Sunday, May 16, 2021

Bernard Cornwell -War Lord Uhtred

 Salvete Omnes,

this is not a review, just about a fiction book and the series I finished reading last week.



ad rem,

for years I had enjoyed the Last Kingdom saga woven the British master storyteller Bernard Cornwell, and this time master raconteur delivered his final[?] word in the saga of a Northumbiran warlord named Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
This 13th novel in the sagas is a good old fashion hero story. 



 


Its epic story is woven around the events of 930s leading to one of the most eventful battles in British history, the battle of Brananburh, AD 937 also known as the Great Battle.  The story of this  battle is also told, and it is told with a skill and mastery typical to master Bernard
According to many historians this was this battle where the sweat, skill, blood and sacrifice of the  England's  warriors truly forged the united kingdom and allowed for dominance of England within the British Isles.
Saxon king Aethelstan, who was  the grandson of Alfred the Great,  defeated the army  commanded by king Anlaf Guthfrithsson, which was comprised of the Viking Norse (from Orkney Islands and Ireland), Scots under king Constantine II of Alba, and other minor kingdoms' adversaries.



In the context of the novels we finally get Uhtred, the main hero,  in his manly warrior twilight, for in this 13th installment he is old and aching, but still very cunning, savvy, skillful with his weapons and martial experience with his two trusted weapons, his sword named  Serpent Breath and a seax named Wasp  Sting - eg before the Great Battle we get this delightful accounting of old warlord Uhtred getting armed for this battle .
Within the meandering towards the epic battle story we get much detailed  but nor overbearing vision of the period daily life, including  foodstuffs, camping, horseback riding, war stallions and their names and also stories of the Viking saga lore and Christianity.  Finally last but not least we get some fine sword duels, strength   and horse riding feats, cavarly charges, and the final epic shield wall etc - :) as in this video from the Wolin Slavic and Viking Festival AD 2015.


Bernard Cornwell has based  his storytelling on traditional sources (eg the poem) and  some of the most recent scholarship - eg this YT lecture my be of interest to you, as it is a magnificent feat of scholarship and analysis.


Thus my wholehearted congrats to master Cornwell for delivering us this final epic tale.



Nota bene I have had not opportunity to draw or paint Saxon warriors and thier horses yet, who knows, perhaps one day. But there is this article about the horses in Anglo-Saxon England and Saxon cavalry, including  using the Maxims or Old Poems .

Valete

ps

Note I am not going to say much about the Netflix series supposedly based on the novels, I did try watching the first season and did not suffer past 2nd  or 3rd episode.  I did watch the entire Netflix Witcher series, horrible as it was, hoping for the episodes to improve. They did not, sadly.
  On the other hand I enjoyed the film version of the comissario [inspector]  Salvo Montalbano series (based on the fabulous novels by Andrea Camilleri and translated into English by with love, passion and skill  by master translator Stephen Sartarelli), and these can be leisurely watched on Netflix.

Monday, May 10, 2021

New medieval painting from Dariusz Bufnal's atelier

 Salvete Omnes,

I have been a friend of one hell of a painter (and musician) from Poland - messer Dariusz Bufnal from Wrocław, Poland - Facebook page here.

I have Dariusz' permission to show on my blog one of his latest brushwork, in his maker's intent and execution  sort of a  window into the XV century borderlands of Silesia, Lusatia, Bohemia and Saxony. Where Polish (Silesian Poles), Czech, Sorbian, German, and Pomeranian nobility and noble clans intermarried and mixed in the plethora marriage and political alliances, adopting language and coats of arms.
The castle-tower and medieval manor of Witkow, Lubusz land and today in part a Polish voivodeship(most lays in the Federal Republic of Germany) belongs to that medieval borderland tradition.
In this painting, one of three painted for the current owners of the castle-tower,  provides a depiction of the Central European  knights from the late XIV and early XV centuries.


   here, on canvas,  we have two brothers von Warnsdorf, Frantzko and Nickel, and their retinue in process of leaving their castle to take part in the Great War 1409-11 ( the Teutonic Order, Sigismund of Luxembourg and their  knightly guests with retinues  against the  Jagiellonian realm - kingdom of Poland and grand duchy of Lithuania) . They have the same coat of arms  - Leliwa - as Polish Kingdom and Silesian duchies clans. In the history of the castle you can read why von Warnsdorfs had Leliwa coat of arms.



The painting was executed in oils on canvas.
Dariusz Bufnal pinxit and all copyrights et al.
ps

maestro Dariusz also painted plates for Trzy Swiaty Sredniowiecza, a study-book on the medieval castles and fortresses from Lower Silesia, written by Grzegorz Kiarszys - Dariusz' Art Station link to some of those plates.

