Saturday 25 October 2014

Carnivalesque 106

I have been on something of a historical voyage of discovery of late in preparation for my role as hostess of Carnivalesque 106.

Carnivalesque is, in its own words, “an interdisciplinary blog carnival dedicated to pre-modern history (to c. 1800 C.E.)” and although you will still find some wonderful tales of the long 18th century here, it has been a delight to dip into pre-modern history too and be treated to the best of the history web!

The Ridotto in Venice by Pietro Longhi, 1750s
The Ridotto in Venice by Pietro Longhi, 1750s

To start us off we have an ideal post given that Halloween is fast approaching as Willow C Winsham delves into her collection of tales on The Witch, the Weird and the Wonderful to investigate the case of Guillaume Edelin, a former monk who confessed to witchcraft. Notable in his confession is the first recorded mention of a witch riding a broomstick, a familiar image come 31st October!

As Dr Sarah Peverley tells us in her fascinating post on Medieval Maps of Scotland, Scottish independence is far from a modern issue. As something of a fan of old maps, this post was not just a feast of knowledge but a visual delight too and those wild, unknown highlands depicted by Hardyng remain wonderfully evocative, even today.

Considerably less wild but no less intriguing is Jonathan Jarett's Making Sense of Glastonbury. Delving into the secrets still hidden at Glastonbury Abbey, Jarett investigates the likelihood of sub-Roman occupation and Professor Roberta Gilchrist's efforts to interpret the Anglo-Saxon archaeology of the site.

I am blushing to admit that something a little more familiar to me is the subject of Sexual Curiosities? Aphrodisiacs in early modern England. In her post on the subject, Jennifer Evans examines the long and intriguing list of foodstuffs that were believed not only to give a little pep in the bedroom, but also to increase fertility.

Of course, all the aphrodisiacs in the world were of little use to the figures who feature in Katherine Harvey's, Death by Celibacy: Sex, Semen and Male Health in the Middle Ages. The tale of a bishop who needed to have sex for the sake of his health is certainly a cautionary one.

Whether Lady Chanworth's jumballs were an aphrodisiac, we can never know but we can be sure that they were tasty indeed. At Cooking in the Archives, Marissa Nicosia uncovers an original recipe for this spicy shortbread treat and updates it for the modern kitchen.

If those jumballs have given you an appetite than prepare to have it roundly quelled as Jo and Sarah at All Things Georgian take us on a search for Oliver Cromwell's missing head. The well-travelled cranium certainly got around prior to its arrival in Cambridge and even spent some time in exhibition on Bond Street, for just half a crown a look.

Over at Early Modern/Medieval Histories, Sjoerd Levelt tells the story of a 17th century commentator's margin note that became a Twitter phenomenon. Sjoerd takes a deeper look into an apparently throwaway comment and unravels a wealth of meaning behind John Seldon's prose commentary.

Prose commentaries may appear to have been far beyond the reach of The Rabble that Cannot Read yet, in his post on literacy in seventeenth century England, Mark Hailwood offers a different perspective. Through the study of signatures he reveals a far wider spectrum of literacy than we might expect and warns of the dangers of dismissing that illiterate rabble.

I have long been fascinated with the de Medici family and Lillian Marek's story of  Lorenzo's Galley Slaves told a tale that I was utterly unfamiliar with as Lorenzo de Medici's slaves were given a handful of money, a new suit of clothes and their freedom.

If slaves could be given their freedom, what then of the belief that all Medieval women were nothing but chattel? Not so, says Kim Renfeld, as she shares the stories of women from all walks of life and offers an insight into the diplomatic career of Bertrada, mother of Charlemagne.

From aphrodisiacs to jumballs, nothing could aid in the case of the Midwife of St. Giles Cripplegate as investigated by Sarah Fox at Perceptions of Pregnancy. Sarah delves into the archives of the Old Bailey in search of a sad tale of a midwife driven to subterfuge to conceal her own infertility.

We find ourselves back in the 18th century now with the beautifully illustrated story of Polesden Lacey by Rachel Knowles. Rachel's Regency History site is a regular haunt of mine and any post that mentions not only Richard Brinsley Sheridan but Joseph Bonsor too is a must-read for me!

Staying with the Georgian era, Antoine Vanner looks at one of my favourite subjects, with an evocative description of the loss of HMS Queen Charlotte. He brings his usual air of nautical authority to this dramatic and tragic tale in which nearly 700 men were killed.

Last but certainly not least, how can one resist Jonathan Healey's wonderfully-titled post, Dudes of the Dutch Republic? Opening with Michael Caine and taking a lighthearted yet revealing illustrated trip through 10 dudes who lived large, from Pipe Dude to Dance-off Dude and everything in between! 

Hosting Cesque has been a fascinating and educational experience, thank you for sharing this journey with me!


Regan Walker said...

Wow, what a wealth of great posts--thanks so much, Catherine!


Catherine Curzon said...

A pleasure; it's been a fantastic experience, I've found so many brilliant history blogs that I had missed until now!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the link to Mark's post on the Many-Headed Monster! And thanks too for all the great pointers: I'll be working my way through these posts this weekend...

Catherine Curzon said...

I really enjoyed it; I've added a lot of new blogs to my reading list!

Jude Knight said...

Bookmarked to work my way through. Thanks, Catherine.

Catherine Curzon said...


WillowWinsham said...

Some fantastic entries here, enjoying reading my way through - thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for including my "Jumballs" post! Bookmarking these other brilliant pieces.

Catherine Curzon said...

My pleasure; I really enjoyed it!

Catherine Curzon said...

I've discovered some wonderful new blogs, I hugely recommend hosting a Carnivalesque!