The A to Z Challenge – G for Gargoyles & Grotesques


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy and I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

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Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter G ~
G for Gargoyles & Grotesques

Mention gargoyles and I think of those stoic winged sentinels on the lofty centuries-old architectural corners in Notre Dame cathedral. Why? Got me. Either Victor Hugo planted the image in my head with his novel Hunchback of Notre Dame, or it’s the fact there are 5000 Gargoyles and Grotesques all over the cathedral. 5000! Along with the architectural marvel of flying buttresses, I find that number pretty astounding. I believe most of the grotesques are found in the gallery. The gargoyles are mostly on the façade waiting for rain and quietly monitoring the comings and goings of Paris.

gargoylesThe name Gargoyle comes from gurgulio; Latin for gurgle. I assume the rainwater funneling through them off the roof makes a sound. Such water spouts were a regular feature in Ancient Greece and Rome and later in the Gothic constructions found throughout Europe. Some pour rainwater from their mouths, others from their backsides. But then they are demons and monsters. The idea was the gargoyles jutted far from the roof to prevent water from eroding the structure foundations. The more gargoyles, the less damage to any one section.

As for the symbolism on the necessary drainage, long-necked griffins, demons, and monsters are popular themes. I’ve read two lines of thought regarding the sculptures — they remind the populace that demons abound or they keep genuine evil away from the churches. Perhaps it was simply artistic license. Whichever they were, they were essential to the ostentatious glory that epitomized medieval church construction. Such outward abundance was necessary. Before Gutenberg’s press put knowledge into the hands of the common man, elaborate façades visually told stories of heaven and hell to the ignorant. To the Renaissance Humanists, such symbolism represented the world turned upside down, where monsters didn’t guard the church, they guarded the world from the monsters within. (Remember, the Renaissance had the Inquisition. And that’s a post for another day.) Gargoyles gained a new popularity in the Victorian Gothic Revival of the mid-1800′s.

If it isn’t a water spout, it’s not a gargoyle, it’s a grotesque.

People often confuse gargoyles with grotesques-gargoyles-10grotesques. Those twisted faces, beasts, and Chimeras that are either decorative (that does sound rather odd) or they serve a purpose such as a capital (column topper) or corbel (weight support). Even the jovial faces of Bacchus and the lovely caryatids, those goddess-like women supporting the roof line, fall under the grotesque category.

The more you study gargoyles and grotesques, the clearer their themes become.  In fact, you’ll see the remnants of European paganism. One of the happier pagan figures is the overtly sexual Sheelagh-na-Gig.

More~
Here’s an interactive gargoyle map in Washington DC National Cathedral. There’s actually a Darth Vader grotesque up on the roof somewhere. The USA has other sites featuring these interesting sculptures. Look to older buildings and you might see the grotesques. Given their downspout task, the gargoyles might be harder to find. This list will get you started in the USA:

University of Chicago & the Tribune Tower
New York’s Woolworth Building & Chrysler Building
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Arizona
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York
San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral
University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh’s Calvary United Methodist,
& First Presbyterian Churches

Princeton University in New Jersey
The First Baptist Church, Lauderdale Street in Selma, Alabama

Lots of gargoyle info here
Gargoyles of Europe

Tomorrow ~ letter H!

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Authors_in_Bloom-300x250**NEW THIS WEEK** on my satellite blog!
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

It’s Day2 in the Authors in Bloom event. It highlights those things authors do outside the fiction. We garden, we cook, we craft etc. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. Do stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard!

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It’s the final stretch in the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!
For nearly 100 days, 002xbqkt
I’ve posted from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 5 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Chermadic (adjective 1842)
~of a heavy weight used as a projectile

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The A to Z Challenge – F for Funeral Mementos


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet through the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy and hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter F ~
F for Funeral Mementos
Just as Hollywood celebrity inspires fans to go under the knife to look like their favorite stars, and TV shows such as Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous encourage spending beyond one’s means, other periods in history had their own celebrities to emulate. I think it safe to say none had the social impact of Britain’s Queen Victoria . Practically everything the woman did became in vogue. Some of what we do today can be traced back to her. From child rearing to greeting cards to style to Christmas trees, she made an impact.

