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Education

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.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
saffronjan
Mar. 14th, 2004 10:40 am (UTC)
Ooo!
Ooo! You heard papers about styli and wax tablets!!!

*drool*
(Deleted comment)
owlfish
Mar. 14th, 2004 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Sorry to butt in...
Actually, I didn't specify where I'd heard about what. I had a good long conversation with Ariella over dinner about styluses and wax tablets, based on a class presentation she'd done a few years ago, so I did hear about them in great detail even if you didn't.

How was dinner?
owlfish
Mar. 14th, 2004 06:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Ooo!
Only in passing - the sellers of styluses was from a paper, but mostly my wax tablet information came from a dinnertime conversation. Still, it was a very good conference!
(Anonymous)
Mar. 16th, 2004 06:58 am (UTC)
from Maria
"Wars can be run as profit-making enterprises"
you had to read that in a history book?!
owlfish
Mar. 16th, 2004 07:28 am (UTC)
Re: from Maria
No, no, it came up several times that day the degree to which they could be run as profit making enterprises and some of the methods of doing so, with various specific examples for the middle ages and early modern period. I overgeneralized, which probably made the point uninteresting. I'll give you a relevant example: the western English ports during the Hundred Year's War were commanded by the kind to build oared combat barges which were used for the war effort. No funding was provided; the port cities had to raise the money themselves, although they were chastised royally if they tried raising the money from anyone other than the richest townsfolk. Many of the barges didn't survive the war, but those which did were returned to the town. What does a town do with its own war barge? Why, turn to privateering of course.

Is that better?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )