Made of Ƿ will return to its normal posting schedule on Monday. If you’re on break between semesters like me, enjoy the rest of your holiday!
If one understands the existence of angels, the existence of guardian angels shouldn’t present many problems. To justify their existence, the Summa first cites Psalm 90:11: “For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.” With elaboration, Aquinas asserts merely that men, in general, are guarded by angels.  He also quotes St. Jerome in insisting that each individual is guarded by an individual angel. 
When Are Guardians Appointed?
There are two schools of thought here: that guardian angels are appointed from birth, or that they are appointed from the moment of baptism. The Summa first quotes St. Jerome in stating that “each soul has an angel appointed to guard it from its birth.”  Aquinas prefers this view because of the difference in benefits due to a man as a Christian versus those due to him because he is a rational being. Guardian angels are justified due to man’s state as a rational being, subject to the temptations of sin and spiritual assaults, and this nature is not related to whether or not he has been baptized. This is contrasted with benefits man receives from being a Christian, such as participation in the Eucharist, which are conferred by God at baptism. 
The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville is one of my favorite pieces of medieval writing. Jean de Joinville is supposed to be writing about St. Louis, but he frequently digresses into his personal memories with vivid detail. He is an engaging, entertaining writer. The first time I read his memoirs, I found this most interesting passage when Joinville describes the company that the king lodged him with in Sajetta:
And when we reached camp, we found that [King Louis IX] had marked out the sites in person, where our quarters were to be. My quarters he had chosen alongside those of the Count of Eu, because he knew that the Count of Eu liked my company.
I will tell you of the tricks the Count of Eu used to play on us.
I had built a hut, where I used to take my meals,—I and my knights—lighted through the doorway. Now the doorway gave onto the Count of Eu’s quarters; and he, who was very ingenious, made a little machine to throw into it, and used to watch when we went to table, and set up his machine in a line with our table and break our jugs and glasses. 
Dress in Anglo-Saxon England by Gale R. Owen-Crocker is a marvelous book. Piecing together a visual history of the Anglo-Saxons is very difficult because Old English texts don’t have the lavish descriptions of clothing common to medieval romances and little textile evidence survives. Dress puts together archeological evidence, artistic evidence, and textual evidence to make some summaries about what the Anglo-Saxons wore, accompanied by comparison to Scandinavian and Celtic evidence where necessary. The book is prefaced with a brief historical overview so the reader has a context for the book’s main content.
Dress has extensive records of materials and designs accompanied by many illustrations. This book was originally published in 1986, but realizing that many people use this book for costuming purposes, Owen-Crocker has included information on how to wear historical costumes in this updated version. Owen-Crocker has even modified some research on the basis of advice from historical costume reproducers, such as the idea that wrist clasps are terribly uncomfortable for working, so Anglo-Saxon women would likely have rolled up their sleeves for work and worn wrist clasps only on social occasions.
Much of the evidence for Dress comes from grave goods. Reading the catalogues of personal items does get a little tedious, but it is also a wealth of information not only for dress, but also religious development. The type of items carried by men, women, and children also gives insight as to their positions in society and the items most treasured by or most useful to a man or woman of the period.
Dress is divided chronologically, which allows it to trace clothing development by period. Men’s and women’s clothing are discussed separately. Each chapter is divided by types of clothing (for example, shoes versus hair), and divided geographically where necessary. Footnotes are extensive, as is the bibliography. One may easily use this book both for research and for producing costumes with a great deal of accuracy. One warning is necessary—it rarely mentions armor, so if you’re interested in the dress of warfare, this isn’t your book.
St. Augustine perfectly encapsulates the confusion many have when “they hear that the Father is God, and the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God, and yet that this Trinity is not three Gods, but one God; and they ask how they are to understand this….”  Even some Christians have a hard time explaining the Trinity because accepting it doesn’t require understanding how it works. Some define it as three persons in one God, others as three natures in one God. Sts. Augustine and Aquinas agree that sometimes the Trinity acts as a single thing, while other actions are only from one member of the Trinity. 
All Three Are God
St. Augustine uses John to justify that all three members of the Trinity are God. First, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Next, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”  Augustine explains that the Word has to mean the Son because the second passage refers to the incarnation. We can see that the Word is God and is also with God, which shows that the Father and the Son are the same substance.  The Church confirms this in the Nicene Creed (381) by stating that the Son is “consubstantial to the Father” (of the same substance of the Father) but also “begotten.”  The Nicene Creed was in use through the Middle Ages and continues to be used today.
Happy April Fool’s Day! In case it isn’t completely obvious, this is a joke post. There’s only one real piece of information below. Can you find it?
