Exploring the vast and exciting world of medievalism all around us.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Summer of Medievalism

The Summer of 2010 (about to end for us in the academic world!) was ripe with medievalism. The idea for this blog arose when the Roaming Medievalist saw a man on the subway reading a book about Medieval Combat in Russian. Before anyone thinks the Roaming Medievalist is THAT multi-lingual, it was pretty clear from the somewhat dated black-and-white photographs that this was what the book was about. Was he reading for purely intellectual reasons, or becuase he was planning to engage in medieval combat? On the Subway? Was he planning to join the Russian Society for Creative Anachronism?

Later the RM discovered a relief sculpture of Dante's head on the facade of Tilden House, home of the the National Arts Club in Grammercy Park. (Grammercy Park South, between Irving and Park Avenue South, for those of you who wish to make a Pilgrimage. Dante was at the bottom right; at the top were Shakespeare and Milton, Benjamin Franklin in the middle, and Goethe on the lower line with Dante. Why Dante instead of Chaucer, and why these as the paragons of the arts?
The RM then ran across "The Last Defender of Camelot," an episode of the 1986 Twilight Zone. Richard Kiley played the immortal Lancelot, living in 1980s London. Morgana was a fortune teller. They, and a punk named Tom, went back to Stonhenge, where Merlin and Morgana died in a conflict with each other, while Lancelot and Tom survived. A great deal of dry ice died in the making of this episode, and it made not a lick of sense.

It was so hot this Summer that the RM ended up staying inside a great deal in the airconditioning. This meant watching far too much television, including some food shows. In the 2006 "Food Network Challenge, Birthday Cake Surprise," the competitors made medieval castle cakes for a kids birthday. In the end, the kid picked the white castle with pink turrets and green cartoonish dragon made out of rolled fondant over the chocolate castle replete with a huge spiked mace. On an episode of Cake Boss (TLC), Buddy Valastro made a cake for Medieval Times, replete with stands, a king and queen, and jousting knights on some kind of motored track that allowed them to ride towards each other. Buddy also got to joust with one of the knights at Medieval Times, in his chef's whites. He won, although it may well have been rigged. Then he was knighted by the king--how many bakers were knighted in the Middle Ages?

There are so many other examples, but the RM is now hungry from writing about all those cakes.

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