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Inventing History : forgery: a great British tradition (British History)
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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This is an interesting. to me, wiki quote Re The Alfred (Alexander) Jewel

wiki wrote:
In a paper published in 2014, Sir John Boardman endorsed the earlier suggestion by David Talbot Rice that the figure on the jewel was intended to represent Alexander the Great. A medieval legend in the Alexander Romance had Alexander, wishing to see the whole world, first descending into the depths of the ocean in a sort of diving bell, then wanting to see the view from above. To do this he harnessed two large birds, or griffins in other versions, with a seat for him between them. To entice them to keep flying higher he placed meat on two skewers which he held above their heads. This was quite commonly depicted in several medieval cultures, from Europe to Persia, where it may reflect earlier legends or iconographies. Sometimes the beasts are not shown, just the king holding two sticks with flower-like blobs at their ends. The scene is shown in the famous 12th-century floor mosaic in Otranto Cathedral, with a titulus of "ALEXANDER REX". The scene refers to knowledge coming through sight, and so would be appropriate for an aestel. Boardman detects the same meaning in the figure representing sight on the Anglo-Saxon Fuller Brooch.[29]

There are no portraits of Alexander, unless you folks know otherwise.

Orthodoxy simply guesses this is a Heracles, aha, this might be a Alexander.
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Ishmael


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Mick Harper wrote:
This is a real discovery. My provisional assessment is that he never existed but is a vehicle for other people's chicanery. There might be a real Simons d'Ewes, an obscure backbencher by the sound of it, but not this Simon d'Ewes. I will think on't and take up some of your points tomorrow.


This is all a fascinating read!

Though I will reiterate, I was the first to here publicly cast doubt upon Pepys. :-)
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Mick Harper
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You throw so much spaghetti at so many walls, one strand is bound to turn out to be properly cooked. However, by coincidence, I was working on Pepys yesterday so I'm going to give you a sneak preview of something I discovered to welcome you back to the land of the contributor. It's about a principle of Applied Epistemology called the ambiguous formulation

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The frieze inscription 'Bibliotheca Pepysiana 1724' records the date of arrival of the Pepys Library; above it are painted Pepys's arms and his motto. To the left and right appear the arms of two College benefactors added much later (1813?).

Finishing with a delightfully ambiguous formulation. You can’t get more precise than the actual year, you can’t make it more ambiguous than by adding a question mark and slapping brackets round it. Gordon Bennet, they do make it easy for us. Just leaving it as ‘added much later, full stop’ would tick all the boxes.

As it is, we are forced to wonder what the significance of 1813 is. The Evelyn Diaries were ‘discovered’ in 1815, the Pepys Diaries in 1818 so it looks as though it may be for establishing a terminus post quem or a terminus ad quem or a terminus a quo... or something. In English ‘someone’s playing silly buggers’. And that isn’t even the best ambiguous formulation in the paragraph. Try this

Bibliotheca Pepysiana 1724’ records the date of arrival of the Pepys Library

Up to a point, Lord Braybrooke. We’ve been told the date when the Pepys Library is supposed to have arrived, it would be nice to know when the inscription arrived. And even that isn’t the best ambiguous formulation in the paragraph. Try this

To the left and right appear the arms of two College benefactors added much later (1813?).

If I were one of them I’d want to know how much later is ‘much later’, why a Pepys scholar can’t be bothered mentioning my name, why I’m treated as a benefactory afterthought to someone who made a few contributions to the building fund, and how come the ingrates don’t even know when they carved my arms in stone. I’m not Cecil bleedin’ Rhodes.
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Mick Harper
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Here's a take on the history of English (literature) from a Turkish perspective i.e. someone not affected by national considerations

The Beginnings of British Literature
Petru Golban
CONTENTS
Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Literature
Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Poetry
Beowulf
Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Prose
Medieval Literature
Anglo-Norman Literature
Geoffrey Chaucer and His Epoch
Fifteenth-Century Literature

He couldn't find any Middle English either!
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Mick Harper
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Making Sense of Ker's Dates: the Origins of Beowulf and the Paleographers
Francis Leneghan, 2005, Proceedings of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies Postgraduate Conference
Ever since the Nowell Codex began to attract serious interest, almost two hundred years ago, scholars have debated the antiquity of its fourth text, referred to since J. M. Kemble’s edition of 1833 as Beowulf.

Fairly modern then.

