Thursday, December 3, 2009

Five links to the past

Some interesting websites related to Amadis or medieval times.

A detail from an illumination in The Romance of Alexander the Great.


The Romance of Alexander the Great
BibliOdyssey has reproduced some stunning pages from a manuscript of The Romance of Alexander the Great, produced by the workshop of the Flemish illuminator, Jehan de Grise, between 1338 and 1344. Click on the photos for the large and very large images to appreciate the gold-leaf detail.

History Cookbook's Normans/Medieval section
This site offers English recipes and podcasts of their preparation, along with food facts, health facts, and notes about life in those times. It's aimed at British school children, but we're never too old to learn. The whole site covers Britain from prehistoric to postwar/modern times.

The F-Word: The Problem with Feudalism
Historian Melissa Snell explains why the word feudalism "has the power to annoy, disgust, and even upset the ordinarily cool and collected medievalist." The problem, she says, that feudalism never existed in medieval Europe.

Exposición Alfonso X el Sabio
An exhibit in Murcia, Spain, open now through January 31, recounts the life and contributions of Alfonso X the Wise (1221-1284), King of Castilla y León. He led developments in literature, science, scholarship, music, and law. The site is in Spanish, but non-Spanish-speakers can still enjoy the music and images.

Semi-staged Handel, with care
The Boston Globe reviews a recent performance of Handel's Amadigi de Gaula, a Baroque opera loosely based on Amadis of Gaul. The reviewer concludes that the music was better than the plot. The libretto leaves out the frequent blood-spattered jousts and focuses on a love story, and the role of Amadigi is written for a castrato. (!)

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