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About the Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Sasmars aims to promote scholarly interest and research in Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Southern Africa and further afield. Its biennial conferences provide a forum for academics and senior students to present their work in congenial surroundings. The Society's journal, The Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, is a peer-reviewed publication which is accredited for South African research subsidy purposes. The SASMARS Newsletter has grown beyond our wildest expectations and has attracted the attention of scholars from all over the world. As a result, our 20th biennial conference in 2010 attracted the largest group of international delegates ever and served to forge important links between international scholars and their Southern African counterparts.

It has become a tradition to invite the keynote speakers at our conferences to become Corresponding Fellows of the Society and we are proud to acknowledge the following in that capacity:

Professors Jerry Brotton, Gordon Campbell, Sheila Delany, Roberta Frank, Helen Fulton, Alexandra Johnston, Susannah Monta, Edward Muir, Chris Wickham, and Henry Woudhuysen.

The latest addition to this list is Professor Carolyn Dinshaw, who was the keynote speaker at the 23nd biennial conference held at Mont Fleur in August 2016.


Number 4, 2009

Reports on conferences and symposia

800 years of Franciscanism
Catholic Theological Society Annual conference, St Augustine College, Johannesburg, 21—23 September 2009
 Fr Hyacinth Ennis, one of the founding members of the Medieval Society of Southern Africa, presented a paper on ‘The Theology of St Bonaventure’.

Madonna of the Franciscans
Duccio di Buoninsegna c. 1300
Tempera on wood, 23,5 x 16 cm
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

The ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM of the Medieval and Renaissance Study Group of the University of Johannesburg, held on Thursday 8 October 2009 in the Faculty of Humanities Common Room, was attended by about 30 people.
Theme: At Home and Away/Tuis en Weg van Huis
Dr Marthinus Beukes (Dept. Afrikaans, UJ): Die diaspora/-spore van Abelard en Héloïse in Cas Vos se bundel Intieme afwesige
Prof. Victor Houliston (Dept. of English, Wits): Local or foreign? Catholics and the Elizabethan succession
Dr Francois Durand (Dept of Zoology, UJ): Medieval Southern Africa and the Arabian Empire
Ms Mila Goldberg (M.A. student, Dept of English, UJ) : The Men and the Monsters who made them Heroes
Dr Mitzi Andersen (formerly Dept of English, Unisa): The Bayeux Tapestry at home and away: an enigma considered
Prof. David Scott-Macnab (Dept of English, UJ): When Sir Topas rides out with his lancegay

Prof. Scott-Macnab will be the new Chairman of the Study Group at the retirement of Prof. Jac Conradie, who has done such sterling work for many years at the helm.
Dankie, Jac! Good luck, David!

Natasha Distiller and Sandra Young led a seminar at the British Shakespeare Association, 11-13 September. The conference was co-hosted by King's College and The Globe, and took place at both venues. The seminar, entitled " 'Shakespeare' and 'Africa' ", had seven participants, each of whom circulated a paper to the others before the event. The participants were Distiller and Young, UCT Drama academic and Shakespeare director Geoffrey Hyland, German director Arne Polheimer who has put together a highly acclaimed 'Zimbabwean' Two Gents; and three graduate students, Sue Macmillan, Jemima Matthews and Joanna Wildash. The discussion focused on the performance of Shakespeare in a post-colonial space, on the gaps between theory and the demands of staging a play, and on the meaning of 'the African' when deployed in specific productions, including Sher's recent "African Tempest", as well as the work of the two participating directors.

Congratulations to SASMARS President Dr Michael Bratchel, who was elected Socio straniero della Deputazione di Storia Patria per la Toscana in Florence, 24 April 2009.

Dr Rosemary Gray, a member of UMA and SASMARS for many years, has been made an Honorary Life Vice President of the English Academy of Southern Africa and an Honorary Life Member of the SA Graduate Women's Association. The late Helen Suzman and Gene Frinwala are the other two women graduates accorded this honour! The Academy also awarded her the Gold Medal for distinguished service to English over a life time.

