The Medieval "Bling" Factor
"Furriners are bastards."I'll admit to some conflicting allegiances here. I rather like Johnny's attitude. On the other hand, here in Korea, I'm one of those clever bastards. Well, I like to think so. The clever part, anyway.
His teacher overheard and admonished him, "Johnny! Now, that's not very nice. This year, I'm going to try to change your mind about foreigners."
And she spent a lot of classtime that year teaching about the many foreigners who had made various sorts of important discoveries, invented various types of useful devices, or accomplished various kinds of great feats.
At the end of the year, she turned to Johnny, who had quietly listened to all of the evidence demonstrating the greatness of foreigners, and said, "Well, Johnny, I guess you have a different opinion of foreigners now."
Johnny grinned and said, "Yep. Furriners are clever bastards."
And as one teaching Medieval English literature ... among other things that I don't do especially well, such as teaching American culture and Western civilization ... I find my modernist self in the position of defending the 'Dark' Ages to my little-Johnny students who think that the Medievals were primitive barbarians.
Well, they weren't primitive and barbaric, and here's one more bit of evidence. According to a BBC News report, "Rare sword had 7th Century bling," a sword found at Bamburgh Castle in 1960 that had been fogotten by the archaeological world has been rediscovered and metallurgically tested:
Experts at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, say X-rays of the 7th Century sword prove it was made from a unique method using slices of carbonised iron .... They revealed the blade of the sword, which predates the Vikings, was made up of six, individual strands of carbonised iron bonded together .... Archaeologist Paul Gething said [that] ... "What makes it unique is that the billet is made up of six strands of carbonised iron, which have been micro-welded to bond them together. There have been swords found before which have been made of up to four strands, but none have ever been found with six. This is a vastly superior sword which, in its time, would have had serious bling factor."See? Those Northumbrian Anglo-Saxons of the seventh century had highly sophisticated metallurgical technology. I guess that changes your opinion of the Medievals.
Little Johnny grins and says, "Yep. Them Mid-Evils was sophisticated barbarians!"