In the Somerset Fragments, written during the 14th C, we find a curious passage. The text was written by a fifth son of a prominent family whose name was originally signed on several documents, but was destroyed over time by water damage on the ms. The text contains a collection household accounts, fragments copied from a psalter, and personal accounts. From the surviving pages, which are estimated to be only half of the original ms, we can ascertain that the unknown man traveled to the east (east of what has yet to be determined) and was amused by the variety of figures he encountered. We can make out that he received “michel mirþe” from the foreign dress and could only record his impressions once he had “cesed to laughe”:
In þe eest þe habbaþ wæde þæt þey clepan “Loppestere Pyjámas,” which ys pantalons þæt þey wearan for slepynge. Þys pantalons hæbbaþ hymages on þem of Loppsteres eke Crabbes eke all manere of Crustacea þæt are on lyfe inne þe se. Þe ȝonge folke wearan þe Loppestere Pyjamas nat oonlie to bedde, but alswe to werke eke to scule. Þe olde folke ne wearan þe Loppestere Pyjamas, butan þey are seke, for þey þinc þem foolishe, ac verye comfee.
I don’t know what the politically accurate terms are for the intellectually challenged or the mentally ill. I ask your forgiveness if I have misused terms; if I’ve said something insulting, it is a result of my ignorance, not my design. For terms used in historical context, please keep in mind that in the Middle Ages, these terms were merely descriptive and only became derogatory over time.
Medieval man distinguished between those who had mental challenges from birth and those who developed them later, either from physical injury, “evil spirits,” or various forms of trauma. In deciding a person’s diagnosis and responsibility, attention was given to whether a person had lucid intervals or was continually of unsound mind.
natural/congenital idiot: This was a person who was “incompetent from birth.” He was placed in the wardship system; his protector would oversee his care and maintain his property until his death, when the lands would pass to his next of kin. 
lunatic: This was a person who had become “incompetent” during the course of his life. He was not cared for under the wardship system. Sometimes the king or lord would oversee his lands, but care was a family issue, and a person deemed a lunatic could still own property, which he would maintain during his lucid periods. 
From the late 13th C, “congenital idiots” were protected by law.  Care of “lunatics” was the family’s responsibility, but if the family could not or would not provide for them, the government would step in.  Care for the intellectually challenged was considered a community responsibility. 
The transition is complete! Made of Ƿ is now its own entity. WordPress’s Happiness Engineers have transferred all subscribers, so those of you who had previously subscribed to the blog should continue getting messages when a new post goes up. If you had previously subscribed to Made of Ƿ but didn’t see this post appear in your inbox as usual, you will need to resubscribe through the link on the right. Facebook and Twitter are unaffected by the transition.
The ads are gone (yay!) I have put a link to the Made of Ƿ store in the sidebar. It’s on a slow rotation for now, so let me know if the changing image is too distracting. Made of Ƿ is now officially a participation in the Amazon Affiliates program. This means that if you click on a link to Amazon and buy the book, Made of Ƿ gets a tiny kickback. These links will appear only on review posts, so it should be obvious when a link will send you to Amazon through this program. I will not be putting additional advertisements in the sidebars (unless someone like Oxford University Press should pay me to advertise here…which is very, very unlikely).
Your regularly scheduled programming will continue next week with a new “Misuse of the Word ‘Medieval’” post.
What Is an Angel?
“Angel” is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.’” With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word. 
Angels are spiritual beings. This is meant literally, beings that truly exist, and not as mere “ideas.” Though we use the word “angel” to mean what they are, it is really a description of what they do. The etymology and history are complicated, but the short version is that “angel” translates as “messenger.”  Dionysius the Areopagite (who, along with Augustine, had a huge influence on medieval theology) says “Divine illumination comes to them at first hand, and through them there pass to us manifestations above our capacities.”  He then gives numerous Biblical examples of angels transmitting messages to mankind.
All we are certain of concerning angels is that they are spiritual beings who pass on God’s messages to mankind. Is there more to them than that? Probably. Have they told us what it is? No.
St. Augustine says that nobody knows exactly what the organization of angels is.  Dionysius, writing several hundred years before Augustine, agreed that only God knows the true organization of angels, but God has also revealed some information to us through the prophets.  Dionysius gives three choirs of angels existing at three levels with the first being the highest:
- Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones
- Lordships, Powers, and Authorities
- Principalities, Archangels, and Angels 
Aquinas quotes Dionysius and gives Biblical citations for the use of each name.  I have seen other hierarchies given, but I’m not terribly familiar with the variations. Some may be due to vocabulary choice in translation. I would recommend using Aquinas and Dionysius as default rankings unless your text gives you reason to do otherwise.
A strict distinction is often not made between terms. “Angel” is usually used when it is not necessary to distinguish between choirs, which is most of the time. Sometimes you will see only “angel” and “archangel,” meaning comparatively higher and lower ranks, but not necessarily the lowest two choirs. The context should make clear what use is intended.
Sometimes you will see two terms used together, such as “St. Michael the Archangel, Prince of the Seraphim.” Here you see two terms, “archangel” and “seraph.” Here, “seraph” means the highest choir, while “archangel” means “a super-important angel.” Michael is given particularly high distinction because of his role in casting out Satan.