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After all, this is the page that's meant to lure in the Fidelma fan, fellow Fidelmaniac, and hopefully, potential International Sister Fidelma Society member. Yes, we all love the good Sister, but the "bottom line," as it were, is that we are always recruiting to bring more fellow Fidelma fans into the fold and your help is ALWAYS needed!!

But all that simply wasn't enough. What if someone is coming to our page had no idea who Sister Fidelma was heaven forefend! They would need someone to quickly and succinctly explain who, what, where, and why, in hopes that the visitor will want to delve further into Fidelma's World. You listen to her narration and are easily taken back to 7th century Ireland. We cannot thank Caroline enough for her participation in this overall team effort, updating and enhancing the website to hopefully bring in a fresh batch of Fidelmaniacs who have been quietly lurking in the shadows, waiting for someone to ask them to come in.

Ed ited by Edward J.


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Rielly and David Robert Wooten. Order directly from the publisher. About the Book. The novels, set mainly in 7th century Ireland, also include a great deal of history, which is not surprising given that the author is actually Peter Berresford Ellis, a noted Celtic historian. Some of the essays analyze aspects of the novels, focusing especially on the protagonist and her partner in detection and, ultimately, husband, Brother Eadulf.

Other essays place Fidelma and the novels within the tradition of detective fiction. Still others explore the historical, intellectual, spiritual and geographical contexts for her labors. About the Authors. Edward J. He has presented papers at the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture as well as other conferences. He is the author of about two dozen books and lives in Westbrook, Maine. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

While the map has always been reasonably well received, we have never been thoroughly satisfied with it. The new map features all of the same locations, updated with the latest titles, but the map itself is much more aesthetically pleasing.

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The prints, from CafePress, are extremely well done, and are available unframed, as well as framed in smaller sizes. Items and ! His most famous poem is a description of the Moselle, which for all its literary affectations evokes most magically the smiling countryside which was the background of his life. High above the river on either bank stand the villas and country houses, with their courts and lawns and pillared porticos, and the hot baths from which, if you will, you can plunge into the stream.

9. Medieval Women Writers: An Annotated Bibliography for Teachers

The sunny hillside is covered with vines, and from slope to hill-top the husbandmen call to each other and the wayfarer on the towpath or the bargemen floating by, shout their rude jests to the loitering vinedressers. Far out in midstream the fisherman trails his dripping net and on a rock by the shore the angler plies his rod. And, as twilight falls, the deepening shadow of the green hillside is reflected in the water and gazing downward the boatman can almost count the trembling vines and almost see the swelling of the grapes.

Equally peaceful, equally pleasant is life on Ausonius' own estate in the Bordelais, his little patrimony he calls it although he had a thousand acres of vineyard and tillage and wood. Miss Waddell has reminded us, on the authority of Saintsbury whom else? Then there are all his relatives to be commemorated in verse, his grandfather and his grandmother and his sisters and his cousins and his aunts especially his aunts.

And when the family circle palls there is the senior common room to fall back upon and the professors of Bordeaux to be celebrated in their turn. Professors were important people in the empire of the fourth century; Symmachus says that it is the mark of a flourishing state that good salaries should be paid to professors; though what exactly we are to deduce from that in the light of history I should hesitate to say.

So Ausonius writes a collection of poems about the professors of Bordeaux.

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There are thirty-two of them and all are celebrated. There is Minervius the orator, who had a prodigious memory and after a game of backgammon was wont [pg ] to conduct a post-mortem over every move. There is Anastasius the grammarian, who was so foolish as to leave Bordeaux for a provincial university and thenceforth languished in well-merited obscurity.

There is Attius Tiro Delphidius, who retired from a legal career into the professorial chair, but could never be got to take any trouble with his men, to the disappointment of their parents. There is Jocundus the grammarian, who did not really deserve his title, but was such a kind man that we will commemorate him among men of worth, although he was, strictly speaking, unequal to the job.

There is Exuperius, who was very good-looking and whose eloquence sounded superb until you examined it and found that it meant nothing. There is Dynamius, who slipped from the paths of virtue with a married lady in Bordeaux and left the place rather hastily, but fortunately fell on his feet in Spain. There is Victorius the usher, who liked only the most abstruse historical problems, such as what the pedigree of the sacrificial priest at Cureo was long before Numa's day, or what Castor had to say on all the shadowy kings, and who never got up as far as Tully or Virgil, though he might have done so if he had gone on reading long enough, but death cut him off too soon.

They seem oddly familiar figures except of course, Dynamius and their chronicler contrives to make them live. Such is the world depicted for us by Ausonius. But while this pleasant country house and senior common room life was going calmly on, what do we find happening in the history books? Ausonius was a man of nearly fifty when the Germans swarmed across the Rhine in , pillaging forty-five flourishing cities, and pitching their camps on the banks of the Moselle. He had seen the great Julian take up arms 'O Plato, Plato, what a task for a philosopher' and in a series of brilliant campaigns drive them out again.