Valete

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Wyjawienie sposobów jakich handlujący końmi używają - von Tennecker circa 1834

Salve,





   przeglądając biblioteki cyfrowe natrafiłem na poniższą publikację, w temacie 'rostrucharzy' i ich fachu, pełna przysłowiowych forteli czyli oszustw alias fałszów handlarskich, a także o tym  jak hodować i handlować końmi , gdzie można sobie postudiować w tym poradniku z początku XIX wieku, ze  wcale nie było wtedy  inne podejście niż dzisiaj przy handlu  mechanicznymi rumakami (samochodami):

'Wyjawienie sposobów jakich handlujący końmi używają do ich upięknienia, odmłodnienia a następnie do oszukiwania kupujących konie z dodaniem nauki o najnowszym i najprostszym sposobie anglizowania koni i korzyściach jakie ztąd dla handlarza końmi wynikają.' [oryginalny iście barokowy tytuł z wydania ].



 - autorem był oficer, bo major, kawalerii  saskiej  mości von Tenneker (pisownia według wydania jak wyżej), którego to dziełko napisane w latach 1820tych w Dreźnie i circa 1828 wydane w Lipsku? przetłumaczono i wydano w Warszawie, Królestwie Polskim-Imperium Rosyjskim, w 1834 roku - można je sobie  ściągnąć tutaj, tj z   Wielkopolskiej Biblioteki Cyfrowej, i czytać do woli. Praca pochodzi z epoki końskiej, i tchnie duchem swego czasu. Mamy tez  język hipologiczny tamtej epoki z Królestwa Polskiego.



Książka-poradnik  jest interesująca na wielu płaszczyznach, np od pielęgnacji konia na sprzedaż po fortele handlarzy, a ciekawym aspektem handlu końmi dla nas, współczesnych czytelników, jest wybór 'ludzi stajennych'  czy ów 'berajter' handlarza koni czyli ujeżdżacz pokazujący  konie przeznaczone do sprzedaży (autor robi porównanie tegoż berajtera handlarskiego z kawalerzystą ), meklerzy w handlu końmi etc.
Przy okazji widać jaka role, i to przynajmniej od XVIII wieku, odgrywali żydowscy handlarze końmi (np we wspomnieniach księcia Sanguszko handel końmi w rekach żydowskich handlarzy także jest uwypuklony).

z pracy -
'Dla handlarza najlepszy jest koń, który ma małą głowę, krzyż prosty, maść (kolor) modnej, a mianowicie mocno odsadza ogon; słowem który posiada to wszystko co należy do okazalej i w oczy uderzającej figury;[...]' iż bardzo mało jest kupujących , którzy uważają na rasę [sic!], na ruch wolny i swobodny[sic!], na dobry fundament konia;[sic!]'


 

-'[..] a do tego, gdy fałsz fizyczny połącza z fałszem moralnym, co poniekąd zawsze bywa, gdyż kto się dopuszcza pierwszego , niezawodnie i drugi posiada.'

 *przy okazji, to przypisy występujące w książce od polskiego wydawcy tez są ciekawe.


pozdrawiam

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Horses from Old Poland - real or imaginary

 Salvete Omnes,

a little post on some horse imagery and one court painter that never made it to his royal patron.

Flemish painter, the scion of the artist family, Ferdinand van Kessel, active in Breda (the same town made famous by Diego de Velasquez painting), at some moment in his artist life became a long-distance court painter for our Royal Majesty king Jan III [Sobieski].
Among works van Kessel painted for king Jan III were allegorical panels showing the four continents, and I would like to bring your attention to the panel dedicated to Europe (panels are held in Vienna, Austria, in the Kunsthistorisches  museum).


in this panel there are two smaller ones that contain horse and these panels purportedly show the Polish royal city of Krakow and English city of London respectively.
the panel with Krakow


in this panel there are two horses - perhaps Old Polish horses. One horse is a 'tarant' and 'dropiaty'- spotted horses of the leopard complex coat type.



the other animals are also  very interesting - a bear, a moose (European elk), possibly an auroch, lynx etc.

and the London panel



enjoy

Valete

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Arrival of the Horse in Ancient Egypt

 Salvete Omnes,


 

how are you this Spring - cold as hell in these woods of  the northern hemisphere. 

I am always interested in the early horse  history  - so a short entry today with links to articles - 

 


so, first a British researcher Miriam Bibby made available her article on the arrival of the horse in the ancient Egypt during the Bronze Age. Succinct and short, 6 pages, provides the insight and bibliography - so canter away.



a brief but interesting article on the state of  the Hyksos research by prof. Thomas Schneider. 

and another article, this time  by a Romanian scholar prof. Renata Tatomir - The presence of horse in ancient Egypt and the problem of veracity of the horseshoe magic in the ancient Egyptian folklore and mythology.
enjoy



valete

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Saint Longinus in art

 Salvete Omnes,

 


still in the Easter Catholic and Orthodox mode - let us visit the imagery showing Saint Longinus, who with his spear was the executioner of Christ, then a convert & missionary, and eventually a martyr. Golden Legend can be read here.



so, some of the images taken from Wiki Commons -in these works of sacred Medieval art Saint Longinus is the warrior/knight/soldier with the spear piercing or about to pierce Christ's side thus killing Him.









Valete!

 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Happy Easter

 Salvete Omnes,

Easter Sunday - celebrating our most holy and important feast day of the year,  amid the second year of the Covid-19 political medicine reality.


