Monthly Archives: August 2013

Snobbishness or Just Good Advice?

Sometimes, “snob” drinking advice is not really all that snobbish. It’s just trying to stop people from wasting perfectly good alcohol on making life less tasty and enjoyable.

For example, this comment essay titled “Some of You Are Clearly Drinking Whiskey Wrong.”


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Medieval Songs for Inciting Devotional Feelings

Here’s a neat paper by a music guy on another thing I’d never heard of. The Devotio Moderna movement included a Belgian named Johannes Mauburnus, aka Jan Mombaer (1460-1501), an Augustinian canon writing mostly for other canons. He ended up a French abbot and a reformer of monasteries, as well as a famous teacher of spiritual exercises and contemplation for newbies. So at one point, they asked him to put together a program.

The Rosetum exercitiorum spiritualium et sacrarum meditationum (Rose garden of spiritual exercises and meditation on sacred things) is over 700 pages long. It’s apparently a complete textbook on spiritual exercises of the Middle Ages and the Fathers. If you’re the kind of person who has trouble thinking of stuff to contemplate, it also gives you meditations for every hour of the day, day of the week, and holy day.

But as an encouragement, it includes seven devotional hymns, written to the tune of other well-known songs of the day. That’s what the paper is about. (The melodies are provided in the back.)

“Ah, Lord God, the World’s Creator”: English translation of the song for contemplating Baby Jesus, “Eya, mea anima” (Hey, my soul!) The German tune comes from an old German translation that was commonly sung in alternatim with the Latin; so you can sing the Latin to this hymn tune, no problem.

The other songs are “O panis vivifice” (O lifegiving Bread), “O beata Trinitas” (O Blessed Trinity), “Dones Agni portionem” (May you give a portion of the Lamb), “Excitare, excitare surdaster humuncio” (Wake up, wake up, half-deaf guy), “Excitare, excitare, o peccatrix anima” (Wake up, wake up, o sinner soul), and “O primum principium” (O first Beginning). Three of the songs go to “Pange lingua gloriosi corporis” and four go to the Christmas carol “Dies est leticie in ortu regali.” The long songs can also be sung to “Urbs beata Jerusalem” or “Crux fidelis inter omnes.”

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Scott Hahn Proves I Don’t Have All That Many Books

Scott Hahn’s home library consists of the standard bibliophile “apartment full of bookshelves,” except that it appears to be his basement or living room. (This is why it’s good to live in Steubenville, Ohio, instead of Rome or New York.) He has 40,000 books in real library bookshelves, and he doesn’t even doublestack.

By comparison, I don’t think I’ve got more than a couple-three thousand. (Not counting ebooks or audiobooks, of course.)

I don’t have a problem.

I can stop at any time. 🙂

Video by Brandon Vogt. Read about his visit to Hahn here.

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“Golden Curry” — Pretty Good

In my continuing pursuit of eating things that look good on anime, I’ve finally broken down and cooked some Japanese Indian curry with one of those Golden Curry curry cubes.

First off, if you get a big curry cube package, you get two gigantic curry cubes of pressed curry spices. Each “cube” (really more like a square) of the big size makes curry for six.

If you get “hot” instead of mild, it’s a really decently hot yellow curry. Not so hot that your stomach will explode, but definitely hot enough to wake you up a bit. Probably a 2 or 3 at your Indian restaurant. Anyway, it was pretty much exactly at my preferred spice level, although I don’t think “I can eat spicy Japanese food” is going to impress anyone!

It makes an excellent curry chicken and rice in your crockpot.

What you’re supposed to do according to the package, though, is make a sort of meat and vegetable stirfry with curry. This also sounds good, but I didn’t feel like it.


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Wonder Woman’s Outfit Not Swimsuity Enough

People always complain about Wonder Woman’s outfit not being authentic because it “looks like a swimsuit.”

Well, sure, her creator William Marston was creepy, but he wasn’t totally pulling the idea out of his butt. He actually made it less authentic and more Forties-friendly by making it a one-piece, but this is what sportswomen in Ancient Rome wore:

The bandeau top is a “strophium” or several other vocab words. The bikini bottom is a “subligar,” which for guys was called a “subligaculum”. (Which literally means something like “butt-binder.”)

Typical Amazon outfits in Greek and Roman art vary widely.

Amazon cavalry: Sarmatian outfits with spotted leopardskin cloak on leader or priestess, pointy hats on some, boots almost covered by leggings (sometimes striped, spotted, checked, or in contrasting colors to the over-robes), and with both leggings and striped long sleeves covered by short over-robes with wraparound necks. Small batwing-shaped shields. Weapons: spears, hand axes, compound bows, swords. Amazons are frequently shown riding milk-white grey horses, often stallions. Amazon charioteers frequently drive similar horses.

