Soc.History.Medieval Question and Answer Pages

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Part III: Soc.history.medieval, its customs and legends:

1. What does <splork!> mean?

It represents a sudden, catastrophic eruption of beer, coffee, or other beverage through the nasal passages and onto one's monitor or keyboard. These involuntary eruptions are caused by posters who inconsiderately fail to give adequate warning before making exceptionally funny comments.

---- Brian M. Scott" (

It is an <fx> for coffee (or other beverage) being forced down the nose and on to the monitor following the unexpected discovery of something very funny in a post to the group. It was coined in about 1997 when Mary Gentle, having just found something in the group to be unexpectedly funny, and snorted coffee onto her monitor as a result, asked if there was an (fx) for such an action. Laura Blanchard invented (splork!) and everybody decided that it was good, and kept it.

---- CG Luxford (

<splork!> was introduced to SHM on Aug. 21st 1998 by Laura Blanchard as "the sound of the morning coffee as it spews onto the monitor" and immediately adopted by Mary Gentle (replacing the longer (fx coffee SPLAAAATTT!!!)), being often cherished also by others.

---- Gerrit Bigalski" (

I've been pondering the very real possibility, as *splork!* shows up on newsgroup after newsgroup, that this may become my unique contribution to the evolution of the English language. I can't tell you all how much pleasure that thought gives me. It strikes me as a particularly appropriate legacy for my life and work, and I hope someone will please engrave it on my tombstone.

---- Laura Blanchard (

2. Why is Agincourt considered "The Battle Which Must Not be Named"??

There was once a very, very long thread on the subject which dragged on for months until everyone concerned was heartily sick of the battle.

---- CG Luxford (

3. Why is Paul Gans considered an Orc??

Because he is one. More specifically, he is a small, green Orc. (There is no simple answer to this question. We can only recommend that you read Grunts, by Mary Gentle, and use your imagination.)

---- Brian M. Scott (

What's so complicated about small green orcs?

---- alex milman (

4. What is the Bermuda Triangle??

It was once noted that several posters tend to concentrate on a relatively small part of the world - namely England, France, the low countries and occasionally the Holy Roman Empire - this area became known as the Bermuda Triangle, because the posters concerned seemed unable to escape from it.

---- CG Luxford (

A term coined by Alex Milman to describe the preoccupation of some folks with Western Europe.

---- Paul J. Gans (

First mentioned August 28th 1998, and it was meant to denote a geographic focus that is even too small to be called "Western Europe".

---- Gerrit Bigalski ( [edited by Paul J. Gans]

5. What is the Age of Insufficient Light??

The Dark Ages.

---- CG Luxford (

The term was coined by Jonathan W. Hendry from May 21st 1999.

---- Gerrit Bigalski ( [edited by Paul J. Gans]

6. Who cares about Richard III anyway??

A number of fifteenth-century historians continue to work on issues relating to the Wars of the Roses and to the reign of Richard III in particular. See Michael Bennett, The Battle of Bosworth; Michael Hicks, Richard III: The Man Behind the Myth and Richard III and his Rivals; A.J. Pollard, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower; Charles D. Ross, Edward IV and Richard III; Rosemary Horrox, Richard III: A Study in Service

Additional reading suggestions can be found at the Richard III Society/American Branch web site,

I will also mention three popular "histories" presenting three wildly different pictures of Richard III and the controversy:

Bertram Fields, Royal Blood (neutral-to-revisionist)
Alison Weir, The Princes in the Tower (traditionalist and pretty awful in my personal opinion)
Audrey Williamson, The Mystery of the Princes (revisionist and a little on the speculative side in my personal opinion)

Because the evidence for Richard III's reputation is both incomplete and potentially biased (from both sides), an examination of the issues surrounding his life and death continues to fascinate and to arouse strong passions.

For additional information on the Richard III Society, a worldwide-organization devoted to a re-examination of Richard III's life and reputation and to the study of later fifteenth-century English history and culture, see the following web sites:

Parent Society (England):
American Branch:
*Canadian Branch:
Victoria (Australia) Branch:
Yorkshire Branch:

---- Laura Blanchard ( [minor editorial modifications by Paul J. Gans] *url change as of January 2003

The Richard III Society.

