Tuesday, May 31, 2022

"The Bemelmans Effect”


From Architectural Digest:

The heyday of the speakeasy coincided with the rise of Art Deco, of which the Chrysler Building remains the paradigmatic example. The Cloud Club will soon open on the tower’s 61st floor, in the same space that was once home to a men’s lunch club of the same name. “To me,” says AD100 designer Ken Fulk, “[the venue] is nostalgic for a more optimistic chapter in New York’s history. But I also don’t want to overly romanticize it.”

When Fulk first sized up the site, nothing remained of the original bizarro-Deco environs, leaving him to find inspiration elsewhere: 30,000 feet in the air. While he was on a flight, he took in a vista of cumulus clouds that jumpstarted his vision for the space. Later, he found precedents within the Chrysler Building itself. “Every single elevator tells a different story,” he says. “They’re all hand carved. Could you imagine doing that today?”

Fulk can. All the furnishings in the new Cloud Club, including a backlit pink-glass bar by Sogni Di Cristallo and floor-to-ceiling features by Lamberts and Bendheim, are custom. For Fulk, the analogue-bespoke nature of the space reflects something of our collective desires. At a time when “the entire world is at our fingertips,” he suggests, we are all seeking reassurance in the ghostly imprint of the craftsperson. “There’s been a big recognition of their efforts. How could there not be?”

In the case of the Nines, the handworn wins out. The space’s fluted plaster walls were “meant to look imperfect, as if they had been painted and repainted over the course of 100-plus years,” Butchko says. It’s a quality impossible to capture in photographs. But pull up by the bar and rub the rosy, pink cloth napkin between your fingers while you’re waiting for your drink to be prepared. Look around, and take it all in. (Read more.)


Meanwhile, Back in Philadelphia...

 From The Brownstone Institute:

Here we go again. Just a short month ago Philly became a laughing stock as the only city in the country to try to reinstate mask mandates, only to rescind the mandate four days later. No bad outcomes of rescinding the mandate have been reported. If it had been allowed to continue, it would have been pointless.

Yet here we are: Mask mandates are reimposed in Philadelphia’s schools starting Monday, May 23. According to the Inquirer, Superintendent Hite said in an email to staff, “the coronavirus continues to evolve and so too will our response to it.” He called for working “together to minimize spread.” Let’s examine those two statements and how they correspond with our current situation.

It is true that the SARS-Cov-2 virus continues to evolve, as should our response to it. In fact, it has evolved so much that it has managed to infect at least 60% of us, and we will all inevitably get it multiple times from now on. That is why, as Dr. Fauci announced on April 26th to surprisingly little fanfare, “We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase.” Which means that the measures we used during the pandemic to try to slow transmission, flatten the curve, etc. are no longer necessary. The goal is no longer to “minimize spread.” Covid has or will spread to all of us. This applies to all mask mandates, not just in schools.

But let’s look specifically at mask mandates in schools. There are some vital Covid facts that bear on this issue, many of which have not been well publicized or explained:

FACT #1: Deaths in children from Covid are extremely rare.

In the entire United States of America, over the last 26 months, 1,045 children under age 18 (out of approximately 73 million) have died of Covid. That’s between 0% and 0.28% of all reported Covid deaths. It means children under 18 have less than 2 in 100,000 chances of dying of Covid, which is lower than their risk of dying of child abuse or car accidents. (Read more.)


The Woman Who Killed Roe

 Another brave spiritual warrior. From The Cut:

When Marjorie Dannenfelser first came to Capitol Hill, before she became the most politically relevant voice of the anti-abortion lobby, before she extracted from the host of The Apprentice a promise to appoint anti-abortion judges, and before those judges tilted the Court decisively against a constitutionally protected right to an abortion, she was a young assistant to West Virginia Democrat Alan Mollohan. While out for a sandwich, Alan Mollohan had once been handed a flyer depicting an aborted fetus, a moment he recalled as having pressed upon him a certain undeniable horror. In 1989, he was head of the pro-life caucus in the House. “He was good to me,” Dannenfelser told me, “like a father. He cared about me.” He let her ignore her boring responsibilities to focus on the issue about which she had become passionate.

It was from Mollohan that Dannenfelser learned what she considers “one of the most important lessons” in politics: There can be no hesitation in the exercise of political power. “If you shoot a bear,” he told her, “you have to kill it.” Two decades later, in 2010, Dannenfelser was the head of the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that works exclusively to elect anti-abortion legislators. That was the year Mollohan, now a 14-term congressman with impeccable anti-abortion credentials, voted in a way that she considered objectionable. He believed Obamacare effectively excluded federally funded abortions; she did not feel Obama’s executive order to this effect was reliable. After he voted for the bill, she directed her PAC to spend $78,000 against Mollohan, running radio ads that said, “Alan Mollohan betrayed us and voted to spend our federal dollars … on abortions,” though this was at best unclear. The congressman lost his 14th bid for reelection. If you shoot a bear, you have to kill it. (Read more.)


The Guyaju Caves

 From Heritage Daily:

The site was first discovered in 1984 near the village of Dongmenying during a survey conducted by the Yanqing County Cultural Relics Management Office. Since then, Guyaju has been registered with the national key cultural relics protection unit, the highest protection level approved by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China for immovable cultural relics.

Guyaju is situated in the northern margin of the Yanqing-Fanshan Basin, a geological region comprising of 110-million-year-old granite that formed when magma intruded upwards through large amounts of diabase rock. The cave builders took advantage of exposed granite features to construct a complex network of 350 chambers cut into the rock face across a system of 117 caves. The chambers are mainly 1.8 metres in height and laid out in a rectangular or square plan that vary from single room dwellings to larger multi-room homesteads over multiple levels. (Read more.)


Monday, May 30, 2022

The Tesla of Prefabricated Homes

Some are nicer than others. Is this the future? From Yanko Design:

With the world turning topsy turvy since the pandemic hit us, living in a sustainable, conscious, and smart manner has never been more imperative. The architecture around us should seamlessly integrate with, and nourish the planet, not drain her resources and reduce her lifespan. Being at one with Planet Earth, while taking rigorous care of her has never been more of a priority. In an effort to encourage an eco-friendly way of life, sustainable and eco-friendly architecture has been gaining immense popularity among architects! Architects have been designing sustainable homes, cabins, hotels, and even floating cities! These architectural designs aim to harmoniously merge with nature, co-existing with it in peace, and allowing us to live in equilibrium with the environment. They reduce their carbon footprint and encourage a green and clean lifestyle. And, not to mention they’re aesthetically and visually pleasing as well! From the ‘Telsa of prefabricated homes’ to the world’s first floating city in South Korea – these architectural designs will convert you into sustainable architecture advocates! (Read more.) 

