Very early depiction of Merlin and King Arthur found by accident
Seven leaves of parchment from the 1200s discovered in 15th-century book at Bristol Central Library
Despite England’s obsession with the mythic King Arthur, the original legends surrounding that mysterious figure come from France. The newly uncovered fragments refer to the preparations for a battle near Trebes, by the South Riviera, where the king’s wizard Merlin and various legendary knights faced off against the forces of King Claudas. They contain details and variations different from all known versions of the Vulgate Continuation of Merlin (Suite Vulgate de Merlin,) from the larger Story of Merlin (Estoire de Merlin,) and predate any known English language telling of these tales.
Photo: University of Bristol
Press release issued: 30 January 2019
Centuries lost ‘Bristol Merlin’ uncovered at city’s Central Library
A chance discovery, hidden away in a series of 16th-century books deep in the archive of Bristol Central Library, has revealed original manuscript fragments from the Middle Ages which tell part of the story of Merlin the magician, one of the most famous characters from Arthurian legend.
Academics from the Universities of Bristol and Durham are now analysing the seven parchment fragments which are thought to come from the Old French sequence of texts known as the Vulgate Cycle or Lancelot-Grail Cycle, dating back to the 13th century.
Parts of the Vulgate Cycle were probably used by Sir Thomas Malory (1415-1471) as a source for his Le Morte D’Arthur (published in 1485 by William Caxton) which is itself the main source text for many modern retellings of the Arthurian legend in English, but no one version known so far has proven to be exactly alike with what he appears to have used.
In addition, one of the most exciting elements of this particular find is that the Bristol fragments contain evidence of subtle, but significant, differences from the traditional narrative of the stories.
The seven hand-written parchment fragments were discovered by Michael Richardson from the University of Bristol’s Special Collections Library who was looking for materials for students studying the history of the book for the new MA in Medieval Studies.
They were found bound inside a four-volume edition of the works of the French scholar and reformer Jean Gerson (1363-1429) and, recognising a number of familiar Arthurian names, Michael contacted Dr Leah Tether, President of the International Arthurian Society (British Branch), from Bristol’s Department of English to see if the finds were in any way significant.
Old News: A Russian family lived decades in the remote tiaga wilderness cut off from humanity
This story goes back some years, but it is still amazing, as reported in Smithsonian
Geologists visiting the remote Siberian taiga wilderness in 1978 discovered six members of a family who had fled civilization for religious reasons and survived over 40 years of famine and hardship.
“When (scientist) Pismenskaya asked, “Have you ever eaten bread?” the old man answered: “I have. But they have not. They have never seen it.” At least he was intelligible. The daughters spoke a language distorted by a lifetime of isolation. “When the sisters talked to each other, it sounded like a slow, blurred cooing…”
Two them had never seen a human being other than their parents and brothers.
Read the entire fascinating story HERE
Old News is a new feature at One Man’s World, with interesting facts and tales you may have missed the first time around.
ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 4 (UPI) — Animal control officers in Virginia said they visited the home of a shocked resident to remove an unusual intruder — a yellow anaconda in the toilet.
“It’s never a dull day in Arlington County Animal Control!” the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s Facebook post said. “Last week, our Animal Control team received a call about a snake in the toilet of a local apartment. Officer Brenys White was able to safely remove the snake from the toilet and brought him back to the shelter. We were all in for a bit of a surprise — we were expecting him to be a wild snake or a ball python, but the snake is, in fact, a juvenile Yellow Anaconda!”
The snake measured nearly 5 feet long — not quite the up to 13-foot length of a fully-grown anaconda.
“Luckily, we were able to find a specialist who is familiar with his species and will be able to give him the care that he needs. We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake,” the Facebook post said.
“They need specialized care and housing, and while they are non-venomous, can be dangerous when they reach full size and are not well-socialized. Plus, no-one likes being surprised by a lost and confused snake in their toilet!” the shelter said.
Around the web – a 24-year-old Scottish woman returned from a trip to Southeast Asia suffering nosebleeds, which she assumed were related to an accident.
As Daniela Liverani told a Scottish newspaper, “Two weeks before I came home from Asia, I started having nosebleeds but I’d fallen off a motorbike so thought I’d burst a blood vessel.
“After I got home, the nosebleeds stopped and I started seeing something sticking out of my nostril. I just thought it was congealed blood from the nosebleeds.
“I tried to blow him out and grab him but I couldn’t get a grip of him before he retreated back up my nose.
“When I was in the shower, he would come right out as far as my bottom lip and I could see him sticking out the bottom of my nose.
“So when that happened, I jumped out of the shower to look really closely in the mirror and I saw ridges on him. That’s when I realised he was an animal.”
Ms. Liverani, praised the calmness and concern of the doctors at the Edinburgh hospital who took a painful 30 minutes to remove the parasite, which she dubbed “Mr. Curly” before boiling the creature and throwing it away.
One leech expert suggested the parasite could have entered the woman’s nose while she was swimming, or simply by having a drink of water. Hard to imagine not feeling something so large entering the nose or mouth, but I guess leeches have had a lot of practice at such stealthy maneuvers.
Suddenly my life as a Brooklyn mosquito magnet doesn’t seem all that bad.
Reading related to the Backpacker finds three-inch leech up her nose
Sunday Mail – web version with photos of original newspaper story
Daily Telegraph – 10 Horrible critters that will ruin your holiday
What became of the soldiers from the Great War who left behind the mysterious wishbones of McSorley’s Ale House?
According to the story on Atlas Obscura, there remain to this day, hanging over the bar at McSorley’s, wishbones placed there by servicemen as good luck charms prior to their being shipped overseas in 1917. Just one example of the amazing bits of history to be found at 15 East 7th Street in New York’s East Village, where McSorley’s Ale House opened in 1857.
The last American veteran of the First World War was named Frank Buckles, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 110. He had been a 16 year old motorcycle driver “over there,” and in the 1940s he survived a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines during the Second World War, where he contracted the beriberi that continued to trouble him the rest of his life.
As we have now crossed the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, more attention has been brought to those who took part in what sadly failed to end all wars, as was predicted. They are all gone now, like the veterans of the American Civil War before them.
But what of the wishbone hangers? Some of the men came back to remove a wishbone and celebrate their safe return to McSolrey’s bar. What became of the others, whose wishbones remain there to this day, a silent reminder from the Lost Generation?
Did they not make it back to New York, or to McSorley’s? Or did they not make it back at all?
When next at the bar and ordering your mugs of light or dark, be sure and look for the wishbones and toast those warriors whose fate is now shrouded in history as well as mystery.
For more reading:
Atlas Obscura’s The Wish Bones of McSorley’s Old Ale House
The Smithsonian Institute’s profile of Frank Buckles
McSorley’s Old Ale House official site
Thanks to River E. for the link!
Around the Web is a new feature where we will provide links to interesting and worthwhile items from around cyberspace.