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A Compendium of Obscure Things
September 30, 2010 12:43 AM   Subscribe

Res Obscura is a blog by Ben Breen, a graduate student of early modern history, which styles itself "a compendium of obscure things." Indeed, even the asides are full of wonder, such as the one about Boy, the famous Royalist war poodle of the English Civil War, which is but a short addendum to a post about witches' familiars. Here are some of my favorite posts, Pirate Surgeon in Panama (and a related post about 18th Century Jamaica), vanished civilizations, asemic pseudo-Arabic and -Hebrew writing in Renaissance art, and a series of posts about the way the Chinese and Japanese understood the world outside Asia in the early modern period (Europeans as 'Other', Europeans as 'Other,' Redux and Early Chinese World Maps).
posted by Kattullus (16 comments total) 95 users marked this as a favorite

Wow, what a brilliant blog. The 'Europeans as "Other"' links were particularly interesting.
posted by mattn at 1:07 AM on September 30, 2010

Oooh, nanban art! I find that stuff fascinating. I've long been amazed by the deep imprint that Japan's fleeting and not particularly happy contact with Iberian explorers and missionaries left in Japanese history and culture, from cuisine to manners (did you know that "arigato" apparently comes from the Portuguese "obrigado"?)
posted by Skeptic at 1:29 AM on September 30, 2010

Funny. I also ended up at the 'Europeans as Other' link. I think it is because more and more my wife (who is Portuguese) and I have been noticing the abundant depictions of Portuguese explorers around the world. In Benin, for example, this and this.
posted by vacapinta at 1:39 AM on September 30, 2010

Adeps Hominis. The Fat of Man is gathered from those parts of Men, as Suet is made of other Creatures, and Hogs Lard from Hogs, of which the sweetest and cleanest is to be preferred.
From The Treasury of Drugs Unlock'd (London, 1690)
Great stuff. I'll be checking this out for the rest of the day. Thank you.
posted by adamvasco at 1:54 AM on September 30, 2010

(did you know that "arigato" apparently comes from the Portuguese "obrigado"?)

Actually, it's a conjugation of a common verb.
posted by shii at 2:24 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks, this is superlative.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:48 AM on September 30, 2010

After Marston Moor, Boy wasn't the only cavalier who was shagg'd.
posted by Abiezer at 3:01 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

All fascinating. All of it. Many thanks.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:14 AM on September 30, 2010

(starts to look at site)

...Wow, I think I'm actually salivating.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:16 AM on September 30, 2010

Thanks for this, it's a great blog.
posted by dhruva at 6:23 AM on September 30, 2010

So this is my new favorite site.
posted by The Whelk at 7:04 AM on September 30, 2010

This is really interesting stuff. Wikipedia is of course a good adjunct to his site.
posted by Sukiari at 9:08 AM on September 30, 2010

Excellent stuff. Thanks for linking it.
posted by immlass at 9:34 AM on September 30, 2010

This is really great. Thanks.
posted by joedan at 1:58 PM on September 30, 2010

Typically brilliant Kattullus post. wow. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 3:41 PM on September 30, 2010

This is right up my alley. I want to print out high-quality versions of a ton of these maps and pieces of art to put on the walls of my house. I love it when a story can accompany decoration.
posted by namewithhe1d at 11:36 AM on October 6, 2010

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