30 December, 2007

Sam Pepys caught short

Samuel Pepys wakes at 6 a.m. on a freezing December morning in 1664.

No chamber pot to hand, and he needs a wee.

Does he :

a) hang on until one arrives
b) go and look for one
c) use the chimney

Read the answer here.

28 December, 2007

What the Pope was Eating in 1550 - Bartolomeo Scappi

Having eaten way too much over the festive period (and still eating it), I feel slightly queasy writing a post about food, but here goes.

Carluccio and the Renaissance Cookbook was an entertaining BBC TV show last Thursday about Bartolomeo Scappi. Scappi was a 16th Century chef to the Vatican and author of The Opera, a landmark cookbook.

Feanor at Just a Mon has already written an excellent post on this, so I won't recap the details. I have just discovered this blog, which has some entertaining historical posts about London, including one on the history of Camomile Street in the City.

Back to Scappi...the programme has inspired some good reviews, including Nancy Banks-Smith at Guardian Unlimited ("Catholic churchmen were formidable trenchermen. If you take away one pleasure of the flesh you leave more elbow room for another").

Also Terry Durack at IndyBlogs ("What I remember most, however, is an extreme close-up of a barbecue spit popping out through a suckling pig's bum"). Quite.

There are some interesting comments in reply to Durack's review, including this gem:

"We are in total ore (sic) of Scappi, How can we learn more and find the bible of life, Opera? Please can you help. My husband has just discovered the kitchen and has now seen the light through Scappi's eyes. Genesis. He is now a changed man. We must continue the passion".

Buon Appetito!

13 December, 2007

Carnivalesque XXXIV

Stop press - I have added four extra entries: see if you can spot them...CW.

Carnivalesque XXXIV opens with a view of the seasonal ice rink at Hampton Court Palace; a positive legacy of the Tony Blair era has been the spread of Christmas ice rinks across London's historic places - let's hope Gordon Brown doesn't order them removed due to people enjoying themselves too much.

Staying with Hampton Court, Brett Holman at Airminded has a well-illustrated post on his visit to the palace; he describes the workings of the 16thC astronomical clock, which is currently propped up against a wall in the Clock Court while the gateway is being restored.

Bored with modern architecture? Lara at TudorHistory reports on a London gentleman who has built himself a brand new Tudor house. Not quite on the scale of Hampton Court, but check out the size of the front door key!

Staying with the Tudors , Mark Rayner at the Skwib has come up with another witty set of Lost Powerpoint Slides, this time featuring Sir Thomas "I only burned six" More. Very funny, unless you have Lutheran sympathies.

Here's a Cardinal Wolsey shaggy dog story. Put a Thumb Tack in it has a selection of Dogs that have influenced history. The Early Modern connection is the story of Wolsey's dog Urian who apparently bit the Pope, in so doing scuppering the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon . Surprised this didn't make it into the screenplay for "The Tudors".

Moving along, Claire George writing in My London Your London notes the appeal by the NPG to raise funds to buy a portrait of John Fletcher, Jacobean playwright and collaborator with The Bard on Henry VIII. Fletcher succeeded Shakespeare as house playwright for the King's Men, and apparently lived a bawdy life with his mate Francis Beaumont, with "one wench in the house between them".

Also on matters Shakespeare, Peter Ackroyd in The Times reviews The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl.

The Conventicle is a group blog devoted to Scottish Puritan matters, and meets in a pub (is that allowed??). Sharon Howard tipped the post on Richard Rogers' three motives to thankfulness
from 1603, although I was also tempted by the cracking post on The Clash's recording of English Civil War, complete with video and lyrics. "This may be the first time the words punk and puritan have ever shared the same blog-space". Amen to that.

On to the English Civil Wars proper...

Nick at Mercurius Politicus recommended David Underdown's recent review of David Cressy's England on Edge: Crisis and Revolution 1640-42. However, this review has been the subject of "heated debate" in English Civil War blogs: amongst the skirmishers are Investigations of a Dog, and Mercurius Rusticus .

The BBC History magazine had a major feature on The Levellers in October. Edward Vallance reproduces his article How we should remember the Levellers at his eponymous blog. His challenge is that the legacy of the Putney Debates is in danger of being hijacked for a broader agenda that "threatens to replace genuine history with a politically-motivated fiction." Sounds serious.