Here is a plan to save the earth by moving people into cities. The author appears not to believe in national sovereignty. Perhaps part of the problem is not population growth but bad urban planning. From Dezeen:

A surging population risks putting an even greater strain on the environment and comes with even more demand for energy. No one, particularly not in the West, has the right to wish these newcomers away or deny them the housing, mobility, technology, food, and yes, the energy, they will need to live their lives.

How can our housing needs be part of the solution rather than part of the problem? How can we use today's technologies to design new housing that is not only sustainable, not only low in embodied energy, but also truly carbon negative?

To house our existing and future population affordably and with dignity we need to build over 2.4 trillion square feet globally, which is the equivalent of adding one New York City to the planet every month for the next 40 years. (Read more.)



Nothing New

 From Crisis:

Though one can find examples across ancient Mesopotamia of human sacrifice, one of the clearest documented, and condemned, was that of the Canaanites who sacrificed their children to the god, Moloch. Though some scholars quibble over whether the term “Moloch” refers to a pagan deity or the ritual of the sacrifice itself, one thing is clear: ancient Canaanites sacrificed children in fire to appease some demonic force. 

Whether modern pro-abortion advocates realize it or not, in essence their attachment to the slaughter of the unborn is an allegiance to Moloch. Not that pro-abortion fanatics attend secret gatherings to worship the half-man half-cow demon, or that they even have little Moloch statues on their mantels; but the devil knows the most appealing way to tempt people. Without a doubt, the love for abortion is the direct work of Satan’s minions conspiring to divert people from the good, the true, and the beautiful. 

The cultural pioneers of Western Civilization, the Greeks and Romans, practiced child exposure. While child exposure in this case was not meant to appease some petting zoo styled demon, it contains an uncanny similarity to modern abortion—convenience. (Read more.)


On Nancy Pelosi and Holy Communion

 From Catholic News Agency:

“The archbishop of San Francisco is calling for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be denied receiving Communion because of her pro-choice stance,” she said. Addressing the archbishop, Goldberg exclaimed “This is not your job, dude! That is not up to you to make that decision! It’s kind of amazing. What is the point of Communion? Right? It’s for sinners. It’s the reward of saints but the bread of sinners. How dare you?”

Commenting on Whoopi Goldberg’s remarks, Father Juan Manuel Góngora, a Spanish priest who has more than 50,000 followers on Twitter, said that “this lady is confused. Eucharistic communion is not a ‘right.’”

“Any priest can deny it when there are appropriate circumstances and it’s a gift that must be received in a state of grace. But of course, for the unwary, the story of victimization is more interesting,” said Fr. Góngora.

In Lumen gentium, its 1964 dogmatic constitution on the Church, the Second Vatican Council stated that bishops "govern the particular churches entrusted to them by their counsel, exhortations, example, and even by their authority and sacred power, which indeed they use only for the edification of their flock in truth and holiness, remembering that he who is greater should become as the lesser and he who is the chief become as the servant ... In virtue of this power, bishops have the sacred right and the duty before the Lord to make laws for their subjects, to pass judgment on them and to moderate everything pertaining to the ordering of worship and the apostolate."

Archbishop Cordileone explained that his decision is in accord with Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law which states that “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” 

"Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi's position on abortion has become only more extreme over the years, especially in the last few months," the archbishop said in his statement.

The Archbishop of San Francisco also recalled that on Sept. 20, 2013, Pope Francis told a group of Catholic doctors that “Each child that is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who, even before he was born, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world.” (Read more.)


Assembly of Notables of 1787

 From World History Encyclopedia:

The meeting of the Assembly of Notables in 1787 was a last-ditch effort by the ministers of King Louis XVI of France (r. 1774-1792) to fix the disastrous condition of French finances. The assembly failed to agree on a series of radical financial reforms and insisted on convening the Estates-General, a representative body, which alone had the authority to consider reforms.

The Assembly of Notables was called at the behest of Charles Alexandre de Calonne (1734-1802), the latest in a long string of finance ministers to Louis XVI. Calonne, who sought to bypass the authority of the troublesome parlements, hoped that an assembly of 144 handpicked notables would lend enough legitimacy to his reforms to force the parlements to register them in their respective jurisdictions. What Calonne had not counted on was that several factors, including his own deep unpopularity, would turn the notables against his reforms. When the assembly claimed it had no authority to accept any reforms at all, Louis XVI had no choice but to call a meeting of the Estates-General in 1789, the event that triggered the French Revolution (1789-1799). (Read more.)


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower

 There have been a few books published in the last few years about Blessed Margaret Pole, last princess of the royal house of Plantagenet. From The London Review of Books:
As the heir to the throne, Mary enjoyed a separate household, and in 1525 she was sent to Ludlow to hold court. The countess was to look after the little girl’s health and diet, ensure that she did not wear herself out in learning French and Latin, and see that her immediate environment was kept spotless, ‘so that everything about her be pure, sweet, clean and wholesome, as to so great a princess doth appertain’. Mary’s food, Henry ordered, was to be served with ‘joyous and merry communication’. Whether the countess was up to this is hard to say, but later the Imperial ambassador was to declare that Mary regarded her as ‘a second mother’. When Henry began proceedings to annul his first marriage, when Catherine was discarded and the Princess Mary downgraded to ‘Lady Mary, the king’s daughter’, Margaret proved fiercely loyal and protective. In an effort to force their co-operation, Henry separated his wife and child, and Margaret – who was Mary’s godmother – offered to serve the young girl at her own expense. She was no longer, though, the sort of influence Henry wished for his daughter. After his marriage to Anne Boleyn and the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth, Mary was sent to join the household of the infant princess. There, she was surrounded by connections of the Boleyn queen. Margaret was superfluous; curtly, Henry wrote her off as a fool. If he had trusted her once, he no longer did so. The prestige of her ancient family, her traditionalist stance in religion, and her status as a peer in her own right – all these defined a woman who might wish to resist the new order. And her gender did not necessarily disqualify her from becoming leader of the opposition – if that was what she chose. (Read more.)
 More HERE.