Estelle Maré, ‘n ou staatmaker van UMA en SASMARS, sal aanstaande jaar aan die kongres in Kalamazoo deelneem. Haar referaat, "St George and the Dragon" is in die sessie vir alchemie aanvaar.

Calls for papers

Afterlives: Survival and Revival

SASMARS 2010, Mont Fleur, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2010

We are pleased to announce that the 20th Biennial Conference of the Southern African Society of Medieval and Renaissance Studies will be held at Mont Fleur, Stellenbosch, South Africa, on 2-5 September 2010.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Alexandra F. Johnston, Ph.D., FRSC, Past President of the Academy of the Royal Society of Canada.

The theme of the Conference is "Afterlives: Survival and Revival". In an effort to facilitate a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary conversation, we encourage scholars working in any discipline to submit abstracts addressing this theme. The conference theme is designed to promote reflection on appropriations, adaptations and continuities in cultural production. A selection of the papers presented at the conference will be published in a special issue of The Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (accredited for South African research subsidy purposes).

Suggested topics include, but are by no means limited to:

• new ways of looking at old texts
• textual appropriation and imitation
• textual transmission
• translation
• cross-currents in word and image
• ideological appropriation
• political myth creation
• archaeological recovery
• ethnicities
• retrospection
• life writing
• history of music/art/theatre

Please send proposals (250-300 words) for 20-minute papers to Leonie Viljoen or write to  Professor M Bratchel, Department of History, University of the Witwatersrand, JOHANNESBURG 2050, South Africa by 31 January 2010 .

Negotiating Trade: Commercial Institutions and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Medieval and Early Modern World
September 24 - 25, 2010
Submission Deadline: Please submit abstracts by October 30, 2009.
An interdisciplinary conference presented by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Binghamton University (SUNY).
With the ongoing development of trans-regional commerce, trade in the medieval and early modern periods required an increasing number of institutions (social, economic, legal, and administrative) to mediate between local and foreign merchants, and among merchants, state officials, creditors, money exchangers, and brokers. Such institutions protected those who traveled long distances and assisted them in unfamiliar systems of exchange even as they permitted local polities to control and profit from the activities of this growing merchant class. Alongside these institutions may be counted the increasingly international systems of credit and banking, which operated above or beyond the sphere of states issuing currencies, and a growing class of agents who served “on the ground,” as it were, translating local languages and practices for traveling merchants. The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CEMERS) at Binghamton University invites papers for a conference to be held on the Binghamton University campus on September 24 and 25, 2010, to explore the institutions that facilitated and accommodated long-distance trade and the globalizing of capital in the medieval and early modern world. The conference organizers conceive “institutions” as a broad category that includes formal, informal, permanent and temporary organizations, associations, conventions, and practices. The scope of the conference is global; papers may concentrate on particular localities or regions, or they may present cross-regional comparisons and convergences. We encourage submissions from a broad range of disciplines, methodologies, and perspectives.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
•Permanent sites of trade, such as harbors, marketplaces, customs houses, banks, and exchanges
•Hostels, warehouses, and other spaces used by merchants for temporary residence and storage
•The development of regional markets (urban and rural) and international fairs
•Permanent and ephemeral architecture associated with trade
•Social and economic conventions that governed commercial transactions
•State administrative policies relating to trade and commercial travel
•Supra-state networks of trade (social, cultural, geo-political and economic implications)
•Cross-cultural systems of banking and credit •Translation across linguistic and cultural boundaries
•Modes of determining creditworthiness across regional boundaries
•The practices of brokers and creditors •Methods of accounting and documenting transactions
•Strategies (individual and corporate) for adapting to foreign systems of trade
•Modifications in commercial institutions with the expansion of early modern trade networks
•The politics of merchant tribute
•The relationship of merchants, companies, banks, and brokers to states minting currency
•The emergence and operations of legal institutions adjudicating disputes concerning trade
•Religious stances towards cross-cultural commercial endeavors
•The representation of commercial institutions in art and literature

