Wednesday 6 April 2022

Nugas Vitae

 Concerns have been raised about whether all this snow that I referred to yesterday actually ever existed. Well, firstly, there was indeed a lot of snow, although it disappeared quite quickly. And, secondly, it is possible that readers have mistaken this blog for some sort of accurate historical record of what's going down. I, on the other hand, have always seen myself as the equivalent of a medieval chronicler.

"So, there was the Rev Ian Paisley and there was a giraffe"

Gabriel Ronay explains the approach of such chroniclers in his 'The Lost King of England':

"Readers liked to have a succession of bright incidents and adventures well seasoned with supernatural prognostications, but the reliability of facts did not concern them unduly. Chroniclers therefore paid more attention to amplifying their stories with anecdotes and strange occurrences than to the veracity of their sources. Closely reasoned argument, well-grounded facts and chronological cohesion did not suit an episodic style of narrative."

The lost king in the book, incidentally, is the son of Edmund Ironside, who had to flee along with his brother after their father was murdered by Canute. It's an interesting read, although the author's prose style is not particularly to my taste. It's also one of those irritating class of books which keeps telling the reader that is correcting a long-standing historical misapprehension which no one knew existed in the first place. I might have to re-read it now that I've dug it out. The bit that struck me most when I first read it was the assertion that when Thomas Moore wrote the story of the Princes in Tower - the ultimate source for Shakespeare - both he and his readers would have understood that he was merely rehashing the story of the æthelings and thus disparaging Richard III by comparing him to Canute. In the context of world events today, it is noteworthy that when the princes escape to the sanctuary of the Russian court (their maternal aunt being the wife of Grand Duke Yaroslav) the capital of that country is Kyiv.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting stuff. To clarify, was it Edmund's son who fled to Kyiv? So it was the capital c.1000AD? Wow.
    Re: the snow, I had assumed that being in Yorkshire you were blanketed in the deep and crisp and even from November to April anyway, as any fule kno 😀