We arrive in Devizes to visit @WiltshireMuseum - which very much does what it says on the tin.
The museum was opened in 1874, & is run by the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society, which was founded 21 years previously (making it almost as old as @sussex_society!)
The county archaeological societies are one of the glories of England - but COVID is having a devastating impact on them. The best way to help the society of my native county is to visit @WiltshireMuseum: an absolute treasure trove of finds & wonders from across Wiltshire.
Horatio: a sad but evocative memorial of Devizes’ past. Once thought to have been shot in the Cape in 1800, but probably a circus lion, he was used as a display in a shop window, paraded annually during the 30s in the Devizes carnival, & used to raise money to fund 2 Spitfires.
"The Consortium’s case throughout the examination has been that the heritage impact of the proposal is so harmful such that the DCO ought to be refused. The new discovery adds further weight to this argument." #StonehengeTunnel
"The discovery undermines much of the work carried out by Historic England & upon which they invite the Secretary of State to conclude that the scheme will in fact be beneficial in heritage terms. The new discovery demonstrates that HE’s techniques are inadequate."
The conjunction of #Michaelmas with the grim news that a million people have died of #Covid cannot help but stir memories of a previous experience of pandemic.
In the spring of 590, when Gregory I was elected pope, plague was raging in Rome. When he emerged from his consecration, he saw arrows raining down from the sky, as tho' fired from an invisible bow. For 3 days he prayed - & then the arrows stopped falling.
In time, the story came to be told that St Michael had been seen standing on the Mausoleum of Hadrian, holding up a blazing sword - & that then, accepting the prayers of Gregory & the Romans as they went in procession, he had sheathed the sword, & at once the plague had stopped.
Achilles gives his name to the palace built by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (aka ‘Sisi’) in Corfu. She named it ‘Achilleion’ in memory of her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf, who had likewise died young.
Sisi - a precocious wearer of trousers - seems to have been very sassy...
“The ECB has done a remarkable job for supporters of the game, negotiating the arrival of four separate countries, managing the risks appropriately and staging 18 international matches of varying length at two venues 230 miles apart — all without a hiccup.”
Massive, massive thanks due to West Indies, Pakistan & Australia as well. Bless them all!
“It was not the case, as one so often reads, that the “lines” between public & private “spheres” in Athens were “blurred”. It was rather the case that there were no discrete “spheres” there to speak of at all” - Greg Anderson
So where does our conception of the individual come from, if it is not to be regarded as a given?
(You know what I think the answer to that question is...)
“The materialist, secularist, and individualist foundations of western modernity, the conditions of liberalism’s very possibility as thought and practice, were simply not there in antiquity.”
The notion that the Church's prohibition against cousin-marriage was "accidental," a cynical scam to get rich, is grotesquely reductive. The reason for it lay in a sacral understanding of marriage fundamental to Christian theology from the time of Paul.
"The insistence of scripture that a man & a woman, whenever they took to the marital bed, were joined as Christ & his Church were joined, becoming one flesh, gave to both a rare dignity... It was consent, not coercion that constituted the only proper foundation of a marriage."
"The Church, by pledging itself to this conviction, and putting it into law, was treading on the toes of patriarchs everywhere." #Dominion
A tale of 2 rivers: an illustration of the ecological mess this country is in. Just before lockdown, I walked the #Ver, one of the chalk streams that - with the exception of a few in northern France - are unique to southern England. It was dead.
Then on Friday I was taken by @Feargal_Sharkey to walk the #Itchen, one of the most famous stretches of fishing in the world, & which is still just about holding its own against water companies desperate to extract its water & fill it with sewage.
To Hampshire, there to walk the line of the #Itchen from its source to Winchester, ancient seat of the West Saxon kings. The river threads through a landscape reach in history & legend: the scene of poltergeists, Civil War battles, ancestral curses & 18th century cricket teams.
The etymology of the #Itchen is uncertain, but may derive from the ancient name for the New Forest, Ytene. The river has witnessed repeated attempts to make it more navigable. The 1st took place in the 12th C, when the Bishop of Winchester built England's 1st canal reservoir.
The #Itchen is also, of course, one of England's - and therefore the world's - most celebrated rivers for fly-fishing, & we shall be finishing today's walk at the grave of Izaak Walton in Winchester Cathedral.
It can be argued that Cain, which drew on the recent discovery of "the bones of enormous & unknown animals" - one of which, in 1824 (the year of Byron's death), would formally be named 'Megalosaurus'' - is the first work of literature to feature dinosaurs.
At Wormsley, @AuthorsCC need 12 off the last over to win. 2005 Ashes legend Matthew Hoggard - who I got out earlier In the match - to bowl it.
And that’s it! Victory by 4 wickets! For the second match in a row, @AuthorsCC win against a team of Lords Taverners STUFFED with Test & 1st class cricketers. 2020 turns out not to be so bad after all. Amazing result!
Honestly, it was a team effort. Everyone contributed.