When typhoid fever claimed the life of Prince Albert that sad December in 1861, Queen Victoria was devastated. In dealing with her loss, she unintentionally set a mode for society. The Queen mourned her husband for 40 years and because of that, death became fashion.  Aside from wearing black every day for the rest of her life, she made sure their home stayed exactly as it was on the day her husband died. This included his clothes set out for the day, his toilette prepared for his shave, his place at the table set, and other sad daily rituals for a husband who was no longer there.

Regarding Victorian death rituals, there were very strict rules to follow: mirrors were covered, buntings hung, certain colors worn at certain times over the length of the mourning period. But it wasn’t enough that morning ritual was prolonged and the lives of the living impacted beyond their grief, a booming death business sprang into being. More than one city and hairtown had the latest embalming techniques advertised in mortician shop windows. Coffins and hearses and cemeteries all reflected the ostentatious Victorian flair.

Another common practice involved weaving your dear departed’s hair into flowers etc either for display  or 2abed9dadf413492922b52a5d0a5688dto be worn as jewelry.

One of the strangest things from the Victorian era occurred when the unusual focus on death partnered with that newfangled  invention photography and gave us The Memento Mori (Latin for remember that you must die)

In my opinion, this was the pinnacle of the death rituals — having life-like photos taken of your deceased as a memento. Elaborate stands and contraptions would hold the body in life-like poses. Eyes were painted on closed eyelids. And often, living family members joined in the photo shoot. I’ve seen dozens of these images and the photos that show the deceased child sitting side by side with a living sibling are the most haunting to me. It’s the confusion in their eyes. Death is hard enough for children to comprehend.

How often do we stumble across old Victorian era photos in antique stores or even in our attics? I’ve seen beautiful sleeping children and had no idea that sleep was eternal. I’ve seen others posing for the camera with staring faces. I’ll look closely next time. I might see the stands that aided the pose and those staring eyes might just be painted on.

The following pictures look like average photographs from the Victorian era, but in fact, they are love tokens — funerary mementos made to capture the life that was. I show them here in tribute to the love behind them.
Picture1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow ~ letter G

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**NEW TODAY** on my satellite blog!Authors_in_Bloom-300x250
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

The Authors in Bloom event highlights those things authors do outside the many worlds of fiction. We garden, we cook, we craft etc. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. Do stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard!

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

I’m winding down on the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!
For nearly 100 days, 002xbqkt
I’ve post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 6 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Decutient (adjective 1656)
~shaking down; beating down

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Funday is back!


The A to Z returns Monday with letter F. Today is Funday!

No, that’s not a typo.smile :D

I lead a busy life. To have one less mentally-busy day and still have a good time on this blog, I’ve decided Sundays will be all about wonder and smiles. In honor of mentally kicking back once in a while, Sundays will be Fun Days! Each Sunday, I’ll post a short, fun or unusual something here. I’m a nerd with a complex sense of humor and absurd wit. It literally could be anything.

As a child I loved the comic contraptions of Rube Goldberg. Those elaborate multi-step processes were employed to do the simplest things. I’d study those sketches, following each step’s logistics until that umbrella opened or that coffee cup got filled, and then I’d dream up my own. When I was teaching science many years ago, my students studied Sir Issac Newton’s laws: The First law of Motion — to illustrate inertia (that tendency of objects to keep on moving). The Second Law — that applied force on an object equals the rate of change of its momentum with time. (think acceleration). The Third Law — that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. To get the point across we played with hundreds of stacked dominoes, roller skated, and conceived our own elaborate Rube Goldberg inventions on paper. I was a fun science teacher. If only I’d had a bigger budget!
:D

And speaking of fun in school. Here’s a Rube Goldberg contraption that took the Guinness Record in 2012 . The students of Purdue University made a whopping 300-step process to do the simple task of inflating a balloon.  I would have loved to have worked on that!
If you enjoyed that flight of fancy, youtube has many more.

Come back tomorrow for more of the A to Z Challenge. Monday’s letter ~ F.

Starting this Monday, stop by my satellite blog for the Authors in Bloom event.

