I am enjoying Terry Jones’s Barbarians, which endeavors to present history from the point of view of the folks whom the Romans called “Barbarians.” I remember, when we were homeschooling, being surprised at how much more our own culture seemed to owe to the European tribal groups than to the Mediterranean classical civilizations. Looking at their mythology, way of life, governments, position of women, and so forth, I found myself wondering why I had always been taught that we were the cultural descendants of the Greeks and Romans, with whom we had so little in common.
So I am not unreceptive to this equal time approach to European history.
As with any major revision of historical interpretation, though, you sort of feel as though you should be running off to check the footnotes all the time. The comparison of pre-Roman roads and Roman roads seems pretty straightforward, but the claim that the Celts had indoor plumbing made me wonder.
Click here for a review of the TV documentary which apparently preceded the book. The reviewer seems to feel that Barbarians is largely an attack on America, with an undertone of back-to-the-land harking back to European tribal mythology that reminds the reviewer of the Nazi fascination with Teutonic hero tales.
I haven’t gotten that far. I’m still in the celebration of Celtic engineering. I’m enjoying the book, though.
We got our house undecorated, the party was fun, and I did some sewing. Much of the sewing was looking at the pieces and thinking how they might fit together. The bag should be finished today, but the trousers may take longer. I am doing the traditional menswear styled version of McCall’s 3740, and there are a lot of counterintuitive bits.
It may be that my major battle with clothing construction will be about following directions accurately. I am accustomed to making decisions about projects as I go along, and treating instructions as a starting point. This allows the craftsperson to make a traditional quilt or sweater which is nonetheless quite special and individual.
“Special” and “individual” are not what I am after in a pair of trousers, though. An intriguingly-shaped fly or exciting new ways with pockets are not what I want at all.
And, speaking of the special and individual results of crafting, do not miss the pattern in this month’s issue of Today’s Creative Homearts for a matching shrug and bottle holder. This is a crocheted faux-argyle sort of mini poncho with, yes, a matching cozy for a wine bottle.
I am trying to think of an occasion on which a person would find such a thing useful.
The party that I attended last night included wine. I took a salad, but some folks brought bottles. What if they had turned up with their bottles in little crocheted holders that matched their wraps? Would that have been kicky and fun? Were the Celts equal to the Romans in engineering, but less brutal? Will I be able to construct a convincing pair of trousers?
So many deep questions…