This is the second of a three part (I) series tackling the complicated and still very much debated question of 'how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?' In the last part, we looked at 'words' - culture, literature, language and religion. What we found is that in these aspects, signs of sharp … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part II: Institutions
This week, we're taking another trip, this time through a medieval author, in this case looking at a selection of passages from Dhuoda of Uzès, Duchess of Septimania's Liber Manualis ("Handbook") for her son William and discussing the model of noble relationships it presents. Dhuoda is a fascinating figure both for the ways she is … Continue reading Collections: A Trip Through Dhuoda of Uzès (Carolingian Values)
This week, we're taking another trip through an ancient author, in this case looking at a passage from Cicero's De legibus ("On the Laws") and discussing Cicero's vision of the origin of laws and how those ideas have found their way into current thinking. Cicero was a remarkably prolific author, and a tremendous amount of … Continue reading Collections: A Trip Through Cicero (Natural Law)
The last part of our four-part look at ancient polytheism, looking at the smallest of gods, and the biggest of humans.
Last week as part II of our four part look at ancient polytheistic religious practice (I, II, IV), we looked at some of the basic functions of polytheistic practice, centered on the concept of do ut des, striking a bargain with the god. This week, we're going to turn to another key set of rituals: … Continue reading Collections: Practical Polytheism, Part III: Polling the Gods
Part II of a series at the underpinnings of ancient polytheistic (Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian, Norse, etc) religious practice.
Today we're going to start looking at one facet of how polytheistic religions function, their practicality. This is going to be a four-part series (II, III, IV) looking at some of the general facets of how ancient polytheistic religions work. And work is the operative word, more so than many religions and life philosophies you … Continue reading Collections: Practical Polytheism, Part I: Knowledge
This short essay is responding to a (mis)characterization made - in passing, perhaps, but unchallenged - about the sort of people in the early Christian Church in the context of a high profile political discussion between two notable thinkers on the right, David French (writes for NRO) and Sohrab Ahmari (writes for Catholic Herald/NYPost) (moderated … Continue reading New Acquisitions: Class, Status and the Early Church
By popular request, today we're going to talk about oaths. Oaths appear a lot in fantasy fiction - and even in historical fiction - and they are frequently done wrong. I remarked on this in part II of my "How it Wasn't: Game of Thrones and the Middle Ages" that, "characters are forever being asked … Continue reading Collections: Oaths! How do they Work?
This series is now available in an audio format; the entire playlist can be listened to here. This is the second post in a three-part series where we look at the question "how accurate is Game of Thrones to the European Middle Ages" - and if not the Middle Ages, what periods of history does … Continue reading New Acquisitions: How It Wasn’t: Game of Thrones and the Middle Ages, Part II