Authors_in_Bloom-300x250 http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/
Authors’ lives outside of the books we write can be as interesting as the worlds we create. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you’ll stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard. :)

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One week to go in the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!002xbqkt
For nearly 100 days,
I’ve posted something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 6 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Ptochology (noun 1891)
~study of beggars and unemployment

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The A to Z Challenge – E for Easter Island Moai


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy and I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter E ~
E for Easter Island Moai

The ancestors of the Polynesians reached the far corner of the triangular Pacific island territory that made up their world at about 1000 BCE. These peoples were nighttime seafarers and followed the heavens until they chanced upon a remote land mass and made it their home. We know that land as Easter Island.

It’s said the island once had a thriving population, as many as 15,000 inhabitants. Just 100 years before the Dutch arrived in 1722, the history of the island says two factions –the Short-Ears and the Long-Ears– had a civil war. In 1770 a Spanish expedition found a population of 3000.  Just four years later when British navigator Sir James Cook entered the scene, only around 600 men and fewer than 30 women remained. By 1877 only 111 native peoples were left. Were I to guess, I’d say diseases like smallpox contributed to the population’s decline. Any western disease to an isolated population would exact a terrible toll.

Before the Dutch decided to name the island for Easter Sunday, the day of their discovery, oral tradition says one of the island’s names was Eyes looking to the sky. Others use the name Rapa Nui. I think Eyes looking to the sky fits beautifully because of more than 1000 Moai — the famous Easter Island heads.

Surprising fact #1: The familiar heads are actually full-bodied statues buried to their chins in sediment. Recent archeological digs reveal the Moai have arms and wear sculpted clothing. They have tattoos too.

Who knew?


With their heavy brows and chiseled profiles (no pun intended), these enigmatic statues epitomize the mystery of the place. All but seven watch over the land, their backs to the sea. The seven facing the vast blue ocean are thought to wait for their king. No one really knows why they’re there or what was meant in their creation. There’s an assumption that the  Moai were made in the likenesses of ancestors. There is also some thought that the bodies housed the essence of the sacred. One of the more interesting bits of information I’ve uncovered has to do with Leprosy. There’s some opinion that the Moai’s severe physical features may indicate the ravages of that terrible disease — that perhaps the Moai were made to ritually undo the effects in the spirit world. (Apparently the afflicted were ostracized on other Polynesian islands.) As I haven’t uncovered more than that regarding leprosy, I’ll take that supposition with a grain of salt.

Another mystery is the complete lack of trees. Islands by nature are fragile ecosystems. By the time of European discovery, this one was deforested. To peoples relying upon the sea for most of their food, lack of wood would mean starvation in the long run. Perhaps this added to their population decline. If you can’t build boats, you can’t fish beyond the shoreline.  Were the island’s forests cut down to make transport logs for the 13 ton Moai? That was the prevailing thought for years. But then someone made an brilliant deduction…

Surprising fact #2
Legend says the Moai walked from the places they were carved. That’s right, the 13 foot tall, 13 ton statues carved from volcanic tuff walked to their resting places. The largest statue made of a single block weighs about 82 tons and is approximately 32 feet tall. To see that walking down from the hills must have been a powerful sight.

 I can’t explain it better than this. And seeing is believing!

More:
Easter Island was made an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

See the full uncovered Moai
Save the Easter Island Statues

An interesting explanation of the island’s Bird Man Cult

Come back tomorrow for my Funday Sunday post. The A to Z returns Monday with letter F!

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Join me on my satellite blog April 7th – 12thAuthors_in_Bloom-300x250 http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/
Authors’ lives outside of the books we write can be as interesting as the worlds we create. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard. :)

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞<<<<۞

One week to go in the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!002xbqkt
For nearly 100 days,
I’ve post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 7 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Dodrantal (adjective 1656-1883)
~of nine inches in length

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The A to Z Challenge – D for Doggerland


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2200 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts for the challenge fall under the topics of history and science. I’ve chosen subjects that have tickled my fancy and I hope you will find them just as interesting.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further.

If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Comments can be made just below that in the tag section.

