“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.” - GK Chesterton
Robert Capa- (Omaha Beach. June, 1944. A Catholic mass on “Omaha Beach”.)
Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor Part 2:
ˁḥˁ.n dpt mt.ti ntyw im.s n spi wˁ im ˁḥˁ.n.i rdi.kwi r iw in wȝw n wȝḏ-wr iri.n.i hrw 3 wˁ.kwi ib.i m sn-nw.i sḏr.kwi m ẖnw n kȝp n ḫt wni.n.i šwyt ˁḥˁ.n dwn.n.i rd.wy.i r rḫ dit.i m r.i gmi.n.i dȝbw iȝrrt im iȝqt nbt špst kȝw im ḥnˁ nqˁwt sšpwt mi iri.tw.s rmww im ḥnˁ ȝpdw nn ntt nn st m ẖnw.f
“Then the boat died and those who were therein, not a single of them remained. Then I was given on an island by the wave of the sea, and I spent 3 days being alone, my heart as my fellow, while I was sleeping inside a cabin of wood and I embraced the shade. Then I stretched my legs in order to learn that which I might put in my mouth, and I found figs and grapes there and all excellent kinds of vegetables, sycamore figs being there with notched sycamore figs and cucumbers as if they were cultivated, fish were there together with birds, there was not anything which was not within it.”
There is a circularity about the materialist position that becomes obvious whenever its logic is carefully examined. The idea that everything may not be reducible to physics or mathematics is said to be mysticism, mysterianism, or mystery-mongering because it supposedly involves a rejection of rational explanation. That, in turn, follows from the supposition that all rational explanation must be explanation in terms of equations and quantities. This supposition is based on the fact that such quantitative explanations have been found to be sufficient in the realm of physics and on the assumption that what is true in physics must be true of all reality.
But what justifies that last assumption? Why, simply the idea that all of reality is nothing but physics!
So we come full circle: it is said that materialism is true because materialism is true, because it must be true. We saw the same circular reasoning applied to the origin of the human soul: human beings must be reducible to matter, it is said, because anything non-material about human beings could not have arisen by physical processes; and if it cannot have arisen physically, it cannot have arisen at all — certainly it cannot have been created by God. And this, finally, follows from the fact that only physical processes exist. In other words, materialism is true because materialism is true.
It is certainly conceivable, if to many of us not credible, that materialism is true, but surely it is not irrational to ask for somewhat stronger arguments on its behalf.
Stephen M. Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, 256. (via thirstygargoyle)
AN INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL ART XIII: THE KLOSTERNEUBURG ALTAR
The names of hundred of artists, along with information about their legal status, families, places they lived, income, commercial dealings, civic and religious activities and clients are preserved in medieval account rolls, censuses, contracts, guild records, chronicles, and legal proceedings. However the majority of them cannot be associated with any of the surviving unsigned and unattributed objects with any certainty. In the case of metalwork, the most prestigious and costly of all the medieval arts, an estimated 95% of which was melted down for its metallic value, the number of known works by a documented artist is much smaller, and the number of surviving works even smaller. Therefore, the fact that the name of the aurifrex Nicholas of Verdun is firmly associated with two surviving, monumental, well-preserved examples of 12th c. metalwork is a testament to the renown and importance of the artist in his own time and among later generations.
Verdun is located in the lands bound by the Rhine and Meuse rivers, at the extreme western end of the Germanic empire, in the duchy of Lotharingia, In the 12th-century, the region was known for its metalwork production, particularly champlevé enamels, and complex, often diagrammatic, iconographical programs. When the Augustinian canons of Klosterneuburg, a foundation at the extreme eastern end of the empire, about 10 km from Vienna, wanted to commission an gilded copper enameled ambo for a pulpit, they chose Nicholas of Verdun,¹ even though he was 1,000 km away, a journey of several weeks at the time, such was his fame. Nicholas probably made the enameled copper panels at his workshop, which were mounted on wooden supports, by either a worker in Nicholas’ shop or a local metalworker, or once they arrived in Klosterneuburg.
The ambo produced by Nicholas comprised 45 Old and New Testament scenes over arranged in 15 columns.² As the lengthy dedicatory inscription explains, The three rows represent biblical epochs: the first is the time before the Mosaic law (tempus ante legem); the third is the time under the Mosaic law (tempus sub lege); the second is the Christian dispensation of the New Testament (sub gratia). The scenes of the second, New Testament, row depict the life of Christ, from the Annunciation through the Last Judgement, arranged in narrative sequence. The scenes from the Old Testament are arranged asynchronously; their choice and being determined by their figurative or allegorical relationship the New Testament events. This is a visualization of the Christian exegetical mode known as biblical typology, which interprets the events of the Old Testament as allegorical prefigurations of the New Testament, thereby binding the Hebrew Bible to Christian revelation in a mystical, symbolic manner. An example of biblical typology that appears frequently on medieval works of art, and appears in the central column of the Klosterneuburg Altar, would be the Sacrifice of Isaac, which was read as the prefiguration of the Crucifixion. This typology was derived in the patristic period from the parallel structures of the stories in which fathers willingly sacrifice their son to fulfill God’s wishes.
