House Von Draken

Click here to edit subtitle

Welcome!
You have stumbled (intentionally or not!) on a small collection of our historically-supported articles.  Peruse and enjoy, fellow scholars!

Where did the title of "Best Man" come from?

What is the origin of the term 'Best Man' at a wedding?

A Best Man is really for the groom - he generally chooses his best man - usually a good friend.

The tradition of a best man has its origin with the Germanic Goths, when it was customary and preferable for a man to marry a woman from within his own community. When women came into short supply "locally," eligible bachelors would have to seek out and capture a bride from a neighboring community. As you might guess, this was not a one-person operation, and so the future bridegroom would be accompanied by a male companion who would help. Our custom of the best man is a throwback to that two-man, strong-armed tactic, for, of course the future groom would select only the best man he knew to come along for such an important task.

The role of the best man evolved. By 200 A.D. his task was still more than just safeguarding the ring. There remained a real threat that the bride's family would attempt to forcibly obtain her return, so the best man remained at the groom's side throughout the marriage ceremony, alert and well-armed. He continued his duties after the ceremony by standing guard as sentry outside the newlywed's home. Much of this is German folklore, but is not without written documentation and physical artifacts. We have records that indicate that beneath the altars of many churches of early peoples (the Huns, Goths, Visigoths, and Vandals) there lay an arsenal of clubs, knives, and spears. The indication is that these were there to protect the groom from possible attack by the bride's family in an attempt to recapture her.

A Short History of Hildegard of Bingen

Submitted by Alyce 

 

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-Sept. 17 1179)

 

            A singular woman in her lifetime, Hildegard was born to a family of nobility in or near Bermersheim; located in the Rheinhessen, southwest of Frankfurt-am-Main. As the tenth child of Hildebert of Bermersheim and Mechthild of Merxheim, Hildegard was promised at birth and tithed to the church at the age of eight (1106).  At this point in history, tithing children to the church was a common practice, but by no means an obligation as it would become in later years.  The most important figure to enter Hildegard’s life at this point was Jutta, into whose care she was given and who would serve as teacher and mentor until Jutta's death.

 

            Jutta, only six years older than Hildegard herself, was also of noble birth, being the daughter of Count Stephen of Sponheim.  At the age of twelve, Jutta suffered an illness from which she promised to devote herself to God if she would be cured. Hildegard spent time with Jutta prior to their enclosure, when they became anchorites of the Benedictine order at Disibodenburg in 1112. Jutta became abbess at Disibodenburg yet remained an anchoress until her death in 1136, when Hildegard was named abbess.  Later, in 1147/1148, Hildegard took nearly twenty nuns with her to found an abbey  in Rupertsburg, near Bingen.

 

            During Hildegard's time as abbess, she became very involved both in the lives of her nuns, and in the state of religion in regions surrounding the Rhine.  She created one of the earliest designated operatic works, a morality play called Ordo Virtutum (Play of the Virtues), composed prolifically for women's voices, wrote Causae et Curae (Causes and Cures) on the ailments of people and how they could be cured, created her own language and alphabet, and corresponded in some 300+ letters with the Pope and other dignitaries. She traveled the Rhine, preaching her thoughts on health, spirituality, and morality, among many topics.  Hildegard died in 1179 at Rupertsburg.  Although Hildegard is sometimes referred to as Saint Hildegard, she has never been formally canonized by the Vatican.

 

Visions:

 

            Hildegard experienced ‘heavenly visions’ throughout her life, starting from the age of 5.  Research has found that Hildegard’s visions were triggered by severe migraines. Whenever Hildegard had a vision, she was permitted to record her vision with the assistance of the monk Volmar, who essentially became her 'secretary'.  Initially, she feared these visions, but eventually throughout her work at Disibodenburg, and later at Rupertsburg, Hildegard was able to embrace the visions as a means of keeping herself physically and spiritually well.

 

      The Cosmic Egg

      The Mystical Body

      The Trinity and the Macrocosm in relation to Man

      In the Scriptorium

      Body and Soul

  

Writings:

 

            A skilled writer, Hildegard wrote of her beliefs and experiences throughout her life. Several of her works and letters still are used today, mainly as interpreted by New Age spiritualists.

 

      Causae et Curae

      Scivias

      Lingua Ignota and corresponding alphabet

      Symphonia

      Book of Life's Merits

      Letters to the Pope, bishops, and other nobles and dignitaries

 

Music:

 

       As well known, if not better known than her visions and other writings is her work with music.  Hildegard composed for women's voices, taking advantage of the female voice range and abilities with her nuns.  Many of the works she composed contain harmonies that would not begin to occur Symphonia

      Modern interpretations of Hildegard's works

 

widely in music, sacred or secular, until centuries later.

 

      Typical plainchant during the 11th/12th centuries

      Harmonics

      Melismas

      Ordo Virtutum

Plum Pudding

 Submitted by Duke Kyrin/John

Here's a little info that is seasonal, as well as historical. Most cultures have some form of preserved meat/fat for winter consumption.... after numerous bits of research, I've come to realize that these preserves were all based on the same concept....... using what you had to create something to use later... so even though the ingredients change per culture, the basis is the same recipe(s) remained the same, using sugar as a preservative or vinegars as a preservative. Now world-wide this type of recipe seems to have a hint in allot of cultures. Whether it is English Plum Pudding (which really isn't a pudding, the English just call the "dessert" course of dinner "the pudding" ; "you can't have your pudding if you don't eat your meat" ) Germanic or Pennsylvania German "mincemeats" or even some forms of chutneys... when the food was in abundance from harvest or kill, you did what you could to save it till the times when it was sparse.

A recipe for Mincemeat, this recipe stores very well and cans even better. I kept this under refrigeration for a year and it was still fine.

Now plum pudding, although rather Victorian, is a great dessert or side. Even though it is a little drawn out, this recipe makes the process a lot shorter because instead of taking the process for pudding from start go you just use the mincemeat and take the recipe to its end. IE: boiling and settling.

1 cup molasses

5 lb. ground OR chopped venison or beef

6 large tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped

2 large containers of candied fruit mix

Zest of 1 orange

1 cup orange juice

1 TB lemon juice

1 TB clove

2 TB cinnamon

1 large box of white raisins, seedless

1 large box of raisins, seedless

2 cups whiskey

1 cup brown sugar

Thoroughly cook and brown beef, add remaining ingredients, except the molasses. Cook for 2 hours. Add the molasses and cook an additional 15 mins. Now as I stated, this recipe refrigerates well and it preserves even better, from experience - in mason jars, sealed over 2 years without any degradation of product. This makes an excellent holiday pie as well as a "base" for plum pudding.