When Crime is Stranger than Fiction

 From CrimeReads:

“For the temper of Stalin’s mind requires a strategy of multiple deceptions, which confuse the victim with the illusion of power, and soften them up with the illusion of hope, only to plunge them deeper into despair when the illusion fades, the trap is sprung, and the victims gasp with horror, as they hurtle into space.” From Witness by Whittaker Chambers

As Chambers wrote, and my title suggests, deception was the modus operandi of the KGB and the Communist Party underground in the United States: it was not just a strategy of disinformation but a way of life, a secret life lived in the shadows, where lying was second nature, and pretending one thing while doing another was considered the height of trade craft. In doing research for the novel, it became clear to me that with the turn of the century—the early 2000s—the controversy about the guilt or innocence of Hiss began to fade. This had less to do with the dying off of many of the antagonists, than with the release by American intelligence of the Venona cables, Soviet communications gathered by Army intelligence during the Second World War. The painstaking decryption of these cables, starting in the late 40s, took decades, but when they were finally published and made available to scholars, it was revealed that hundreds of Soviet spies had indeed infiltrated the US government in the 1930s and 40s. Adding to this treasure trove of data were Soviet era intelligence files that, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, were briefly opened to journalists and scholars during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency of Russia. Information in these files not only confirmed much of what had been gleaned from the Venona cables but confirmed without a doubt that Alger Hiss had indeed been a spy for Stalin. For the history on this, I recommend: Spies, The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev; Yale University Press, 2009.

As Spies makes clear, there were over 500 Soviet and/or Communist Party assets deployed throughout the country as Stalin’s willing agents. Most were in government positions or defense industries stealing secrets to be passed on to their KGB handlers, most infamously by the spy ring run by Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, which succeeded in stealing the secrets of the atom bomb from Los Alamos, and hastening Stalin’s acquisition of nuclear weapons by years. It is something of an irony that Alger Hiss was convicted for lying about passing top-secret State Department papers to Whittaker Chambers in the late 30s—of little substantive value, when the real damage he did was as an agent of influence in the highest reaches of the State Department. Hiss sat at Roosevelt’s right hand at Yalta, where he was debriefed by his Soviet handler each morning about the US position in these crucial negotiations on post-war Europe and the Far East. We now know from Venona that after Yalta, Hiss flew on to Moscow with elements of the US delegation, and there, in a secret ceremony, was taken aside and given the Order of the Red Star by the head of Soviet intelligence. (Read more.)


The Cancer of Election Fraud

 From American Mind:

Having failed in the aftermath of the 2020 election to put the legal and factual issues to rest, or even attempt to examine them, we are now faced with a litany of questions and a host of concerns that will, like the cancer they are, metastasize. 2000 Mules throws into sharp relief what the Courts failed to consider and, in the process, may have created a spark for a future reckoning with the disease.

This is not a secret cooked up by a cabal of Trumpists. Time magazine, acting as the Left’s mouthpiece, bragged about successful manipulation of election law and procedures in early 2021 (“The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election”).

The Time article, of course, defends the extraordinary COVID-era mutilation of our election laws. But the author’s own words give away the game:

In a way, Trump was right. There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEO’s. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans…. Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time…. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result.”

Given these rather candid admissions, even a bit of “spiking the ball” by the Left, what D’Souza found was predictable. We know, for example, based on the report of former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman as Special Counsel, that Facebook pumped no less than $10.3 million into efforts to turn the election to Biden in Wisconsin.

2000 Mules confirms that large numbers of ballots were picked up and delivered by individuals to often-unmonitored drop boxes. This certainly appears to violate Georgia law limiting ballot delivery to family members, and Wisconsin law requiring ballots be returned “in person.” But one need not even be concerned about the legality of the exercise to conclude that the mass pick-up and delivery of absentee ballots occurred. The movie verifies by cell phone data what everyone involved already suspected, but did not want to publicly acknowledge.

The unwillingness of the Left and the legacy media to simply acknowledge what happened, like the thief running away from the crime scene, suggests guilt. “Guilt” need not refer to a criminal violation. Rather, it describes a general acknowledgment that the secret mass tracking, gathering, and delivery of ballots to boxes on street corners in the middle of night has the odor of something rotten. That is why almost any person who believes in a secret ballot and open, honest, fair elections, finds the whole 2020 election unsettling. (Read more.)


Interview with Kurt Russell

 From Cowboys and Indians:

Make no mistake about it: Kurt Russell was pretty dadgum proud when he was notified by officials of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum that he had been invited to be an inductee into the museum’s Hall of Great Western Performers. But he was even prouder that his late father, character actor Bing Russell, would be inducted alongside his son.

The elder Russell actually “starred” in a hugely entertaining 2014 documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which focused on his colorful 1973-77 career as the flamboyant manager of the aptly named Portland Mavericks, an independent Class A minor-league baseball team. But C&I readers likely know him better for his decades of supporting roles in innumerable TV and movie westerns, including The Magnificent Seven, Last Train from Gun Hill, The Horse Soldiers, Rio Bravo — he’s the fellow who gets shot by Claude Akins, thereby setting the plot into motion — and several episodes of Bonanza in which he played Deputy Clem Foster.  

“My father once said he wanted to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame and win an Oscar,” Kurt told me during a recent interview. “And now he’s in the Hall of Great Western Performers. Which I think to him — well, it’s not an Academy Award, but it’s something that I think guys like him and me have maybe a deeper appreciation of, just because it means a lot. I’m very happy that’s happened for him. And I’ve left that hat of his from Bonanza, gave it to the museum, so there’ll always be a piece of him there.” (Read more.)


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Mermaids: A History

"Oannes" may be connected with the Biblical story of Jonah. From Boredom Therapy:

Although the origin of the modern mermaid is up for debate, most agree that it was the region of Mesopotamia that first gave birth to the concept of a half-man, half-fish creature. In Sumerian art dating back thousands of years, the water god Enki is depicted as a human with the scales of an undersea creature. Later, to the Babylonians, Enki became Ea, his appearance evolving into something much more similar to the modern merfolk. From the waist up, this deity looked just like a human man — but he bore a fish’s tail instead of legs. Despite this impractical set-up, though, he was credited with bringing artistic and scientific enlightenment to the masses. From Mesopotamia, the mermaid seems to have spread from culture to culture, appearing in countless different guises around the world. But these creatures were not simply fantastical in nature — they soon developed a dark side as well. And before long, the sea folk became something to be both respected and feared. (Read more.)
by John William Waterhouse

by Elisabeth Baumann


The Radical Choice of Full-Time Motherhood

Keep in mind that historically women have always worked. Even mothers of small children have been forced to work outside the home. Women throughout the centuries have worked as nannies, servants, agricultural laborers, teachers, artists, store clerks. managers of their husbands' businesses, and as attendants to royalty. However, it has been seen as ideal and a goal of civilization when women could stay home to manage their own households and bring up their own children. Both Scripture and Tradition have spoken of the vital role of mothers in forming souls and the importance of women being able to stay with their children. From Crisis:

An April 26, 2022, article in Crisis asked “Are Women in the Workplace a Good Thing?” Author Jerry D. Salyer points out that feminism is so pervasive that even today’s conservatives consider traditional teaching on male/female roles to be distasteful.

