Wednesday, 30 November 2016

St. Andrew's Day? Yer Aye learnin'

Happy St. Andrew's Day to you! 

The 30th November is St. Andrew’s Day in Scotland and I've blogged about various stories about St. Andrew on previous posts. (To see them use the 'archive' box on the right sidebar of this blog and type a search of 'St. Andrew') 

I'm not repeating those posts but I will add something new because there is always yet another snippet associated with St. Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland. I find something different every year! 

This year's browsing led me to a new observation, one which I find extremely modern yet flattering to Andrew of saintly reputation! The Scotland dot org site has an article which suggests that St. Andrew had exceptional people skills -  as in him being the person who brought many strangers to the meetings of Jesus and also one of the disciples who was very good at coercing the people around Jesus to share their food! Someone very good at 'working the crowds'. Thus, the suggestion is that he could become the Patron Saint of Social Networking! 

St. Andrew's patronage extends to maidens, old maids, and women wishing to become mothers as well as those with gout, sore throats and are fishmongers!

Today, you'll find that I've also posted on the Wranglers Blog about St. Andrew's day where there's a little more explanation. Since I researched for a really good painting I'm including this one here. I like this 17th Century depiction of the Crucifixion of St. Andrew by someone anonymous. The canvas (I believe) can still be found in the Scottish College in Paris.

Though not religious, I find the imagery of this one interesting and in the way of a lot of medieval and renaissance painting historically inaccurate. The buildings in Patras, the city where St. Andrew was said to have been crucified might have had stone buildings. I'm not sure that the style here is accurate but the type of ship in the background is probably not accurate for AD 60. It doesn't look like a trireme to me but I'm happy to be put right. Exactly how the poor man is managing to hang there with such loose ties is quite an amazing feat. Again, please feel free to enlighten me.

Paintings aside, in honour of St. Andrew's Day 2016, I'm intending to make some stovies for dinner, served with oatcakes and beetroot. 

HERE  is the source of the photo above and using corned beef is one of the fastest recipes for making stovies. The texture of the stovies in the photo here is not actually the easiest thing to acquire but the real taste needs the whole stew to become a sort of mush to qualify!  Today, I'm using sausages instead of left over beef which is usual in the north-east of Scotland, though I've made stovies with lamb, mince and pretty much any kind of meat. 

Nicola Sturgeon, the first Minister of Scotland has made a St. Andrew's Day video, one which matches very well with the aspirations of the SNP party in Scotland, as in one of inclusion but sadly, I can't work out how to share it here except by this method.

Other news of the day is that I'm pacing on with my #FLHadrian course.

1.    Those who are friends of mine on Facebook might have seen that I’ve made a few mentions about doing a 6 week course right now, via Newcastle University…and I’m loving it! I'm now into Week 4 of the course and so glad that I decided to do it!
I thought I already knew a reasonable amount about the famous Hadrian’s Wall structure that was built by the Ancient Romans from west to east across northern England but I live with the adage that ‘Yer Aye Learnin’ and there’s always something more to absorb.

The time period of the building of the wall at c. AD 122 sits nicely between the two eras that I’ve written about in my historical adventures. The Celtic Fervour Series for adults is set in Agricolan northern Britannia of AD 70s - 80s. My Time Travel Adventure for Teens is set in Severan Scotland in AD 210. Bridging that historical gap is a very good thing!

So again, Happy St. Andrew's Day to you. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Par for the course

Happy Tuesday greetings to you!

I missed my Monday Moments, yesterday, since I've got my hands more than full these days with general domestic duties including grandkid minding, new writing, pre-Christmas selling of my novels at various venues and,,,my FutureLearn course on Hadrian's Wall, which I'm really loving. I've now completed Week 3 of the 6 Week course and have just started Week 4.

What did I learn new last week?

...A number of things including the mixture of people who lived along the wall both military and civilian. I looked at frontier communities, including men who were stationed on the wall and who probably would have preferred a warmer location. The men stationed there came predominantly from Gaul & northern Germania, areas we'd now call France, Belgium, Holland and northern Germany. There were others, of course, from different empire locations over the few hundred years of occupation, including north western Africa and Syria. And some came from 'Romanised' tribes from south of the wall.
The tombstones of Victor and Regina

Victor and Regina -Courtesy of Newcastle University

The course is designed to pose many questions for the student to make answers to, even when there is no definitive answer. We're exploring these possible answers in the 'comments section'  - a discussion room for students to chip in their views and opinions.

In archaeology there is supposition, conjecture and a good degree of guesswork based on known sets of information. We briefly looked at inscriptions and iconography on tombstones and tried to formulate some answers for certain people being in the location of the wall, in forts and vici (settlements outside the wall fort) - as testament on their commemorative tombstones and friezes.

Students from Newcastle University in Roman dress researched and put together as part of a Roman dining seminar.

Courtesy of Newcastle Univ - Students from Newcastle University in Roman Costume

The final stages of last week were tough. The little forensics exercise was a challenge which I rose to quite well - apart from making a mistake with the age of a child via the evidence of an already erupted molar tooth. I should have got that one correct!

Week 4 began yesterday and already we are into looking at the Rituals and Religions along the wall forts, So far, there are some fine image examples to look at and I look forward to updating about my new learning this week. But for now, it's a Tuesday so I'm on grand children duty and have to go and waken them up now.
Depiction of female with long hair being bathed
Courtesy of Newcastle Univ.

Let's see how I can squeeze in some new course work, food shopping, baking  and writing whilst looking after my 5 year old granddaughter and 2 and 1/2 year old grandson, today. I know which of those have to take priority.

Whatever you're doing - enjoy!


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Squamata! And it's real...

Tuesday teaser!
What's squamata?

I blogged yesterday about my visit to The Mc Manus Gallery in Dundee. Today I'm posting some more images, photos that I took at the museum. Unfortunately, although you are allowed to photograph (no flash, of course) the exhibits are behind glass cases and my photography skills are not brilliant. Enjoy the best you can!

The answer to the question above is that it's one of the types of chest mail used by some ancient Roman soldiers. It can also be referred to as scale mail. The example below is highly prized by the museum since it was found near Dundee at the site of the fort of Carpow, built/ rebuilt by Emperor Severus approx. AD 209-211. The scales were individually sewn to a backing in overlapping rows, a painstaking business and no doubt a lengthy one.

Squamata mail - McManus Gallery Dundee Scotland

Here are some further examples via Wikimedia Commons. 

File:Roman scale armour detail.JPG

From Trajan's Column.

Lorica Squamata worn by a reenactment Roman soldier at Cricau Festival. 


File:Cricau Festival 2013 - Lorica squamata - 2.jpg
The Emperors Antoninus Pius and Severus both wear lorica squamata in the collection of marble portrait busts  from the Gallo -Roman villa of Chiragen near Toulouse. (Sadly, I can't locate them at present.)

You can view some reenactors wearing squamata on Pinterest. This is only one possibility.