Friday, January 18, 2013

Absurd and Filthye Languish

Extracts from the Records of the Merchant Adventurers of Newcastle-upon Tyne, Vol. I (Durham: Andrews & Co., 1895), p. 192 (August 23, 1658):
An information, dated June the 8th last, was by Mr. Railph Cocke presented against Mr. William Gray, junior, wherein Mr. Cocke set forth that, upon a differance betwixt them, he told Mr. Gray he would aske leave of Mr. Governor to arrest him; to which he answered he cared not a fart for the Governor. Mr. Cocke replyed if he should acquaint the Governor he would repeat his words, to which Mr. Gray answeareing sayd he cared neither a fart nor a turd for the Governor, for which absurd and filthye languish he was fyned twenty pounds.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Use of the Cow in Siegecraft

Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel II.15 (tr. J.M. Cohen):
On their return Panurge considered the walls of Paris, and said to Pantagruel in derision: 'Oh, how strong they are! They're just the thing for keeping goslings in a coop. By my beard, they are pretty poor defences for a city like this. Why a cow could knock down more than twelve foot of them with a single fart.'

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Constantine Copronymus

The Cambridge Medieval History, Vol. IV: The Eastern Roman Empire (717-1453) (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1923), p. 11 (from Chapter I, by Charles Diehl):
Constantine V (740-775) has been fiercely attacked by the iconodule party. They surnamed him "the Stable-boy" (καβάλλινος) and "Copronymus" (named from dung), on account of an unlucky accident which, they said, had occurred at his christening.
On the nature of the "unlucky accident," see Theophanes, Chronicle, annus mundi 6211 = 718/719 A.D. (tr. Harry Turtledove):
In this year a still more impious son was born to the impious Emperor Leo: Constantine, the forerunner of the Antichrist. On December 25 Leo's wife Maria was crowned in the triklinos of the Augusteion. She went to the great church alone—without her husband—and without ceremony. She prayed before going in to the altar, then went into the great baptistery. Her husband and a few of her intimates preceded her in. While Germanos the chief prelate was baptizing Leo's successor (in both his evil and his rule) Constantine, the boy, because he was so young, gave a terrible, foul-smelling harbinger: he defecated in the holy font, as say those who were accurate eyewitnesses.