Salyer describes “the extent to which many centuries’ worth of Catholic commentary about sex differences has simply been filtered out as if it were nothing. It is almost as if those responsible for handing down Catholic tradition would just as soon jettison whatever parts of said tradition happen to jar with modern sensibilities.”

It is not surprising, therefore, that many Catholics are unfamiliar with “awkward” Scripture passages such as Ephesians 5:21, “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord,” or with the “tremendous quantity of Catholic commentary about relations between the sexes.”

Even relatively recent voices like Pope St. John Paul II—an advocate for women if there ever was one—are now considered sexist for declaring that “a workman’s wages should be sufficient to enable him to support himself, his wife and his children.”

The answer to his title question, says Salyer, is not to insist on a rigidly patriarchal society, what he calls a “mirror-image of feminism.” In its own way, this is as strident as the feminism it rejects. He concludes that “what is called for at this moment is not the formulation of a new ideology but simply the jettisoning of an old one.” (Read more.)

Secret Chapel at the Colosseum

 From Aleteia:

In 1622, the structure, known as Madonna of Piety, was acquired by the Confraternity of the Gonfalone, a  group of laymen whose obligations included caring for the elderly and the sick, providing medical care for those who could not afford to pay for it and paying dowries to women who did not come from wealthy families. A hermit monk was appointed by the Confraternity as the church’s caretaker, making him the sole resident of the most famous ancient building in Rome. 

In the 17th century talks of the construction of a far bigger, Baroque-style church designed by Pope-appointed architect Gianlorenzo Bernini were eventually set aside and the Madonna of Piety remained the only Catholic building within the Colosseum. 

In the 1870s, the entire Colosseum, including the chapel, was taken over by the Italian State and archeological investigations began. The chapel thus stopped serving its purpose as a place of worship. But in 1936, the chapel, which is home to a marble bas-relief of the Virgin Mary, was taken over by a Rome-based congregation that takes care of it to this day. Saint Peter’s Circle, a Vatican-affiliated organization of laymen dedicated to helping the poor and the suffering, still manages the shrine today. A rettore (priest in charge) is periodically appointed by the local diocese and Mass is celebrated here every Saturday and Sunday. (Read more.)


Friday, May 27, 2022

A Lush Fort Lauderdale Home

From Architectural Digest:

The expansive entryway, with its softly sinuous staircase and checkerboard-pattern floor, gives way to a commodious open area which contains seating, dining, and kitchen zones. To accent the largely driftwood-toned palette, Arnold used pale but moody blues—inspired by the water views—for cabinetry, an earthy raw edge stone-slab coffee table, and the stonewashed linen slipcovers on the slouchy, underfilled sofas.

“The clients wanted it to all feel really livable and effortless,” Arnold says, “and to look good, even if it wasn’t perfectly tidy.” Elsewhere, Arnold pulled in soft greens inspired by the lush surroundings. The vines of a de Gournay paper climb the walls of the dining room, while mossy olive cushions top a wicker daybed in the primary suite. Elsewhere, a scallop-backed velvet sofa in a similar hue holds pride of place under a dramatically oversized Atelier Vime pendant in the library, and the stylized palms of a Claremont wallpaper adorn the study.

Overall, the home conveys the sense that any resident or guest could come out of the pool in a wet bathing suit and towel, go inside, and sit anywhere they liked without ever feeling out of place—“which is exactly what I would do,” Arnold notes. (Read more.)


Elitist Scapegoating

 From Eric Metaxas at The Stream:

None of these perfectly logical and apt arguments against open borders fits Moore’s scapegoating narrative. The only reason people hold different views from his is that they are inherently bad and beneath contempt, and almost certainly overweight and racist. What else is there to talk about? There’s nothing to see here but Social Darwinism, folks. Please keep moving.

Moore’s subhuman view of people who disagree blinds him comprehensively. It prevents him from supposing that perhaps Americans of all colors have been traumatized by the way medical and government elites have abused their power during the two years of this pandemic. That Americans no longer trust those elites with the lives of our families. Or that we despair that the journalistic class has abdicated its vital role, and has joined the chorus of voices such as Mr. Moore’s, who can only dismiss us as uneducated crackpots.

He appears not to know that Black Americans were inordinately suspicious of the vaccines precisely because they had been subjected to government overreach — and medical experiments — in previous decades. Or perhaps he has set this aside, lest it muddy the necessarily Caucasian cartoon picture.

Moore’s parting sneer, citing fears of “Satan-worshiping pedophile rings,” completes the calumnious portrait, conflating thoughtful conservatives with Q-anon conspiracy theorists. But that’s just how Moore rolls. When images of slavering hook-nosed Jews appeared in Der Sturmer, all the “right people” knew such things might be exaggerating the truth, but at least they were acknowledging it, at least they were on “our side.”

Because Moore portrays these people as his cultural inferiors, their efforts can only be seen as fear-based and as selfish — and as secretly motivated by that hoary raison of the radical left, an inveterate hatred of the “Other.” And it’s only the other side that otherizes, ever. Got it?

But let’s ask two questions. Were William Wilberforce and the evangelicals of his time merely warring politically in working against the Slave Trade? And was Bonhoeffer’s heroic call for German Christians to stand against the Nazis really somehow about “societal conquest”?

Moore naturally follows the current fashion in lionizing what these two figures did, but this too is perfectly subjective. We cannot forget how viciously Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer were criticized by their own political enemies — usually socially elite “Christians” — who similarly accused them of vulgarly sullying their faith by dragging it into the realm of politics where it had no business, by engaging in precisely what such as Moore and Hunter today denounce as “culture warring” that “contradicts the Cross.”

