I had started to run a small feature titled Medieval Monday at Facebook, but found that I didn't have enough room for the post on my profile. I've therefored moved it over to my blog. Basically, in between my usual blogs and every Monday, I will quote a small piece in translation from a Medieval primary source. It will be as it takes my fancy, but I hope to show the rich texture of Medieval life and how similar and different it was to our own.
My first post for this new series at my blog venue comes from the Historia Novella of William of Malmsbury, who wrote this prior to 1142. I'd written a shortened version at Facebook a couple of weeks back, but here it is with fuller flavour. It concerns men with long hair.
'In the twenty eighth year of his reign the king returned from Normandy to England. In the twenty ninth year a thing befell in England that may cause wonder to our wearers of long hair who, forgetting what they were born, enjoy transforming themselves to look like women. One of the knights in my part of the country, proud of his very luxuriant hair but alarmed by the stings of conscience, imagined in his sleep that he saw someone strangling him with his own tresses, and so, on waking up, he promptly cut off all the excess of hair. This precedent quickly made its way through England and, as a penalty just suffered is wont to influence the mind, almost all the knights had no objection to their hair being cut to a reasonable length. But this strictness did not last for long, since a year had hardly passed before all who regarded themselvs as courtiers relapsed into their old fault; they vied with women in the length of their locks and when the hair was inadequate, they fastened on a kind of wig, forgetting, or rather not knowing, the Apostle's judgement. 'If a man have long hair it is a shame unto him.'
Nothing new under the sun is there?
As I have the time, I am also adding to my sidebar the first and last sentences of my work in progress each day. It'll keep changing. First lot's tonight, but will be different tomorrow!