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Author Topic: What's Everyone Reading?  (Read 76275 times)

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #195 on: March 21, 2020, 07:46:16 PM »
Hi everybody,

After a furtive foray for food the other day I found a copy of Stephen J. Gould’s Dinosaur in a Haystack ( ISBN 2-224-04472-9, Jonathan Cape 1996) going for a guinea in the charity shop for Peterboroughʼs Wood Green animal shelter.

Itʼs a collection of his essays and articles about evolutionary science and related issues in one of which, titled Late Birth of a Flat Earth, I was pleasantly suprised to find that Gould puts in a very good word for the Venerable Bede, indeed opens the article about him and his tomb in Durham Cathedral.  Amongst other things, Late Birth of a Flat Earth discusses the myth that literate Europeans ever believed in a flat earth, and Gould cites the Venerable Bedeʼs scientific works as proof positive for just how contrafactual the myth is: “and Bede clearly presented his classic conception of the earth as a sphere at the hub of the cosmos – orbis in medio totius mundi positus ( an orb placed at the center of the universe). Lest anyone misconstrue his intent, Bede then explicitly stated that he meant a three-dimensional sphere, not a flat plate. Moreover, he added, our planetary sphere may be considered as perfect because even the highest mountains produce no more than an imperceptible ripple on a globe of such great diameter.”

This last sentence tickled my tendaciousness because of another myth, one that science created for itself in Early Modern times: that of the Great Southern Continent.   Fill me in and correct me who may, as Iʼve found this a puzzlingly hard subject to check up about, but as I presently understand it, the story goes like this: somewhere between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, largely as a result of the first great voyages of discovery by Sir Francis Drake, Vasco da Gama, Magellan etc., the-then men of science or natural philosophers couldn’t help but wonder, since so much of the Earth’s known land mass lay in the northern hemisphere, that in order for the Earth’s rotation to remain stable there must be, surely, a Counterweight Continent of roughly equivalent area in the southern hemisphere.  Indeed, some of those great voyages of discovery were launched to look for it and, if memory serves, it was one of Captain Cook’s expeditions that finally shot that fox: there is no Great Southern Continent.       

As we now know, the greater land mass of the northern hemisphere is nowhere near large enough to affect the Earth’s rotation, because “even the highest mountains produce no more than an imperceptible ripple on a globe of such great diameter.”

So, none of that whole misadventure need ever have happened, if only theyʼd listened to our dear, old Venerable Bede...



* Maybe it’s an embarrasment scientists would fain forget, like the proportion of astronomers and astrophysicists who bought into the life-on-Mars belief sparked off by Percival Lowell in Victorian times, not substantially debunked until spectroscopic analyis was good enough, in Edwardian times, to demonstrate that the Martian atmosphere was too thin, too shallow and too *&%!ing cold to support anything more than lichens and mosses, if we’re lucky.  Only for Edgar Rice Burroughs to re-launch the whole whoopty-do, canals and all, with those bloody awful pulp sci-fi novels of his.  Lest ġesīþas mistake this for some off-topic footnote here, consult Bill Griffiths’ Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic ( ISBN 1-898281-33-5, 1996 Anglo-Saxon Books), as he consulted BL Cotton MS. Tib.A.iii, to learn that Ġif hē ġeseo tweġen mōnan þæt byþ micel ġefea.  Hmm.  The passage concerns divination from dreams and, speaking of a dreamer, means, “If he sees two moons, that is ( a sign of) great joy to come.”

Now disbelievers may scoff, but it’s a hard fact that there’s only one planet you can stand on, known to modern science, where you can see two moons...   

 
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The moral right of the author to be identified from space has been asserted.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 04:50:06 PM by Bowerthane »

Eanflaed

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #196 on: March 23, 2020, 09:54:48 AM »
Good old Bede! Just goes to show that a theory put forward long ago is not necessarily wrong or out of date! The modern world needs to learn a bit of humility I think!

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #197 on: March 24, 2020, 02:45:23 PM »
Nice to hear from you, Eanflaed.

Hope you and every ġesīþa reading are keeping well and cheerful.

In the present situation, I dare to hope that a revival of interest in the ġegaderung may help us all from going stir crazy, and keep our minds off our troubles, for the foreseeable future.  Already, for the first time in my bachelor life, I'm developing an interest in housecleaning FFS...

Moderator: am I right that the members-only rule has been relaxed?  I don't seem to have to log on in the old way, any longer. 


A big wes hal to everybody reading.










David

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #198 on: March 25, 2020, 08:55:51 AM »
As you are wanting us to join in I was wondering about your language. I was wondering why you used the accent on “ġegaerung” but not on “wes hāl”. It is also interesting that you used the variant “ġesīþa” when we normally use “ġesīþ”.

I still have to log on in the old way.

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #199 on: March 25, 2020, 04:45:51 PM »
Nice to hear from you, David.