The question continues to engage Anglo-Saxonists because, as Roy Liuzza points out, it ‘foregrounds the most important questions of Old English poetry – creation and tradition, transmission and reception, context and the limits of interpretation’.

But not whether it's Anglo-Saxon.

Judging by the wealth of publications in the last thirty or so years we are now further away than ever before from reaching a consensus save that the poem was composed at some time between the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons and the date of the manuscript.

You could, I suppose, do a non-destructive carbon test on it to find out.

Scholars are divided over the significance of the manuscript for the dating of the composition of the poem: while Michael Lapidge and Kevin Kiernan have used the manuscript to argue for eighth and eleventh century composition respectively, R. D. Fulk claims that the manuscript has nothing to tell us about the poem’s date.

Actually, chaps, we're discussing the manuscript, not the poem.

Considerable disagreement has surrounded the interpretation of Neil Ker’s system of dating Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, accepted as standard since the publication of his invaluable Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon in 1957.

Good Lord, immediately before carbon-testing became available.

In this paper I hope to clarify some of the issues surrounding Ker’s dating system, and in particular his dating of the Beowulf manuscript, before discussing some related questions concerning the literary, historical and political context of the poem’s copying and composition.

Well at least he's put copying before composition. That's a start. But I don't think I will be making a start on his paper.
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Mick Harper
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Anyone who wants to hear some very exciting stuff about British documentation practices might care to spend an hour with this radio programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00186b0
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Mick Harper
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As you know, the Franks Casket began a lot of this so I maintain a watching brief. Some terrific high comedy has just reached me from academia.edu

The Bowman Who Takes off the Lid of the Franks Casket
in Studi anglo-norreni in onore di John S. McKinnell. ‘He hafað sundorgecynd’, ed. by Maria Elena Ruggerini con la collaborazione di Veronka Szőke, Cagliari: Cuec, 2009, pp. 15-31. Gabriele Cocco


The intro is not machine-translated so it may not be the work of Italians (the most important panel of Franks' Casket is in the Bargello Museum in Florence) but anyway here goes

-----------------------

This precious whalebone artefact produced in about eighth-century Northumbria belongs to the category of minor arts and has been marginalised as attention has been diverted to other more well-known works. However, it should legitimately be considered as one of the greatest examples of carving from the early Middle Ages.

Its iconography is striking due to both its complexity and the variety of fonts which it displays. Moreover, the Casket stands as a surviving repository of visual and verbal messages which recall the vivid tradition of literary riddles which was part and parcel of Old English Literature.

If the archer and his mission are put into a biblical context, new light might be thrown on one who bravely protects himself and another who takes shelter in the fortified building assailed by a group of vicious soldiers. And a story might emerge which justifies the scene’s prominent position on the lid.
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Mick Harper
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Gordon Bennet, but they do spell it out for us

The Body Politics of Language: Reformed Benedictine Body Politics in the Language of The Dream of the Rood and Judith
by James Robert Pearson 2016

These are two Anglo-Saxons poems, presumed (by us) to be written either in Tudor/Stuart times or the High Medieval period. [My paragraphing]
----------------

Abstract

In the midst of the Benedictine Reformation in England many of the most important pieces of Old English literature were written or copied, and to this growth in literary output we owe much of what we know about Old English literature.

In this dissertation, two Old English poems, The Dream of the Rood and Judith, will be analyzed for the interference of reformed Benedictine body politics transmitted through the form of language, and the implications of such interference will be discussed. Information about the cultural, historical, and artistic contexts of the texts will be used, as well as contemporary literary analogues to the texts.

A paradigm for the Benedictine Reformers’ treatment of the literary human body will be established by examining these poems in conjunction with some sources known to be created by reformed Benedictine authors, and the poems in question will be compared to the aspects of the paradigm, namely that the Benedictine reformers utilised the language as a tool to govern the literary body, and by extension, the human body.

[from academia.edu]
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Mick Harper
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In what many people are already calling The Great Book, there is this passage

Ash burn’em, they do like their little jokes. After one year as the national repository

A fire in Ashburnham House on 23 October 1731 damaged many items: a contemporary records Dr. Bentley leaping from a window with the priceless Codex Alexandrinus under one arm. One manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was virtually destroyed. The manuscript of Beowulf was among those that suffered damage, a fact reported in The Gentleman’s Magazine.

