Madeleine Gray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
<....the 'Dark Ages' (so-called: the term is anathema here in Wales....).....
Well yes, but not everyone has the opportunity to live in suchlike an
enlightened place, Maddy.
A major U.S. weekly news magazine devoted this week's issue to "The Year
1000", with much to say about the Dark Ages, and not much of it too good,
an editorial thunk piece by a "conservative" journalist who was formerly in
Clinton's white house and is now also a commentator on what passes for
pathetic "Public Television" in "The Greatest Nation in the History of
the World" (as its politicians are constantly reminding its hoi poloi).
We all have to do the best with what we have, I suppose, and Great Nations get
the Public Television they deserve.
Thanks, Maddy for your remarks on the complext nature of "literacy",
which sound to me pretty much like more thoughtful and eloquent expressions of
my own view.
Though, I believe I might picque a knit or two:
>I think, though, that the amount of text on church walls in the late C16-17
suggests that a fair number of people were expected to be able to read it.
A "fair number", yes; and surely a larger number in c16-17 than in previous
and that number--in whichsoever period--would be entirely made up of the tiny
minority who were--roughly--of the same social and economic class as the folks
that put the text on the walls in the first place, until our own benighted
era, when even peasants can afford to put up inscriptions
on church walls and even peasants can, theoretically, read them.
>...so, in a secular context, does the extent to which public proclamations
were being printed and posted in public places.
Yes, by all means, public "publication" (redundancy noted) does imply a
certain percentage of folks that can read; but, isn't there much more to it
In the U.S. there is a legal requirement that certain things have to be
"I make it known that I am no longer responsible for the debts incurred
by my wife."
And, every fall there is, in the classified section of my local
newspaper, a long column of "Legal Notices" filed by the county gouvernement
which lists the names of folks that have outstanding
property taxes due and whose property is due to be auctioned off by the county
if the bill is not paid.
Makes no difference if I read my name in that notice or not--nor even if
I can read at all--if my name is there, I have been leagaly "notified"
that something unfortunate for me is about to happen and the *tiny* percentage
of folks that read through such tedious listings are made
aware of it also.
Medieval (Dark Age) charters were, apparently, "published" by being read out
loud (presumably in the Latin in which they were composed), usually
in the chapter of the ecclesiastical institution which was the
beneficiary of the charter, but, sometimes--again apparently--to the
"populace" at large, from the "auditorium", which appears to have been
the front steps or porch of the church.
Presumably most monks and perhaps even most secular clerics could understand
spoken Latin--as could *some* of the "nobility".
But the important thing, I believe, about this exercise of reading the thing
out loud, was simply that it was *done*--that the document was "published"
(_publice_ is the term used, I think).
The tree makes a sound when it falls in the forest whether there's anyone
there to hear it or not--or no matter how many people hear it; and that
completes the process of its falling.
Let those that have ears hear.
The patron has the inscription put on the wall indeed to be read, but
also for its own sake.
Let those that have eyes see.
Best to all from here,
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