Bone idleness and carelessness, I should guess, is why my Old English gets sloppy.  Sometimes I tell myself to just get my finger out and show willing, David!

I've just got back from my first real shopping trip and general recce for a week, and I'm glad I bought that Gould anthology because all the libraries, book and charity shops are definitely shut.  I nearly didn't, um-ing and ah-ing.  I'm gladder still that I took the chance to call on my dear old English teacher, however, as her daughter has moved in with her so she's fine, neither worried nor at risk of being forgotten about.

I still didn't have to log in for this post, so now I don't know whether I'm washing or hanging out.  It may be an idea, however, to waive the usual members-only restriction throughout the current situation, as bored Anglo-Saxonists ( and antiquarians in general) may surely come this way, now, if they ever will.

Look after yourselves ġesīþas, keep well and cheerful.





Eanflaed

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #200 on: March 26, 2020, 05:52:18 PM »
Hi Bowerthane, I suppose you do log out each time you use the Gegaderung? If you don’t and your default is some huge number of minutes, that’s probably why you can get back so easily...but if that doesn’t apply you are a mystery!!


I thought anyone could peruse the Gegaderung (apart from the members only pages), they just can’t make a comment...whenever I log in there are usually several “guests” logged in. But Phyllis, our new administrator, might correct me on that.

Bill

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #201 on: March 27, 2020, 03:18:34 AM »
Hi Eanflaed.  I may be guilty as I don't log out and simply come straight back in.   However greetings to all Gesithas from NZ.  Needless to say we have had to cancel UK trip in June and busily trying to arrange for same time next year.   Now in second day of enforced lock down....plenty to do and want to stay well.   Kai Kaha (stay strong) everyone

Eanflaed

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #202 on: March 27, 2020, 10:14:51 AM »
Hi Bill, you are not guilty at all - it’s probably more convenient to stay logged in and there’s nothing wrong with that! I might try it. It’s such a shame you can’t visit this year - we are just as fed up as we were going to visit our daughter in Australia. We are in lock down too, but at least I can catch up with the dozens of books and magazines I’ve yet to read!

cynewulf

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #203 on: March 28, 2020, 12:11:13 PM »
Only one thing to read today - the latest edition of Widowinde. It looks remarkable in its all new colour format. The quality is as good as ever. Hearty congratulations to everyone involved !

Phyllis

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #204 on: March 29, 2020, 12:32:48 PM »
I for one intend to snuggle down with WW and a cup of tea this afternoon. It looks fantastic, great job, Editor :)

But in terms of our topic, I just finished reading Guy Halsall's "World of Arthur" which was bracing. Has anyone else read it? I know it is quite popular. I didn't pick it up for ages due to the title, but then discovered, to my chagrin, that I had misunderstood what he was writing about (ie 5-6 century Britain and actual evidence from archaeology as well as the later historical documents such as Bede, Nennius and Gildas). Still, better late than never!

I was particularly interested in his (avowedly) uncommon suggestion that the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the earliest period in fact moved up from the south starting from the villa/urban areas. I have paraphrased terribly so one of you may be able to summarise better. I think he was saying something like: it may not have been an east to west movement, but more based around the centres of Romano-British settlement and spreading out. If the Romano-British were employing Germanic mercenaries quite widely (in keeping with Roman tradition of the 3rd-4th centuries) then that might make sense.

Anyway...



Phyllis

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #205 on: March 30, 2020, 04:15:08 PM »
I too am enjoying WW in its full-colour glory.

Well done everyone, I say.


Eanflaed

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #206 on: March 31, 2020, 12:19:15 AM »
Thanks for your positive comments about Withowinde, people! Very much appreciated! Xxx

David

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #207 on: March 31, 2020, 04:43:48 PM »
Am I the only one not to receive the magazine. Instead I got a subscription in the post today, so I went to bank some cheques only to find that the bank now closes at 2 pm so I was too late and bought some food instead.

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #208 on: April 20, 2020, 07:42:43 PM »

This is more a case of what I'm listening to than reading, but I couldn't think of a simple enough alternative.


This is to make sure everybody knows that BBC Radio Four is repeating its series "A History of the World in 100 Objects" narrated by the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor.


I loved it the first time, ten years ago now, so I say it is really worth catching ( www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nrtd2 ) if you missed it or, like me, you missed the occasional episode.




Enjoy.










Phyllis

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #209 on: April 21, 2020, 09:36:05 AM »
I think they are also available to listen to via a podcast / BBC Sounds if you want to binge :)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/search?q=A%20History%20of%20the%20World%20in%20100%20Objects&suggid=urn%3Abbc%3Aprogrammes%3Ab00nrtd2

The one on the Sutton Hoo Helmet is wonderful, with Seamus Heaney talking about Beowulf as well!
Phyllis