Bigotry rarely sees itself as such, preferring to hide behind some fig leaf of moral imperative. And bigots — who have the cultural upper hand — always demonize and scapegoat the weak. In Wilberforce’s day it was perfectly acceptable to look down on African blacks. All the right people “knew” they were inferior, which is why they thought Wilberforce’s efforts — daring to go against the tide of elite opinion — to be impossibly vulgar. In Bonhoeffer’s day it was similarly perfectly acceptable to look down on the Jews of Europe. (Read more.)


The Portrayal of Mental Disorders in Literature

 From Crime Reads:

Madness lies at the dark heart of some of the greatest and most popular novels in the world, reflecting its power to drive a narrative; readers are deeply intrigued. We are reeled in by our dread of the unknown, by the unexplored darkness out there that it represents as well as the unnerving possibility that it is also inside us

Madness is of course an outdated shorthand term encompassing a variety of mental disorders and illnesses; the knowledge that so many of us are on a spectrum that ranges from mild anxiety to severe psychosis makes the literary portraits of the mentally unwell compelling as well as disconcerting.

The five books I describe reflect the age in which they were written; if mental illness is diagnosed by doctors it is also defined by society because society decides what makes behaviour unusual, undesirable or even ‘mad.’

For background: in the mid-eighteenth century the mentally ill were incarcerated in asylums, great warehouses that could each house a hundred thousand; these were more like prisons than hospitals though ironically asylum, a Greek word, means place of safety or refuge. Treatments were inhumane and could involve shackling, near drowning, removal of body parts, or deliberate infection with malaria. Mortality rates were unsurprisingly high. (Read more.)


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Fashion Influencers of the 18th Century

 From Classic Chicago Magazine:

Fiercely independent, fashionable and forward thinking, Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun was not only a highly skilled painter in the neoclassical style, but one of Naples most stylish hostesses after she fled the French Revolution because of her loyalty to the court. “Philosophers, travelers, and local society all wanted to come to her salon. She became much a part of the intellectual society of Italy,” Caticha says.

Caticha’s May 18 lecture will be the second in the 2022 Symposium on the Arts of France presented by the Alliance Française exploring three centuries of artistic influencers in Les Influenceurs: Les Peintres Francais. The final program, presented by Gloria Groom, Chair of European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, will highlight Cezanne.

Caticha, a specialist in 18th and 19th-century sculpture and decorative arts, has published on the history of fashion from the 1700s to the present day. As an undergraduate she became interested in that era and the French Revolution, delving into the art of the period.

“Vigee-Lebrun was the woman behind the painted image of Marie Antoinette and, in many ways, was working with her to develop her image,” she says. “At that time, women’s clothes were five times more expensive than men’s. Marie Antoinette was like influencers today, people either love you or hate you. You just can’t win.  Through her paintings, Vigee-Lebrun expanded fashion, illustrating the historical shift style chosen to reflect a neoclassical style.”

“She was one of the few artists who was a royalist—you think of the radical David who went to prison for fighting on the side of the Jacobins. Marie Antoinette continued to choose her as her favorite painter, very unusual for a woman at that time,” Caticha adds.

The daughter of an artist, Vigee-Lebrun went into her family trade, which was common at the time. But like all women of the period, she found it difficult to pursue her craft: “It was very hard to join the Academy—it accepted only four women at a time. The heart of 18th-century training was learning to paint nudes. Women weren’t allowed then to paint nude males. She was lucky to have a family that supported her, but she overcame many challenges and went on to be the Queen’s official painter.”

She developed a canonical neoclassical style, very formal in precision of line and composition, according to Caticha. “Fashion became a lens of her practice, her love of the ancient Greeks paralleled her fashion trends,” she says.

At the salon of 1783, Vigee-Lebrun debuted a portrait of the Queen wearing a white chemise dress with a yellow ribbon at the waist.  Deemed inappropriate for someone of the queen’s rank, the portrait was quickly removed from the Salon walls.  Of the many names these dresses would have in the future including shifts, the epithet chemise a la reine would forever be linked to Marie Antoinette’s fashionable cotton dresses. (Read more.)


Why Inflation is Worse Than You Think

 From Samuel Gregg at Common Sense:

Let’s rewind a couple years.

In 2020, to counteract the pandemic’s impact, Donald Trump pushed through Congress two enormous stimulus packages mostly funded by increases in America’s already obscene public debt. The next year, Joe Biden pursued a similar path, claiming that stimulus packages were necessary to get the economy moving again.

Overhanging all this was a Federal Reserve that, from 2009 to 2014, deployed what’s called quantitative easing—the purchase of preset amounts of government bonds and other financial assets to inject money into the economy—to boost economic activity. When the government, in March 2020, shut down the economy, Jerome Powell’s Fed returned to quantitative easing programs on a scale that dwarfed previous efforts.

The result of all this money being pumped into the economy is higher prices and a decline in our money’s purchasing power. This is reflected in everything from the price of eggs to women’s dresses to electricity to the rent you pay every month. As if to add insult to injury, “scarcity inflation,” which is due, in part, to disruptions to the supply chain, have compounded our inflationary woes. Just one example: recently, on eBay, people have started listing baby formula and asking would-be buyers to make a bid—triggering bidding wars among frantic mothers who have had trouble finding formula in grocery stores. The responsibility for most, if not all, of this lies squarely with policy makers in Washington, D.C.

That hasn’t stopped some of these people from trying to blame corporations for inflation. Senator Elizabeth Warren has insisted that big businesses—ranging from grocery chains to private equity firms—have made inflation worse by “jacking up prices.” President Biden’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, has referred to “the greed of meat conglomerates.”

If greedy corporations could “jack u p” prices whenever they wanted to, then they would do it all the time, over and over. But they don’t. That’s because, well, consumers have choices, and when things get too expensive, they stop buying those things. Suggesting otherwise is silly. 

The inverse of this paper thin argument for “corporate greed” suggests that, until recently, corporations were not greedy, that, since the early 1980s, when inflation was really bad, corporations haven’t been all that keen on making that much money. Perhaps the senior senator from Massachusetts should spend a little more time in the private sector.

All of which underscores the all-important point that neither businesses nor the Russian president nor greedy hedge-fund managers nor greedy tech barons nor greedy CEOs nor mean, politically incorrect people who don’t employ the correct hashtags print money. The federal government does that. (Read more.)


