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Author Topic: What's Everyone Reading?  (Read 145236 times)

Eanflaed

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #225 on: July 29, 2021, 12:34:33 PM »
Hi Bill, I’ve been considering buying that book - would you recommend it? I must admit I do favour Michael Wood’s theory at the moment (but am open to other suggestions) because the Great North Road had been a conduit for the movement of armies since the Roman period and so many battles have been fought on or near it. It would be the obvious route for Athelstan to get into the North quickly and if York was the target it reinforces the sense of a confrontation in Yorkshire rather than Cheshire. I can’t see why Constantine would channel his army so far west when Athelstan would be approaching from the south...but then I haven’t read “Never greater slaughter”!

Phyllis

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #226 on: July 29, 2021, 04:08:00 PM »
I did write a review for the next WW if our esteemed editor feels it is worthy...

It was excellent and gave me a different view.
Phyllis

Bill

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #227 on: July 31, 2021, 03:01:24 AM »
Thanks for posts Phyllis and Eanflaed.   Yes I recommend the book Eanflaed.   I must admit it took me a while to get over the fact that it was written by an American, kept trying to put that to the back of my mind as it has been really well researched and Michael Livingston says in the book that he has been the subject of adverse comment owing to that fact.   To me his arguments and reasoning are compelling (yes I know I am writing from the other side of the world but have travelled to the UK enough to have a reasonable idea of the lie of the land).   He completes the book by outlining all the other contending sites and giving the reasons why they fade in comparison to the Wirrell.   If noting else it is a basis for much  further debate.   Regards to you all.

Mearcstapa

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #228 on: August 27, 2021, 03:20:46 PM »
I've nearly finished Max Adam's 'The Last Kingdom' it's quite a long walk through the wavering marshes of the post-roman period and the beginning of the first Anglo Saxon kingdoms but worth reading for Mr Adam's has managed to synthesize together a lot of different information about this shadowy era and put it into an interesting, grounded narrative. You get the sense of the centuries 400-600ish being very dynamic for the communities living in Britain as they adapt to whatever comes next, and there being lots of possible kingdoms that never made it. Adam's talks about some very interesting things around the land and how the first kingdoms were organised around peripatetic kings with their followers who required special farms 'regia villae' within their territory to host them for a few months before moving on to the next. When it comes down to it all all these kingdoms could only exist with a peasant class who spent their days provisioning food, fuel and cloth for their lords. 

geoff littlejohns

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #229 on: April 13, 2022, 09:33:40 PM »
I am reading 'Empires and Barbarians' by Peter Heather.  I have only just discovered this, apparently eminent, historian.  I am impressed by the good sense and judgement of what I am reading.
The book was published as long ago as 2009 and so Peter Heather has been writing for quite some years without me coming across his work before.  Although writing about northern Europe as a whole, his ideas have relevance to the Anglo-Saxon experience.
So I am wondering whether other gesithas have manged to be more up-to-date than I have and have already read & digested Peter Heather's arguments.  I would be interested to find out how influential he has become.
 

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #230 on: June 05, 2022, 08:02:24 PM »
 I’m in the middle of reading Rodney Stark’s The Triumph of Christianity which I would recommend to absolutely nobody as it is tendentious and misleading when it is not ignorant or deceives by omission.  Reading How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion you’d never guess that the ‘Christian’ ideal of a City of God was a straight steal from the Stoic ideal of a cosmopolis, that the ‘Christian’ concept of the Word was a straight steal from the Stoic concept of the Logos or how right Nietzsche was to describe Christian metaphysics as “Platonism for the masses”.   
 
 
 However, on folio 235 Stark has this to say about the Dark Ages:
 
 
Meanwhile across the channel, the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086 as a forerunner of the modern census, reported that there were at least 5,624 water-powered mills already operating in England, or one for every fifty families, and this is known to be an undercount.24 Among many other things, mills such as these mechanized the manufacture of woolen cloth and soon enabled England to dominate the European market” etc. 

 
As you can see, it is less than clear whether Stark is saying that watermills played some direct role in the manufacture of woollen cloth in post- or pre-Conquest England, as though this could go for the woollen cloaks mentioned in King Offa’s diplomatic correspondence.  I’m not sure whether the popularity of English wool abroad went so far as for “dominate the European market” to be a fair and accurate way to put it ( it found its way into the Arab market in our period, if memory serves) at any time, no more than I am at all sure to what extent watermills made the wool staple more or less of an export success than it was.

 
Are they used for washing the wool, or something?

 
Then theres: “Selective plant breeding also began in the monasteries resulting in more productive and hardy crops.”  This is in a context that definintely means the Dark Ages.  Ideas, anyone?

 
Not to mention:Another revolutionary innovation was eyeglasses, which were invented in about 1280 and almost immediately went into mass production thus allowing huge numbers of people to lead productive lives who otherwise could not have done so.

 
Yes, he said... mass production.  Mass production about something recorded 170 years before the printing press and 480 years before the Industrial Revolution would be a twinkle in James Watt’s eye.  Can’t wait to read about their online access to Magna Carta and how Muscovy repelled the Mongols with all those thermobaric missiles, in the go-ahead thirteenth cenutry.