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter D ~
D for Doggerland

Sometime in the middle of the last century, trawling Dutch fishermen working the North Sea began hauling up things in their nets no one ever expected to see — enormous tusks and bones from wooly mammoths and mastodons, and the bones of giant aurochs, woolly rhinos, and other ice age animals. The story goes that fishermen threw these things back in the water, being set in their opinions of what one should expect to haul from the sea.

Amateur paleontologist, Dick Mol, heard of the unusual findings and persuaded the fishermen to bring their tusks and bones to him along with the coordinates of where they had been found. Imagine his surprise when the captain bought him a well-preserved human jawbone with worn molars. Radiocarbon dating says the jawbone is 9,500 years old and came from a man living in the Mesolithic period (12,000 years ago)

Why would a 9,500 year old jawbone be trawled from the North Sea?

During the last ice age, Great Britain wasn’t a handful of islands, it was the western-most tip of the glaciated European mainland. As much of the earth’s water was tied up in ice, lowlands weren’t submerged as they are today. This low-lying land that tied the UK to the rest of Europe was approximately 18,000 square miles in size. This region is refereed to as Doggerland (named for the Dogger Bank — a large hazardous sandbank). The area is thought to have supported large numbers of Mesolithic people. Among fossilized evidence of mammoths and other mega-fauna and game animals, divers have also found harpoons, flint tools, and suspected burial sites. It would appear people lived on Doggerland until the rising sea swallowed a substantial portion of the landmass and cut the UK from the continent. Exploration is ongoing and researchers expect to find standing stones and burials in addition to settlement areas.  Can you just imagine?  :D

doggerland

This fascinating video is shown in 7 parts.
Follow the links at the end of each clip
to the next chapter

Tomorrow ~ letter E!

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Join me on my satellite blog April 7th – 12thAuthors_in_Bloom-300x250 http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/
Authors’ lives outside of the books we write can be as interesting as the worlds we create. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard. :)

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞<<<<۞

I’m winding down on the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!
For nearly 100 days, 002xbqkt
I’ve post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 8 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Telligraph (noun 1783-1903)
charter outlining boundaries of landholdings

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4 Us iconIt’s my day on the RB4U blog today. I’m talking fairy tales and giving a sneak peek of my soon-to-be released novel ~
The Changeling
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

trrbanner

 

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The A to Z Challenge – C is for Cholera in London 1854


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy and I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter C ~
C for Cholera in London 1854

Waste and habitation have always gone hand in hand. Humanity’s sloppy habits reveal themselves in our midden piles, cesspits, latrines and the like. Somewhere along mankind’s history someone decided this waste could be washed away by water and so the short-sighted habit of polluting waterways with human excrement began. Woe be to anyone downstream. Unfortunately this out of sight out of mind mentality came with dire consequences — the spread of disease.

In Victorian London of 1854, the prevalent view on disease origins wasn’t on germ theory – that idea that microbes were causes of disease. That would come later in the century with Pasteur and others blaming germs for all manner of ills.  Doctors and scientists in the mid-1800s were still going by the erroneous opinions of the Roman empire’s own Greek physician, Galen, who believed disease was caused by air-borne miasma.

Example: It wasn’t the bacteria in the water you drank that gave you a deadly case of diarrhea. The fetid smell of the nearby cesspit was to blame. It sounds rather ridiculous now, but if you think about it there was a sort of truth to that suspicion. We often use our noses to determine if something is spoiled and if presented with a choice, we certainly wouldn’t eat or drink something that smelled bad. I think this long-standing miasma belief was instinctual — a subconscious intuition that bad things could come from foul pools of stagnant water and we should steer clear. Today we know without a doubt that mosquitoes are vectors that transmit many diseases. Mosquitoes breeding in stagnant pools give us Malaria, Yellow Fever, West Nile, Dengue,  Filariasis, and several varieties of Encephalitis.

So back to London…
High population and lack of proper sanitary services saw London’s Soho district’s cesspits overflowing that hot August of 1854. It was so bad in fact, the summer was referred to as The Great Stink because of it. As everyone believed bad smells caused disease, what else to do but flush those cesspits right into the River Thames. 

choleraJust prior to the flushing, the residents in one area were hit with a small outbreak of profuse diarrhea and vomiting of clear fluid (literally gallons a day until they either recovered or died). After the raw sewage waste of the infected was washed into the river, it contaminated the public water pump and an epidemic began. In a span of a week a full 10% of the very crowded neighborhood perished.

