How Castilian got its ñ

Trying to think of an eye-catching blog title for the evolution of NN towards Ñ, I had to weigh up two options: either the lovey-dovey cliché ‘when two become one’, or the African mythology approach: ‘how the (elephant) got its (trunk)’. I found the latter more appealing, since I judged that the Spice Girls might … Continue reading “How Castilian got its ñ”

Muslim-Christian fraternising in the Estoria

Interracial relations are nothing new; the practice is fairly endemic throughout human history. As for Medieval Iberia, interracial relations occasionally traversed religious lines. Since the Quran permits Muslim men to marry Christian and Jewish women, numerous Muslim rulers took Christian wives and concubines, to meet their own political ends. However, the inverse is less common: … Continue reading “Muslim-Christian fraternising in the Estoria”

Dirty dealings in the Estoria

Whilst working on folios 85 to 89 in Escorial II, I came across a dark tale of treachery and deceit in the tenth century. According to the Estoria, King Blasquez was on rather bad terms with one of his Christian neighbours. So he had a letter written to al-Mansur, the military dictator of al-Andalus, persuading the Muslim … Continue reading “Dirty dealings in the Estoria”

A solar eclipse whilst transcribing…

Whilst transcribing Folio 55v of E2, I was hugely surprised when suddenly the sun became dark, for an hour or so. No, there wasn’t a solar eclipse here in Birmingham (although the weather’s so miserable and dull today it may as well be!). I was in fact lucky enough to read about one in the … Continue reading “A solar eclipse whilst transcribing…”