The sword of Battle Abbey, an Arming Sword of Oakeshott type XV with silvered and gilt pommel and crossguard, adorned with the arms of Battle Abbey and the initials of Thomas de Lodelowe, Abbott of Battle Abbey.
English, ca. 1417-1434,
housed at the National Museum of Scotland.
Maybe in a different universe, I chose to go medieval instead of ancient with my winged cat societies, but I’m also glad I didn’t because armor takes forever to draw… this is just very slightly The Dragon Prince inspired
The library at Saint Catherine’s Monastery is the oldest continually operating library in the world. In the earlier days of books, the parchment they were written on was extremely valuable – sometimes more valuable than the words written on them. So when someone wanted to copy down a new book, rather than purchase or make a new parchment, they scrapped the words off an older book and wrote the new book instead. Such texts are called “palimpsests.” Saint Catherine’s has at least 160 plaimpsests. The manuscripts bear faint scratches and flecks of ink beneath more recent writing, the only hint of the treasures they hid.
In an unlikely collaboration between an Orthodox wing of the Christian faith and cutting-edge science, a small group of international researchers are using specialized imaging techniques that photograph the parchments with different colors of light from multiple angles. This technology allows the researchers to read the original texts for the first time since they were wiped away.
And what they found are truly treasures. They found new poems – or rather, very old poems – and early religious texts and some rare-language texts doubling the known vocabulary of languages that have not been used for more than 1,000 years. Perhaps most valuable, though, are the entirely new words, in long-forgotten languages. It will take religious, medieval, and linguistic scholars years to sift through all the finds!