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Morphological Characterisation And Molecular Sex Determination Of Human Remains From The 15th–17th Centuries In Latvia

Abstract

Sex determination is one of the most important and initial steps in human profile identification from archaeological material. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the application of molecular approaches alongside morphological methods for sex determination in archaeological human skeletal remains. Human skeletal remains were excavated from three cemeteries: St Gertrude Old Church, Dom Square and St Peter’s Church, of 15th–17th century burials in Rīga, Latvia. Morphological and molecular genetic methods, including amplification of genes AMELX/Y and SRY were used to analyse seven skeletal remains. The conducted analyses of morphological features identified sex in all seven cases (two females and five males). By molecular analyses of mediaeval DNA it was possible to determine sex in five of seven (71%) samples. In all positive cases full agreement between morphological estimation and molecular genetic methods was observed. To conclude, DNA analysis can be considered for sex identification in cases with no signs of sexual dimorphism (juvenile skeletons) or partially preserved skeletons.

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The Game of the Sphere or of the Universe — a Spiral Race Game from 17th century France

Abstract

Simple race games, played with dice and without choice of move, are known from antiquity. In the late 16th century, specific examples of this class of game emerged from Italy and spread rapidly into other countries of Europe. Pre-eminent was the Game of the Goose, which spawned thousands of variants over the succeeding centuries to the present day, including educational, polemical and promotional variants.1

The educational variants began as a French invention of the 17th century, the earliest of known date being a game to teach Geography, the Jeu du Monde by Pierre Duval, published in 1645. By the end of the century, games designed to teach several of the other accomplishments required of the noble cadet class had been developed: History, the Arts of War, and Heraldry being notable among them.

A remarkable example of a game within this class is the astronomical game, Le Jeu de la Sphere ou de l’Univers selon Tycho Brahe, published in 1661 by E(s)tienne Vouillemont in Paris. The present paper analyses this game in detail, showing how it combines four kinds of knowledge systems: natural philosophy, based on the Ptolemaic sphere; biblical knowledge; astrology, with planetary and zodiacal influences; and classical knowledge embodied in the names of the constellations. The game not only presents all four on an equal footing but also explores links between them, indicating some acceptance of an overall knowledge-system. Despite the title, there is no evidence of the Tychonian scheme for planetary motion, nor of any Copernican or Galilean influence.

This game is to be contrasted with medieval race games, based on numerology and symbolism, and with race games towards the end of the Early Modern period in which science is fully accepted.

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Muzyczne konta kry między Spiszem a Śląskiem w XVI i XVII wieku / Music contacts between Spiš and Silesia in the 16th and 17th centuries

Summary

Many years of research on the musical past of 16th- and 17th-century Slovakia recently uncovered new facts that demonstrate that there were intense contacts between Spiš and Silesia. These relationships pertain first of all to religious music played in Evangelical churches.

The evidence of musical contacts between Spiš and Silesia in the 16th century is the choirbook (with only the tenor voice extant) from the high school library in Kežmarok (Hungarian Késmárk, German Käsmark, Kesmark). This relic contains many similarities with the content of music manuscripts from Wrocław (inter alia the works of composers Jacobus Gallus [Handl], Jacobus Le Maistre, or Michele Varotto), as well as compositions by the Silesian composer and intellectual, Martin Kinner von Scherffenstein.

Starting from the late 16th and early 17th centuries far more musical pieces were preserved in Spiš. Worth noting among them is the music collection from Levoča (Hungarian Löcse, German Leutschau). This collection comprises both manuscripts (tablatures, choirbooks), and music prints. Silesian traces can be also found here, inter alia in the form of entries by Johann Plotz of Brzeg (Brieg) and many repertoire similarities with the then contemporary manuscripts and music prints from Wrocław.

In the 17th century Spiš and Silesia were also connected by direct personal contacts of musicians, other artists, and intellectuals. For example, the Silesian musician Daniel Speer, and the pastor Lucas Wencelius of Bielsko (Bielitz), Cieszyn Silesia, stayed in Spiš for some time.