The Big Problem in America

As long as abortion is tolerated in our country there will continue to be violence and murder in every strata of society. If babies are not safe in the womb then no one is safe. From Todd Starnes:

But all of these people, Joe Biden, the Hollywood actors, all of these lawmakers on Capitol Hill, all of the people that are out there condemning this gun violence and saying that we’ve got to take guns away from law-abiding American citizens. Every single one of those people are heavily surrounded and guarded by men and women who have guns. Now, if you want to have that conversation, fine, relinquish your security details and then we can have an honest discussion. But it looks to me like the government is just chomping at the bit, chomping at the bit to take away your guns, to confiscate your lawfully acquired, lawfully owned firearms. And I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with that.

Now, what we should have been talking about last night were those beautiful children and the brave, heroic teachers who gave their lives trying to protect those kids. We should have been talking about the border security agent, the border patrol agent who ran into the danger zone and engaged the gunman and took him out. This brave Border Patrol agent who was wounded in the attack. That’s what we ought to be talking about. We ought to be talking about the grieving families. We ought to be talking about ministering to and caring for these families. But nobody wanted to have that conversation. (Read more.)

A Controversial Discovery

 From Christianity Today:

What everyone agrees on is that something unusual happened at Tall el-Hammam, an ancient settlement near the Dead Sea. In a layer of ancient earth, archaeologists claim to have found evidence of an apocalyptic event: Melted rooftops. Disintegrated pottery. Unusual patterns in the rock formations that can be associated with intense heat. For another three to six centuries after 1650 B.C., the settlement's 100 acres lay fallow.

But when Steven Collins, the principal archaeologist at Tall el-Hammam, considered the scientists' evidence in an article that ran last year in the respected scientific journal Nature, he claimed that the incineration matched with the place and timing of the biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah. This brought down on himself what in academic circles might be called hellfire.

That story of Sodom and its sister city Gomorrah is one of the Bible's best-known stories. Abraham bargains with God to spare Sodom — even then synonymous with sin — to save its few righteous residents. The Lord was having none of it. "Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah," the Book of Genesis says. Abraham looks back and sees "dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace." (Read more.)


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Dwarf Gibson

Besides Sir Jeffrey, there was another famous dwarf at the court of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. Richard Gibson, the artist, was Page of the Back Stairs to Charles I. From Wikipedia:
Gibson was appointed "Page of the Back Stairs" under Charles I. During the English Civil War Gibson stayed in London with Pembroke, and thus became associated with the Parliamentary faction. By the 1650s Gibson appears to have been closely linked to Charles Dormer, 2nd Earl of Carnarvon, grandson of the Earl of Pembroke.[2] During Cromwell's regime he remained active as a painter at the Protector's court. However, Gibson's patrons in the 1650s are typically Royalists, but generally of the faction that had been supporters of parliament early in the war.[2]

His association with Cromwell did not affect his career under Charles II. Gibson was employed as drawing-master to Princess Mary and Princess Anne, the daughters of Charles' brother James (later King James II). He went with Mary to the Netherlands for her marriage to William of Orange in 1677. He came back to England in 1688 when William and Mary became monarchs after the overthrow of James II.

Gibson married Anne Shepherd, who was known as the "queen's dwarf", as she was in the service of Queen Henrietta Maria. The couple were both said to be 3 ft 10 inches tall. The wedding was held at court, and the bride was given away by King Charles I. The event was the occasion of a poem by Edmund Waller, in which the pair are described as literally made for each other ("Design or chance make others wive, / But nature did this match contrive").

The couple had nine children, of whom three became successful painters. The best known of these was Gibson's daughter Susan, who also worked as a miniature painter, using her married name of Susan Penelope Rosse.[3] All the Gibson children were of typical size. (Read more.)
By Peter Lely

 More HERE and HERE.


The Disappearing Roots of Bellevue’s Legacy

 From The Talbot Spy:

Bellevue, Maryland is one of the nation’s few remaining historically African American maritime communities. This village of approximately one square mile or four city blocks is rich in history. Once a self-sufficient African American Community with a school (a Rosenwald School), place of worship (St. Luke’s United Methodist Church), general store, post office, four restaurants, Knights of Pythias Lodge, recreation center, gas station, and doctor’s office. The major employers were the Valiant Packing House and Cannery, and the renowned African American-owned Turner Seafood Company.

With the exception of the William H. Valliant Packing House and Cannery, and the General Store, all businesses were owned by African Americans. This small community was home to a baseball league, Boy Scout troop, and produced an above-average percentage of black college graduates that went on to serve the community and our country in the military, as primary and secondary educators, health care workers, clergy, and business owners. (Read more.)


Clues about Catholic Colonists in Maryland

 From Crux:

In 1634, the ships the Ark and the Dove landed on the shores of Maryland carrying more than 100 English Catholics and Protestants, led by the Catholic Leonard Calvert. The newcomers settled in a fort before gradually building up St. Mary’s City, a metropolis in southern Maryland that would serve as the colony’s first capital.

For decades, religious tolerance for Christians was the law of the land. But the colonists weren’t free of the political and religious strife that rocked society in Europe. In the late 1680s, England’s Glorious Revolution replaced a Catholic ruler with the staunchly Protestant King William and Queen Mary. Soon, Maryland was no longer controlled by the Catholic Calvert family but instead became a royal colony where the Church of England was the state religion.

 n 1695, Francis Nicholson, the royal governor, moved the capital to Annapolis, a more centrally located city where fewer Catholics lived. St. Mary’s City became a shell of its former self, and the site of that original fort was lost to history.

Fortunately, archaeology has helped uncover much of the old city’s mysteries over the past few decades. “There was no map of St. Mary’s City, other than one map with no street layouts, no buildings, no nothing,” said Peter Friesen, director of education at the living history museum. “It’s through the 50 years of archaeology that we were able to figure out where a lot of these buildings are that we’ve reconstructed.”

One of those buildings is a Catholic church. The first group of colonists to come to Maryland included Jesuit Fathers Andrew White and John Altham, and other priests followed over the years. At first, they used an old witchott, a type of Native American dwelling, to celebrate Mass, then a wooden chapel, then a cruciform brick chapel with windows and a stone floor. But the building survived for only a few decades. (Read more.)


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Lily and the Rose

 Here is a fascinating article in Renaissance Studies by author and scholar Erin Griffey on Henrietta Maria's beauty and its impact on the Stuart court. The medal below shows the King and Queen with Cupid on the reverse side with the motto: "Love scatters lilies mixed with roses."

