Living in Innsbruck, its hard to ignore the changes in the local waterways over the course of the year. The local rivers are fed by runoff, and these days large areas of the Alps are bare by May. I took these photos on the tenth of March, in a week where snow fell for several days but melted as it hit the ground of the valley.
There are those who say that because most people forget their false predictions and remember their true, it is healthy to make a note when one notices that one was wrong about something. There is a movement variously known as historical European martial arts, Western Martial Arts, or historical fencing. Its central activity is recreating dead martial arts from the manuals which they left behind, although many practitioners also try to recreate ‘prehistoric’ martial arts which died without leaving manuals, or revive obscure but still living European martial arts such as Irish stick-fighting. And my understanding of what it is about, and what sort of people it attracts, has drastically changed over the past few years.
Tel Halaf 23 = Aaron Dornauer, Das Archiv des assyrischen Statthalters Mannu-kī-Aššur von Gūzāna/Tall Ḥalaf. (Harrasowitz Verlag: Wiesbaden, 2014) no. 21 Truppen vor Hūˀa-dīdu pp. 53, 54
This little, undated tablet is a list of names with a note every dozen lines. It was written sometime around the 8th century BCE. Texts like this are rarely exciting, but if one pays attention details sometimes leap out.
Meˀīsu, his son
Hannān, his son
2 son (sic) of Zannānu
Adda-sakā, 2 sons
(5) “God as my witness, she’s really a daughter”: Sîn-iprus
Saˀīlu, 5 sons
Kuwayni, 2 sons
Manānu, his brother
Qatarā, 2 sons
(10) Nanî, Igilu
Total: 25 troops
who are before Hūˀa-dīdu
There is an old joke that most of the people who will ever read your dissertation are in the room when you defend it (and that not all the examiners will be among them). I recently received a royalty cheque from ProQuest for the princely sum of CAD 2.25 for their distributing a copy of my master’s thesis. While Service and Supply in the Achaemenid Army is available free online, some people don’t have high-speed internet access, or are censored by their governments from sites like academia dot edu.
Not only that! At recent quizzes in Innsbruck there were questions about the Neo-Babylonians (well, Judith and Holofernes) and Greek infantry formations. Triumph in such encounters can bring rewards in the form of free drinks worth several Euros, and at times I and my fellow quiz-goers have brought back such prizes from the field. Humanists have felt little respected and under-paid for a good long time; I am especially touched by the Babylonian scholars who responded to being ruled by Persians and Macedonians who had difficulty faking enthusiasm for cuneiform by energetically copying texts about the kings of old who had mastered the scribal art and generously rewarded their court literati. But the scholarly life has its compensations, both financial and otherwise.
Further Reading: Eckart Frahm, “Keeping Company with Men of Learning: The King as Scholar,” in Karen Radner and Eleanor Robson eds., The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture (Oxford University Press, 2011) pp. 508-532 (available on Academia.edu)