. Afterwards several folks headed for Postmedieval’s “Burn After Reading” session which I had originally intended to make but following a couple of beers and with my hip making a bit of a commotion I decided to head for my room instead where, after putting together a quick update post, I went to bed.

1. I was surprised that oats were considered fodder as today they are classified as feed concentrates as opposed to roughages such as hay, pasture and silage.

2. I was unprepared when I first read Orosius on Stilicho (I believe this wasn’t long after reading Claudian so that may be the reason) but in 7.38 of his Seven Books of History Against the Pagans he comes down on him hard, accusing him of using Alaric and other barbarians as a tool to terrify Rome and of plotting to place his son on the throne and restore paganism (a bit contradictory re Namatianus accusing him of destroying the Sybilline Books). At one time up to 8-10 years ago I had this half-formed notion that if Stilicho hadn’t been assassinated the Roman Empire would likely have survived. I have since reformed my thinking (though if he actually had killed Honorius and been successful in placing himself or his son on the throne the possibilities remain interesting to think about).

3 This is in Jerome’s letter 123.17, where he asks Ageruchia, a wealthy widow, to not remarry. My version is from the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers Second Series, Philip Schaff, ed., Peabody, MA: Hendrickson (2012) and says, “This humiliation [payment to Alaric’s Goths] has been brought upon her [Rome] not by the fault of her Emperors who are both most religious men, but by the crime of a half-barbarian traitor who with our money has armed our foes against us.” Unfortunately this does not have an accompanying Latin original (the Loeb editon of selected letters didn’t select this one). I’ve found myself increasingly wanting to check translations against the original and this is one of several Congress papers which sent me looking.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kalamazoo on the Blogs

Last year I saw relatively few bloggers posting about Kalamazoo. This year they’re all over the place. This page will be my attempt to provide a list of bloggers who have posted about the 2012 International Congress on Medieval Studies and who have described something about it, beyond simply, “I was there.” As I’m posting this just three days after Congress I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ll be adding more links. Also, if I link to a blog post about Kalamazoo and that blogger adds additional posts, I won’t add all of their links (I don’t think – if I change my mind this sentence will disappear). If you know of a blogger posting about K’zoo and I haven’t included it here, feel free to either e-mail me or post a comment. The same goes if I’ve posted a link to your blog and you’d prefer I remove it. made their initial K’zoo post here and mention there may be more. I wonder if they’ll describe how they were featured at the Pseudo Society Session?

At Modern Medieval Matthew Gabriele provides his contribution to a BABEL Panel, “Against the 19th Century: A Mini-Manifesto.”

Notorious PhD posted about a strange encounter she had at this year’s Congress. I think I may throw a post in sometime about how I approach Medievalists with suggestions.

JJ Cohen discusses his Kalamazoo experience on the group blog, In the Middle. Because this is a group blog I will try to provide a link to a K’zoo post from each individual blog author as they appear.

On Grateful to the Dead, Chris Armstrong posted his Congress Paper, “C S Lewis: The classical and medieval resonances of his moral teachings.”

Historian on the Edge posted his paper from a BABEL Session (I really need to get to these), “History and Commitment: A Miniature Manifesto.”

Steve Muhlberger posted a couple of links from BABEL Session papers, including the one from H.O.T.E.

Jonathan Hsy guest posted about Kalamazoo on In the Middle.

From a new blog, for me, Bachanal in the Library discussed his first Kalamazoo experience.

Michelle Ziegler of Heavenfield and Contagions provides a summary of her Kalamazoo experience.

Jonathan Hsy just shared a post from James Smith of Australia where he talks about his Kalamazoo experience on his blog, Fluid Imaginings.

I hardly ever come across LiveJournal Blogs for some reason, I really don’t know why, but here’s what looks to be the final Kalamazoo Post from The Rose Garden. Heather Rose Jones was live blogging from Kalamazoo – I mean posting about sessions pretty much as they happened. And she has a bunch of ’em. I’m in awe.

Charlie Rozier at Rozier Historian offers a few Kalamazoo observations.

Jonathan Hsy also shared a post by Anne from Medieval Meets World. This post is less about the events of Congress than its spirit. It’s a different way of looking at Kalamazoo, at least for me.

In the Middle’s Eileen Joy authored a lengthy post in which she provides a summary of the Exemplaria Roundtable (Session 12) as well as her perspective on some issues related to Medieval Studies as a discipline and as a profession.

Jim Tigwell, another individual whose blog was previously unknown to me, posted some of his thoughts.

Megan Arnott from The Society for the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages posted a summary of their Kalamazoo session.

MEARCSTAPA, the Medieval Monster Group, (I’m not gonna try to type that out) posted a quick summary of their two sessions.


Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Conferences, Other Blogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kalamazoo Thursday Update

Skipping an evening session because I need SLEEP! I’m one of those people who never sleeps well my first night in a strange place. I’ll be making up for it tonight.

Ran into a bunch of people today. I think my intentional no advance social planning strategy is working. I’ll talk more about that when I give my reports later.

The main reason for this post is so I can at least mention everyone who was at this evening’s Blogger Meetup. Again, this is just a roll call for now because I’m afraid I’ll forget someone if I wait a week or two. Present were, Another Damned Medievalist or ADM who organized the event. Also present were Vaulting and Vellum. One day I really must learn which of the two is the linguist and which is the art historian. Steve Muhlberger attended and, briefly, so did Larry Swain.

These were all folks I’d met before. However I enjoyed meeting some new people. I had never met Dame Eleanor Hull. And The Cranky Professor was friggin’ hilarious – I may have to start following his blog. Also present was Sapiens, whose blog I’m not finding else I’d link to it (it was Sapiens wasn’t it?). Good food, good drink, good people, good time. I’ll have a bit more post-K’zoo.

Other than that, I went to sessions, bought some books (running count is 24 so far but we’ll see where it ends up) and didn’t leave as early as I wanted Wednesday but what else is new? On to bed – hopefully tomorrow at this time I’ll be able to keep my eyes open.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Conferences, Other Blogs


Tags: , , ,