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  • World’s Last Latin Speakers in Africa? June 23, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    World's Last Latin Speakers in Africa?

    Yes, yes, Beachcombing knows that those bores in the Vatican and some Finnish broadcasters still speak Latin. He’s even been into monastic libraries where they won’t give you a manuscript unless you babble something from Lewis and Short. But what Beachcombing wants to know – and he doesn’t think he’ll get an intelligent response for […]

    A Medieval Christian Fairy World June 18, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    A Medieval Christian Fairy World

              Beachcombing greatly enjoys those doctrinal eccentricities that, from time to time, leak out of the mother church and its conglomerates. Who could forget, for example, the early Christian writer Origen mentioning matter-of-factly that  souls might be reincarnated Hindu-style ? The early modern church accidentally canonising the Buddha? Or, indeed, some modern mainstream beliefs – […]

    The Last Cavalry Charge in History? June 16, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Last Cavalry Charge in History?

                        It is a long ago Sunday and Beachcombing, aged ten, is playing with his plastic Napoleonic soldiers. In walks Beachcombing’s father with his dangerous pacifist tendencies and pointing to a group of charging cavalry observes: ‘They must have suffered terribly when their horses were shot […]

    Language Confusion in Vinland June 13, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Language Confusion in Vinland

            Most people, when they think of Vikings, think of men with rakish pointy hats and anger management issues. Beachcombing thinks, instead, of rare manuscripts being burnt, ‘drowned’ or thrown down monkly toilets – he detests the northern philistines.  However, one aspect of Viking life has long interested Beachcombing and that is their habit of […]

    Outrageous British Street Names June 8, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Outrageous British Street Names

              Be warned! This entry in Beachcombing’s encyclopaedia of the damned is not about British streets that happen to sound rude: Booty Lane (York), Percy’s Passage (London) etc etc etc. Rather it is about British street names that reflect our ancestors’ remarkable lack of embarrassment about the toilet and the bedroom and […]

    Longbow at Dunkirk June 4, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Longbow at Dunkirk

                        Donald Featherstone’s The Bowmen of England was written in 1968 and read by Beachcombing 7 long years ago. He is ashamed to say though – and this reflects badly on him rather than on the author – that the only thing he can remember is […]

    Circumnavigating Africa six centuries before Christ June 1, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Circumnavigating Africa six centuries before Christ

            Beachcombing can barely take down M. Cary and E.H. Warmington’s The Ancient Explorers without a tremble of excitement running through his body, such treasures are to be found there. One of his favourite sections is their dissection of Herodotus 4, 42-43, a passage where the Greek historian describes, with requisite scepticism, a […]

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