Tag Archives: Middle Ages

today’s holiday: St. Elmo’s Day


St. Elmo’s Day

The day known as St. Elmo’s Day is actually St. Erasmus‘s Day, in honor of a third-century Italian bishop who is thought to have suffered martyrdom around the year 304. Erasmus was a patron saint of sailors and was especially popular in the 13th century. Sometimes at sea on stormy nights, sailors will see a pale, brushlike spray of electricity at the top of the mast. In the Middle Ages, they believed that these fires were the souls of the departed, rising to glory through the intercession of St. Elmo. Such an electrical display is still referred to as “St. Elmo’s Fire.” More… Discuss

The Black Death


The Black Death

The Black Death was a form of bubonic plague

The bubonic plague described by Athanasius Kircher

The bubonic plague described by Athanasius Kircher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

that was pandemic throughout Europe, the Middle East, and much of Asia in the 14th century. Thought to have been caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, it killed between one-third and half of Europe’s population and at least 75 million people worldwide. Recently, it has been argued that the Black Death was not caused by bubonic plague, at all, but by what? More… Discuss

Dark Ages (historiography)


Dark Ages (historiography)

 

Petrarch, who conceived the idea of a European “Dark Age #1”. From Cycle of Famous Men and Women, Andrea di Bartolo di Bargilla, c. 1450

 The Dark Ages is a historical periodization used originally for the Middle Ages, which emphasizes the cultural and economic deterioration that supposedly occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire.[1][2] The label employs traditional light-versus-darkness imagery to contrast the “darkness” of the period with earlier and later periods of “light”.[3] The period is characterized by a relative scarcity of historical and other written records at least for some areas of Europe, rendering it obscure to historians. The term “Dark Age” derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum, originally applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries.[4]

The term once characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the “light of Rome” after the end of Late Antiquity, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century.[3][5] This definition is still found in popular use,[1][2][6] but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages has led to the label being restricted in application. Since the 20th century, it is frequently applied to the earlier part of the era, the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century).[7][8] However, many modern scholars who study the era tend to avoid the term altogether for its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate for any part of the Middle Ages.[9][10][11]

The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature.[3][12] Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as “dark” compared to the light of classical antiquity. Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Roman times and the High Middle Ages (c. 11th–13th century), including the lack of Latin literature, and a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. Later historians and writers picked up the concept, and popular culture has further expanded on it as a vehicle to depict the early Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope.[13]

History

Main article: Medievalism

The term “Dark Ages” originally was intended to denote the entire period between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance; the term “Middle Ages” has a similar motivation, implying an intermediate period between Classical Antiquity and the Modern era. In the 19th century scholars began to recognize the accomplishments made during the period, thereby challenging the image of the Middle Ages as a time of darkness and decay.[6] Now the term is not used by scholars to refer to the entire medieval period;[10] when used, it is generally restricted to the Early Middle Ages.[1]

The rise of archaeology and other specialties in the 20th century has shed much light on the period and offered a more nuanced understanding of its positive developments.[13] Other terms of periodization have come to the fore: Late Antiquity, the Early Middle Ages, and the Great Migrations, depending on which aspects of culture are being emphasized. When modern scholarly study of the Middle Ages arose in the 19th century, the term “Dark Ages” was at first kept, with all its critical overtones. On the rare occasions when the term “Dark Ages” is used by historians today, it is intended to be neutral, namely, to express the idea that the events of the period often seem “dark” because of the scarcity of artistic and cultural output,[14] including historical records, when compared with both earlier and later times.[10]

Petrarch

Triumph of Christianity by Tommaso Laureti (1530–1602), ceiling painting in the Sala di Constantino, Vatican Palace. Images like this one celebrate the triumph of Christianity over the paganism of Antiquity