Ten years later when he was tutor to Gratian he had himself accompanied the emperor Valentinian on another campaign against the same foes. While he was preening himself on his consulship ten years later still, he must have heard of the disastrous battle of Adrianople in the east, when the Goths defeated a Roman army and slew an emperor.

He died in and within twelve years of his death the host of Germans had burst across the Rhine, 'all Gaul [pg ] was a smoking funeral pyre', and the Goths were at the gates of Rome. And what have Ausonius and his correspondents to say about this? Not a word. Ausonius and Symmachus and their set ignore the barbarians as completely as the novels of Jane Austen ignore the Napoleonic wars.

Going, going Some thirty-five years after the death of Ausonius, in the midst of the disastrous sixth century, was born Sidonius Apollinaris, Gallo-Roman aristocrat, father-in-law of an emperor, sometime prefect of Rome and in the end Bishop of Clermont. Sidonius Apollinaris, or thereabouts to or perhaps a few years later. Much had happened between the death of Ausonius and his birth.

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The lights were going out all over Europe. Barbarian kingdoms had been planted in Gaul and Spain, Rome herself had been sacked by the Goths; and in his lifetime the collapse went on, ever more swiftly. He was a young man of twenty when the ultimate horror broke upon the West, the inroad of Attila and the Huns. That passed away, but when he was twenty-four the Vandals sacked Rome. He saw the terrible German king-maker Ricimer throne and unthrone a series of puppet emperors, he saw the last remnant of Gallic independence thrown away and himself become a barbarian subject, and he saw a few years before he died the fall of the empire in the west.

Historical Mysteries

They cannot, Sidonius and his friends, ignore as Ausonius and his friends did, that something is happening to the empire. The men of the fifth century are concerned at these disasters and they console themselves, each according to his kind. There are some who think it cannot last. After all, they say, the empire has been in a tight place before and has always got out of it in the end and risen supreme over its enemies.

Thus Sidonius himself, the very year after they sacked the city; Rome has endured as much before--there was Porsenna, there was Brennus, there was Hannibal Only that time Rome did not get over it. Others tried to use the disasters to castigate the sins of society.

Thus Salvian of Marseilles who would no doubt have been called the gloomy dean if he had not [pg ] been a bishop. For him all that the decadent Roman civilization needs is to copy some of the virtues of these fresh young barbarian people. There is the familiar figure of Orosius, defending the barbarians with the argument that when the Roman empire was founded it was founded in blood and conquest and can ill afford to throw stones at the barbarians; and after all the barbarians are not so bad.

Others desert the Empire altogether and like St Augustine put their hope in a city not made with hands--though Ambrose, it is true, let fall the pregnant observation that it was not the will of God that his people should be saved by logic-chopping. And how were they living? We have only to read the letters written by Sidonius during the period between and , when he was living on his estate in Auvergne, to realize that on the surface all is going on exactly as before.

Gaul is shrunk, it is true, to a mere remnant between three barbarian kingdoms, but save for that we might be back in the days of Ausonius. There is the luxurious villa, with its hot baths and swimming pool, its suites of rooms, its views over the lake; and there is Sidonius inviting his friends to stay with him or sending round his compositions to the professors and the bishops and the country-gentlemen.

Sport and games are very popular--Sidonius rides and swims and hunts and plays tennis. In one letter he tells his correspondent that he has been spending some days in the country with his cousin and an old friend, whose estates adjoin each other. They had sent out scouts to catch him and bring him back for a week and took it in turns to entertain him.

There are games of tennis on the lawn before breakfast or backgammon for the older men. There is an hour or two in the library before we sit down to an excellent luncheon followed by a siesta.

Ann Parker

Then we go out riding and return for a hot bath and a plunge in the river. I should like to describe our luscious dinner parties, he concludes, but I have no more paper. However, come and stay with us [pg ] and you shall hear all about it. Clearly this is no Britain, where in the sixth century half-barbarian people camped in the abandoned villas and cooked their food on the floors of the principal rooms.

And yet He has indeed left notable protraits of them, especially of the king of the Visigoths and of the Burgundians who ruled Lyons, where he was born. Whenever he went to stay there, he complains, they flocked about him in embarrassing friendliness, breathing leeks and onions and dressing their hair with rancid butter they were not, it appears, constrained to choose between spears and butter. How can he compose six foot metres, he asks, with so many seven foot patrons around him, all singing and all expecting him to admire their uncouth stream of non-Latin words?

The shrug of the shoulder, the genial contempt of one conscious of an infinite superiority--how clear it is. One is reminded of a verse of Verlaine. But Sidonius's good nature was to be rudely shaken.

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All barbarians were not friendly giants, and the Visigoths next door, under their new king Euric, turned covetous eyes upon Auvergne. Sidonius had not been two years bishop of Clermont before he had to organize the defence of the city against their attack.


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  8. The Avernians stood out gallantly; they would fight and they would starve, but they would defend this last stronghold of Rome in Gaul. But they were a small people; to resist successfully they must have help from Rome itself.