Proposals for individual papers (20 minutes maximum) should be no more than 500 words in length and may be sent by email, with a current CV, to (Re: 2010 Conference). Those wishing to submit hard copies of the proposal and CV should forward them to: CEMERS [ATTN.: 2010 Conference], Binghamton University, P.O. Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000. We also welcome proposals for integrated panels. Panel organizers should describe the theme of the panel and send abstracts with names and affiliations of all participants along with current CVs. A panel should consist of no more than three papers, each twenty minutes in length. Selected papers may be published in Mediaevalia, a journal of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Submission Deadline: Please submit abstracts by October 30, 2009.
Please send all inquiries to
Barbara Dahulich Knighton
Secretary, Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Binghamton University

MAMA XXXIV: Monastic and Religious Life in the Middle Ages
Saturday, February 28, 2010
The abstracts are due no later than December 15, 2009.
The 34th annual meeting of the Mid-American Medieval Association will be held at Conception Abbey, near Maryville, MO on . The theme of the conference is "" but papers on any medieval topic will be considered. The keynote speaker will be William Courtenay, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin, Madison; his topic is "Medieval Universities as Religious Communities."
Please send a one-page abstract to Brother Thomas Sullivan at Telephone: 660-944-2860; fax: 660-944-2800.
Graduate students are eligible for the Jim Falls Paper Prize and must submit a copy of their completed paper electronically to Jim Falls at no later than February 1, 2010.
Updates, info on registration, etc.: MAMA website Conception Abbey website

Rethinking Early Modern Print Culture
15-17 October 2010
The deadline for submissions is 15 December 2009
An international and interdisciplinary conference at The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies
Victoria University in the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
The view that early modernity saw the transformation of European societies into cultures of print has been widely influential in literary, historical, philosophical, and bibliographical studies of the period. The concept of print culture has provided scholars with a powerful tool for analyzing and theorizing new (or seemingly new) regimens of knowledge and networks of information transmission as well as developments in the worlds of literature, theatre, music, and the visual arts. However, more recently the concept has been reexamined and destabilized, as critics have pointed out the continuing existence of cultures of manuscript, queried the privileging of technological advances over other cultural forces, and identified the presence of many of the supposed innovations of print in pre-print societies.
This multi-disciplinary conference aims to refine and redefine our understanding of early modern print cultures (from the fifteenth to the end of the seventeenth century). We invite papers seeking to explore questions of production and reception that have always been at the core of the historiography of print, developing a more refined sense of the complex roles played by various agents and institutions. But we especially encourage submissions that probe the boundaries of our subject, both chronologically and conceptually: did print culture have a clear beginning? How is the idea of a culture of print complicated by the continued importance of manuscript circulation (as a private and commercial phenomenon)? How did print reshape or reconfigure audiences? And what was the place of orality in a world supposedly dominated by print textuality? What new forms of chirography and spoken, live performances did print enable, if any?
Other possible topics might include:
* Ownership of texts and plagiarism; authorship; “piracy”
* Booksellers and printers, and their local, national, and international networks
* Readers and their material and interpretative practices
* Libraries, both personal and institutional
* Beyond the book: ephemeral forms of print and manuscript
* Text and illustration, print and visuality
* Typography, mise en page, binding, and technological advances in book-production
We invite proposals for conference papers of 20 minutes and encourage group-proposals for panels of
three papers. Alternative formats such as workshops and roundtables will also be considered. Abstracts
of 250 words can be submitted electronically on the conference website
All questions ought to be addressed to the conference organizers, Grégoire Holtz (French, University
of Toronto) and Holger Schott Syme (English, University of Toronto), at