 
The idea of a Dark Age originated with Petrarch in the 1330s.[3][6] Writing of those who had come before him, he said: “Amidst the errors there shone forth men of genius; no less keen were their eyes, although they were surrounded by darkness and dense gloom”.[15] Christian writers, including Petrarch himself,[3] had long used traditional metaphors of “light versus darkness” to describe “good versus evil“. Petrarch was the first to co-opt the metaphor and give it secular meaning by reversing its application. Classical Antiquity, so long considered the “dark” age for its lack of Christianity, was now seen by Petrarch as the age of “light” because of its cultural achievements, while Petrarch’s time, allegedly lacking such cultural achievements, was seen as the age of darkness.[3]

As an Italian, Petrarch saw the Roman Empire and the classical period as expressions of Italian greatness.[3] He spent much of his time travelling through Europe rediscovering and republishing classic Latin and Greek texts. He wanted to restore the classical Latin language to its former purity. Humanists saw the preceding 900-year period as a time of stagnation. They saw history unfolding, not along the religious outline of Saint Augustine‘s Six Ages of the World, but in cultural (or secular) terms through the progressive developments of classical ideals, literature, and art.

Petrarch wrote that history had two periods: the classic period of the Greeks and Romans, followed by a time of darkness, in which he saw himself as still living. In around 1343, in the conclusion to his epic Africa, he wrote: “My fate is to live among varied and confusing storms. But for you perhaps, if as I hope and wish you will live long after me, there will follow a better age. This sleep of forgetfulness will not last for ever. When the darkness has been dispersed, our descendants can come again in the former pure radiance.”[16] In the 15th century, historians Leonardo Bruni and Flavio Biondo developed a three tier outline of history. They used Petrarch’s two ages, plus a modern, “better age”, which they believed the world had entered. The term “Middle Ages,” in Latin media tempestas (1469) or medium aevum (1604), was later used to describe the period of supposed decline.[17]

Reformation

During the Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries, Protestants wrote of the Middle Ages as a period of Catholic corruption. Just as Petrarch’s writing was not an attack on Christianity per se — along with his humanism, he was deeply occupied with the search for God — neither was this an attack on Christianity: it was a drive to restore what Protestants saw as biblical Christianity.

The Magdeburg Centuries was a work of ecclesiastical history compiled by Lutheran scholars and published between 1559 and 1574. Devoting a volume to each century, it covered the first thirteen centuries of Christianity up to 1298. The work was virulently anti-Catholic. Identifying the Papacy as the Antichrist, it painted a “dark” picture of church history after the 5th century, characterizing it as “increments of errors and their corrupting influences”.

Baronius

In response to the Protestants, Roman Catholics developed a counter-image, depicting the High Middle Ages in particular as a period of social and religious harmony, and not “dark” at all.[18] The most important Catholic reply to the Magdeburg Centuries was the Annales Ecclesiastici by Cardinal Caesar Baronius. Baronius was a trained historian who kept theology in the background and produced a work that the Encyclopædia Britannica in 1911 described as “far surpassing anything before his day”[19] and that Acton regarded as “the greatest history of the Church ever written”.[20] The Annales, covering the first twelve centuries of Christianity up to 1198, was published in twelve volumes between 1588 and 1607. It was in Volume X that Baronius coined the term “dark age” for the period between the end of the Carolingian Empire in 888[21] and the first inklings of the Gregorian Reform under Pope Clement II in 1046:

The new age (saeculum) which was beginning, for its harshness and barrenness of good could well be called iron, for its baseness and abounding evil leaden, and moreover for its lack of writers (inopia scriptorum) dark (obscurum).[22]

Significantly, Baronius termed the age “dark” because of the paucity of written records capable of throwing light on it for the historian. The “lack of writers” he referred to may be illustrated by comparing the number of volumes in Migne‘s Patrologia Latina containing the work of Latin writers from the 10th century (the heart of the age he called “dark”) with the number of volumes containing the work of writers from the preceding and succeeding centuries. A minority of these writers were historians.

Volumes of Patrologia Latina per century[23]
Century Migne Volume Nos Volumes
7th 80–88 8
8th 89–96 7
9th 97–130 33
10th 131–138 7
11th 139–151 12
12th 162–191 39
13th 192–217 25

Medieval production of manuscripts.[24] The beginning of the Middle Ages was also a period of low activity in copying.

