The Corner

re: Holding Paper

Mark:  I’m not surprised your Granny was still upset about the Battle of Avarayr.

“The 66,000-strong Armenian army took the Holy Communion before the battle. The Persian army, said to be four times larger, featured war elephants. A terrible bloodshed ensued, and Vartan along with eight of his generals perished in the battle. During the battle a number of Armenian generals and nobility including Vasag Suni defected to the Persians.”

I bet Heather Mac Donald would have scornful things to say about the efficacy of that Holy Communion.  But perhaps the Host was not properly consecrated.  And that rat Vasag Suni!  (Do all medieval Armenian names look as if they are trying to be anagrams of something?)

Northampton, my home town, was a sleepy little backwater of a place until the expressway was built in 1960.  Memorable things happened there at intervals of about half a millennium.  Not only did the locals still nurse a grudge against Cromwell for not having paid his cobbler’s bills, you could still get an argument going about which route Thomas a Becket took when he fled the town in 1164.

The only thing I can recall that happened between Becket and Cromwell was that we got one quarter of the Welsh rebel leader Llewellyn Griffithson  following his execution  in 1282.  Llewellyn was decapitated and quartered.  The head was put on display in London, but the quarters were sent to the principal cities of the realm, of which Northampton was temporarily and freakishly one.  Which quarter it was, I don’t know.  I believe it was impaled on a pike at the town’s main gate.

The Northampton of my childhood seems like a dream now.  As a world-curious young chap, of course I couldn’t wait to get out of the place.  Now I look back on it with sad nostalgia.  It’s all gone now, of course, wrecked by modernity–developers, cars, the welfare state, pop culture, and mass immigration. 

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