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Thread: Period literature part one
02-08-1999, 11:46 PM #1Kenneth GauckGuest
Period literature part one
In a conversation with email@example.com we discussed historian Georges
Duby, and afterward recalled some excellent comments he had to make on what
literature had to say about magic, period behavior, and other elements that
might be useful. I will review that information discussed in _A History of
Private Life: Revalations of the Medieval World_.
Modes of Presentation:
A person might dress all in one color, each of which had an intentifiable
meaning. Red indicated evil, green indicated rage, black originally had
many meanings but later became increasingly unfavorable, blue revealed true
identity of those who would use a disguise.
Men and women could refuse to reveal their identity, some to conceal a stain
they represented to the family, such as the unmarried daughter with a child,
who flees to protect her family. Many of these were complicated by rape or
an incestuous father.
The masked knight was a popular device in the 13th century. A hero's
weapons might offer some clue of their true identity. The knight chose
anonymity and suspension of social rank in order to be recognized for his
physical valor alone. Kalilah bint Daouda and her five siblings may fall
into this catagory as they attenmpt to "aquit themselves best" in the eyes
of their father, Patriarch of Elinie. Once reknown is one, the knight caps
this off by revealing his name. The point is that identity is earned, and
must be proven again and again.
Further messages about identity lay in mysterious incriptions, embroidered
patterns, and unnamed poertraits. Your character was given some clothing,
or just a bit of cloth and told it is his family's sign. After gaining some
fame and reknown, his badge is recognized and his identity revealed.
Mirrors are used to reveal not only imperfections in dress and appearance,
but imperfections in character as well. They have a power to show more than
reality. Vampires are one well known case. Snow White contains another:
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" The story of
Narcissus, though based on a reflection in a pool, or in the medieval
version, a fountain, nevertheless is based on the power of a reflected
image. Nostradomus used reflections in his divinations.
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