Monthly Archives: October 2016

What did medieval people know about Hungary?

What do the Old Norse sagas, the chronicle narrative of Jean Froissart and the Old Serbian annals have in common? How about the Dominican collection of pious exempla by Jacobus de Cessolis, Liber de moribus? Well, to give you yet another clue, think of the late French Arthurian romance of Melyador and the anonymous fifteenth-century Middle English metrical romance Capystranus. Still no nearer to the answer? Hungary and the Hungarians! Surprising as it may sound, Hungary makes a frequent and variegated appearance in a variety of medieval narrative sources across Europe, from Iceland to Italy, not to mention Germany, France, England and such close neighbours as Poland and Serbia. Continue reading

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Be the Superhuman!

n the wake of the Paralympic Games in Rio, I wanted revisit the issue of athleticism for the (dis?)abled. In my previous post, I juxtaposed the video of Paralympic dressage with a quotation from Dom Duarte I’s treatise on horse-riding, where he argued that no apparent physical impediment should prevent anyone from becoming a reasonably good rider. Indeed, we see in the video extremely handicapped people who control the horses much better than most amateurs and look much more elegantly on horseback than any bunch of ordinary students at a riding school. And yet, these people are amateurs, too, for most paralympic athletes have daytime or part-time jobs and are not paid or are paid very little for being athletes. Continue reading

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Not Fit to Ride? Watch Paradressage

… some people think they cannot be good riders because of weakness, old age, or obesity, and therefore lose the will and give up learning what they need in order to attain knowledge. They are manifestly quite wrong in this, and in many other good things that they lose because of this despair, when they could acquire them if they had good hope… – wrote Dom Duarte I of Portugal Continue reading

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