Rare medieval bookmark discovery in Leiden, the Netherlands


This video is called Rare medieval bookmark.

About this video, from Leiden university in the Netherlands:

Rare medieval bookmark found in Leiden University Library

A rare medieval bookmark emerged in Leiden University Library. Book historian Erik Kwakkel found the disk in an archive of manuscript descriptions called the Bibliotheca Neerlandica Manuscripta. It was likely put their [sic; there] in the early twentieth century by Willem de Vreese, who made the descriptions. The presence of the bookmark was not known to the library. Only thirty-five bookmarks of this type have been identified worldwide.

The bookmark concerns a disk with the numbers 1-4 written on it. Originally, it would have been fitted in a sleeve, which could be pulled up and down along a cord. The reader would turn the disk to indicate in what text column certain information was found, after which he pulled the sleeve to the relevant line. Page, column and line were thus marked. The specimen in Leiden is incomplete, as only the disk itself survived. However, this manuscript in Harvard’s Houghton Library illustrates how the bookmark works.

Although it is hard to determine the precise date of the bookmark, it was likely made in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. It appears to have been popular in learned books and it reflects how scholars from the thirteenth century began to use their books. No longer were the objects merely used to read from cover to cover, but an interest emerged to read particular sections. To facilitate such use, various aids became widely used, including the index, running titles, and detailed chapter titles. The rotating bookmark can be understood as yet another means to quickly and efficiently find your way to a particular passage. The thumbprints on the Leiden specimen suggests it was frequently used.

The bookmark has been moved to the manuscript collection and has been given the shelfmark BPL 3327. The find was first reported on Erik Kwakkel’s blog medievalbooks.nl and in De Volkskrant of 2 October, 2014.

Last Modified: 02-10-2014.

Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, from novel to religion


This video is called Lord of the Rings- The two towers, Battle of the Hornburg Part 1 HD.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Markus Altena Davidsen’s thesis is the first major work on the Tolkien religion. In it he examines the religion that is based on the stories of British fantasy writer JRR Tolkien. He also explains how fiction can become religion. Davidsen will get his PhD on 16 October. …

The second characteristic of religious fiction texts is that they explicitly claim to be truthful. The texts have to say about themselves that they are about the real world, or at least question their own fictionality. Tolkien did that in the preface to the first edition of The Lord of the Rings. He said he hoped that the Hobbits who are still alive today in our world will like the book. Later he much regretted this, possibly because he thought that being a very strict Roman Catholic, he should not have committed that frivolity. But for many Tolkien religious believers that does not matter at all.

From the summary of the PhD dissertation by Markus Altena Davidsen:

The Spiritual Tolkien Milieu: A Study of Fiction‐based Religion

This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the history, social organisation, and belief dynamics of the spiritual Tolkien milieu, a largely online‐situated network of individuals and groups that draw on J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary mythology for spiritual inspiration.

It is the first academic treatment of Tolkien spirituality and one of the first monographs on fiction‐based religion, a type of religion that uses fiction as authoritative texts.

Other fiction‐based religions include Jediism (based on George Lucas’ Star Wars) and the Church of All Worlds (inspired by Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land).

The first religious practices inspired by Tolkien’s narratives appeared in the late 1960s after the publication of a paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings in 1965.

New orchid species gets Jane Goodall’s name


This video is called Jane Goodall: A Retrospective.

Translated from the botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Friday, October 3, 2014 10:10

Scientists of Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Hortus Botanicus Leiden have named an orchid that was discovered in 2003 during a collecting trip in Papua New Guinea by dr. EF de Vogel and Art Vogel after Jane Goodall: Dendrobium goodallianum.

Dendrobium goodallianum

The orchid blooms only one day and smells like coconut. Once the orchid blooms, it will be displayed behind glass to the public.

Currently Jane Goodall is in the top ten of the most influential women in the world. She is United Nations peace ambassador and travels the world 300 days a year to fight for the future of our endangered planet. The orchid was named after her because of her constant commitment to the preservation of biodiversity and her outstanding work in conservation.

See also here.

I certainly hope that the influence of famous primatologist and United Nations peace ambassador Jane Goodall will prevail over the influence of some influential, but not so constructive women. Though most warmongering is done by men, a few women like Samantha Power and Condoleezza Rice have done major harm to the cause of peace.

Ancient Egyptian pharaoh statues, new in museum


Statue of Pharaoh Ninetjer

Translated from the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) in Leiden today:

The National Museum of Antiquities has bought two ancient Egyptian pharaoh statues, including the oldest statue in the world with a pharaoh‘s name on it. It is a seated figure of pharaoh Ninetjer, one of the first kings of ancient Egypt (ca. 2785-2742 BC). The museum also bought a tomb statue of pharaoh Taharqa (690-664 BC.), one of the “black pharaohs” from Sudan.

Until the beginning of November 2014, you can see the pharaoh statues in a display in the entrance hall of the museum, next to the Egyptian temple. In 2016, they will get a prominent place in the by then renovated Egyptian department.

The Ninetjer statue is 13 centimeter high. The hieroglyph inscription on the statue says: ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt, protected by the vulture and cobra, Ninetjer’. The cobra was the symbol of northern Egypt; the vulture of southern Egypt.

Pharaoh Taharqa statue

The Taharqa statue is 35 centimeter.

William Shakespeare sonnet on building


Shakespeare sonnet on building, 8 September 2014

There are poems on various buildings in Leiden city in the Netherlands. This one, in the inner city, is William Shakespeare‘s Sonnet XXX.

Shakespeare sonnet, 8 September 2014

These are cellphone photos.

Birds, butterflies and fungi


This video is about an Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea).

On Sunday 7 September 2014, to two pieces of woodland on the outskirts of Leiden city.

In a ditch near the Bos van Bosman, two coots and a moorhen swimming.

Sounds of nuthatch, great tit and great spotted woodpecker.

Two speckled wood butterflies flying.

A robin on the footpath.

A magpie on a lawn.

On another lawn, fungi: common ink cap and amethyst deceiver.

Later, in Rhijngeest woodland, porcelain fungi growing on a fallen branch.

Photograph a rose-ringed parakeet, get right to name it


Ring-necked parakeet A28 in Leiden with number

Translated from Sleutelstad radio in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Leiden parakeets get names and numbers

Leiden – Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:02

Chris de Waard

Already 85 wild parakeets in Leiden have recently received medals around their necks. Researcher Roland Jonker of the Center for Environmental Sciences of Leiden University wants the ‘Parakeets by numbers‘ project to map how the Leiden parakeet population evolves: “We would really like to know where the birds go, we are also curious about the size of the population and how long the Leiden parakeets live.”

The parakeets’ medals have unique letters and numbers, so the parakeets are easily recognizable. It is estimated that in and around Leiden approximately 850 ring-necked parakeets live. So by now about ten percent have clearly visible badges. Jonker hopes that from now on Leiden people will report back massively parakeets with medals by making pictures of them and posting these to the research project’s Facebook page. As a reward, people who rediscover a parakeet may name that bird.

The medals do not hinder the ring-necked parakeets, according to Jonker. Last year a few parakeets got ‘collars’ and when they were caught again later, it turned out they had not been harmed by them.

“Parakeets by numbers” is a joint project of the Center for Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University and City Parrots in collaboration with the Bird Migration Station and Waarneming.nl.

This research project chose medals, not leg bands, for parakeets; as with the numbers, the birds do not have to be caught again to read letters and numbers, causing less stress for the birds.