Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A Bronze Age Feast

Did the Aryans migrate into Britain? In SM Stirling's Island In The Sea Of Time (New York, 1998), Aryan invaders of Britain welcome traders from Nantucket with a feast in their camp. The rahax (chief) sits on a throne, his guest of honor on a smaller chair, everyone else "...on blankets or furs over straw." (p. 132) They consume:

in hollow cowhorns, mead, sour beer or sweet wine;
in clay bowls, stews;
on basketwork platters -
- fresh tough dark bread;
steamed roots;
skewered pigeons and ducks;
roast pork;
roast beef;
roast mutton;
roast horse meat;
all seasoned with sage, dill, sorrel, fennel, basil, other herbs and salt;
for the guests, a welcome change from fish.

Men cut food with their knives, eat it with their fingers, wipe their mouths with bread, then either eat the bread or throw it to dogs. Many gifts are exchanged. Captain Alston is angered when the last gift to her is a bound, naked slave girl who is also a native princess. Distaste, of course, but why anger? Surely Alston understands that this is the kind of society that she is trying to trade with? She releases the slave at the first opportunity.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, distaste rather than anger would have been more appropriate from Captain Alston. Gifts of slaves, alas, would have been perfectly ordinary in such a warlike, barbaric society.