Many Mosan enameled liturgical objects including portable altarpieces, candle holders, crosses, pyxes and reliquaries have typological iconographies that pair Old and New Testament scenes to bring out their atemporal, symbolic dimensions ; The program of the Klosterneuburg Altar more ambitiously aligns two Old Testament events for every one New Testament event. To accomplish this, the programmer often was forced to choose many obscure, rarely-depicted Old Testament events , with no iconographical traditions to provide guidance. While the program had to have been devised by a very learned cleric, the figural compositions were surely developed by Nicholas of Verdun. In order to create the 45 individual compositions that use visual rhyme and echo to render the formal structure of the typologies visible, the artist had to have a good working knowledge of biblical typology, an erudite, exegetical practice conducted entirely in Latin by a social and spiritual elite.
Nichols of Verdun was obviously something of a prodigy, even a star, in the twelfth-century artworld, a better-educated craftsman producing enormously expensive, spectacular works for wealthy patrons.³ He career disproves the still-prevalent stereotype of the medieval artist that sees him as a humble, illiterate artisan who merely carries out the learned programs dictated to him his intellectual and social superiors.
1. The dedicatory inscription records the date (1181) and name of the patron, Prior Wernher of the ambo. It also records the fact that in the year 1320, following a fire, which necessitated the refurbishing of the church, the panels were removed from the pulpit and re-fashioned in their current form as an altarpiece. In order for the tripartite structure to be fit on the altar, two new columns of typological imagery (8 and 10) had to be devised and produced. While their work is clearly of the 14th-century, the later artists attempted to recreate the distinctive figure style of Nicholas of Verdun in the interests of visual consistency.
2. Columns 5, 9, and 11 of the Klosterneuburg Altar are represented above. The entire work can be viewed in high resolution files on a dedicated page on this site. The images were scanned from Helmut Buschhausen’s authoritative-and rare—monograph, Der Verduner Altar (1980).
3. The catalogues of two monumental museum exhibitions, The Year 1200 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970) and Rhein und Maas (Brussels, Musée Royale des Beaux Art and Cologne, Schnütgen Museum, 1972) remain indispensable overviews of the art of the Mosan region in the twelfth century.
AN INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL ART:
I: Saint Denis and Gothic Art
II: The Carolingian Renovatio
III: The Monastic Scriptorium
IV: Grisaille, or The Abstention from Color
V: The Social and Material Contexts of Duccio’s Rucellai Madonna
VI: Beauvais Cathedral and the Limits of Gothic Verticality
VII: The Harrowing of Hell
VIII: The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial
IX: The Art of the Dark Ages
X: Simone Martini’s Saints
XI: Sainte-Foy de Conques
XII: The Cave Churches of Cappadocia
XIII: The Klosterneuburg Altar
The 14th Century Women of Schola Medica Salernitana: Rebecca de Guarna, Abella, and Mercuriade
Art by Tiny Tarakeet (tumblr)
Schola Medica Salernitana was the most important medical school in medieval Europe. Located in the southern Italian city of Salerno, the school served as a cultural crossroads, integrating Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Arabic teachings. Professors at Schola Medica Salernitana produced translations, treatises, and reference books that influenced physicians and medical schools across Europe for centuries.
Many women are known to have studied or taught at Schola Medica Salernitana between 1000 and 1500 CE. The most famous is the 12th century physician Trota. The archives of Naples include numerous medical licenses granted to women without any apparent restrictions, although some mention that women are particularly suited to gynecology and obstetrics. The entire department of women’s diseases at Schola Medica Salernitana was run by female physicians.
Pictured above are three 14th century female physicians associated with Schola Medica Salernitana: Rebecca de Guarna, Abella and Mercuriade. Rebecca de Guarna was a physician and surgeon native to Salerno who wrote treatises on fevers, urine, and embryology. Abella (also known as Abella of Castellomata or Abella of Salerno) was a Roman physician who taught at Schola Medica Salernitana. She produced academic works on black bile and seminal fluid Mercuriade was a physician and surgeon who taught at Schola Medica Salernitana. She also published treatises on fevers and wounds.
By the end of the 14th century the medical school at Salerno had fallen from favor as schools in Naples, Bologna, and Montpelier rose in prominence. Today, Schola Medica Salernitana is a museum.
Divine Liturgy at the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the laying of the relics of Saint Josaphat, martyr for Church unity.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk is Major Archbishop (Patriarch in all but name) of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest rite of the Catholic Church outside the Latin Rite.
The UGCC is currently, along with Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian protestants and other religious minorities, the object of persecution and a misinformation by the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Absalon, fili mi, Josquin des Prez (c.1450-1521), or possibly Pierre de la Rue (1452-1518). Vox Early Music Ensemble, dir. Christopher Wolverton.
Absalon fili mi,
Quis det ut moriar pro te, Absalon!
Non vitam ultra,
Sed descendam in infernum plorans.
"Absalon, my son!
Would that I might have died for you!
I shall live no more,
But descend to hell, weeping.”
(Based on 2 Samuel 18:33 [“Absalon fili mi, quis det ut moriar pro te, fili mi Absalon?”], Job 7:16 [“Non vivam ultra”], and Genesis 37:35 [“sed descendam in infernum plorans”].)
The text refers to the death of Absalon or Absalom, the third son of King David, killed by the king’s commander, Joab (2 Samuel 18).
The occasion for the work’s composition is uncertain but may have been the death in 1497 of Juan Borja, eldest son of Pope Alexander VI, or the death of Philip the Fair, eldest son of the Emperor Maximilian I, in 1506. The death of Arthur, son of Henry VII, or of Henry, son of Henry VIII, have also been suggested.