The book that emerged from a bog after 1200 years
This is the remarkable story of a medieval book that spent 1200 years in the mud. Around 800 someone had a Book of Psalms made, a portable copy fitted with a leather satchel. The book consisted of sixty sheets of parchment that were carefully filled with handwritten words. Somehow the book ended up in a remote bog at Faddan More in north Tipperary, close to the town of Birr, Ireland. Dropped, perhaps, by the owner? Was he walking and reading at the same time? Did he himself also end up in the bog?
Fast-forward to 2006. Eddie Fogarty, the operator of a turf digger, noticed an object with faint lettering in the bucket of his machine (pic 1). There it was again, our Book of Psalms! At this point it resembled something from an Aliens movie (pic 2), but that changed quickly after it went to the restoration lab. Thanks to the conservation properties of turf, many pages were still intact, as was its leather satchel (pic 3), the only surviving specimen from this early period. Remarkably, among the damaged pages were some that had let go of the words: kept together merely by ink, the words were floating around by themselves - like some sort of medieval Scrabble (pic 4). It’s the most remarkable bookish survival story I know.
More on this phenomenal find in this news article and this one. Here is the bog and the machine that dug up the book More on the restoration process here. More about the papyrus found in the binding here. This is a nice movie on the book.
Showing posts tagged history
In her latest historical biography, Pulitzer Prize–winner Goodwin explores the fractious relationship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft. As with Team of Rivals and No Ordinary Time, The Bully Pulpit is remarkable for its meticulous research and lively, accessible narrative.
Recommended by Rhianna W., Powells.com
“I am not worrying about whether you will love my future wife or not—if you know her twenty-four hours & then don’t love her, you will accomplish what nobody else has ever succeeded in doing since she was born. She just naturally drops into everybody’s affections that comes across her. My prophecy was correct. She said she never could or would love me—but she set herself the task of making a Christian of me. I said she would succeed, but that in the meantime she would unwittingly dig a matrimonial pit & end up tumbling into it—& lo! the prophecy is fulfilled. She was in New York a day or two ago, & George Wiley & his wife Clara know her now. Pump them, if you want to. You shall see her before very long.”
An excerpt from Mark Twain’s engagement announcement to his family, which will be auctioned by Bonhams.
Now that’s how you announce an engagement:
"This is to inform you that on yesterday, the 4th of February, I was duly & solemnly & irrevocably engaged to be married to Miss Olivia L. Langdon, of Elmira, New York. Amen. She is the best girl in all the world, & the most sensible, & I am just as proud of her as I can be."
Purple Room: http://powells.us/12RAa0L
An action shot goes a long way
Go viral. Include cats. (Works for us every time.)