S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen


A few of the assorted things I learned today...

* Wax tablets were dyed green in the middle ages and were replaced when the wax absorbed enough dirt to make it stiff and black.

* Pedlers sold both knives and styluses.

* Dartmouth and Plymouth were ports handling a bigger volume of trade, both cargo and pilgramage, with the continent than the eastern ports were during the later parts of the Hundred Years War.

* Many confraternities had large numbers of female members.

* Domestic and imported birds were for sale in front of Notre Dame.

* I'd forgotten how crowded with marketry the bridges in major cities are.

* I realized that the exciting dissertation discovery of the other week means that my previously somewhat arbitrary committee member is now going to be extremely useful to me.

* I might never have taken a class in medieval European economic history, but the one hour keynote lecture has largely served to remedy that lack all by itself.

* Wars can be run as profit-making enterprises.There are many particular ways in which war can be run as a profit-making enterprise, many of which I learned about as they pertain to the medieval and early modern eras. (See comments.)

* Gold made Portugal much richer than slaves did in the early modern period. Gold was much cheaper to ship - less food was required, for starters.

* The number of slaves traded as recorded in extant records isn't more than 2/3 of the total trade, since many slaves - and other goods - were given away as gifts to nobles by the crown of Portugal.

* The chief editor of The Economist evidently said in a lecture last year, in answer to a question wondering about the consistancy of voice in the Economist's articles, that first you should simplify, then exaggerate. This was a recurring theme throughout the day.

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