(if you’re better than I am at making gifs, begin at 5:40 and end 5.9 seconds later)
Image from Gautier de Coinci’s Miracles de Nostre Dame (BL NAF 24541, 52v), a child sold to the devil.
Last night, some friends threw a spooky holiday party, themed, as they once were, around ghost stories. Here’s my not fully successful story about a HAUNTED EXEMPLUM:
(note: this tale will last only so long as I don’t get my hands on this)
1. Like you need this. You were in high school too once, I bet.↩
Finally, the medieval vernacular translation of the Bible by ANTICHRIST that we’ve all been awaiting. With assistance, no surprise, from the Saracens.
From here. BnF fr. 6447. The Chronicles, History of the Bible, Lives of the Saints, and Sermons of…Maurice de Sully. Not Antichrist.
Cf. Bible Errata, particularly for the King James Version, eg, Psalm 14:1, “the fool hath said in his heart there is a God”
by KARL STEEL
A couple days ago, Geoffrey Chaucer suggested we spice up song titles with an added “Mordor.” So let’s blame Chaucer, as we always do, for what my wife and I concocted after Saturday’s dinner, which was:
On the twelfth day of Mordor
My Precious gave to me:
Twelve balrogs burning
Eleven Uruk sieging
Ten stewards stewing
Nine Nazgûl sniffing
Eight legs of Shelob
Seven dwarves a-delving
Sméagol and Déagol
Four hobbit lads
Three Elf Lords
and in darkness to bind them, one ring!
credit goes mostly to my wife, Alison Kinney, but I’ll happily claim any errors.
Matthew Gabriele offered an excellent suggestion in my post below: to learn more about horses being cursed, learn whether or not horses were blessed. After a quick search I discovered, first, that I need to get myself to a library if I want to answer the question, and second, I discovered the original of the holy hand grenade. You there, yes you, you with the 20-sided die, you may be doubtful, but you will now know that I am right.
Have a look here and tell me if I’m not right. Some of the relevant portions of the image, taken from page 290 of an 18th-century volume, The Rituale Basileense juxta Romanum Pauli V et Urbani VIII include this blessing:
Benedictio Sclopetorum, & Bombardarum, fiat ex supradicta benedictione armorum mutatis mutandis, & aspergantur aqua benedicta. Benedictio Pulveris tormentarii, seu jaculatorii; item Globorum plumbeorum, vel ferreorum, conjunctim vel divisim.
In my typically hit or miss Latin, this means:
Bless the rifle and cannonball, and let the above blessing of the arms [be done] with all the appropriate changes, and let them be sprinkled with holy water. Let the gunpowder [?] be blessed, and the projectiles: namely, the bullets, whether of lead or iron, whether collectively or individually.
Thank you. Isn’t there a Medieval Academy Prize for meritorious [I spelled that right I hope] service to Geekdom?
Try to keep your celebrations in line tomorrow night or the ghost of Bartholomew of Exeter might rise up to punish you. He warns:
De Balationibus. Si quis balationes ante ecclesias sanctorum fecerit, seu qui faciem suam transmutauerit in habitu mulierbri, et mulier in habitu uiri, emendatione pollicita tribus annis peniteat
Amateur Theatrics.* Whoever does amateur theatrics in front of churches–either a man cross-dressing as a woman or a woman cross-dressing as a man–should do penance for 3 years.
I can only assume that Bartholomew meant “until the next election season.” So, ladies, men, if you’re tempted to dress up as McCain and Palin to put on a show tomorrow night, or even if you just want to bust out in some Shakespearean comedy, find an appropriate venue. Keep it from the houses of the holy.
* Okay, I tried. What’s your best shot at “ballatio”? I don’t think “dance” is sufficient. By the way, the OED etymology takes me to this hilarious conclusion: [a. OF. baler. (since 16th c. baller) to dance (= Pr. balar, It. ballare, Sp., Pg. bailar): late L. (Isidore) ballare to dance. Some think the L. formed from Gr. to dance, some f. balla BALL n.1, on the alleged ground that, in the Middle Ages, tennis was accompanied with dancing and song]
I just dismissed my last Barnard course, let them fill out evaluations, and had the penultimate sit here in my Barnard office. And I just discovered that one of my students had kept a record called “Quotable Karl (& Less Quotable Karl),” which she deposited in my mailbox. Here are the quotes:
On Switzerland: “You can see it in Goldfinger“*
On college-level spelling courses: “Oh, you mean without beer.”
On the discursive construct of cannibalism** in Heart of Darkness: “Like you’re on a ship that’s being piloted by a burrito.”
On pedagogy: “I’m just saying words.”
On student discussion: “Gold stars for everyone!”
On his sentence: “No, that’s stupid.”
On contributing to society: “It’s probably better — for the world — if I don’t talk more.”
On himself: “I’m full of deepness.”
On domestic violence and Hurston: “I believe the word is ‘blow,’ not ‘girly slap.'”***
Notes by the object of study:
* Frankenstein discussion.
** I love it when my students–my Freshmen!–start talking like this.
*** In correcting a student’s misapprehension of Janie’s violence in hitting Tea Cake in Their Eyes Were Watching God
I should also say that my students have parodied me to my face. They’re especially fond of my use of the word “fantastic” as an all-purpose modifier for books I like. This happen to anyone else?