Quick update: for the last few days, I've been doing two things. First, I've been writing the introduction, then madly rearranging the parts so that I have everything introduced in the correct order. It's like one of those puzzles in the old analytical portions of the GREs, where you have to arrange seating for 6 people, but X can't sit next to Y, and Z has to be between two people taller than she is, blah blah blah...
Second, I've been going through the chapters, cleaning up all those obnoxious little square brackets. And here's where the paleographic geekery comes in (nonmedievalists, feel free to tune out here). I was looking for the name of a monastery that had to be located not too far from the town of X. I had a 150-page book listing all the known monasteries for the entire larger region, with whatever information was known about each, and a document (click on photo to enlarge -- it's in the first line there) in which the name was rendered as a word beginning with a tall letter with a squiggle through the tail, followed by...
No. Wait. This story is too boring to tell in detail. Let's just say that in a flash of paleographic insight, I suddenly realized that the letter I thought had been a "pro-" was actually an "ser-", which made me think of an obscure reference I'd seen elsewhere, and then I followed that up in the guide, and on a map, and got three kinds of rock-solid confirmation for something that had been a total mystery only three minutes earlier.
It was a small triumph, and only cleared up one of about two dozen remaining square brackets, but for a minute there, I got to feel pretty damned smart.
That...sounds really cool. And now I'm immensely curious for details. Send me an email if you get a chance!
Rock out! I love it when handwriting suddenly comes clear and explains a mystery. Huzzah!
Congratulations! I'd say that's more than a small triunph --- it always feels good to get it right.
That's a pretty fancy scribe you got there. He likes to make swishy little tails all over the place!
Those are the moments when I think "I am a scholar"!
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