Archive for the ‘W.E.O.T.D.’ Category

Wikipedia Entry of the Day: Curse Tablet

February 13, 2013

Eyguières

Just in time for Valentine’s Day?? The funniest part to me is making a bunch of these in anticipation of demand but leaving the names blank.

A curse tablet or binding spell (defixio in Latin, κατάδεσμος katadesmos in Greek) is a type of curse found throughout the Graeco-Roman world, in which someone would ask the gods to do harm to others.

These texts were typically scratched on very thin sheets of lead in tiny letters, then often rolled, folded, or pierced with nails. These bound tablets were then usually placed beneath the ground: either buried in graves or tombs, thrown into wells or pools, sequestered in underground sanctuaries, or nailed to the walls of temples. Tablets were also used for love spells and, when used in this manner they were placed inside the home of the desired target.[1] They are sometimes discovered along with small dolls or figurines (sometimes inaccurately referred to as “Voodoo dolls[2]), which may also be pierced by nails. The figurines resembled the target and often had both their feet and hands bound.[3] Curse tablets also included hair or pieces of clothing. This is especially the case in love spells, which calls for “hair from the head of the love target.” Some love spells have even been discovered “folded around some hair,” probably to bind the spell itself.[4] “Not all tablets included a personal name, but it is clear especially in the Roman period, that tablets were sometimes prepared in advance, with space left for inserting the names provided by paying customers.”[5]

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Wikipedia Entry of the Day: Aurora consurgens

February 4, 2013

Aurora-Monkeyandviolin

The Aurora consurgens is an illuminated manuscript of the 15th century in the Zürich Zentralbibliothek (MS. Rhenoviensis 172). It contains a medieval alchemical treatise, in the past sometimes attributed to Thomas Aquinas, now to a writer called the “Pseudo-Aquinas”. Unusually for a work of this type, the manuscript contains thirty-eight fine miniatures in watercolour. The illustrations are allegorical representations of alchemical elements depicted in human or animal form. For example, mercury is depicted as a serpent;gold as the Sun and silver as the Moon.

Wikipedia Entry of the Day: Physiognomy

November 18, 2011

Wikipedia Entry of the Day: Usher of the Black Rod

September 9, 2010

Small differences between Canadian and U.S. government:

The Usher of the Black Rod of the Senate of Canada (often shortened to Black Rod) is the most senior protocol position in the Parliament of Canada.

The office is modelled on the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod of the House of Lords of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Black Rod leads the Speaker‘s Parade at the beginning of each sitting of the Senate[1] and oversees protocol, administrative and logistical details of important events taking place on Parliament Hill, such as the opening of Parliament and Speech from the Throne ceremonies.[2][3] Upon the appointment of the first woman to the position of “Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod” on October 20, 1997, the title was changed to “Usher of the Black Rod”.[4]

Wikipedia Entry of the Day: Cockaigne

September 8, 2010

Cockaigne:

Cockaigne or Cockayne (pronounced /kɒˈkeɪn/) is a medieval mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist. Specifically, in poems like The Land of Cockaigne, Cockaigne is a land of contraries, where all the restrictions of society are defied (abbots beaten by their monks), sexual liberty is open (nuns flipped over to show their bottoms), and food is plentiful (skies that rain cheeses).