 There is a sharp drop from 33 volumes in the 9th century to just 7 in the 10th. The 11th century, with 12 volumes, evidences a certain recovery, and the 12th century, with 39, surpasses the 9th, something the 13th, with just 25 volumes, fails to do. There was indeed a “dark age”, in Baronius’s sense of a “lack of writers”, between the Carolingian Renaissance in the 9th century and the beginnings, some time in the 11th, of what has been called the Renaissance of the 12th century. Furthermore, besides the “dark age” named by Baronius, there was an earlier one, for regarding “lack of writers” the 7th and 8th centuries are pretty much on a par with the 10th. In short, in Western Europe during the 1st millennium, two “dark ages” can be identified, separated by the brilliant but all too brief Carolingian Renaissance.

Baronius’s “dark age” seems to have struck historians as something they could use, for it was in the 17th century that the terms “dark age” and “dark ages” started to proliferate in the various European languages, with his original Latin term, “saeculum obscurum”, being reserved for the period he had applied it to. But while some historians, following Baronius’s lead, used “dark age” neutrally to refer to a dearth of written records, others, in the manner of the early humanists and Protestants (and later the Enlightenment writers and their successors right up to the present day) used it pejoratively, lapsing into that lack of neutrality and objectivity that has quite spoilt the term for many modern historians.

The first British historian to use the term was most likely Gilbert Burnet, in the form “darker ages”, which appears several times in his work in the last quarter of the 17th century. His earliest use of it seems to have been in 1679 in the “Epistle Dedicatory” to Volume I of The History of the Reformation of the Church of England, where he writes: “The design of the reformation was to restore Christianity to what it was at first, and to purge it of those corruptions, with which it was overrun in the later and darker ages.”[25] He uses it again in 1682 in Volume II of the History, where he dismisses the story of “St George’s fighting with the dragon” as “a legend formed in the darker ages to support the humour of chivalry”.[26] Burnet was a Protestant bishop chronicling how England became Protestant and his use of the term is invariably pejorative.

Enlightenment

During the 17th and 18th centuries, in the Age of Enlightenment, many critical thinkers saw religion as antithetical to reason. For them the Middle Ages, or “Age of Faith”, was therefore the polar opposite of the Age of Reason.[27] Kant and Voltaire, among others, were vocal in attacking the religiously dominated Middle Ages as a period of social regress, while Gibbon in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire expressed contempt for the “rubbish of the Dark Ages”.[28] Yet just as Petrarch, seeing himself on the threshold of a “new age”, was criticizing the centuries until his own time, so too were the Enlightenment writers criticizing the centuries until their own. These extended well after Petrarch’s time, since religious domination and conflict were still common into the 17th century and beyond, albeit diminished in scope.

Consequently, an evolution had occurred in at least three ways. Petrarch’s original metaphor of light versus dark had been expanded in time, implicitly at least. Even if the early humanists after him no longer saw themselves living in a dark age, their times were still not light enough for 18th-century writers who saw themselves as living in the real Age of Enlightenment, while the period covered by their own condemnation had been stretched to include what we now call Early Modern times. Additionally, Petrarch’s metaphor of darkness, which he used mainly to deplore what he saw as a lack of secular achievements, was sharpened to take on a more explicitly anti-religious and anti-clerical meaning.

In spite of this, the term “Middle Ages”, used by Biondo and other early humanists after Petrarch, was the name in general use before the 18th century to denote the period until the Renaissance. The earliest recorded use of the English word “medieval” was in 1827. The concept of the Dark Ages was also in use, but by the 18th century, it tended to be confined to the earlier part of this medieval period. The earliest entry for a capitalised “Dark Ages” in the Oxford English Dictionary is a reference in Henry Thomas Buckle‘s History of Civilization in England in 1857.[1] Starting and ending dates varied: the Dark Ages were considered by some to start in 410, by others in 476 when there was no longer an emperor in Rome, and to end about 800, at the time of the Carolingian Renaissance under Charlemagne, or to extend through the rest of the 1st millennium.