---- CG Luxford (

7. What is a Real Medieval Historian, anyway??

No-one seems entirely sure. As far as we can make out it is any medieval historian approved of by D. Spencer Hines, but as at least half of the regulars have him killfiled the real definition must remain forever hidden.

---- CG Luxford (

8. Why does Mary splork people?? And for fun??

For <fx>, of course!

---- Brian M. Scott (

9. Where did the "Third Force" at the battle of Bannockburn come from?

From the most dreaded clan of the MacWasherwomen. Thus dreaded indeed that, according to a recent find in the Stasi-files, the laws of war have a secret addendum: If a soldier accused of cowardice in the face of the enemy can convicingly set forth that this face was in fact that of a MacWasherwoman, he will be acquitted." (First mention of the MacWasherwoman in SHM, Jan. 20th 1999; accidently by - me.)

---- Gerrit Bigalski (

10. What are McWasherwomen?

McWasherwomen first appeared during The Second Battle Which Can Not Be Named (chronologically, the first one). First, they were supposed to be auxiliaries of the Fried Templars (who won the battle). Later it had been discovered by Sir McAlpinist that THEY actually had been a decisive force who beat everybody, including the Fried Templars.

After this memorable event, McWasherwomen wander all over medieval history, providing a wide variety of the services from the vital ones (as "McWasherwomen") to laundry (Sir McAlpinist discovered that true medieval macho men did not wear clothes so there was nothing to wash, anyway).

Their relation to the Picts, Sea People, Martians, etc. is still under investigation.

---- alex milman (

I think it should be known that the earliest known picture of McWasherwomen has been spotted by Simon Pugh of SHM. She can be seen in all her naked glory in the Bayeux Tapestry at the top of the scene where William rides out to meet Harold at Battle.

Perhaps this is the final proof that McWasherwomen had Norman origins and came over with William in 1066.

Or was she a Saxon and the origins go back much further.

Watch this space or SHM for updates on the movements of this remarkable group who attended at every major battle and campaign in the Middle Ages.

---- Michael W Cook (

11. What is the MacWasherwomen's Fighting Chicken?

MacWasherwomen's Fighting Chicken (MFC) - seemingly harmless but actually terribly dangerous birds that had been widely used by the MacWasherwomen as a weapon of mass destruction. The best known applications are:

(a) A precision (fire)bombing - on the numerous ocassions MFC had been carrying the burning coals in their beaks and/or talons to drop them into the gunpowder magazines, child's craddles, or under the collar of the enemy's commanding officer. Even better results had been achieved at the 2nd Battle That Can't Be Named when a live worm had been dropped on Ed II.

[There are unconfirmed reports of MFC's being also used for the carpet firebombing. While such a possibility can not be completely denied, there is a chance that actually these accidents had been actually caused by the MacWasherwomen's Roaming (or Roasted?) Piglets (MRP): the U-shaped traces of the pig's droppings had been found during the excavations. It's not out of the question that MRP's belonged to the (now practically extinct) group of the flying pigs. This would account for the reports about the huge heaps of the burning straw (and some smelly things) falling from the skies.]

(b) Flooding the area - during MW's campaigns in Netherlands, MFC's had been widely used to make the holes in the dams (pretending to be simply looking for the worms).

(c) Food poisoning (biological warfare) - seemingly ocassional defecation into the enemy's food and (more important) drink supplies. At least in one case, MFC intentionally drowned itself in a barrell of a vintage wine, causing panic among the opponent's general staff.

(d) Undercover operations - hiding under the enemy's bed and, after he falls asleep, pecking out his eyes, or defecating on the opponent's maps to get him completely confused.

(e) Espionage - pretending to be simply looking for food while eavesdropping on the military councils.

The usual punishment for the caught MFC's was: plucking, disembowling, beheading and burning.

----- Alex (
      18 June, 2002

12. Why does a number of group members appear to have a pathological complex about another member. One which leads them to constantly nay-say, insult, and belittle him at the same time they ignore his repeated efforts to maintain professional detachment?

Possibly, because this particular group member needs to get a life. Otherwise, there is no real explanation that would not require attempts at on-line psychiatric diagnosis.....

---- Anonymous

Part IV: Bibliographies

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Last updated 07/19/2009