Medieval Times

Medieval ManuscriptRheumatoid Arthritis Guy loves everything Medieval. (Please note, however, that I have never participated in a Medieval Times or a Renaissance Fair!)

This probably has something to do with the fact that during high school and right before college, I spent a year a half living in an Italian city that was really well known for it’s well-preserved medieval town. Sitting on top of a hill that hovered right below the Alps and surrounded by a huge defensive stone wall, the towns four entrances are clearly marked with carvings of the winged St. Mark’s lion, the symbol of Venice.

It was a wonderful experience. Every afternoon, I walked through the narrow cobblestone streets as sounds from the nearby music conservatory passed by me.

While I was in college, I had to take an extensive set of courses (known as “the Core”) in many different subjects, including Music Humanities. Studying about music in any which way was completely new to me. I loved the entire course, but memories from the section on medieval music remain in my head to this day. (My current music collection includes a pretty large collection of medieval music.)

And while I did not take advantage of them at the time, whenever I am back in New York City one of my favorite places to visit is the Cloisters and it’s collection of unicorn tapestries. The past couple of times that I was in Paris, the Musee National de Moyen Age – with it’s unicorn tapestries – was also on my list of visited places.

In one of my graduate seminars, I even did a spatial analysis of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. When I finally had an opportunity to walk through the streets and corridors of Mont Saint-Michel (okay, this was a French monastery and the one in the book was an Italian monastery, but still!), it was as if all of the architectonic connections that I had shared in that course were actually coming alive.

And at the moment, a huge coffee-table book on medieval illuminated manuscripts is currently on my to-do list. (It’s actually be on that list for quite a while – maybe I can change this soon!) The graphic designer side of me loves to just flip through this book and take in all of the amazing samples.

I had another medieval image earlier this afternoon, but it wasn’t necessarily a good one. As I struggled to wake up from my nap, I could have sworn that I was attached to four ropes and was being drawn and quartered by strong horses. My shoulders felt like they were being pulled from their sockets. My elbows were next to useless. The internal anatomy of my hand could clearly be distinguished by the (seemingly hundred) points of pain.

Eventually, the worst passed. I chuckled at my thoughts of medieval torture, and immediately begin to fill my head with the more pleasant aspects of medieval culture.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

3 Comments
3 comments
  1. Laurie says:

    Like you, I am really interested in all things medieval (except the torture devices) Do colleges even require common studies/humanities/art appreciation courses any more? I was lucky to get those classes in high school and college, and can’t tell you how thrilled I was when i went to London and saw a real flying buttress…made those classes come alive.

    Europe is on my wish list for summer/fall 2011, but first I need to get through my son’s wedding and do lots of overtime and practice stairclimbing. Figure I’d rather spend my money to do things I’ll always remember than sit home and wish I had done stuff while I was still able!!

    Keep those torture implements away from us!!!

  2. Katie says:

    Cool post! I was a medieval studies major in college (also never been to a fair, the restaurant, etc.) thought about grad school and doctorate in the same, but all the good schools were in places that were COLD (and I had picked New Orleans for undergrad). Wound up in grad school for architecture instead, had to quit after bout of “mono” (probably would have been in trouble with my wrists if I’d actually become an architect), and, had a spell in theology and then wound up a lawyer. Still trying to figure out how all that happened…

  3. Katie says:

    Oh, and I certainly hope your pain doesn’t get so bad again!! Your post somehow reminded me of sleep paralysis I used to get…it has been a while since I’ve been awakened by pain like that, I’m so sorry!

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