Christ by Samostrzelnik, see more below, nota bene Ogonczyk coat of arms on the shield next to the fully armored knight



one of my favorite saints - saint Martin - Polish noblemen were still very international(Europe-wide style) in their dress, weapons and horse tack


 

Happy Easter with this crucifixion scene painted by Stanislaw Samostrzelnik, this beautiful illumination comes from a Polish late medieval missal made for bishop Erazm Ciolek, Sulima Coat of Arms (born of a burgher parents, he became a royal secretary and was able to claim the Sulima clan membership and thus became in fact and in law a nobleman ) - see the Sulima coat of arms at the bottom of the page.
This diplomat and man of Church was among the circle of  favorites of  His Royal Majesty Aleksander I (son of Kazimierz Jagielonczyk and grandshon of Wladyslaw Jagiello).


also you can peruse bishop Erazm Ciolek Roman Pontifical at the Polona (Polish National Library site).
I selected several illumination from there showing the Polish king and his armored knights and heraldry





Valete

Friday, April 2, 2021

Good Friday & Cranach the Elder

 Salvete Omnes,

in the tradition of this blog another Good Friday posting,

 


 so as you can see this time our favorite artist of this Good Friday before the Easter Sunday (and Pisanki Saturday etc) is one famous Germanic Maler [painter], printmaker and bookmaker  Lucas Cranach the Elder.


horse detail



and this  woodcut piece -


...

and Saint Goerge vanquishing the evil



valete

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Epic Films from Kazakhstan

 Salvete Omnes,


 

just a short post - I came across three epic films made in Kazakhstan  in past 10 years and freely available in their entirety or in part - 


 

they seem to use their own Kazakh steppe horse, in its varieties. 

 


These are sword, bow and lance movies, and we see plenty of horse archery and sword play. Epic and enjoyable unless you are Baizuo - :)



these can be watched via Youtube with English subtitles, and one has a 8-epizodes series too -

Film about Tomyris, queen of the Saka and Massagetae -  a final battle scene?

Myn Bala (A Thousand Boys?) -   movie about the Kazakh-Dzhungar wars

The Diamond Sword - exquisitely made film about the making of the Kazakh Khanate during the XVIII century.



Valete

Monday, March 22, 2021

J.Ch. Pasek - Deresz

 

Salvete Omnes,
[in Polish]

Dzisiaj z tematycznego 'mojego' zbioru poezji o koniach polskich epoki staropolskiej
Oto co był napisał nasz sławny (od odkrycia pamiętników w XIX wieku) pamiętnikarz-Sarmata, towarzysz chorągwi pancernej imć pana wojewody kijowskiego Stefana Czarnieckiego alias czarniecczyk, i zawadiaka a rębajło wielki imc pan Jan Ch. Pasek, herbu Doliwa, o swoim bojowym koniu masci dereszowatej:

Apostrophe
...............
Nie umiejętność moja to sprawiła,
Ale natura dobrym cię czyniła;
Ta zaś łaskawość i kochanie z tobą
Z tej okazyej, żeśmy rośli z sobą.
Kiedym wsiadł na cię, tak mi się widziało,
Że na mnie wojska sto tysięcy mało;
Było i męstwo, było serca dosyć,
Nie trzeba było w pierwszy szereg prosić.
Ustaną teraz we mnie te przymioty,
Ubędzie owej, co była, ochoty;
Zawsze od bystrej wody sokół stroni,
Gdy czuje, w skrzydłach że piora wyroni.
Nie takieć nasze miało być rozstanie,
Nie z takim żalem ciężkim pożegnanie;
Tyś mię donosić miał jakiej godności,
A ja też ciebie dochować starości.
Ciężkież to na mnie będą peryody ,
Gdy sobie wspomnę na owe swobody,
Ktorych, na tobie jeżdżąc, zażywałem
I com zamyślił, tego dokazałem.
Gdy wojska staną w zwykłej bataliej,
Ja nie wygodzę swojej fantazyej.
Więc ciężko westchnąć i zapłakać cale,
Na cię wspomniawszy, moj dereszu — Vale![ .
Ciężkież to na mnie będą peryody ,
Gdy sobie wspomnę na owe swobody,
Ktorych, na tobie jeżdżąc, zażywałem
I com zamyślił, tego dokazałem.
Gdy wojska staną w zwykłej bataliej,
Ja nie wygodzę swojej fantazyej.
Więc ciężko westchnąć i zapłakać cale,
Na cię wspomniawszy, moj dereszu — Vale!

 (z wikizrodla )
 
piękny deresz i jego wielkopański jeździec - autorstwa Agusta Querfurta z XVIIIwieku

 ps
Koń dereszowaty to po rosyjsku  Чалый (масть). A po hiszpansku - caballo ruano. 

 
Valete!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Hellenistic horse from MET

 Salvete Omnes,


 

let us gallop to a 'horse art corral' at the MET - there they have this bronze horse from the Hellenistic period/era, most likely from the Late Hellenistic era.

 


and in this late Winter or rather almost Spring time we can enjoy studying this  amazing sculpture


One got to love this artwork - 


 


 

enjoy - photos from the museum and wiki commons

Valete