Spring Folger Seminar on Textual Debates and Editorial Practice
Textual Debates and Editorial Practice
A Spring Semester Seminar directed by Margaret Jane Kidnie
Editorial studies achieved an unexpected celebrity in the late 1980s and 1990s, while occasioning sometimes heated polemical debate. While the scholarly quarrels have recently become more nuanced, there remains uncertainty about the principles of editorial practice. How are editors adapting their methodologies in face of the so-called theory wars, and how might they continue to evolve? How, if at all, are editions designed for use in the classroom, study, and theatre changing? This seminar is designed to engage practitioners new to the field as well as experienced editors who would like to explore current issues at more length.
Participants will draw on their own works-in-progress among other examples to investigate the process of preparing an edition for publication, from interpreting manuscripts to establishing substantive editions to making decisions about emendation, lineation, and commentary. Using this practical aspect as a foundation for discussion, participants will explore new possibilities for editorial practice and the larger conceptual issues they raise. Topics will include authors and authority; print evidence of lost manuscript sources; changing canonical boundaries; editing conventions and modern publishing constraints; and editing and theatre as related forms of modern (and always adaptive?) production.
Director: Margaret Jane Kidnie, Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario, is the author of Shakespeare and the Problem of Adaptation (2009). She has edited Philip Stubbes: The Anatomie of Abuses (2002) and Ben Jonson: The Devil is an Ass and Other Plays (2000); her edition of The Humorous Magistrate, an early seventeenth-century manuscript drama, is forthcoming with the Malone Society. She is the co-editor of Textual Performances: The Modern Reproduction of Shakespeare's Drama (2004), and has written widely on editorial practice, particularly in relation to issues of performance. She is currently working on an edition of A Woman Killed with Kindness.
Schedule: Thursdays, 1 -- 4:30 p.m., 28 January through 15 April 2010, except 25 February and 1 April.
Apply: 4 September 2009 for admission (and grants-in-aid for Folger Institute affiliates); 4 January 2010 for admission only.
Application information may be found on the Folger Institute's website
Please forward any questions to

Shakespeare Courses in Rome
Dr. Gregory Roper and Dr. Andrew Moran of the University of Dallas invite you to join them in Rome next summer for Shakespeare's Baroque Rome, for adults, or Shakespeare in Italy, for high school students.

Shakespeare's Baroque Rome is a ten-day program (June 24-July 3) in which teachers, graduate students, and other lovers of Shakespeare will study his late works in light of Baroque art and architecture. The course takes place at the University of Dallas' lovely Rome campus, and three hours of 5000-level credit are available. Most every day will include seminars, excursions around Rome, and time for wine at the forno patio, walks around the vineyard, and conversation at the cappuccino bar. Please visit for more information.

Books and Journals

The Shakespearean International Yearbook Volume 9: Special section, South African Shakespeare in the Twentieth Century
• Imprint: Ashgate
• Illustrations: Includes 7 b&w illustrations
• Published: September 2009
• Format: 234 x 156 mm
• Extent: 310 pages
• Binding: Hardback
• ISBN: 978-0-7546-6916-6
• Price : £60.00 » Online: £54.00
• BL Reference: 822.3'3-dc22
• Edited by Graham Bradshaw,is formerly Chuo University, Japan. Tom Bishop, University of Auckland, New Zealand. and Laurence Wright, Rhodes University, South Africa
• Series : The Shakespearean International Yearbook
•In the ninth issue of The Shakespearean International Yearbook, guest editor Laurence Wright has assembled essays from South African critics that examine the treatment of Shakespeare's work in South Africa as an aspect of colonial history. The special section's emphasis on Shakespeare in the twentieth century acknowledges how the titanic political and ideological struggles that convulsed South Africa throughout the period also affected the ways Shakespeare was studied, interpreted, taught and performed. Click here for full information.