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Restoration of a Chasuble Fragment from the Half of the 17th Century: New Methods for Spot Cleaning of Historic Textiles

Abstract

The National Museum collections include a liturgical vestment in form of a fragment of a chasuble dating back to the mid-17th century. The fragment is a very interesting example of rustic embroidery. As the textile was in poor condition it needed to be restored, a process which included cleaning and stitching repairs. The state of the material meant that the chasuble could not be washed, but the nature of the stains enabled local cleaning methods to be used. This involved wet cleaning with amedical aspirator and water absorption cleaning using agar in the form of a solid gel. Finally, a suitable adjustment form was created for longtermstorage and for study or exhibition.

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Following the Traces of Books in the Brisigell Family

Abstract

The Brisigells were one of the families that settled in Bohemia in connection with land acquisitions during the Thirty Years’ War. The family achieved its greatest wealth in the second generation at the turn of the 18th century. The third generation suffered a gradual decline, caused i.a. by financial difficulties and debt. After the middle of the 18th century, the family disappeared from Bohemia. The electronic cataloguing of early printed books with systematically recorded provenances has made it possible to identify in the collections of the Strahov Library and the National Library a small set of books previously owned by individual family members. Not only has the analysis enabled insight into the reading interests of the Brisigell family, but it has also provided information on the wandering of the books within the family as well as within friendly and business relations with other noblemen in the regions of West and Southwest Bohemia.

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Conceptualisation of Theatrical Characters in the Digital Paradigm: Needs, Problems and Foreseen Solutions

Abstract

This paper looks at how digital humanities can modify our more traditional understanding and conceptualisation of literary characters. Through the analysis of cast lists from more than 880 French plays from 1630 to 1810, and the “close reading” of some sample texts, it proposes a classification of units of characterisation (caractérisèmes) that can be identified in plays. In the last part, the paper sketches a protocol for the encoding of these characters in a TEI conformant way, and discusses the advantages and the drawbacks of such an endeavour.

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Finding Refuge in King Lear: From Brexit to Shakespeare’s European Value

Abstract

This article considers how Shakespeare’s King Lear has become a Brexit play across a range of discourses and media, from theatre productions and journalism to social media. With its themes of division and disbursement, of cliff edges and tragic self-immolation, Lear is the Shakespearean play that has been turned to as metaphor and analogy for the UK’s decision following the 23 June 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. Reading this presentist application of Shakespeare, the article attends to Shakespeare as itself a discourse through which cultural ideas, both real and imaginary, about Brexit and the EU are negotiated. It asks how can we might remap Lear in this present context―what other meanings and histories are to be derived from the play, especially in Lear’s exile and search for refuge, or in Cordelia’s departure for and return from France? Moving from a consideration of a Brexit Lear to an archipelagic and even European Lear, this article argues that Shakespeare is simultaneously a site of supranational connections and of a desire for values of empathy and refuge that reverberate with debates about migration in Europe.

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“Making Things Look Disconcertingly Different”: In Conversation with Declan Donnellan

Abstract

In this interview acclaimed director Declan Donnellan, co-founder of the company Cheek by Jowl, discusses his experience of performing Shakespeare in Europe and the attendant themes of cultural difference, language and translation. Donnellan evokes his company’s commitment to connecting with audiences globally. He keeps returning to Shakespeare, as his theatre enables the sharing of our common humanity. It allows a flesh-and-blood carnal interchange between the actors and the audience which directly affects individuals. This interchange has significant consequences in terms of translation and direction.

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Theatre Reviews
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Je suis Shakespeare: The Making of Shared Identities in France and Europe in Crisis

Abstract

This essay investigates the ways in which Shakespearean production speaks to France and wider European crises in 2015 and 2016. The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet were directed by Jérôme Hankins and Eric Ruf respectively in December 2015 and reflected significant contemporaneous issues, including: (1) two Paris terrorist attacks which sent shock waves throughout France and Europe; (2) the belief that shared identities were under threat; (3) concerns over shifting power dynamics in Europe. The portrayal of these issues and their reception bring into question the extent to which cultural productions can help to promote social change or shape perceptions of national and pan-European events. This essay focuses on whether the plays successfully complicate binary narratives around cultural politics in a context of crises by creating alternative representations of difference and mobilities. It concludes that appropriating Shakespeare’s cultural authority encourages some degree of public debate. However, the function of Shakespeare’s drama remains strongly connected to its value as an agent of cultural, political and commercial mobility, ultimately making it difficult radically to challenge ideologies.

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