Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Scholarly editions and databases online

In the good old days of the early Internet, the appearance of a new site or resource often attracted a lot of attention. Now there are so many good resources that it’s quite easy for them to slip by without people who might really be interested finding out about them.

Here are three resources related to medieval military history and chivalry, one of my own particular interests. I am not surprised if you’ve missed them.

What looks like a brand-new one just caught my attention. It is a site devoted to the Spanish epic, the Song of the Cid (Cantar de mio Cid) Its purpose is to make the text more accessible in its original language.  Thus its primary users will be students of medieval Castilian who want to compare the readings of the chief manuscript with a “normalized” text, to a spoken version, to an English translation. There is a lot of useful information packed into the site, and it is really pretty to look at, too. One gripe: it is not so easy to find the English translation. There is a button that takes you straight to it, but that button is not labelled. I rather think that was people who come to the site will be using the English version, even if they are not the core audience for whom the site was built.

A similar site has been around for a while. It is the Online Froissart, which like the Cid site presents textual material in a variety of ways, with once again serious scholars being the core audience. The value of the site is underlined by the fact that the the best print edition Froissart’s over a century old and still unfinished. Looking at book prices for much less specialized and complicated scholarly works, one wonders whether the print edition will be finished and if anyone will be able to afford it on that happy day. The editors of the site have broken down one set of barriers to this key later medieval work.

And how about Armour in Art?  It describes itself thus:  “ArmourInArt.com is a searchable database of medieval art featuring armour. Items in the database range in date from 1100 to 1450 and are located throughout Europe. Content is varied - frescos, altars, stained glass, reliefs, etc - anything that is not an effigy/brass or manuscript is included.”

Why those latter two exclusions? Because, Mr. Bones, there related sites to cover that of the material. See the links just above.

Even yet, the Internet offers us some good serious content along with the kitty cats and the child stars who have aged so badly.

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