A valuable new research tool
The Historical Thesaurus of English project at Glasgow University presents the vocabulary of English from Old English to the present arranged in semantic categories. It will be published in two volumes as the Historical Thesaurus of the OED by Oxford University Press on October 22, 2009. Further details (including a special introductory price) are available at
'The OED gave us individual trees, but never a sight
of the whole forest or helpful pathways through it.
The thesaurus does precisely that.'
David Crystal

George Hardin Brown
The Venerable Bede is a crucial figure for Anglo-Saxonists, arguably the most important, known character from the period. A scholar of international standing from an early period of the Anglo-Saxon church (c.672-732), he was the author not only of the well-known Ecclesiastical History of the English People, but also of scriptural commentaries, hagiographies, scientific works, admonitory letters, and poetry. This book provides an informative, comprehensive, and up-to-date guide to Bede and his writings, underlining in particular his importance in the development of European history and culture. It places Bede in his contemporary Northumbrian and early Anglo-Saxon England, dedicates individual chapters to his works, and includes a chapter on Bede's legacy for subsequent history.
GEORGE HARDIN BROWN is Professor of English emeritus, Stanford University.

Author: Jonathan Himes
Date Of Publication: Jun 2009
Isbn13: 978-1-4438-0558-2
Isbn: 1-4438-0558-0
The epic fragments of Waldere yield some of the earliest lore concerning migration-period heroes such as Attila the Hun, Theodoric the Ostrogoth, Walter son of Ælfhere, and Gunther and Hagen of the Nibelungs, while at the same time expressing political concerns that the Viking-age poet shared with his audience. Imagery and themes such as armaments and the worthiness of warriors to bear them point to the climax of Walter’s victory over Guðhere in single combat, a duel presenting an ethical dilemma for Hagen as indicated in both of the extant leaves.
This critical edition resolves some long-standing textual cruces while also providing background on Old English heroism, weapons, and versification.
Jonathan B. Himes is Associate Professor of English at John Brown University. His other publications include articles on Lewis and Tolkien and an edited book on the Inklings entitled Truths Breathed Through Silver (CSP, 2008), as well as a collaborative book on Waldere in Finnish (Minerva, 2005).
“Though long overshadowed by Beowulf, the romantically-discovered fragments of the Old English epic of Waldere give us our earliest vernacular glimpse of the Nibelungs and related legends. Jonathan Himes’s new edition now combines scholarly rigour with reader-accessibility, puts the case for identification of the speakers, and provides welcome expansion on the background of the legend, the problems of the manuscript, and issues both archaeological and literary. It will replace all previous editions and give a new stimulus to study of an often-bypassed poem.”
—Tom A. Shippey, Professor of English and Walter J. Ong Chair of Humanities (Retired), St. Louis University
“Although only a small part of its original length, the fragmented Old English poem Waldere contains a wealth of material for students of early medieval history; it is especially important for the study of early medieval arms, armor, and military history. Yet up to now few have looked at the poem except as a work of language and literature. That will now change thanks to Jonathan Himes’ insightful analysis of the poem. With great skill Himes is able to pull out and interpret every bit of information Waldere has to offer.”