Gavin Robinson at Investigations of a Dog describes a cow story from the Battle of Cheriton. Gavin comments " The cow thing has just sparked off lots of random thoughts…" Hopefully Gavin will update us soon on these!.

I am a big fan of Phil Gyford's online version of Samuel Pepys' diary. It is real warts-and-all writing; Pepys was not afraid to record his own drinking and womanising. In November 1664 Pepys was carrying on with Mr. Bagwell's wife in a "blind" alehouse.

Sam P. also gets a mention in Bardolph's post in Blogging the Renaissance on what happened when he and a friend attempted to make some excellent Inke.....to a 1620 recipe.

A difficult choice now on which post to feature from Roy Booth at Early Modern Whale - his discourse on "jolly songs for amateur performers" including an early modern fart-lighting contest just gets the popular vote.

Moving on to the 18th Century, John Overholt at the Hyde Collection Catablog (great word) presents evidence for the size of Edward Gibbon's bookcase, and shows how he used playing cards in his pioneering card index (hands up all fans of the old tactile card indexes). Thanks to Sharon Howard at Early Modern Notes for this and other tips including the next one. In between serious posts Sharon's blog has become useful source of Winter recipes!

Johanna Ost's stylish 18th Century Blog is devoted to fashion and culture from the 1700s. Here she offers a seasonal post with examples of 18thC winter wear as painted by Josh Reynolds and others.

Jem Webster at This Gaudy Gilded Stage continues his series on 18thC "hotties" with Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones. Read how Fielding's views on the fragility of sexuality throw light on why Republicans and evangelical preachers occasionally get caught with their pants down (allegedly...see disclaimer). On a related cross-dressing theme, Providentia has an item on Chevalier Charles/Charlotte D'Eon of France, although buried in St.Pancras.

When I was at school Modern history started in 1815 (these days it begins in 1997) , so hopefully I can include some pre-Waterloo Napoleonic entries . Steve Muhlberger at Muhlberger's Early History reviews Juan Cole's Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East. This is a timely book and gives a different historic perspective on current events in the area. Steve also links to Juan Cole's Napoleon's Egypt blog which you can find documentary material that didn't fit into the book.

Finally, some practical advice from Pastyme with Good Companye on twelve steps to firing a musket !

I seem to have run out of time...hopefully it is still December 16th somewhere. Thanks to all who sent suggestions and/or submissions, and I hope you enjoy reading the posts. Apologies to everyone I have missed out....

11 December, 2007

Last call for Carnivalesque XXXIV

This is the last call for submissions for the next Carnivalesque (Early Modern edition) on 16th December.

To submit nominations either email me at alunadler@yahoo.co.uk, or to the carnival email address (carnivalesque@earlymodernweb.org.uk), or use the handy submission form at Blog Carnival.

Any articles favourable to Cardinal Wolsey's reputation will receive especially sympathetic consideration!!

10 December, 2007

"The Tudors" fun quiz

Here's a fun quiz which the people behind "The Tudors" have put out as part of a DVD promo. The executioner raises his axe higher with every wrong answer......you can guess the rest.

07 December, 2007

Wow. Cardinal Wolsey is hot on the Net!

Tonight the last episode of "The Tudors" series 1 aired on BBC1 here in Blighty. According to the mighty Statcounter real-time tracker tool, this blog started to getting an abundance of hits at around 21:50.

This was the moment when Sam Neill (playing myself) must have misread the script, as he picked up his lunch knife (with which he had just neatly sliced an apple), and proceeded to cut his own throat....nice.

So a lot of people are googling " Cardinul Wolsee how did he snuff it" and similar.

Let me reassure readers that this is what is known as a "ratings device", designed to generate controversy and get people to tune in to series 2 whenever it graces our shores. According to my sources Wolsey died of NATURAL CAUSES in Leicester, during his journey down to London to face possible execution for treason.

Here are all posts on Cardinal Wolsey's Death including "that quote" for those interested.

Anyway, the producers of the show made sure we were soon cheered up by a nice scene involving Henry, Anne Boleyn and a tree.