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Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries (British History)
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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This is the way it works. See what the sacred chronologists have done.

In the Christian religion, pomegranates are often used as a decoration. Commonly, the fruit represents the promise of eternal life. So a Christian sees a pomegranate.

Mick sees an opium poppy.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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The creation story of the Franciscan Order

This was the world into which the man known to history as Saint Francis was born. He was actually born in Assisi and his given name was Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone. He became known as Francis (or Francesco) as his merchant father was doing quite well in Provence, France at the time of his birth.

Happens all the time.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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The British Museum has a whalebone plaque, discovered in Lilleberge, Norway, in 1891, which it thinks was a chopping board or food tray though rather beautifully decorated with two quite delicate animal heads facing each other at the top and part of a hoard of Viking objects, the Lilleberge Ship Burial

Two brooches found together with the plaque date to 800-850 AD; these can be seen as contextual evidence, dating the plaque no earlier than 800 AD.

Provenance though is somewhat troubling.

The circumstances of its finding are poorly documented... it was found in a ‘barrow 107 ft. long at Lilleberre [sic], Namladen’ in 1886. The name Lilleberre refers to the farm Lilleberge: ‘[g]ården Lillebergeligger også ved Namsen, fire kilometer øst for Melhus.’ ... This is where English sport fishers and antiquities collectors excavated the aforementioned long barrow, their report stating the name of the farm as ‘Lilleberre’.

The plaque came into the possession of Alfred Heneage Cocks, who sold it to the British Museum in 1891 along with several other items.

I wasn't aware that fishermen excavated barrows but Alfred was a proper archaeologist-collector

A former curator of Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury, he sold a collection of largely Viking/Germanic finds from Norway to the Museum in 1891.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/H_1891-1021-67

Everything seemed fine until the BM decided to exhibit the plaque which involved further treatment

In September 2011, the treatment remained rather superficial; aside from some improvement of the old fills, no significant amendment took place. By May 2014, the condition of the plaque severely deteriorated. According to pre-treatment survey, ‘[o]bject come [sic] apart along old joins’. This time the old adhesive was removed and replaced. The report suggests that the process involved dismantling the plaque and re-joining it.

That's pretty rum as
Whalebone is a durable medium that decomposes slower than wood.

Norway is the main country of origin for whalebone so you might expect to find Norwegian whalebone objects carved to a high standard. But this plaque, functional if function unknown, deteriorated surprisingly quickly despite the intricate animal head carvings having remained intact

The material of the plaque sets it apart from the more common Viking Age artefacts. Bone carving in Northern Europe never raised to the prominence it shows in other parts of Europe.

Cocks sold the museum a pup, probably a whole litter, I reckon.
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Mick Harper
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One of the heroes of Forgeries re-appeared in a very peculiar context, a piece on medium.com about why one generation is always contemptuous of the next. Notice, to an American layman, the Anglo-Saxons are 'Middle Ages'

To the Anglo-Saxons of the Middle Ages, land was everything. “The basis of all legal relationships in the Middle Ages was land,” says Andrew Rabin, an English professor at the University of Louisville with a specialty in early medieval law and literature. Owning land meant having status in the community and providing stability for a family. Life and liberty took place upon one’s land. “From a legal perspective, the primary purpose of the family unit was to ensure the proper descent of land,” Rabin says. And the descent was predictable for a patriarchal society: A son reaches a certain age and the land becomes his.

Can't see there's anything terribly Anglo-Saxon about that

But that’s not always what happened. Instead, many sons ended up like Edwin, son of Enniaun, who lived sometime between the years 916 and 935. His father died, and his mother wouldn’t hand over some estates that Edwin believed were his. So, like many sons of the time, Edwin sued his mother in court.

If I had a pound for every Anglo-Saxon son that sued his mother in court I'd be a very poor man.

That kicked off a chain of Game of Thrones–grade one-upmanship, replete with a host of quality medieval names: The judge, Thurkil the White, sent a delegation to take the mother’s testimony. The mother (whose name wasn’t included in the records) then summoned Leofflaed, Thurkil’s wife. In the presence of the court delegation, the mother swore the land rightly belonged to her and then dispossessed her son of the land. Instead, she said, Leofflaed and Thurkil could have it after she was gone. With this, Thurkil ruled in the mother’s favor. She’d keep her land for the rest of her life, and Edwin would never grow up to get it.

That's not how it's set out either in the Hereford Gospels or Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries but I wouldn't necessarily hold that against it.

There are a lot of morals to that tale, of course, about power, and wealth, and gender. But Rabin says that, as he read historical tales of land disputes, he saw a recurring theme: Parents did not want to pass down their land, because it meant also passing down their power. If the children own land, the parents do not. If the children prove themselves to be good landowners, then then parents aren’t needed.https://gen.medium.com/why-older-people-have-always-trashed-young-people-8f918529009a

Aye, mebbe.
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