Felicem annum ineuntem!

The semester’s ended, the Yuletide is ebbing quickly, and the hours are ticking down to the new year. This is just a quick thank you to those of you who’ve come here to share in our professional and personal enjoyment of medieval studies, and a wish for an annus mirabilis in 2012 for anyone reading this.

While you’re waiting to pop your champagne (or nursing your hangovers, depending on when you read this), I offer the following links for anyone looking for some light reading on the medieval in the modern world…

Medieval “Zombie Borders”: An NYT article some of you may have seen on the “zombie borders” of Europe–specifically, on the correlation between the post-WWII “innerdeutsche Grenze” which divided East and West Germany and the tenth-century borders established in the early years of the Ottonian Dynasty. Why “zombie borders”? Presumably because 2011 has been the year when we reached zombie saturation point as a culture, which means even the Grey Lady has caught on that sticking zombies in anything officially makes it hip…

Medieval warriors and PTSD: An interesting if surface-skimming article of the “medieval people were just like us” variety–but exactly the sort of thing that might spark an undergraduate’s interest in our field.

A hidden ship-image in Broadstairs?: A self-proclaimed “history enthusiast” by the name of Simon Gerrard believes he’s found an image of a medieval sailing vessel traced by the roads of a town on the Isle of Thanet. My favorite part of this article is the lone quote from a source other than Mr Gerrard–a museum curator whose full (and polite) analysis is: “To be honest I have never heard anything like it before but it is an interesting theory.”

A Brief History of Eggnog: One of those end-of-year fluff pieces that get trotted out for the holidays so the editors and writers (in this case, of Time) can spend a few days with their families. And who are we to begrudge them that chance? Especially when they provide us with lines like “While culinary historians debate its exact lineage, most agree eggnog originated from the early medieval Britain ‘posset,’ a hot, milky, ale-like drink. ” I’m delighted by the notion of a small, bitter minority opinion among the culinary historian community regarding the provenance of eggnog. I invite you to imagine the gall they must feel every year around this time…

Medieval cookies: An NPR report on the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of making Christmas “springerle,” those cookies made from the intricately-carved rollers or molds. I had a “real” one for the first time a few years ago (in London, as it happens), and they’re nothing like mold-pressed butter cookies I’d always associated them with. Tasty, though.

 

That’s all for now. See you in 2012!

~jpsexton

 

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