". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, February 17, 2017

Been A While - Occupied!

So much distraction!

The first is the constant tilt-whirling of the weather: up, down, hot, cold, freezing, unseasonably warm, snow, rain, sunny, dark tumults of clouds as the Hudson Hawk winds claw through one's muffled layers.

Politika!  Much, much, much of that.

Merovingians!  How splendid, that our reading into these peoples once called the barbarian invasions who made the Dark Ages has finally revealed some answers to some nagging questions, if not even the questions I was asking.  Marriage, for instance.  The Merovingian family's power elite males weren't interested in either monogamy or marriage (the first Merovingian king, Clovis I, didn't become Christian until 496.  His Christian wife, Clotilde, had been baptized into both the Catholic and eastern Church, so she was doubly interested in converting her husband, presumably.  But generally the Merovingian kings didn't marry at all, or married serially.  There was no line of inheritance of the lands they conquered to an heir.  Brothers of a single mother might and often did united again their half brothers from other women their father had sired.  This tended to keep the warlord state-of-mind very much alive among other warriors -- and there was always booty of land and possessions as reward for more war.

So I am dimly beginning to see why the Church might have drum beated for so long the necessity of marriage to one woman and one woman only, and that only her children were legitimate considerations for heirs. Kingship, marriage and heirs created political stability in a very unstable era. This Gallo-Roman world is also the one to which Charlemagne was the heir (though he wasn't at all careful about official, state marriage either).  It is also then the world out of which the feudal French hierarchical political, legal, religious and administrative system based on land emerged.  So we can see why primogeniture emerges too -- one heir only to the whole shebang, no parceling out land, which re-created instability.  And primogeniture is a feature by intention then, of the feudal system.  OK. that's as far as we've gotten with this so far.

Social life, lots of social life, some of it around actions, activities etc., some of it purely social, such as my birthday.

The Grants!  I am reading Julia Dent Grant's Personal Memoirs, dictated by her to various people including her oldest son, and a series of secretaries, over quite some years.  It's at least as fascinating for what she leaves out or glosses over as the occasional, pointed, barbed comments directed to certain figures she feels slighted, lied about, or injured her husband in some way.  But the overall climate of her easy conversational transcribed text is sunny, filled with many observations that anyone interested in women of the middle to late 19th century USA would find useful.

Beginning preparations for the Cuba trip which is now only three weeks away!

And now I rush off for the evening!

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