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foxes and fowl and so many footnotes
February 1, 2012 8:39 AM   Subscribe

After a long personal hiatus, pithy history blog Got Medieval recently returned (previously: 1, 2). It comes back with a new project, an ongoing series of posts [Intro, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] on the author’s dissertation topic, the role of Uther in the story of King Arthur as told in the less-than-accurate 12th century Historia Regum Brittanae by Geoffrey of Monmouth. If you want more, the saints feasts calendar commentaries may be completed now, but don’t worry, the marginalia posts continue (e.g. sketches of naked men in a nun’s devotional book).
posted by Schismatic (14 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Somehow I managed to miss this blog when it was previously posted. Thanks for pointing me at it again!
posted by immlass at 10:00 AM on February 1, 2012


I'm glad he's gotten himself back together a bit. It really is one of the most consistently funny and informative blogs out there.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:24 AM on February 1, 2012


I think that Got Medieval and all of his fellow travelers (like me, even if I am a pathetic early modernist whose Latin is limited to understanding the p' shortforms) should engage in a full-on campaign to end the mis-use of the word "medieval" to mean "something I don't like". The middle ages were a long and complex period - and you should only use the word "medieval" to talk about something which actually relates to that period (and only that period). Feudalism is medieval; patriarchy is not medieval. The Crusades were medieval; religious intolerance is, sadly, very much modern and early modern as well as medieval and classical and ancient and apparently timeless.

And the major witch-hunts were definitely NOT medieval - they are EARLY MODERN (aka 16th, 17th centuries).
posted by jb at 10:37 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, the Victorians made up a whole lot of insane crap about the middle ages, mostly so they could feel like they had a modern, just and moral society going, compared to those heathens back in the day.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:50 AM on February 1, 2012


Kid Charlemagne, that sounds both very Victorian and terribly interesting. Any suggested sources in which to read about that?
posted by Schismatic at 10:56 AM on February 1, 2012


jb, Got Medieval has done many, many posts against such uses of "medieval". Notice the definition on the sidebar.
posted by Casuistry at 10:58 AM on February 1, 2012



Unfortunately, the Victorians made up a whole lot of insane crap about the middle ages, mostly so they could feel like they had a modern, just and moral society going, compared to those heathens back in the day.


And the other side of the middle-ages-mythlogizing Victorians, the perfect good old days where kings were just and peasants pious and ladies true so all our buildings have to look like cathedrals now

Which is doubly funny as "gothic" was used as a backdoor for getting in a lot of lush romanticism
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on February 1, 2012


Charlemagne is medieval.

    Kid Charlemagne is modern.

        "Kid Charlemagne" is post-modern.

                This post is post-post-modern.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:24 AM on February 1, 2012


The Personal peice is astonishing, the way he writes it, it builds up and builds up. Stunning, will forward to folks I know who suffer with similar thigs.
posted by marienbad at 11:25 AM on February 1, 2012


Thanks for this, it's been bookmarked.

I think that Got Medieval and all of his fellow travelers (like me, even if I am a pathetic early modernist whose Latin is limited to understanding the p' shortforms) should engage in a full-on campaign to end the mis-use of the word "medieval" to mean "something I don't like". The middle ages were a long and complex period - and you should only use the word "medieval" to talk about something which actually relates to that period (and only that period).

The whole idea of a "middle age" was to condemn the world where classical learning had died, and praise the new one where it was reborn. We really need a new periodization for the western world, preferable one which doesn't have huge thousand year "ages" based on the prestige of antiquity. There's just to much historical landscape and flow between 500 and 1500 for anybody to think it's unified or unifiable on such basic terms. Indeed, I was taught the modern world begins in 1485, and I'm sure early modernists like you would grumble about assuming too much continuity between then and now, despite it being half as long.
posted by Jehan at 11:36 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


> The Personal peice is astonishing, the way he writes it, it builds up and builds up.

Yes indeed, this post was worth it for that alone. That could so easily have been me; fortunately, I was able to tear myself away (or tear the millstone of the dissertation off my neck, along with a certain amount of flesh and blood) before I went into full-fledged denial. I got out of academia and have never regretted it, but I'm glad he was able to recover and stay in the fold. He's clearly got a lot to say.
posted by languagehat at 12:01 PM on February 1, 2012


Jehan - oh, yeah, periodisation is always problematic. But medieval is a useful categorically academically - in western European history, it describes a period in which most of the major sources were written in Latin as well as sometimes in the vernacular (having good Latin or not being somewhat of a divider between early modernists and medievalists), and a period for which the source base often does not support the techniques of modern historical research, but require their own techniques - though on that point, the later middle ages (c1350-1500) are probably more like early modern research than early medieval research (but early modern is not the same as modern, especially in social-economic research where most of your basic sources like censuses often don't exist).

I've generally found medievalists to have good scholarly cohesion, even across disciplines, whereas early modernists and modernsists tend to fracture and go every which way. Or maybe that was because at my last uni they had a weekly free lunch. Free food is so good for developing collegiality.

also - 1485? Are you British Jehan? because that date has no significance outside of the UK :) Other people might pick 1492 or 1517 - or even 1347 (Black Death) for the turning point into an new era.
posted by jb at 3:35 PM on February 1, 2012


I love 'Got Medieval'! One of the best blogs out there!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:03 AM on February 2, 2012


But medieval is a useful categorically academically - in western European history, it describes a period in which most of the major sources were written in Latin as well as sometimes in the vernacular (having good Latin or not being somewhat of a divider between early modernists and medievalists), and a period for which the source base often does not support the techniques of modern historical research, but require their own techniques - though on that point, the later middle ages (c1350-1500) are probably more like early modern research than early medieval research (but early modern is not the same as modern, especially in social-economic research where most of your basic sources like censuses often don't exist).

That makes a lot of sense.

also - 1485? Are you British Jehan? because that date has no significance outside of the UK :) Other people might pick 1492 or 1517 - or even 1347 (Black Death) for the turning point into an new era.

Yeah, I'm English, and I know 1485 as a date is kinda insular, but it's what I was taught. Even though 1492 and 1517 have more universality, I'm not sure I like them any better because of the long processes they're involved with. I've never heard of starting the modern period in 1347, although it's clearly an important date. But that said, it was also part of a process of unwinding from the "high middle ages" that started 50 years previously. Maybe I'm just against periodization as a whole because I can more easily see its flaws as a reader than its benefits as a historian. The little historical research I do is narrow enough for me to draw my own boundaries, especially when I can see that local pockets of population existed in an almost pre–modern state well into the 1700s.
posted by Jehan at 10:35 AM on February 5, 2012


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