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qwallath

Qwallath

Hi, I'm Oscar, a historical linguist from the Netherlands who also likes to write about music, games, and history. Check out my longer blog posts and other writings on Sub Specie.

Currently reading

Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo
Mary Douglas
Signs: an Introduction to Semiotics
Thomas A. Sebeok, Marcel Danesi
Language and Space
Lynn Nadel, Mary A. Peterson, Paul Bloom

Lichaam, eer en recht in middeleeuws Friesland: een studie naar de Oudfriese boeteregisters (Middeleeuwse studies en bronnen (114))

Lichaam, eer en recht in middeleeuws Friesland: Een studie naar de Oudfriese boeteregisters (Middeleeuwse Studies en Bronnen 114) - Han Nijdam First of all, I'm perhaps a bit biased about this book, since it was written by a teacher of mine as a doctoral thesis. That disclaimer out of the way, I can join the sizable group of fellow scholars who have nothing but respect for this work, which is erudite, thorough, and accessible for a wider audience at the same time.

Nijdam has studied the mediaeval Frisian legal fine lists that were used to calculate the amount of money that had to be paid to compensate for bodily (and honourific) injuries inflicted upon others. The lists contain, for example, detailed descriptions of how to compensate monetarily for all sorts of offenses, ranging from broken bones to cuts, from pulling hair to throwing beer, and from rape to murder.

All this is put into the context of the time - a mediaeval culture of honour without a central authority, where bloodfeuding was common practice as a means of maintaining political and social balance - as well as a broader context of human cultural universals pertaining to conceptions of the body and its relationship to the outside world. The author shows admirably the parallels between body and family, body and land, and body and cosmos.

Drawing upon historical linguistics, mediaeval history, and anthropology, this is an interdisciplinary scientific work that demands the attention of anyone interested in cultural history. A work that deserves to be translated into English as well.