Romanticism

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Romantics reversed the negative assessment of Enlightenment critics and launched a vogue for medievalism.[29] The word “Gothic” had been a term of opprobrium akin to “Vandal” until a few self-confident mid-18th-century English “Goths” like Horace Walpole initiated the Gothic Revival in the arts. This sparked off an interest in the Middle Ages, which for the following Romantic generation began to take on an idyllic image of the “Age of Faith”. This image, in reaction to a world dominated by Enlightenment rationalism in which reason trumped emotion, expressed a romantic view of a Golden Age of chivalry. The Middle Ages were seen with romantic nostalgia as a period of social and environmental harmony and spiritual inspiration, in contrast to the excesses of the French Revolution and, most of all, to the environmental and social upheavals and sterile utilitarianism of the emerging industrial revolution.[30] The Romantics’ view of these earlier centuries can still be seen in modern-day fairs and festivals celebrating the period with costumes and events.

Just as Petrarch had turned the meaning of light versus darkness, so had the Romantics turned the judgment of Enlightenment critics. However, the period idealized by the Romantics focused largely on what is now known as the High Middle Ages, extending into Early Modern times. In one respect, this was a reversal of the religious aspect of Petrarch’s judgment, since these later centuries were those when the universal power and prestige of the Church was at its height. To many users of the term, the scope of the Dark Ages was becoming divorced from this period, denoting mainly the earlier centuries after the fall of Rome.

Modern academic use (read more HERE)

today’s image: Valentine’s Day (Image: Courtesy of My Scrap Album)



Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day probably has its origins in the Roman feast of Lupercalia, which was held on February 15. One of the traditions associated with this feast was young men drawing the names of young women whom they would court during the following year–a custom that may have grown into the giving of valentine’s cards. Another legend associated with Valentine’s Day was the martyrdom of the Christian priest St. Valentine on February 14. The Roman emperor believed that men would remain soldiers longer if they were not married, but Valentine earned the wrath of the emperor by secretly marrying young couples. The first American publisher of valentines was printer and artist Esther Howland, who sold elaborate handmade cards for as much as $35 at the end of the 19th century. Complex and beautiful machine-made cards brought the custom of valentine exchanging within the reach of many Americans.

Image: Courtesy of My Scrap Album

– See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.nQwYsmdF.dpuf

What is: Ciociara? Is to Ciocharia what Malagueña is for Malaga


Ciociaria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fresco representing the Campagne and Maritime Province, in Vatican Museums

Ciociara (woman from Ciociaria) by Enrique Simonet.

Ciociaria (Italian pronunciation: [tʃotʃaˈɾiːa]) is the name of a traditional region of Central Italy without a defined border nor historical identity.[1] The name was adopted by a fascist movement of Frosinone as an ethnical denomination for the province of Frosinone, when it was created in 1927.[2] In the Middle Ages, this region was referred to as Campagna. The local dialect, now known as ciociaro, was earlier referred to as campanino. In more recent times, the term Campagna Romana, or Roman Campagna, a favorite subject of countless painters from all over Europe, has referred to the adjoining region to the north of Ciociaria, but part of the Province of Rome.

The name appears to be derived from the ciocia (plural cioce), the traditional footwear still worn by a few sheep and cattle herders in the Central Apennines.

today’s holiday: Pfifferdaj


Pfifferdaj

An Alsatian festival of medieval origin, Pfifferdaj—also known as the Fiddlers’ Festival—is celebrated in the city of Ribeauvillé, France. In the Middle Ages, the Ribeaupierre family started a musicians’ union here, and every September the musicians of Alsace gathered to pay homage to the lord of Ribeaupierre by forming a procession to the church of Notre Dame du Dusenbach. Today the custom continues. Wine flows freely from the fountain in front of the town hall, and a procession of fiddlers and other musicians, often playing old instruments, makes its way through the town. More… Discuss

