Semi-naked Spanish rugby players

All praise to Lenox over at Spanish Shilling, who got the shot without getting his head punched. “During the second half, perhaps inspired by a herd of goats being led past by a dusty looking old shepherd and a couple of dogs, the Cabras rose to even greater efforts and by the final whistle (and…

Sales of Catalan-language fiction in English translation on Amazon

Ferran Mascarell said a couple of months back that Frankfurt perseguia tres objectius: millorar la presència de la literatura catalana en el món, entendre el paper fonamental de l’edició catalana amb els seus cinc segles d’història al darrere i ensenyar al món l’existència d’una cultura forta, plena i integral. El primer objectiu suposo que ha…

Ancient circular enclosures in northern Spain

Dido and Hengist are remembered as early heroes of isoperimetry for having solved the challenge of maximising the area of a land grant made to them by stringing together strips of oxhide and using the resulting closed superthong to trace, respectively, a semi-circle at Carthage and a full circle at Kaercorrei. What was news to…

Novel explanation for presence of volcanoes and river gold in the Pyrenees

James Howell, Epistolae Ho-Elianae: Familiar Letters, Domestic and Forren (1688, on GBS): There is a Tradition, that there were divers Mines of Gold in Ages pass’d amongst those Mountains; and the Shepherds kept Goats then, having made a small Fire of Rosemary-Shrubs with other combustible stuff, to warm themselves, this Fire grew along, and grew…

How the Moriscos of Granada made poison darts

The action sometimes turned a shade Bulgarian during the Granada Wars–at least that’s what one infers from Diego Hurtado de Mendoza in this extract from Guerra de Granada (paras introduced for legibility): Wounded by two poisoned arrows, Don Alonso [de Aguilar] fought until he fell, disabled by the poison used among hunters since ancient times.…

Destruction by the EU of pastoralism in the Balkans

This is one reason why large numbers of Romanian shepherds, shearers and others are ending up in Spain. There’s an interesting collection of info here (beware stupid music and cursor) dealing with the history and organisation of transhumance in Spain. While the sheepway infrastructure still exists in the Balkans, lorry transport, improved roads and the…

Communal herding arrangements in the Pyrenees

The sheep and goats above have just arrived back in Plan from low pastures to spend the summer in the mountains, rather like schoolchildren coming back from a language exchange. Joaquí­n Costa’s Colectivismo agrario en España (1898), available in full on Corde, contains a number of accounts of communal herding arrangements in the Pyrenees: The…
The sheep and goats above have just arrived back in Plan from low pastures to spend the summer in the mountains, rather like schoolchildren coming back from a language exchange. Joaquín Costa's Colectivismo agrario en España (1898), available in full on Corde, contains a number of accounts of communal herding arrangements in the Pyrenees:

Horny shepherds’ song within a song

Transhumance is in the air, so here’s a smutty song from a commie from Zaragoza: Los pastores se van, se van, Los pastores lloran, lloran: ¡ay de mí, pobre pastora! ¿con quién follarás tú ahora? Rejigged: The shepherds are going, they’re going again, The shepherds are weeping, they’re wailing this strain: “Alas, alack, oh Phyllis…
Lonely shepherdess

The demon barber of Calais, a 17th century Sweeney Todd

I believe the current early chronology of versions containing all the basic motifs is as follows: Joseph Fouché was a politician and administrator, and the delightfully wicked creator under Bonaparte of something vaguely resembling the modern police service. According to PBS, he wrote in something called Archives of the police of a series of murders…