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Author Topic: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10  (Read 4537 times)

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Offline Evie

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2013, 10:16:59 pm »
Some of the games we thought of as "children's games," like Blind Man's Buff, started out as adult games.  Think of them as being similar to party mixer games.  They served as icebreakers at social events, allowed men and women to mingle and engage in fun and sometimes flirtatious behavior in a socially acceptable way (just as dancing also did), and allowed an outlet for youthful spirits and playfulness.

And I've seen adults play Musical Chairs before, but again, it was in the context of a party icebreaker activity.
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2013, 01:51:53 pm »

 my grandmother decided to try making wings out of hay and see if she could figure out how to fly from the barn loft.  She ended up with a broken arm and a healthy respect for gravity. 
Hi Evie,

Oh no, your poor grandmother, that is the hard way to discover that gravity always works.  I recall my grandmother telling me a similar tale. At age 4, she tried to rider he papa's horse and fell off and broke her arm. 

Now that brings up a question. When we talk of the elements, we talk about earth, fire, water, and air. But we don't say gravity is an element. Yet much of our ideals of magic is about defying gravity. Levitation and such. So is gravity an element? Do Deryni play with levitation. I do not recall it ever being mentioned.

I agree about many games starting as adult games. Before our computers and televisions, there were very few forms of entertainment. Evenings are long and lonely if you stay in your own rooms with only a lantern to light your space.  Wasn't it better to gather together in large lit rooms. Music and plays were good and drinking, but what do you do with a group of adults slightly inebriated without getting into fights. GAMES!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 01:59:43 pm by Laurna »

Offline Evie

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2013, 08:04:45 pm »
Hm, interesting question, Laurna!  I don't recall any specific instances of levitation in the Deryni novels either, although there are examples of telekinesis (for instance, when Duncan or Alaric uses Deryni powers to turn the tumblers inside a lock), and levitation would basically be telekinesis on a larger scale.  It could just be that it takes so much more power to levitate an object that the energy expenditure isn't worth it unless the object is quite light and the Deryni doesn't need to move it very far.  Moving a feather to the other side of a small table would be much easier than moving a heavy rock, for instance.  And Dhugal had great difficulty just moving the lock bar on the other side of a door in the series of tombs in QFSC, so I doubt he'd be up to great feats of levitation either even at the best of times.  No lifting the medieval equivalent of an X-Wing Fighter out of a swamp, anyway!

Gravity isn't one of the traditional medieval "elements."  For one thing, the theory of gravity hadn't been formulated yet. It was just taken for granted that things either naturally stick to the ground or fall there if dropped from a height, but I don't think anyone really thought to ask why that happened for a few more centuries.  Sometimes "spirit/pneuma/life force" was considered a fifth element, but traditionally most philosophers thought in terms of four elements, and in terms of medicine, the four humours (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood), which needed to be kept in proper balance to achieve optimal health.  The four elements had similar properties to the four humours:  hot and dry (fire), hot and wet (air), cold and dry (earth), cold and wet (water).  There was also a rudimentary theory on personality type differences that was partly based on the four humours--melancholic, choleric, phlegmatic, and sanguine personalities--which medieval physicians believed could be influenced at least in part by diet.

I'm not sure that the Deryni psionic and psychic powers are so much about defying gravity as they are about simply being able to mentally/psychically/psionically manipulate the material world, cast illusions, and the ability to communicate nonverbally.  There is much more emphasis on mental communicative skills (Truth-Reading, Truth-Saying, Mind-Reading, telepathy, picking up lingering psychic resonances from certain objects like Istelyn's ring), some emphasis on mental and physical defenses (shields, Wards Major), a few minor powers over nature (Dhugal's and Bronwyn's animal rapport powers) or small objects (locks), and illusory powers (creating a barrier of apparent fire, and handfire and auras may also fall into this category, since they are primarily visual effects and not genuine fire with the power to burn).  Summoning spells (such as those used in a Duel Arcane or to call forth the stenrect) seem to be less used, but that's using mental power to either establish control over supernatural entities or to create a powerful illusion, depending on how one views those powers.  (The RPG sourcebook seems to indicate that the entities summoned are actually more illusory than material, though due to the large amounts of energy harnessed in their making, they are no less deadly despite not being completely "real.")

Party games are lots of fun even if you're totally sober.  But given that many people had a generous allowance of ale or wine for their everyday beverages (generally watered down, but even "small ale" and watered wine were often safer beverages to drink than plain water, especially in and around cities), and that wine and other alcoholic beverages tended to flow even more freely at a feast, it wouldn't surprise me if most courtiers weren't at least slightly buzzed by the end of an evening's entertainment.  Outright drunkenness was frowned upon, but it would be hard to imagine that they didn't feel any effects after an entire day and night of drinking primarily alcoholic beverages at every meal and afterwards, weak though their drinks were by modern-day standards.  And in earlier times, the average person was also expected to be more musically adept than we tend to be today.  So many more people could play whatever manner of instrument that was within their means at least halfway decently, even if it weren't anything more than a hand-carved bone whistle or the like, and if they couldn't afford even that, they could at least sing along (and read their part if they were musically literate), or keep time to the music by clapping or stamping.   And that's another societal tendency that didn't really start to die out until the last century. My grandmother didn't own a TV set until several years after she married, and couldn't afford many books.  There were home computers in use before she died, but she never owned one, and she would never have dreamed of video games.  She could, however, manage to play tunes on a guitar, mandolin, fiddle, or banjo by ear, she played the organ very well and read music somewhat well as long as she had shape notes.  She could also sing the soprano, alto, or tenor lines from her old hymnals, she yodeled like a pro, whistled like the proverbial schoolboy, and I think she even taught herself how to play a harmonica.  That's just what you did, back in the day, when the day's work was over and you wanted to do something fun between supper and going to bed.   :)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2013, 09:23:45 pm »
I would say that gravity is an aspect of 'earth.'

