Sunday, April 28, 2013

Some interesting stories by way of Thomas McDonald

Looks like archaeologists are busy.  In one story, they've unearthed a medieval cookbook.  FWIW, medieval cooking was not altogether bad.  A medievalist myself, we have our own versions of middle ages cooking, and sometimes the taste can be pretty memorable.  Nonetheless, this is the real deal.  And I should mention I have several cookbooks from the monastic calendar year as well. Yummy.

The second deals with finding remains of a ship from - get this - the First Punic War.  That's the First Punic War.  Amazing.  The wars that brought Rome in its assent headlong against ancient Carthage (the Roman name for that being Punici, which is where we get the names of the wars), is on oft forgotten, but immensely important, historical crisis that changed the course of human history.  They established Rome as the power of the Mediterranean, and changed the relationship of North Africa in a way that would have repercussions up to the present day.

This isn't history, of course.  This is archaeology.   It's up to us historians to look at the rocks and pots and ships' bows and make a story of it.  At our best, we do it as faithfully to the sources as possible.  But sometimes, it's nice to step back and look.  A cookbook, a ship's ram.  One a source of bettering the fare of a restrictive diet.  The other, a weapon of war that met its end, probably with hundreds of hapless slaves chained to the decks, dying one of the most agonizing ways a human can die, as their ship slipped below the waves.

Remember kids, history through the window brightly.  Look out your window, and that's what the world looked like to them, with a few architectural  and engineering differences.  They weren't just waiting to be topics for archaeology or stats in a war book.  They lived.  Just like we live today.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know your thoughts