Full Moons And Medieval Prediction

Diagram from the German Arundel 501 f. 26v  to determine feast days  and the moon’s age. Tonight there is a full moon. But if you, as your persona, lived after 1100 you probably considered the moon to be a planet. If you thought about its movements at all you thought it revolved around the Earth in a perfect circle. Just like Mercury, Jupiter and even the Sun […]

Read More →

Can Jehanne Read And Write?

Cydippe writing a letter in bed,  epistle of Cydippe to Aconcius.  Harley 4867 f. 170v,  France, late 15th-century I’ve been working through M. Modar Neznanich‘s Research Questions for Developing a Persona. Recently I hunted for information on number 23. “Would your persona have been literate in your chosen culture/time-frame?” I wanted an excuse for all the writing I do. Yes, even in bed. What about you? Many in the SCA believe in the Middle Ages few people could read or write. So they contrive a persona-story that allows them those skills. But is that true? And what about for women? The answer is “it depends”.  As expected it depends on the era, status, and gender.  If you are curious you might start by looking into Medieval European education. But with a female persona it’s easier by simply googling Medieval women’s literacy. From there you find intriguing tidbits. The daughters of Emperor Charlemagne (742-814 A. D.) were educated at the Palace of Aachen’s school with other nobles’ daughters so in their future they’d live up to their social position. But they are early nobility in a central European area. Later you’ll find Hroswitha of Gandersheim (935–1000 A.D.) a German secular canoness, dramatist, and poetess.  And Hildegard of Bingen(1098–1179 A.D) a German abbess, philosopher, botanist, and writer. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the monks and nuns were the literate. Some nuns even contributing to the era’s scholarly research, like the women above. The first universities emerged in the 11th century and women were usually excluded. But with a few exceptions.  In Italy […]

Read More →

Why I’m Thrilled With My New Found Interest – Finding Jehanne

Link If you are like me and it’s expensive to get away from your home group you might try upping your activities there. That’s what I’ve done. I’m still doing my usual blogging and helping with kingdom events the Barony of the Lonely Tower hosts. There’s always one or ten handcraft projects to do. But my new passion is developing more fully my Jehanne Bening persona.  About 2008 or so, I became Jehanne Bening from 15th-century Bruges after starting my SCA life as Siobhan le Blake from early 14th-century Galway, Ireland. I made the change because I couldn’t then find any female illuminators in Ireland. That’s about as far as I went with it until now. I’m so excited because I recently learned even my ancillary interest areas fit within that persona. There are records of women illuminators in Bruges guild logs. And a note of one living in the Beguinage there. That fits Jehanne.  I found that information reading the tome Illuminating The Renaissance: The Triumph Of Flemish Manuscript Painting In Europe. Edited by Thomas Kren and Scot McKendrick and published by the Getty. This beautifully photographed catalog tells about the finest illuminated manuscripts created in Europe during the greatest era of Flemish illumination, the reign of the Burgundian duke Charles the Bold. It begins in 1467 and ends in 1561 with Simon Bening‘s death. Jehanne was born in 1439 and lives as many years as I do. To me, this is illuminations grandest epoch […]

Read More →

SCA Persona Development Gleaned Through Paleography

While writing my recent post “How to Find the Script Your Persona Might Have Used” I came across an article relevant to Jehanne Bening, my SCA persona. The article described a manuscript production method used in Bruges and Delf. Would this have affected Jehanne’s illumination or life style? Jehanne is from the town of Bruges in the Duchy of Burgundy and works in the Sanders Bening workshop. Sanders, who died in 1519, was the father of the well-known illuminator Simon Bening. And his workshop produced many fine things for the Dukes of Burgundy. Around the 14th-century literacy increased and the new urban classes wanted affordable books. Manuscript production methods changed to accommodate this. The personal Book of Hours developed during that time. It contained fewer standard texts than the formal Psalter with some sections chosen by the buyer. The Book of Hours also differed in use from the Psalter. It was not always read from beginning to end. A section might be selected by the reader as needed or inspired. More whimsically. The Hague, KB, 71 H 56 fol. 1r In some areas, manuscripts became created by modular construction that divided labor efficiently. This benefited book owners, who could pick desired texts for their manuscript and expand or change their book after they bought it if they chose. They could also be made “generically” for an undetermined future buyer. More books could be sold and more money made for the manuscript producer. The modular production worked well when making a Book of Hours because their sections were individually chosen and […]

Read More →

The Stalking Scribe

M. Rolf in stealth mode. I’m a skilled stalking scribe, researching the recipient’s SCA persona and related interests. It scares me how adroit I’ve become. Facebook made this easy. I can snag scroll motifs from the recipient’s photos. Pictures of pets, garb, crafts, family. I no longer have to sneakily talk with their seneschal or friends about their interests. Things […]

Read More →