Amazon foot: typically very similar to whatever the men fighting them wear. (Greek helmet, Greek round shield, spear, and knife/shortsword for armored hoplite Amazons, lighter clothing for the non-armored types.) Leader usually wears belted spotted leopardskin cloak. Women usually wear short breeches over naked legs instead of a kilted-up robe like the men. On the Etruscan “Sarcophagus of the Amazons,” we see most of the Amazon foot wearing white short robes, red short robes with white/pink edging (and a leg slit), or white short robes with red/pink edging, all of them belted and with wraparound necklines; gold earrings and necklaces; low shoes; and pointy hats. Long hair is bound up in back and piled under the hat. One Amazon footsoldier carries a batwing shield and her weapon is invisible. Another is using a sword and carrying a compound bow. Other vase paintings show a mixture of round shields and crescent-shaped shields. Some footsoldiers carry a couple of spears slotted into their crescent/batwing shield, while fighting with a sword. Some carry a compound bow while fighting with spears. Many show Amazons wearing a sort of all-over bodysuit (usually decorated with spots, stripes, or zigzags), while possibly wearing short overrobes or girdles wrapped around their waists in contrasting patterns (like circles vs stars). Other weapons include rocks (maces?) and combat hand-axes of various lengths. (Usually one. At least one is shown carrying two slung on her back, presumably in slots in her shield like the spear/shield ladies mentioned before; and with a bow in hand.) Occasionally you get peplum jackets.

Amazon archers: sometimes dressed like other Amazon infantry and cavalry, sometimes dressed like Greek archers or hunters, with short robes that only go over one shoulder, no leggings, and buskin boots or shoes. (Much like similar depictions of Artemis the huntress.) Quiver is usually slung at the side, with the opening towards the front at nearly belt level.

With all Amazons, you occasionally get them represented with only one breast, or with one breast showing out of their jackets. Because of the etymology story. There are also times when the legging-less footsoldiers are shown with their robes kilted up so far that their butts show, as with many Greek footsoldier men. However, it’s more likely to see bodysuited, jacketed women fighting nearly naked Greek guys, or guys in skimpy armor. This is ironic….

They are also occasionally shown with long tunics that have a band of Sarmatian embroidery going down the front.

Amazons at home in peacetime: long robes, jewelry, crowns, etc. Also the undress huntress outfits mentioned above.

Amazon legends, together with their literary sources.

A list of named Amazons in Greek and Roman legend.

Here are some nice Amazonomachy pics. Most of them show the “Sarmatian” Amazon look.

The Sarcophagus of the Amazons.

Lots of Amazon art in black and white, with explanatory text. Some of the pictures will enlarge.

More Amazons.

The Gela Krater.

Amazons at Wikimedia.

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La Vierge de Dom Rupert

This little bas-relief sitting in a museum in Liege has traditionally been known as a wonderworking statue/picture of Mary. The inscription around it says (with abbreviations), “This Gate will be closed, and will not be opened, and no man will pass through it, because the Lord, the God of Israel entered through it.” (Ezek. 14:2) This mysterious verse about the Temple is traditionally believed by Catholics to be a prophecy about the Virgin Birth of Jesus and His mother’s perpetual virginity.

Much more about the statue and in English, at the University of Dayton’s Mary Page.

Dom Rupert of Deutz (c. 1075-1129, aka Rupert of Saint-Laurent, his monastery in Liege) was a monk who was well known as an author in the Middle Ages. He was never made a saint, but his writings and piety were very influential. He believed that his vocation from God was to write scriptural commentaries. He was also the first person to write an all-Mary as the Bride interpretation of Song of Songs (as opposed to the Church as the Bride). But he was mostly interested in writing about Christ and the Eucharist; his commentary on Mark is called The Glory and Honor of the Son of Man.

More info on Rupert of Deutz, from an audience talk by Pope Benedict XVI. Excerpts from Rupert in the monastic Office readings.

Woodcut illustrations from print editions of Rupert of Deutz’ scriptural commentaries. (Man, those Revelation illustrations are busy!)

It was well known that Dom Rupert spoke a lot about this picture of Mary in his monastery’s church. After he left Liege to become Abbot of Deutz in Germany, a lot of other people in town got devoted to it as well. Over the years, it became known for miracles, and was moved out of the monastery to the town’s church, to allow people better access. (Replaced by a near-replica for the monastery that also showed Rupert kneeling before it.)

Now it’s sitting in a local museum on exhibit, and probably most of the visitors have no idea about its history or the love that surrounded it.

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Rules for Construing Latin

Well, this was interesting. I found a book for doctors on how to read medical books written in Latin (Gregory’s Conspectus: A Literal Interlinear Translation….. It actually includes guidelines for consistent Latin translation! It’s pretty much what I do anyway, but it’s odd that nobody actually teaches this in Latin books (except this one, I guess).

1. Find the nominative case noun (subject of the sentence) and every word connected to it first, and figure them out. Then find the verb and do the same thing. Then find the object of the verb – ditto. Then find the prepositions and all their connected words – ditto.

2. If you do a noun and there’s a genitive connected to it, do that genitive right after the noun.

3. If there’s an infinitive connected to a verb, do that right after the verb.

4. If adjectives or participles aren’t modifying anything else, do them next. Otherwise, wait until the other word’s done before you tackle adjectives or participles. If you get two agreeing with the same word, you have to put down both before or both after, because breaking them up is confusing.

5. Relative clauses should be put down as soon as possible after their antecedent noun.

6. Interrogatives and buts and so forth can go before the nominative case noun.

There’s more, and it’s pretty interesting.



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