Local physician, Dr. John Snow was a longtime skeptic to the miasma theory. For years he tried, unsuccessfully, to convince his peers cholera was a water-borne disease. Seeing opportunity for answers with this localized outbreak, he teamed up with Reverend Henry Whitehead (a man who knew just about every man, woman, and child in his parish) and began asking questions. They soon discovered the afflicted drew water from one specific pump. Dr. Snow confirmed the contamination by viewing a water sample through his microscope and finding the boomerang-shaped bacterium — the same bacterium present in the bodily fluids of the sick and dying. On a hunch, he lobbied for the pump handle to be removed.

In John Snow’s letter to the editor of the Medical Times and Gazette, he said this:

On proceeding to the spot, I found that nearly all the deaths had taken place within a short distance of the Broad Street pump. There were only ten deaths in houses situated decidedly nearer to another street-pump. In five of these cases the families of the deceased persons informed me that they always sent to the pump in Broad Street, as they preferred the water to that of the pumps which were nearer. In three other cases, the deceased were children who went to school near the pump in Broad Street.

With regard to the deaths occurring in the locality belonging to the pump, there were 61 instances in which I was informed that the deceased persons used to drink the pump water from Broad Street, either constantly or occasionally. The result of the inquiry, then, is, that there has been no particular outbreak or prevalence of cholera in this part of London except among the persons who were in the habit of drinking the water of the above-mentioned pump well. I had an interview with the Board of Guardians of St James’s parish, on the evening of the 7th, and represented the above circumstances to them. In consequence of what I said, the handle of the pump was removed on the following day.

Here’s a TED Talk from an author who wrote a
fascinating book on the subject. I recommend.

More:
With the Help of Victims From 1849,
Scientists Decode Early Strain of Cholera

You may ask yourself why anyone would reproduce deadly diseases in the laboratory.
The simplest answer is when you understand how a pathogen works,
you better your chances of fighting it.

Cholera in America’s Old South

Tomorrow ~ letter D!

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Join me on my satellite blog April 7th – 12thAuthors_in_Bloom-300x250 http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/
Authors’ lives outside of the books we write can be as interesting as the worlds we create. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard. :)

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I’m winding down on the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!
For nearly 100 days, 002xbqkt
I’ve post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 9 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Vanmost (adverb 1865)
in the front; foremost

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

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trrbanner

 

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The A to Z Challenge – B is for Baghdad Battery


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy. I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

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Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter B ~
B for Baghdad Battery

One of the more unusual artifacts discovered on an archaeological dig turned up approximately 20 miles outside of Baghdad, Iraq in 1936. At first glance the finds appeared to be simple clay jars with iron lids and asphalt seals. They stood several inches tall and each had a copper tube with an inserted iron rod down the center. No one gave them much attention at the time.

Three years later, German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig was rooting around the stored antiquities in the National Museum of Iraq. Upon finding these odd vessels he drew a rather startling conclusion. The jars looked like galvanic cells — in other words — batteries.  Residue showed the jars had held slightly acidic liquid.. perhaps wine, vinegar, or citrus juice. The different metals involved would react to the acid and produce a mild electric current. Reconstruction of this odd device proves it generates a current between 0.4 and 1.9 volts.

There is some speculation among people who study such things that the Baghdad batteries could have been use medicinally for pain relief in the same manner electrical current is used today. Another opinion suggests they were used for electroplating. Whatever these inventions were used for, their modern counterpart didn’t come about until 2000 years later.

This explains a likely use for the Baghdad battery.

This offers a peek into the battery assembly should you care to make one
yourself. How cool is that?

 

Tomorrow ~ letter C!

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Join me on my satellite blog April 7th – 12thAuthors_in_Bloom-300x250 http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/
Authors’ lives outside of the books we write can be as interesting as the worlds we create. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard. :)

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

I’m winding down on the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!
For nearly 100 days, 002xbqkt
I’ve post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 10 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Gardeviance (noun 1459 -1706)
~ chest for valuables; a traveling trunk

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

trrbanner

 

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments