“So at Christmas in this court I lay down a challenge: / If a person here present, within these premises, / Is big or bold or red-blooded enough / To strike me one stroke and be struck in return, / I shall give him a gift of this gigantic cleaver / and the axe shall be his to handle how he likes. / I'll kneel, bare my neck and take the first knock. / So who has the gall? The gumption? The guts? / Who’ll spring from his seat and snatch this weapon? / I offer the axe — who’ll have it as his own? / I’ll afford one free hit from which I won't flinch, / and promised that 12 months will pass in peace, / then claim / the duty I deserve in one year and one day. / Does no one have the nerve to wager in this way?” [more inside]
HTML Giant reviewer AD Jameson reviewed the movie The World's End. He didn't love it at first. Then he thought about it more. Then he thought about it a lot. [Warning, every link in this post contains spoilers] [more inside]
Ten ways to rethink Arthur's Britain, by Guy Halsall.
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).
How well do you really know old Arty? It all began with the Welsh: The The Annales Cabriae (inside) and parts of the Welsh oral tradition (later collected into the Mabinogion) give a very different picture of the popular King Arthur than contemporary readers are familiar with: no Lancelot, three or four different Guens, no love triangles or Holy Grails. A look at the vast scope of the Arthurian legend. [more inside]
Physicist Howard Wiseman has a hobby, history. On his website he has three history subsites, filled with lots of information: 1) Ruin and Conquest of Britain 2) 18 Centuries of Roman Empire 3) Twenty Centuries of "British" "Empires". Especially informative are his many maps. As he says himself: "Drawing historical maps of all sorts has been a hobby of mine since my mid teens. Now I can do it digitally, and inflict it upon the world!"
Sing to us, O Muse, of our Timeless Myths. A site dedicated to Classical, Norse & Celtic mythology and Arthurian legends.
Narts! The Nart Sagas are arguably the most essential ingredient of Circassian Culture, to which they are what Greek mythology is to Western Civilization. Though much less known than their Greek counterparts, the Nart epic tales are no less developed. The heroism, sagacity, guile and ferocity of the Nart demi-gods are more than matches to those of the Greek Pantheon. If this selection of stories captures your interest, you might want John Colarusso's Nart Sagas from the Caucasus; you can read the introduction online ("A ship sailing across the Black Sea in the year 1780 eventually would have come upon a lush shore at the eastern end of the dark gray waters..."). Although they seem to have been brought by the Ossetes (and J. Cassian is posting an Ossetian tale, The Death of Soslan, on his blog), they're everywhere in the Northern Caucasus. And some people say they were the source of the King Arthur stories.
The Camelot Project A wonderful collection of Arthurian images, e-texts, and bibliographies, comprising everything from the Alliterative Morte Arthure to the eccentric Robert Stephen Hawker's "The Quest for the Sangraal." See also this extensive two-part list of on-line Arthurian resources, courtesy of Kathleen L. Nichols (Pittsburg State University).