 
Mass production...

 

 
Can anyone say what Stark’s on about?

 
 
 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 The moral right of the author to be identify the Women’s Land Army beating Bletchley Park, as well as the U-Boats, has been asserted. ’S true.  The Colossus was delivered to Bletchley Park in the autumn of 1943, just when the Land Girls brought in the 1943 harvest. Yet the Colossus needed a running-in period, so we did not have all-singing, all-dancing computer-guided U-Boat hunting until the November of that year.  So mainland Britain had recovered its ability to feed its own population before the ‘Moog Moment’, which would be about Guy Fawkes’ Night, 1943.  How’s that for Girl Power?

Eanflaed

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #231 on: June 12, 2022, 02:33:41 PM »
Sounds like he hasn’t done his homework and is just guessing - how annoying! I wouldn’t bother reading the rest of it!! But don’t put it in the charity box - the next person to read it might think it’s all true!!

cynewulf

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #232 on: June 16, 2022, 04:58:22 PM »
Right now ? What else but the latest Widowinde (another excellent edition) in the sunshine, on the patio with a large glass of chilled Pinot Grigio, with cricket commentary in the background. Actually, it was yesterday. 8)   

Eanflaed

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #233 on: June 17, 2022, 09:52:20 AM »
Now that’s what I call a Right Answer, Cynewulf! It sounds idyllic!

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #234 on: June 28, 2022, 01:41:29 AM »
Whoops, yes! Of course I'm reading Withowinde and it's so good I just have to get back to it.  Well done and thanks to all concerned.






( Legs it back...)



Phyllis

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #235 on: June 29, 2022, 02:35:12 PM »
I just finished Martin Carver's "Formative Britain" which was a long read. I think the main things I have learned are (1) I can;t cope with such heavy books easily and (2) actually all that detail about archaeology leaves me a bit cold. Once I realised I could skim the detail on sites and read the intros and outros, it went much easier. Now I know where to go and look when i do want the detail! It is a magnificent book though and I'm very glad to have it.

I then cantered through Eleanor Parker's "Conquereed: the last children of Anglo-Saxon England" which was slimmer and an excellent read. She covered the Godwin children, Waltheof, Hereward and Exile's son and elder daughter. Fascinating stuff.

I am now taking a brief respite in the final volume of a fantasy trilogy which wil be of limited interest to most of you; my next on-topic read is probably going to be Alaric Hall's "Elves in the Anglo-Saxon World"

Otherwise I am also getting up close and personal with Beowulf, working on translating it with some friends. A joyful exercise and giedscipe!

So many books, so little time...
Phyllis

Norman Yoke

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #236 on: June 30, 2022, 12:45:37 PM »
I then cantered through Eleanor Parker's "Conquereed: the last children of Anglo-Saxon England" which was slimmer and an excellent read. She covered the Godwin children, Waltheof, Hereward and Exile's son and elder daughter. Fascinating stuff.


Just started this! Really excited, especially to find out more about Margaret.

Phyllis

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #237 on: July 14, 2022, 08:35:11 AM »
Elves in Anglo-Saxon England by ALaric Hall

As predicted, Alaric Hall is sterner stuff than the average fantasy novel. But I am finding his book very interesting indeed - much about linguistic development that I am taking in slowly and think I follow (but wouldn't swear an oath on that).

So far he is proposing a shift from elves being seen as male to female, and a potential link to the Vanir of Norse mythology. This is less apparent in English sources although he picks out some hints.

If this topic does interst you, I woudl recommen it (depsite not having finished it yet).


Phyllis

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #238 on: July 15, 2022, 11:02:33 AM »

I
d be interested in hearing your ( or anyones!) opinion about any connections between ælfsīden and seiðr magic, Phyllis.


« Last Edit: July 15, 2022, 11:04:15 AM by Bowerthane »

Phyllis

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #239 on: July 17, 2022, 02:17:20 PM »

I
d be interested in hearing your ( or anyones!) opinion about any connections between ælfsīden and seiðr magic, Phyllis.

Just reading that very chapter! I'm not sure I can quite summarise it, but will try a few points.

He does find a correspondence between ælfsiden and seiðr but it's not proven The references to ælfsiden are quie limited and not sufficiently clear to be unequivocal about the meaning. He also draws interesting links from / to Irish references eg in Cu Chulainn.

seiðr is often described as the business of women, but he suggests that (a) we may have somewhat limited sources, given that there actually is potential evidence for men working seiðr through rune stave artefacts as well as Oðinn himself in sagas, admittedly cross-dressing, and (b) there may be something transgressional about working it which compromsied a masculine identity because of the use of trance (loss of control) and rituals (including dress) which conflicted with the prevailing masculine norm of tightly controlled mental states etc.

Sorry I'm not explainign it well, so don't shoot the messenger!

He also discusses how ælfe initially seems to be a noun for male beings and only later seems to represent female ones. He finds some correspondence between ālfr and vanr which is interesting, especially with the links Freyja has to seiðr. It's quite a dense book and certainly an academic one so I would want to re-read it at some point to take more in, being a Bear of Little Brain.

But if this is your thing then I'd recomment it!

Phyllis