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A photo of a busy square with an ornamental column and reflecting pool

Ancient History 9 has an article on the agora of Athens, so how about a picture of Innsbruck’s equivalent? A view towards the Nordkette along Marien-Theresien-Straße. Photo by Sean Manning, April 2017.

While I can’t pull the lid off Ninkasi’s vat to announce some projects which are still fermenting, today I would like to remind my gentle readers about two other new publications.

First, I have a short article on Marduk and Tiamat in issue 9 of Ancient History magazine. The focus of that issue is on Athens in the fourth century BCE, but there are also articles on Sicilian and Egyptian topics. If you like Peter Connolly’s The Ancient City you will like this issue. Check it out!

Second, I have obtained permission to release a pre-print of my paper on the mnemonic techniques employed in the writings of Fiore dei Liberi, a fencing master from Friuli who died some time after February 1410 CE. It was scheduled for a conference proceedings which was intended to appear in 2014 but which has been delayed. I hope it has something useful for fencers who want to learn more about medieval studies, and medievalists who want to learn more about physical culture. You can download the PDF from my website. (It is not beautifully formatted, because I made it from a PDF of the proofs which I had to convert to LibreOffice to edit then back to PDF to post; I am sorry, but going through the file and correcting the formatting would be very time consuming, and I can’t afford to take that many hours away from my other writing projects).

I wrote that article in 2013 because I saw a problem: the people who had discovered some basic things about how to read Fiore’s works had never published their ideas. For a few years they had passed them on in person, but as the community grew (and some of the pioneers drifted away) that was failing. This meant that newcomers (or people who could not easily travel to a few key events) had trouble talking to established members of the community (or people who happened to have a social network including people with academic interests who knew the right people). This also meant that the work of the pioneers threatened to be forgotten. In my naivety, I thought that if this information was written down where anyone who was interested could buy it, everyone would be able to communicate with everyone else again, and people would not have to waste time rediscovering things or running down blind alleys. I have now realized that many people just want to argue and have a bash, and some people won’t even read books if they are written by members of the wrong tribe (!!!) You can bring a horse to water, but can’t make him drink from that Pierian spring. But I hope that someone finds this paper helpful, and that in a hundred years, when scholars are writing papers on the second revival of historical European martial arts, they will have a glimpse at the large and diverse community which was involved at the beginning.

Further Reading: Sumerian hymn to Ninkasi ‘lady beer’ http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.4.23.1#