Knight vs. Snail

On September 26, 2013, the British Library’s medieval manuscripts blog put up this intriguing article on knights fighting snails. I don’t remember when my friends and I found it, but we turned to each other and declared “we must go to the renfaire as knights fighting snails!”

However, this costume has been long in the making because I couldn’t figure out how to make the snail shell. All of the instructions I found were for babies or for tiny shells, and that’s not what I wanted. After years of searching, I finally found someone who makes snail shell helmets, and the rest came together.

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Made of Ƿ is back! (mostly)

TL;DR: Made of Ƿ is back with a few  changes.

Made of Ƿ was supposed to die on its 4th birthday. I was prepared for this. After all, I haven’t updated in a year and a half. A year ago, I even quit teaching, moved to another city for a technical writing job, and packed away my medievalist t-shirts. However, the work environment at my perfect new job changed so quickly and drastically that I was forced to quit in under 2 months. I’m now back where I was before—an adjunct with multiple jobs.

Even after all of this, I was going to let Made of Ƿ finish expire while I pursued professional writing and editing. I was confident with this decision until sometime in the middle of February when I realized it only had a week of time left. That’s when the first pang of sadness hit. I was really going to miss this blog and the online medievalist community. What was I doing at the time when I thought there might be a reason to keep my medieval blog going?

I was sending an Etsy seller a manuscript picture so that seller could get the color right on some custom-made armor I was ordering.

So, Made of Ƿ is officially back, but with some changes.

  1. Not much new research.
    If the urge strikes me, of course I’ll still put up research, but I don’t have definite plans for it. It’s been 5 years since I was at an institution that supported my doing research, and I’m still out of ideas. I’m also unable to keep maintaining the accuracy of my pre-existing research, and I realized this has caused me the most stress. I get a sinking feeling every time someone comments on one of my posts. It’s not that I hate being told I’m wrong—I look forward to the opportunity to learn and make corrections—but my lack of resources means I don’t have the time evaluate the criticisms or make thorough corrections.
  2. Some old stuff is going away.
    Much of it is posts with no researched content or entertainment value—the “sorry I haven’t posted in a while” type of stuff. Some of the existing research is being deleted because of reason #1. For the same reason, comments are also closed on “Misuse of the Word ‘Medieval” and “Medieval Anachronisms’” posts—these are up for archival purposes only. Anyone who wants to offer corrections will need to contact me privately, not by social media. Some existing research is also being deleted because, frankly, nobody ever looked at it. If I’ve deleted something that you liked/were using, let me know and I’ll put it back up.
  3. More costumes.
    My most popular posts were memes, comics, and costumes, with the last being the most popular. This is what I’ll be working on now. As much as I loved learning Latin (not sarcasm), running around renfaires is more fun and many of my hits are from enthusiasts, not from professionals. Here are some of the costuming resources you can expect:
  • new costumes from me
  • DIYs from me (hopefully)
  • Etsy treasuries of historically accurate (-ish) pieces
  • Etsy treasuries of stuff that’s not historically accurate, but you totally want to wear it to the renfaire anyway
  • links to instructions, patterns, and projects
  1. More humor.
    @levostregc pretty much has the monopoly on this one, and I’ve been away from the community for a while, but I hope to come up with some more medievalist humor.

So, posts will be sporadic, but there will be posts again. Here’s a hint for what’s coming up soon. Can you guess what it’ll be?

Small gray cat wearing a blue snail shell.

Día de los Muertos (medieval style)

Happy Día de los Muertos to everyone! (The amount of “happy” varies depending on how your area celebrates this day, but in my area, it’s a pretty festive occasion.) Yesterday, the British Library sent out a list of suggestions for last-minute Halloween costumes based on medieval manuscripts. Here’s what I came up with:

Sugar skull makeup: black eye sockets, blue flower on chin and forehead, purple flowers and vines on cheeks
The clothing is from the 4th picture on the British Library’s page. The flowers are from various ms pages throughout that post. Sugar skulls often have black eye sockets, but some costumers will blend a color in the eye socket, which I did since royal blue dominates many of these manuscript images. As soon as I had taken the pictures and washed my face, I realized I had forgotten to add the centers to the purple flowers. Darn. I wanted to add the text from the third manuscript picture, “Memento homo quod sinis es et in sinere reverteris,” but the face took 2 hours, so I didn’t have the patience to try transferring text.


Pan de Muerto with hot chocolate

pan de muerto with hot chocolate (no, I don’t know what shape the bread is supposed to be; I didn’t ask when I bought it)

I hope everyone had a good Halloween, and if you’re celebrating today, I hope you’re enjoying your celebrations as well.

Costumes for Medievalists: Anglo-Saxon Dress

Seeing people running around the Renaissance faires in horned helmets and furry loincloths doesn’t make me weep for the historical inaccuracy, but when I see someone in an accurate Viking costume, it makes me really happy. I’ve seen a couple of women in hangarok, but never in Anglo-Saxon costume.

The terms “Viking” and “Anglo-Saxon” are not synonyms, but I tend to use them that way when describing this costume to people who aren’t medievalists. My costumer/sister will someday write us a post on choosing historically-accurate fabrics and sewing this costume, but for now, here’s a brief look at my (mostly) historically-accurate Anglo-Saxon costume, made with the aid of Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. Though a costume from the High Middle Ages would be more appropriate for someone in my field, I chose a costume dating to roughly the 5th century (I think…I no longer have the book) because it’s more appropriate for my area’s weather and it’s easy to make.

front view: off-white long-sleeved dress underneath brown peplos with green belt side view back view

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Gordon Ramsay Memes: The House of Fame

Gordon Ramsay screams "This chicken is so overdone it could be in the House of Fame"
I vaguely remember reading Chaucer’s The House of Fame in graduate school. When my professor’s husband saw it on the syllabus, he asked her, “Did you remember to assign them their drugs?” I mostly remember being tired and confused. The House of Fame is about a man riding on a chicken eagle and meeting Benedict Cumberbatch people famed for their deeds and renown. Or something like that.

It’s the Feast of St. Louis!

statue of St. Louis holding a book in his left arm and extending his right hand

This spring, we celebrated the 800th birthday of Louis IX of France (St. Louis). I still haven’t forgiven myself for not noting this event on the blog in any way, and so I feel it is my duty to mention it now on his feast day (though it is not the 800th anniversary of his canonization). It’s been difficult to decide what to write—my subjectivity makes me a poor scholar on the topic, and my French isn’t good enough to read a great deal of scholarship and original texts. There are plenty of websites on him as a saint and as the best of the medieval kings. Moreover, my admiration for him makes me a poor scholar on the topic–I could never write professionally or objectively on St. Louis. Rather than give you a scholarly piece, I’m going to celebrate today by posting one of the most memorable scenes from The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville.

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