Offline Evie

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2013, 09:43:05 pm »
I could see that.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2013, 07:24:43 pm »
Your mention of how much alcohol people drank in Medieval Europe.  Consider that in that period the two most scientifically/technically advanced cultures were the Arabs (who drank coffee) and the Chinese (who drank tea.)  Making both beverages involved boiling water (which killed the germs), and both drinks contained caffeine, which promoted mental alertness.  And consider what happened in Europe when both beverages were introduced.

Offline Laurna

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2013, 02:42:00 pm »
Evie,  I love the discussion,  Its amazing that gravity was so misunderstood, but I guess when you think the world is flat it makes it harder to comprehend the density of the earths core pulling you toward it.  Hmm I guess that does make it part of the element earth. thanks.  ;D

Elkhound, I understand that scholars have attributed the renaissance, at least in part, to coffee and tea. They say tea makes you a better thinker and coffee a better doer. Where as alcohol quells both.  ::)

Offline Evie

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2013, 05:27:04 pm »
Actually, people have known the earth is round at least since the time of the ancient Greeks (and their calculations about its size were even fairly close, though not spot on), and even in medieval Europe that knowledge wasn't lost after the fall of Rome, despite lots of myths to the contrary.  Columbus wouldn't have dared try a round-the-world passage to the Indies, much less found any captains and sailing crews willing to take him along or any financing for the journey, if everyone was convinced he'd fall off the edge of the world.  There were lots of skeptics that his plan would work, but more because of the inherent hazards of sailing that far from known land and charted waters off across the unknown deep, not because they worried he'd fall off a flat Earth.  And of course parts of the New World were discovered even before Columbus' time.  The Vikings had a few visits (documentable by artifacts) to what is now Newfoundland, and there are rumors of the Welsh having discovered part of what is now the southern coastal US, although I think Prince Madoc's journey is much more subject to debate.  (Could be wrong; I really haven't looked into it all that much.)  So as early as Leif Erikson's day (late 900s), people in Western Europe knew that sailing west from the Known World was more likely to result in finding more land eventually than in falling off the surface of the Earth.

So why wasn't gravity discovered yet?  Well, in a sense it had already been observed and theorized about centuries before by Aristotle, and so they probably kept his theories and didn't do much adding on to them, since those worked perfectly well for explaining their observations of how the world worked.   They believed that the four elements tended to naturally want to return to their own proper place, so "heavier" elements like earth and water would be drawn downwards toward the Earth's core (remember, they had a geocentric view of the universe, so the Earth was at the center of the universe to them), and fire and air, being lighter, would rise rather than fall.  So now that I think through the ramifications of that belief, then yes, Elkhound was quite correct that they probably would have related gravity to Earth in that way.  (And also to water, since things dropped into the sea go down towards the water, though the water is above more earth, so yeah...What Elkhound said.   :D)   They did know about magnetism also, even if they didn't know how or why it worked yet, so they could have assumed that the center of the earth was filled with lodestone (magnetic iron) and therefore could attract things to it.  That would have sounded reasonable to the medieval mind (not to mention being not all that far afield of what we know now, come to think....)

If tea makes you a better thinker and coffee makes you a better doer, what does Mountain Dew do?   If someone invents a time machine, let's take a six pack of Dew to Leonardo da Vinci and find out!  ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2013, 07:25:22 pm »
Elkhound, I understand that scholars have attributed the renaissance, at least in part, to coffee and tea. They say tea makes you a better thinker and coffee a better doer. Where as alcohol quells both.  ::)

 "The Roast Beef of Old England."


    When mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman's food,
    It ennobled our brains and enriched our blood.
    Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good

        Oh! the Roast Beef of old England,
        And old English Roast Beef!

    But since we have learnt from all-vapouring France
    To eat their ragouts as well as to dance,
    We're fed up with nothing but vain complaisance

        Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England,
        And old English Roast Beef!

    Our fathers of old were robust, stout, and strong,
    And kept open house, with good cheer all day long,
    Which made their plump tenants rejoice in this song--

        Oh! The Roast Beef of old England,
        And old English Roast Beef!

    But now we are dwindled to, what shall I name?
    A sneaking poor race, half-begotten and tame,
    Who sully the honours that once shone in fame.

        Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England,
        And old English Roast Beef!

    When good Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne,
    Ere coffee, or tea, or such slip-slops were known,
    The world was in terror if e'er she did frown.

        Oh! The Roast Beef of old England,
        And old English Roast Beef!

    In those days, if Fleets did presume on the Main,
    They seldom, or never, return'd back again,
    As witness, the Vaunting Armada of Spain.

        Oh! The Roast Beef of Old England,
        And old English Roast Beef!

 

« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 07:37:13 pm by Elkhound »

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 10
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2013, 07:27:56 pm »
Actually, people have known the earth is round at least since the time of the ancient Greeks (and their calculations about its size were even fairly close, though not spot on), and even in medieval Europe that knowledge wasn't lost after the fall of Rome, despite lots of myths to the contrary.  Columbus wouldn't have dared try a round-the-world passage to the Indies, much less found any captains and sailing crews willing to take him along or any financing for the journey, if everyone was convinced he'd fall off the edge of the world.  There were lots of skeptics that his plan would work, but more because of the inherent hazards of sailing that far from known land and charted waters off across the unknown deep, not because they worried he'd fall off a flat Earth.

Educated people knew that the world was round, but how BIG around, and if it were shaped more like an orange or a watermelon were points of debate.  Columbus argued that is was like an orange, and advocated a low-ball estimate of how big.  If the Western Continents hadn't been there, his ships never would have made it to Japan or China.

 

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