Perfume


Perfume

Perfume is a mixture of alcohol and fragrant essential oils. Animal substances—such as musk, ambergris, and civet—were first added as fixatives in the Middle Ages. Since the early 19th century, chemists have produced thousands of synthetic essential oils, some imitating natural products and others yielding new scents. Most perfumes today are blends of natural and synthetic scents and of fixatives that add pungency. Fine perfumes may blend more than 100 ingredients. What is a fragrance wheel? More… Discuss

Saint of the day, July 20, 2014: St. Margaret of Antioh


Image of St. Margaret of AntiochNothing certain is known of her, but according to her untrustworthy legend, she was the daughter of a pagan priest at Antioch in Pisidia. Also known as Marina, she was converted to Christianity, whereupon she was driven from home by her father. She became a shepherdess and when she spurned the advances of Olybrius, the prefect, who was infatuated with her beauty, he charged her with being a Christian. He had her tortured and then imprisoned, and while she was in prison she had an encounter with the devil in the form of a dragon. According to the legend, he swallowed her, but the cross she carried in her hand so irritated his throat that he was forced to disgorge her (she is patroness of childbirth). The next day, attempts were made to execute her by fire and then by drowning, but she was miraculously saved and converted thousands of spectators witnessing her ordeal-all of whom were promptly executed. Finally, she was beheaded. That she existed and was martyred are probably true; all else is probably fictitious embroidery and added to her story, which was immensely popular in the Middle Ages, spreading from the East all over Western Europe. She is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and hers was one of the voices heard by Joan of Arc. Her feast day is July 20th.

More Saints of the Day

 


 

University of Oxford


University of Oxford

Oxford is one of the oldest English-language universities in the world. A leading center of learning throughout the Middle Ages, it has maintained an outstanding reputation, especially in the classics, theology, and political science. John Locke, Adam Smith, Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, and Stephen Hawking are among the luminaries who have studied at Oxford. What founder of modern chemistry never formally studied at Oxford but was active in its academic community and awarded an honorary degree? More… Discuss

today’s holiday: Five-Petalled Rose Festival


Five-Petalled Rose Festival

The Festival of the Five-Petalled Rose takes place in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, which prospered during the Renaissance; today’s festival permits residents and visitors to relive the town’s past glories. Festival highlights include swordplay demonstrations, plays and street dramas, a medieval feast, a historical market, Renaissance crafts, musical entertainment, and medieval games and dances. The festival takes its name from the rose on the coat of arms of the Rosenbergs, the noble family that lived in the town castle during the late medieval and Renaissance periods. More… Discuss

today’s holiday: St. Elmo’s Day


St. Elmo’s Day

The day known as St. Elmo’s Day is actually St. Erasmus‘s Day, in honor of a third-century Italian bishop who is thought to have suffered martyrdom around the year 304. Erasmus was a patron saint of sailors and was especially popular in the 13th century. Sometimes at sea on stormy nights, sailors will see a pale, brushlike spray of electricity at the top of the mast. In the Middle Ages, they believed that these fires were the souls of the departed, rising to glory through the intercession of St. Elmo. Such an electrical display is still referred to as “St. Elmo’s Fire.” More… Discuss

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ST. MARY OF EGYPT – Feastday: April 2


Image of St. Mary of Egypt
Facts

Feastday: April 2

Patron of Chastity (warfare against the flesh; deliverance from carnal passions); Demons (deliverance from); Fever; Skin diseases; Temptations of the flesh

Birth: 344

Death: 421

In Cyril of Scythopolis‘ life of St. Cyryacus, he tells of a woman named Mary found by Cyryacus and his companions living as a hermitess in the Jordanian desert. She told him she had been a famous singer and actress who had sinned and was doing penance in the desert. When they returned, she was dead. Around the story was built an elaborate legend that had tremendous popularity during the Middle Agesaccording to which she was an Egyptian who went to Alexandria when she was twelve and lived as an actress and courtesan for seventeen years. She was brought to the realization of her evil life before an icon of the Blessed Virgin, and at Mary’s direction, went to the desert east of Palestine, where she lived as a hermitess for forty-seven years, not seeing a single human being and beset by all kinds of temptations, which were mitigated by her prayers to the Blessed Virgin. She was discovered about 430 by a holy man named Zosimus, who was impressed by her spiritual knowledge and wisdom. He saw her the following Lent, but when he returned, he found her dead and buried her. When he returned to his monastery near the Jordan, he told the brethren what had happened and the story spread. Her feast day is April 2.