—Kelly DeVries, Loyola University, Maryland

Dieter Bitterli, Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series 2 (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2009)
Perhaps the most enigmatic cultural artefacts that survive from the Anglo-Saxon period are the Old English riddle poems that were preserved in the tenth century Exeter Book manuscript. Clever, challenging, and notoriously obscure, the riddles have fascinated readers for centuries and provided crucial insight into the period. In Say What I Am Called, Dieter Bitterli takes a fresh look at the riddles by examining them in the context of earlier Anglo-Latin riddles.
Bitterli argues that there is a vigorous common tradition between Anglo-Latin and Old English riddles and details how the contents of the Exeter Book emulate and reassess their Latin predecessors while also expanding their literary and formal conventions. The book also considers the ways in which convention and content relate to writing in a vernacular language. A rich and illuminating work that is as intriguing as the riddles themselves, Say What I Am Called is a rewarding study of some of the most interesting works from the Anglo- Saxon period.
Dieter Bitterli is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Zurich.
See also:
Fellowships and Grants
External sources of funding: websites or other databases (with free access) for a list of possible opportunities.
The Newberry’s fellowships support humanities research in our collections. Our collections are wide-ranging, rich, and sometimes a little eccentric. If you study the humanities, chances are good we have something for you. We promise you remarkable collections; a lively interdisciplinary community of researchers; individual consultations on your research with staff curators, librarians, and scholars; and an array of scholarly and public programs.
These awards support research and writing by scholars with a doctorate.
Their purpose is to help fellows develop or complete larger-scale studies that draw on our collections, and to foster intellectual exchange among fellows and the Library community. Fellowship terms range from six to eleven months with stipends of up to $50,400.
Long-term applications are due January 11, 2010
Major long-term fellowship funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Dr. Audrey Lumsden-Kouvel.
Ph.D. candidates and scholars with a doctorate are eligible for short-term travel-to-collections fellowships. Their purpose is to help researchers study specific materials at the Newberry that are not readily available to them elsewhere. Short-term fellowships are usually awarded for a period of one month. Most are restricted to scholars who live and work outside the Chicago area. Stipends are $1600 per month.
NEW: We invite short-term fellowship applications from teams of two or three scholars who plan to collaborate intensively on a single, substantive project. The individual scholars on a team awarded a fellowship will each receive a full stipend of $1600 per month. Teams should submit a single application, including cover sheets and CVs from each member.
Short-term applications are due March 1, 2010
We also offer exchange fellowships with British, French and German institutions, a fellowship for American Indian women pursuing any post-graduate education, and a fellowship for published independent scholars.
For more information or to download application materials, visit our website. Or contact:
Research and Education
The Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610
General News

Icelandic Manuscripts Recognized by UNESCO

The board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added the Árni Magnússon medieval manuscript collection, along with 34 other cultural relics, to its special preservation registry on 6 August.
“With this UNESCO is saying that the manuscripts are relics worthy of special preservation and are valuable on a global scale but not just in a limited area,” Gudrún Nordal, the director of the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, told Fréttabladid.
The manuscript collection was nominated on behalf of the governments of Iceland and Denmark, since part of the collection is preserved in Denmark, last year.

Fighters. An initial at the beginning
of King Sverrir´s Saga in Flateyjarbók.

The Sacrifice of Abraham


The UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure has been discovered buried in a field in Staffordshire.
Experts say the collection of 1,500 gold and silver pieces, which may date to the 7th Century, is unparalleled in size and worth "a seven-figure sum". It has been declared treasure by South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh, meaning it belongs to the Crown.
Terry Herbert, who found it on farmland using a metal detector, said it "was what metal detectorists dream of". Read more here.
The Staffordshire Hoard is an unparalleled treasure find dating from Anglo-Saxon times. Both the quality and quantity of this unique treasure are remarkable. The story of how it came to be left in the Staffordshire soil is likely to be more remarkable still.

The Hoard was first discovered in July 2009. The find is likely to spark decades of debate among archaeologists, historians and enthusiasts.
Leslie Webster, Former Keeper, Department of Prehistory and Europe, British Museum, has already said:
This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England… as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries. Absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells. (
First pieces of gold were found in a farm field by an amateur metal detector who lives alone on disability benefit. Read more
Mud and gold in Staffordshire
The richest hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever discovered
Alex Burghart
In “The Mildenhall Treasure” (1947), Roald Dahl dramatized the story of the gruff Suffolk ploughman, Gordon Butcher, who caught his blade on an exquisite hoard of late Roman silver in 1942. Butcher, Dahl wrote, was a man whose “wealth was in his small brick house, his two cows, his tractor, his skill as a ploughman”. This summer’s discovery, in south Staffordshire, was raised by a man of even more modest means – an unemployed metal-detectorist, Terry Herbert, who one is tempted to imagine roaming the countryside like a latter-day Anglo-Saxon Wanderer in a jumper. But, unlike the subject of that poem, who laments the loss of the past (“Alas for the splendour of the prince! / How that time has passed away, / dark under the cover of night, / as if it had never been!”), Mr Herbert has redeemed it.
The 1,500-piece collection unearthed from the Staffordshire mud is the richest collection of gold from Anglo-Saxon England ever found. It consists of a mash of swords’ decoration, helmets and other warlike artefacts that the British Museum’s professional jigsaw-piecers may gradually assemble into order. Inevitably the hoard has been likened to that most iconic of Anglo-Saxon discoveries, disinterred from the Sutton Hoo land buff in 1939, and there are direct stylistic parallels in the tight, precise cloisonné work of the sword-belt studs, and playful autocannibalistic creatures that adorn the pommels. But the Staffordshire material is far more ambiguous than even that eccentric site. The Sutton Hoo treasure was laid coherently in the ground, its symbolism almost as careful as the images inscribed on the Voyager satellites sent beyond the solar system in 1977. The goods not only spoke for the incumbent’s life, they showed us how his followers imagined his afterlife. The deceased was equipped with everything he might need for the afterlife, exactly as he had been on Earth. The war gear, the feasting equipment, the boat and ceremonial garb all spoke for what he was or aspired to be (a hall- and warlord), and the forty gold pieces left in his purse correspond to the number of ghostly oarsmen needed to power his vessel towards the sunset. The Staffordshire hoard has its symbolism but it is both more subtle, and more workaday.