I hope Doc Bentley was all right, it’s not easy landing with one arm round a codex. You should try it sometime. The Ashburnham Library later acquired the world’s oldest epic, a cuneiform Gilgamesh, found amidst the ruins of Nineveh in the Ashurbanipal Library. They do like their little jokes.

so the author was overjoyed to get this from academia.edu

GILGAMESH AND BEOWULF: FOUNDATIONS OF A COMPARISON
Richard North and Martin Worthington

With each being composed and transmitted in ignorance of the other, millennia apart, and in unrelated languages, Gilgamesh and Beowulf are just about as refractory to ‘influence-based’ literary comparison as it is possible to be. But comparisons between two works need not always presuppose that one influenced the other – much in the field of comparative literary studies is predicated on the notion that comparisons are ‘good to think with’. This is the guiding principle

Though I haven't got that far yet.
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Wile E. Coyote


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I do wonder why folks would want to invent a gloomy Dark Age, if it was me I would sing about a Golden Age. Surely that is a better way to get people on side? They must have started with invented Golden ages and taken things from there.
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Mick Harper
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From the Great Book

William Albright, the Director of the American School of Oriental Research, told him off and told him how

the refusal of an earlier authority to recognise the existence of any monumental art or architecture in the neo-Hittite states between 1200 and 850 BC is entirely wrong ... the eleventh and tenth centuries were the golden age of Syro-Hittite art and architecture

We mortals can only watch in awe as this Battle of the Titans plays out. In the red corner a Dark Age, in the blue corner a Golden Age.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Wile E. Coyote wrote:
I do wonder why folks would want to invent a gloomy Dark Age, if it was me I would sing about a Golden Age. Surely that is a better way to get people on side? They must have started with invented Golden ages and taken things from there.


Let's take a look, at what might have happened.

The representative of the Golden Years was the Divine Augustus, the representaive of the Gloomy Years was St Augustine of Canterbury.

The process is one where the great emperor, who brought peace to his empire and was then after death worshipped as god, his name passed down as title for future emperors, becomes Apostle of the English, the converter of the pagan Anglo Saxons.

Augustus begins the physical conquest. Augustine the Spiritual.

Presumably the earlier Caesar excursions and the mysterious rereat by Honorius, along with his advice to defend yourselves, must be later add-ons to blur what is obvious. Augustus is Augustine. The golden years are the gloomy, they have just been separated out, and ordered Golden/ Gloomy by later scribes for didactic reasons.
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Wile E. Coyote


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The message of Saint Augustine of Canterbury was the Jesus story.

Saint Augustine represents the replacement of Augustus by Jesus.

The Kingdom of God replaces the Pax Romana.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
As you know, the Franks Casket began a lot of this so I maintain a watching brief.

This is from the Guardian, a couple of days ago.

Rare Anglo-Saxon treasures from the British Museum are “returning home” to the north-east of England to help tell the story of a royal court in Northumbria’s golden age.

Wow!


The objects include one of the finest examples of Anglo-Saxon glass ever found in England and a replica of one of the superstars of Northumbrian artistry, the Franks Casket.

Cripes, a replica! You can buy those from the British Museum shop. Where are they off to? I hope they were charged for the replica.


The Ad Gefrin tourist attraction in Wooler is due to open this February. It is named after what was one of the 20th century’s most remarkable archaeological finds, which was made in the 1950s by a team led by the archaeologist Brian Hope-Taylor.

They uncovered a site at Yeavering that included a complex of timber halls, featuring a vast great hall and a unique wooden grandstand, which formed the royal summer palace of seventh-century Northumbrian kings and queens.

They found some post holes.

Bede wrote:

“So great is said to havebeen the fervour of the faith of the Northumbrians and their longing for the washing of salvation, that once when Paulinus came to the king and queen in their royal palace at Yeavering, he spent thirty-six days there occupied in the task of catechizing and baptising.”

Aha, if Bede says so it must be true. The Saintly Paulinus was baptising Northumbrian folks in the River Glen. There are no remains of the timber palace, it was timber, just some recorded holes, and some mental dexterity from an archaeologist, Dr Hope Taylor, who excavated the site some 80 odd years ago. Perhaps his most remarkable find according to Wiley was not that of a Royal palace but of the postholes, suggesting a huge grandstand which is in the shape of an amphitheatre.......(Hmmm)
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Mick Harper
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There will be riots in north-eastern streets when my book comes out next week. I have arranged to be burnt in effigy to drum up some publicity. If only more of them could read.
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