Mending and recycling clothing in Late Antiquity

Originally posted at Visualising Late Antiquity by

Clothing in Late Antiquity was not the disposable commodity it is nowadays; it was valuable enough to be named in a will, used as surety for loans, or included in a dowry. Literary sources suggest that wealthy and high status individuals had many and beautiful clothes, however for the middle and lower classes clothing was an expensive necessity that was not to be wasted. This was true for the majority of the population, and ranged from enslaved and poverty stricken workers to the relatively prosperous members of the working middle class. While we might expect the former to have ragged and patched clothing, the evidence indicates that even members of the latter group might have needed used or recycled clothing as well as materials to embellish, mend and maintain their clothes.

A child’s wool tunic featuring skilful darning in matching wool (Whitworth Art Gallery T.8375). [Photo: Faith Morgan]

Faith Morgan’s examination of Late Antique garments shows that even high quality garments were …

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Historical Novel Blog Tour

Intro 

As an author of a mere half of a book, I feel greatly honoured to have been invited by the enterprising Tiffani Burnett-Velez to participate in her Historical Novel Blog Tour, mingling with such illustrious writers as Meara PlattDouglas HawkinsA. David SinghClaudia LongGreg MichaelsBarbara Eppich StrunaEleanor Parker Sapia. Thanks for the privilege.

Who you are, where you’re from, your writing credits

The bearded one

I wrote this bit under palms in the Brazilian jungle, sipping a freshly-made caipirinha. All nine family members – including two charming grandchildren – were visiting our daughter-in-law’s relatives for Christmas.

Born in (old) Jersey GB, my father was Swiss, my mother of French Huguenot stock. I studied physics in London and met my Finnish wife in Geneva during a research project at CERN. After many moves, we have settled in a beautiful village near Zürich, Switzerland. I’m now facing the prospect of retirement. Continue reading

I asked a Hippie for an Eagle

Kili and Kwee were real eagles. Nothing to be afraid of. Not like the fearsome AquilaAquila, who never took his eyes off you, always looking for a chance to punish you for things you hadn’t actually done.

Silvanus had spent many an hour watching them – masters of soaring – as they hunted for dormice or frogs, or repaired one of last year’s nests in preparation for a new family. Continue reading

Why the Geese?

Cerbonius and his geeseCerbonius was a colourful character — priest, refugee, hermit, bishop, bear-tamer, animal-lover, miracle-worker and sensational papal visitor — who was later canonised by the Roman Catholic Church. He is remembered for his intimate relationship with God, “a man with a venerable life, who gave evidence of great holiness”, as St. Gregory the Great wrote in his “Dialogues”. Continue reading

What’s his face?

Many aspects form a novel – plot, pace, voice, character arc, setting, backstory, etc. But a novel wouldn’t be anything without characters. And readers want to get to know the main players. Among other things, they want to discover what they look like. And that, in turn, means they want to see their faces.

I’m not good at faces. Legend has it that I didn’t recognise my mother, although we had arranged to meet outside a certain shop. Often it’s only when an acquaintance I haven’t seen for a while does something – raises their eyebrows, speaks or walks in a characteristic way – that I realise who they are; their personality shines through.

Q: How can I, who don’t notice faces, learn to describe my storybook characters’ appearance?

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