Wedding Medallion of Charles I of England and Henriette Marie de France

Fundit Amor Lilia Mixta Rosis 1625


Ministers of Misinformation

 From Laura Rosen Cohen at Steyn Online:

Make no mistake about it, there is pure evil walking, talking and acting among us and as one parenthetical proof, I present you with this bit of evidence: America has a "human geyser of misinformation" as its Minister of Truth. There are serious, repeating messages being sent to us from above, and we must listen to them. We must read the writing on the wall, listen to what the truly evil humans around us are saying, and open our eyes and see what they are doing and not be afraid to face it and fight it. Above all, we protect the children; your children, my children, all children. Creating life is a humbling and miraculous partnership between a mother and father and G-d. All lives are created with souls and it is our sacred duty, our adult and human responsibility to protect life, and reclaim the Culture of Life away from grip of the Culture of Death. We must be vigilant and aggressive, assertive and dominant as we battle with our every breath for the sanctity of life. Mark Steyn himself frequently says that the current political battle in our world is not "left" and "right", but rather "free" and "unfree". I would add that every human, willing or not, has been conscripted into a battle and must "choose life" or "choose death". Pick. Your. Lane. Choose wisely and never rest because evil never rests. (Read more.)


What Teeth Can Tell

 About Ancient Greece. From The Greek Reporter:

But in 2008, a team of Italian archaeologists began to excavate outside the ancient city wall at Himera, a Greek colony on the north-central coast of Sicily, Italy. In the western necropolis, or cemetery, they found several mass graves dating to the early fifth century B.C. All the individuals in the graves were male, and many had experienced violent trauma or even had weapons still lodged in their bones.

The evidence strongly suggests these men could have been soldiers who fought in 480 B.C. and 409 B.C. in the Battles of Himera, written about by ancient Greek historians. I’m part of an interdisciplinary team of anthropologists, archaeologists, and geologists who analyzed the teeth of these people who lived more than 2,400 years ago to figure out who they were and where they came from. It looks like early historians didn’t pass down the whole story, and our findings might rewrite parts of what’s known about Greek military history.

In Ancient Greece, Herodotus and another historian, Diodorus Siculus, both wrote about the Battles of Himera. They described the first battle in 480 B.C. as a victory of an alliance of Greeks from all across Sicily over an invading Carthaginian force from modern-day Tunisia.

Three generations later, the second battle in 409 B.C. was more chaotic. The historians report that Carthage besieged the city of Himera, which this time had little outside assistance. These ancient accounts tell of grand generals, political alliances, and sneaky military tactics such as the Greek cavalry who pretended to be friendly as a way to get into the Carthaginian camp.

The 21st-century discovery of what looked like the remains of soldiers from around the times of these two famous battles provided a rare opportunity. Once Italian researchers had done initial studies on the skeletal remains of the 132 individuals, including estimating their age at death and looking for signs of disease, I was able to travel to Sicily with the Bioarchaeology of the Mediterranean Colonies Project, co-directed by Laurie Reitsema and Britney Kyle, to collect samples for isotope analysis.

My colleagues and I were interested in figuring out whether the soldiers’ remains told the same story as the ancient historians. The historical sources say they were likely all Greeks, with some possibly from other cities in Sicily, like Syracuse or Agrigento. Where had these soldiers really come from? (Read more.)


Monday, May 23, 2022

French Wars of Religion

Sack of Lyon by Calvinists

Henri IV
 From World History Encyclopedia:

Tensions had been rising between Protestants and Catholics since 1534 but the religious and political situation worsened after Henry II (r. 1547-1559) died from an injury. His son, Francois II (Francis II, r. 1559-1560), crowned king at the age of 15, had been married to Mary, Queen of Scots (l. 1542-1587) who was the niece of Francis, Duke of Guise (l. 1519-1563) and his brother Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine (l. 1524-1574). Although Francis II was of age to rule on his own, his mother, Catherine de ‘Medici (l. 1519-1589) encouraged the Guise brothers to assume control as Francis II was inexperienced and sickly.

The House of Guise, devoutly Catholic, then exercised the power behind the throne and were hostile to the efforts of the Huguenots (French Protestants) who were advancing their vision in France. In March 1560, a group of Huguenots tried to kidnap Francis II to remove him from the influence of the Guise brothers. The plot, known as the Amboise Conspiracy, was discovered and anyone thought to be involved, as well as over 1,000 other Huguenots, were executed. In retaliation, Huguenots began vandalizing Catholic churches and rising tensions led to the Massacre of Vassy in March of 1562, in which Catholics killed more Protestants, starting the first war.

 Conflict continued, with periods of armed peace between hostilities, until 1598 when King Henry IV, recognizing that France would never accept a Protestant king, converted to Catholicism (allegedly, with the famous line, “Paris is well worth a Mass”). His Edict of Nantes (1598), granting rights to Protestants in France while maintaining Catholic sovereignty, ended the French Wars of Religion (which had cost approximately 4 million lives) but did not address the underlying tensions which continued to erupt throughout the next century. (Read more.)


Propaganda in the Twentieth Century

 From Frank Wright:

The Twentieth Century began with a great vanity, one which continues to this day. It birthed a movement - Modernism - which was the result of the enthusiasm and exhilaration felt at obvious and rapid technological advances conflated with an idea of the elevation of mankind. This is at base the superstition known as Progress, the assumption that as our machines become better, so do we.

We shall see in the course of this piece that the machine of propaganda did indeed get better. Alongside the obvious use of modern art, the successes of the Nazi Party and the striking use of Socialist Realism in the USSR was the development of a tremendous fusion of marketing and the distorted personality cult of psychoanalysis. This unholy amalgam gave us the remarkable career of Edward Bernays, whose methods gave rise to the contemporary system of desire delivery we call the mass media.

The tremendous success of this machinery is to have mechanised human life, organising the selves it manufactured according to its own preferred signals. We are, in essence, positively adjusted to a system of traffic lights. Our inner lives are syncopated by digitised signals. We go and stop and pause on command, and we have no direction without them. (Read more.)


Shedding Light in the Darkness of Our Historical Imaginations

 From Los Angeles Review of Books:

It is this political lens that has allowed the idea of the Middle Ages as “the Dark Ages” to rule over our collective imagination. We are given to understand that the Middle Ages were a time of drudgery and filth, where people toiled endlessly in their minute villages, never traveled anywhere, and died young as a direct result of latent superstition or religious opposition to scientific progress. In short, it is everything that we, the enlightened of modernity, are not.