Compact mirror and Tudor manbags: Mary Rose gives up her treasures

Leather shoes belonging to the crew of the Mary Rose, which went down with all but 30 men in the Solent in 1545

Winston Churchill reputedly summed up naval tradition as “nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash”, but a trove of objects discovered in the wreck of the Tudor warship Mary Rose suggests that one could also add “the latest fashions and personal grooming”.

Artefacts recovered from the remains of the vessel but never put on display owing to lack of space show that some of the men on board the flagship of Henry VIII’s navy possessed luxuries that would be considered excessive even by modern sailors.
A manicure set, a case for a vanity mirror, a “manbag” and a thigh boot are some of 18,000 objects that have remained in storage since they were recovered from the sea bed almost 30 years ago because the present museum in Portsmouth is too small.
The public will get their first opportunity to see them in 2012, provided that the Mary Rose Trust can raise the final £1 million it needs from a public appeal for the £35 million project. More

New Library Catalogue
at Shakespeare's Globe
Shakespeare's Globe is introducing a new catalogue for its library that will facilitate easier use of its collection. The library supports Globe Education's research activity, while also serving outside scholars and researchers and actors during the Globe's Theatre season.
The catalogue, Ariel, an Access-It web-based library system, will allow the library to manage collections of books, serials, electronic documents, and multimedia.
The library at Shakespeare's Globe contains texts and criticism of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, a selection of 16th and 17th century poetry, a range of periodicals (including Shakespeare Survey, Shakespeare Bulletin, and Shakespeare Quarterly), and works on the Shakespearean sources; theatre history, cultural and social history of early modern England, and Shakespeare's Globe (reconstruction, early seasons etc).
The Shakespeare's Globe Library and Archives also hold research materials relating to all Shakespeare and non-Shakespeare productions and adaptations performed on the Globe stage, adaptations of plays by Shakespeare performed on the Globe stage, as well as materials relating to plays by Shakespeare contemporaries performed as part of Globe Education's Read Not Dead staged readings and new plays written for and performed at the Globe.
Registration is not required for the catalogue which can be found at

Appointments to access the library, which is open Tuesdays to Thursdays 10am to 5pm, can be made by emailing
Further information from Katharine Grice on 020 7902 1468, email or Francesca Eyles on 020 7902 1491.
The Shakespeare Globe Trust is a registered charity No.266916. The Globe receives no public subsidy.

NEWS FROM THE Royal Historical Society Bibliography, Irish History Online AND London's Past Online
Our latest update is now available online at RHS BibliographyIrish History Online and London's Past Online.

A fully searchable and complete Vulgate in your pocket!
For all of those of you who like to keep your vulgate handy, a new app for iPhone/iPod touch has been announced, the Latin-KJV Compare Bible--a fully searchable and complete Vulgate in your pocket! It's a bit spendy (for an iPhone app) at $9.99, but if you want it or can use it, it looks like it could be pretty handy! You can find it here.