Archive for December 16th, 2007

Medieval bishops sure ate well

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

An old find is giving us new information about the lifestyles of the rich and clerical in medieval Scotland. The bones of six bishops were excavated at Whithorn Priory in Galloway in the late 50’s and 60’s, but there wasn’t much in the way of clues to their identities.

New radiocarbon dating has identified the bishops by their date of death, and new dietary analysis has determined that they supped richly on fine meats and large fish.

Mind you, even ordinary Scots ate better in the middle ages than modern ones. I blame the McDonald clan.

~ Thanks to Lees for the story tip. ~ :thanks:

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Mosaic tells how the Roman games worked

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Discovered in a small village in Tunisia in 1966, the Magerius mosaic is an intricate combination of word and image describing a gladiatorial game sponsored by a local magistrate by the name of Magerius. Current Archaeology magazine breaks it all down for us: The Magerius Mosaic: How a Roman amphitheatre really worked.

“Roll up! Roll up! Roll Up! There will be a magnificent spectacle at the amphitheatre today, and you mustn’t miss it! Magerius is giving it. Of course, you all know Magerius who has just finished his term of office as mayor. He’s a pompous old ass but he thinks the world of himself and he’s going to lay on a big spectacle and he is paying through the nose for it, and he wants everyone to know how generous he has been.”

The Magerius mosaic“He is bringing in the Telegenii. You’ve heard of the Telegenii – they are the best theatrical producers in North Africa. They have all the best beasts and all the best hunters too. Today they have for your delight four leopards, all home grown and well trained. They are called Crispinus, Luxurius, Victor – who of course is going to be conquered – and then, Ho! Hum! there’s Romanus, ‘The Roman’ who is going to bite the dust at the hands of a hunter. And then he’s got four of his best hunters, Hilarinus, Bullarius, Spittara, who always hunts on stilts, and finally the champion, Mamertinus. It’s going to be a great spectacle, so hurry along to the amphitheatre. Who’s going to win – the beasts or the hunters?

The article continues with a detailed examination of what the mosaic and its location can tell us about the operation of gladiatorial games in the provinces. It’s a quick read and very much worth the time.

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