Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Sicilian Vespers

Medieval European history is one of those subjects, I think, which can be approached only when one is still very young. All those Ottos and Heinrichs, Guelphs and Ghibellines (Welfen und Wibellingen), Hohenstaufens and Wittelsbachs, Frederick Barbarossa and Frederick II … Continue reading

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Object of the Month: January

Among the most popular objects on display at the Museum of Cambridge (aka the Folk Museum) are two blue glass balls, known as witch balls. I do like a nice bit of glass, and these two attractive blue globes are … Continue reading

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The Computus

The recent Anglican conference at Lambeth led to some controversial decisions, of which the most surprising, perhaps, was an agreement to work with other churches worldwide to fix the date of Easter. It was almost as surprising that the initiative … Continue reading

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‘Hee Gathered Many Notable Things’

I was recently given one of the most infuriating books it has ever been my misfortune to read. Bound in Venice: The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book, by Alessandro Marzo Magno, translated from the Italian by Gregory … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: January

Quite a difficult decision, especially this season, when so many plants are prolonging their flowering, or beginning freakishly early. In the Botanic Garden, the native daffodils seem to have forgotten Perdita’s observation that they take the winds of March with … Continue reading

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Halcyon Days

The myth first. Halcyone was the daughter of Aeolus, the god of the winds. She and her husband Ceyx, king of Thessaly (or of Trachis, in some versions), were among the dim bunch (see Niobe, Marsyas, Ixion et al.) who … Continue reading

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Armenian Bole

No, me either, but I came across the term when I was looking up ‘gesso’, which is (among other things) the adhesive gunge on to which gold leaf is laid in illuminated manuscripts. The recipe for this type of gesso … Continue reading

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