It is for this reason that David Perry and Matthew Gabriele’s new work, The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe, is so timely. From the outset, the authors make it clear that they are ready to challenge foregone conclusions with their well-chosen case studies, and indeed, over the course of some 17 chapters, they present a more accurate appraisal of the medieval world. By situating the beginning of the book in Ravenna, the capital of the Western Roman Empire, for example, Perry and Gabriele cleverly challenge common assumptions about the medieval period as a foil to a brighter and more beautiful classical era. The traditional historiography pins the beginning of the Middle Ages to a theoretical “fall” of Rome, in 476, but almost no one alive at the time would have been able to tell you that such a thing had happened. For them, life went on much as it had before, with a new set of rulers consciously emulating their Roman predecessors.

In this climate, Ravenna continued to thrive, and gorgeous works of piety and art such as Galla Placidia’s mausoleum testify to the beauty and luxury still to be found there. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Roman Empire, emperors continued to rule from Constantinople, as their gleaming capital became “the mental center of the Mediterranean world — its gravity so strong that for a time it brought almost all expressions of religious, cultural, and political power to itself.”

By asking readers to consider how we got ourselves into a position of claiming that there was one Rome that could have fallen, given cities like Ravenna and Constantinople full of literary, political, and artistic evidence to the contrary, Perry and Gabriele invite the reader to consider why we got into this position. Our own society, based on imperial ideas of conquest and colonialism, benefits from telling a story about how civilization and society collapsed when power ceased to stay in the hands of one small group of men ruling a slave empire from Ravenna. To state that beauty continued to exist, and that power changed slowly and took on other forms with no collapse into drudgery, is both necessary and judicious as we edge toward acknowledging and repairing imperial harms.

Similarly heartening is The Bright Ages’s commitment to broadening the scope of the medieval and presenting Europe as a part of the broader world, as connected to Baghdad as it was to the Asian steppes. Discussing the (admittedly comical) appearance of sandal-clad Franciscan friars at the glorious court of Möngke Khan in the 13th century, Perry and Gabriele present an interconnected and complex world. At Khan’s court, a Hungarian servant could explain the new European interest in apostolic poverty among Western European Christians, and that explanation could be readily understood because Khan’s chief secretary was himself a Nestorian Christian. This was no sudden and unnerving clash of civilizations, but a meeting between one of the most powerful men on the steppe and the emissaries of one of his royal equivalents, King Louis IX of France. The Franciscans were given shoes and a place to ride out the winter in Karakorum before crossing Asia and returning to the French court, having failed in their mission to convert the Khanate to Christianity, having gained instead some great stories.

That this narrative might come as a surprise to non-historians is, again, a reflection of a political ideology. We present medieval Europe as isolated from its neighbors in Africa and Asia to explain modern period Europeans’ interest in violently subjugating these same regions and the Americas to boot. After all, we are told, they had no access to spices or silk and would have done anything to get their hands on them in a world where crossing the steppe meant risking death at the hands of the Mongols. Setting aside the fact that spices actually arrived by the boatload into Europe from the maritime Silk Road via the Middle East, if we acknowledge that the Mongols were reasonable, and that Europeans were already coming and going to Asia with ease for centuries, then how do we explain our own modern rapacity? How do we grapple with what we are still doing to secure oil, bananas, or cheap clothes? 

The Bright Ages is a necessary book. It does the hard work of introducing audiences to a world that we too often overlook for expressly political reasons. It is also a joyful work. The medieval period, Perry and Gabriele argue, has good news for us. The world can be beautiful without centralized and brutal imperial power. Trade, commerce, even travel for interest, can exist without requiring violent organized military intervention. (Read more.)


Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Training of a Knight

 From Ancient Origins:

The training to become a knight began as early as the age of seven. Up till then, the child selected to become a knight would be cared for by a foster mother in his father’s castle. Once the child was seven years old, he would be sent to the castle of another knight or lord. These were often relatives of the family, or lords to whom the boy’s father owed allegiance. The boy would serve as a page in the household of his lord. They would begin their service as assistants to squires and would be instructed in various aspects of knighthood.

Physical fitness, combat training , and care for a horse were essential aspects of a page’s training. Of course, these boys would not have fought with real weapons, but with wooden ones. In any case, these lessons were aimed at preparing them for life as a mounted warrior. Apart from that, pages were also instructed in falconry, hunting, dancing, and music, activities that befitted a nobleman. Moreover, the pages received lessons in religion, and were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic. The training of the pages shows that by this time, knights were expected to not only be warriors, but also cultured men of high society.

The training of a page continued until he reached puberty, about the age of 14. By this time, he was no longer considered to be a child, but a young man. A page would be formally promoted to a squire during a religious ceremony. A bishop or a priest would give a consecrated sword to the new squire, who would then swear to use it for honorable purposes or for the defense of the faith.

The training of a squire places much greater emphasis on martial prowess, as they are now mentally and physically prepared for it. This training included combat practice with real weapons, horsemanship, and skills that may come in handy when besieging another castle, including climbing, swimming, and athletics.

The word ‘squire’ is derived from the Old French ‘esquier’ and literally mean ‘shield carrier’. Indeed, one of the jobs of the Medieval squire was to maintain his lord’s weapons and armor, and to ensure that they were in good order. Other tasks performed by squires related to combat included tending to the horses, assisting his lord when he put on his armor, and accompanying his lord to the field of battle in times of war.

Martial training and service, however, was only one aspect of a squire’s life. The squire was not only a warrior-in-training, but also a nobleman, and therefore would have been taught to be one. The squire received lessons in music and dancing, court etiquette, and jousting. In addition, a squire was required to learn the code of chivalry, as well as the rules of heraldry.

Squires also learned to play some popular court games, such as chess, checkers, and backgammon. These games served not only as entertainment, but also as a means to develop strategic thinking.

On top of all this, a squire was also expected to serve in his master’s household, which would have prepared him to manage his own squires should he one day become a lord in his own right.

There were many tasks in a lord’s household that squires could perform. As mentioned earlier, one of the squire’s jobs was the care of his lord’s weapons and armor. This was an important job, as a knight’s equipment was expensive, and proper maintenance was necessary so that it could be used efficiently on the battlefield. Another important task was attending to the lord’s horses, as these mounts were as important to a knight as his armor and weapons. (Read more.)

More HERE.