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ARTICLE: MAIMONIDES


Maimonides

Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, or Maimonides, was the most influential Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages. His great philosophical work, Moreh Nevukhim (Guide for the Perplexed), attempts to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with the tenets of Jewish theology and addresses such metaphysical and religious topics as the existence of God and the principles of creation. A physician as well as a scholar and philosopher, he also wrote a number of medical texts. Why is he called “Rambam”? More…Discuss

 

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History of Ukraine (excerpts from Wikipedia) <<<>>


[youtube.com/watch?v=28Ms7_K4TMM
History of Ukraine
]

Tetyana Ivanytska “Have Mercy On Me, Oh Lord” (Ukrainian classical music)
Artists: “Khreschatyk” Academic Chamber Choir, a conductor — Pavlo Struts
Kyiv, 2008

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
Part of a series on the
History of Ukraine
Coat of arms of Ukraine
Portal icon Ukraine portal
 

The territory of Ukraine has been inhabited for at least forty four thousand years.[1] It is where the horse was first domesticated[2] and a candidate site of the origins of the Proto-Indo-European language family.[3][4]

According to a popular and well established theory, the medieval state of Kievan Rus was established by the Varangians in the 9th century as the first historically recorded East Slavic state. It emerged as a powerful nation in the Middle Ages but disintegrated in the 12th century. By the middle of the 14th century, present Ukrainian territories were under the rule of three external powers: the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Kingdom of Poland, during the 15th century these lands came under the rule of the Crown of the Kingdom of PolandPolish Lithuanian Commonwealth (since 1569), and Crimean Khanate.[5] In 1653 the greater portion of the population rebelled against dominantly Polish Catholic rule and in January 1654 an assembly of the people (rada) voted at Pereyaslav to turn to Moscow, effectively joining the southeastern portion of the Polish-Lithuanian empire east of the Dnieper River to Russia.[6] After the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) and conquest of Crimean Khanate, Ukraine was divided between Russia and Austria, thus the largest part of Ukraine was integrated into theRussian Empire, with the rest under Austrian (known as Austro-Hungarian since 1849) control.

chaotic period of warfare ensued after the Russian Revolution, with internationally recognized establishment of an independent Ukrainian People’s Republic. Independent Ukraine emerged from its own civil war. The Ukrainian–Soviet Warfollowed, which resulted in the Soviet Army establishing control in late 1919[7]Soviet victory. The conquerors created theUkrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which on 30 December 1922 became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. The Soviet government was hostile to Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture; there were mass repressions of Ukrainian poets, historians and linguists. Then there was a genocide of Ukrainians: millions of people starved to death in 1932 and 1933 in the Holodomor. After the 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and Soviet Union, the Ukrainian SSR’s territory was enlarged westward. During World War II the Ukrainian Insurgent Army tried to reestablish Ukrainian independence and fought against both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But in 1941 Ukraine was occupied by Nazi Germany, being liberated in 1944. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the founding members of the United Nations.[8] In 1954, it expanded to the south with the transfer of the Crimea.

Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This dissolution started a period of transition to amarket economy, in which Ukraine suffered an eight-year recession.[9] Since then, however, the economy has experienced a high increase in GDP growthUkraine was caught up in the worldwide economic crisis in 2008 and the economy plunged. GDP fell 20% from spring 2008 to spring 2009, then leveled off as analysts compared the magnitude of the downturn to the worst years of economic depression during the early 1990s.[10]

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Saint of the day – February 20: St. Wulfric


St. WulfricFeastday: February 20
1080 – 1154

Wulfric (d. 1154) + hermit and miracle worker. Born at Compton Martin, near Bristol, England, he became a priest and was excessively materialistic and worldly. After meeting with a beggar, he underwent a personal conversion and became a hermit at Haselbury; Somerset, England. For his remaining years, he devoted himself to rigorous austerities and was known for his miracles and prophecies. While he was never formally canonized, Wulfric was a very popular saint during the Middle Ages, and histomb was visited by many pilgrims. Feast day: February 20.

 

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ARTICLE: PETER ABELARD


Peter Abelard

Abelard was a 12th-century French philosopher and teacher whose career was derailed by a scandalous relationship with a tutee named Heloise. After a son and a secret marriage, Abelard sent Heloise to a convent to protect her from her disapproving family. In response, her uncle had Abelard castrated. Heloise became an abbess, while Abelard sought refuge as a monk. After his first theological work was burned as heretical, he established a monastery and resumed teaching. What were his last words? More… Discuss

 

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British Library Series: A splendid Carolingian copy of the Four Gospels


Additional 11848
(Click on the image for an enlarged view.)
On Christmas day 800 the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor by the pope in Rome. Charlemagne was not only a great political and military leader, but also a scholar and patron of the arts who invited the most learned men of the day to his court. Some particularly lavish books were produced in the Carolingian period—this image shows a jewelled ‘treasure’ binding surviving on a manuscript written at Tours probably in the 820s. Very few medieval manuscripts still have their original bindings, although it is clear from accounts in saints’ lives and other literature that illuminated books were often given valuable covers. This example contains the bones of saints set within its wooden binding boards, making it also a reliquary. Part of its decoration was reconstructed in the nineteenth century.

 

 

HERMAPHRODITISM


Hermaphroditism

A hermaphrodite is an animal or plant that has both male and female reproductive systems. The term derives from Greek mythologyHermes and Aphrodite‘s son Hermaphroditus possessed physical traits of both sexes after fusing with a nymph. Hermaphroditism is quite common in flowering plants and in invertebrates like snails. “Hermaphrodite” has also been used to describe humans with both male and female genital tissues but is now considered misleading and stigmatizing. What term is preferred? More…

 

Folclor Nepieritor, Dumitru Fărcaş – Învârtita ca-n Ardeal (Transyvanian Dance)


 It is possible that instruments from both traditions were combined into one entity. The tárogató has a Persian origin, and it appeared in Hungary during the Turkish wars.[2] Up to about the 18th century, the tárogató was a type of shawm, with a double reed, conical bore, and no keys.

Being a very loud and raucous instrument, the tárogató was used as a signaling instrument in battle (like the bugle or the bagpipe).[1]

Because the tárogató was an iconic instrument of the Rákóczi’s War for Independence (1703–1711). Its use was suppressed in the 18th century by the Habsburg monarchy.[1][2] The instrument was eventually abandoned being considered too loud for a concert hall.[2]

Modern usage

Dumitru Dobrican, a taragot folk musician from Dăntăuşii din Groşi, Romania.

In the 1890s a modern version was invented by Vencel József Schunda, a Budapest instrument maker.[2] It uses a single reed, like a clarinet or saxophone, and has a conical bore, similar to the saxophone. The instrument is made of wood, usually black grenadilla wood like a clarinet. The most common size, the soprano tárogató in B♭, is about 29 inches (74 cm) in length and has a mournful sound similar to a cross between an English horn and a soprano saxophone. Other sizes exist; one maker, János Stowasser, advertised a family of seven sizes of which the largest was a contrabass tárogató in E♭.[1] The new tárogató bears very little resemblance with the historical tárogató and the two instruments should not be confused.[1][3] It has been suggested that the name schundaphone would have been more accurate, but tárogató was used because of the nationalistic image that the original instrument had.[4]

This instrument was a symbol of Hungarian aristocracy, and the favorite woodwind instrument of Governor Miklós Horthy.
(Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taragot)