[Glorantha]Disasters of mythic proportion

From: David Dunham <david_at_a-sharp.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2004 13:22:57 -0700


I just read Brian Fagan's _The Little Ice Age_,=20

which talks about climate and its effect (mostly=20
on Europe). Some of the descriptions reminded me=20
of events in Glorantha -- sometimes perhaps even=20
exceeding them.

Here are some examples:

In 1315, "Only occasionally did a watery sun=20 break through the clouds, before the rain started=20 again. 'Throughout nearly all of May, July, and=20 August, the rains did not cease,' complained one=20 writer. =8A In central Europe, floods swept away=20

entire villages, drowning hundreds at a time. =8A=20
the rains of 1315 stopped military campaigning in=20
its tracks. =8A Wagons bogged down in the mire so=20
deeply that even seven horses could not move=20 them. The infantry stood knee-deep in boggy=20 field=8A As much as half the arable land vanished=20 in some places =8A such grain as could be harvested=20 was soft and had to be dried before it could be=20 ground into flour."

"The year 1316 was the worst for cereal crops=20
throughout the entire Middle Ages. In many=20 places, the crops simply did not ripen. Where=20 wheat could be harvested, the plants were=20 stunted, the yields pitiful. Throughout the=20 thirteenth century, the Winchester manors in=20 southern England had enjoyed more or less=20 constant yields of about three bushels for every=20 one sown. The 1316 crop was only 55.9 percent of=20 normal, the lowest between 1271 and 1410. The=20

estate's income accounts record 'from lamb's wool=20
nothing this year, because they were not shorn on=20
account of the great inconsistency of the weather=20
in the summer.' 'From the sale of hay in the=20 meadow, nothing on account of the abundance of=20 rain in the summer.' The Bishop of Winchester's=20 mill made no profit 'because the mill did not=20 grind for half the year on account of the flood.'=20 Not only wheat but barley, beans, oats, and peas=20 yielded crops that were 15 to 20 percent lower=20 than normal. =8A the bitterly cold winter of=20 1317/18 used up the already depleted fodder=20 stocks."

"At least 100,000 people died along the Dutch and=20
German coasts in the four fierce storm surges in=20 about 1200, 1212-19, 1287, and 1362, in=20 long-forgotten disasters that rivaled the worst=20 in modern-day Bangladesh. =8A The greatest=20 fourteenth-century storm, that of January 1362,=20 went down in history as the Grote Mandrenke, the=20
"Great Drowning of Men. =8A A contemporary=20
chronicler reported that sixty parishes in the=20 Danish diocese of Slesvig were 'swallowed by the=20 salt sea.' At least 25,000 people perished in=20 this disaster, maybe many more."

"On August 19, 1413, a great southerly storm at=20
extremely low tide buried the small town of=20 =46orvie, near Aberdeen in norther Scotland, under=20 a thirty-meter sand dune. More than 100,000=20 people are said to have died in the great storms=20 of 1421 and 1446."

"In 1599/1600, the Alpine glaciers pushed=20
downslope more than ever before or since. In=20 Chamonix alone, 'the glaciers of the Arve and=20 other rivers ruined and spoiled one hundred and=20 ninety-five journaux of land in divers parts.' =8A=20 'The village of Le Bois was left uninhabited=20 because of the glaciers.' If contemporary=20 accounts are to be relied on, the ice advanced=20 daily."

"Huanyaputina ash played havoc with the global=20
climate. The summer of 1601 was =8A among the=20 coldest of the past 1,600 years in Scandinavia,=20 where the sun was dimmed by constant haze. Summer=20 sunlight was so dim in Iceland that there were no=20 shadows. In central Europe, sun and moon were=20 'reddish, faint, and lacked brilliance. =8A In=20 China, the sun was red and dim, with large=20 sunspots."

"Between 1627 and 1633, seven cold and wet=20
summers led to aggressive advances along ice=20 fronts throughout the Alps, causing large rock=20 falls and floods, and destroying trees,=20 farmlands, and bridges. Between 1628 and 1630,=20 Chamonix lost a third of its lands through=20 avalanches, snow, glaciers, and flooding, and the=20 remaining hectares were under constant threat. In=20 1642, the Des Bois glacier advanced 'over a=20 musket shot every day, even in the month of=20 August.'" The people begged for tax relief: "Now=20 they obtained but one harvest in three, and even=20 then the grain rotted after harvesting."

"When the Des Bois glacier threatened to block=20
the Arve River, the inhabitants of Chamonix" sent=20 a delegation to the Bishop of Geneva. "In early=20 June 1644, the bishop himself led a procession of=20 about three hundred people to the place where the=20 'great and horrible glacier' threatened the=20 village of Les Bois. the prelate blessed the=20 menacing ice sheet, then repeated the ritual at=20 another glacier =8A Fortunately, the blessings=20 worked. The glaciers slowly retreated until 1663,=20 but they left the land so scarred and barren that=20 nothing would grow."

"After 1680 the glaciers retreated somewhat." The=20
Bishop was invited back "to witness how the=20 threatening ice had withdrawn some eighty paces.=20 The old man duly visited the village and repeated=20 his blessing."

"In 1653, the alarmed villagers of Naterser sent=20
a deputation to the Jesuit community at Siders=8A"=20 At the glacier front, the Jesuits celebrated mass=20 and preached a sermon at the glacier: 'The most=20 important exorcisms were used.' They sprinkled=20 the terminus with holy water and set up an effigy=20 of Saint Ignatius nearby. 'It looked like an=20 image of Jupiter, ordering an armistice not to=20 his routed troops, but to the hungry glacier=20 itself.' The Jesuit disputation worked. We are=20 told that Saint Ignatius 'caused the glacier to=20 be still.'"

"In 1694, the Kinnaird family under the laird=20
Alexander owned the Barony of Culbin and its=20 valuable 1,400-hectare estate. =8A around November=20 1 or 2, a savage north or northwesterly gale=20 screamed in off the North Sea. For thirty hours=20 or more, storm winds and huge waves tore at the=20 coastal dunes at strengths estimated at 50 to 60=20 knots, maybe much higher. The wind rushed through=20 gaps in the dunes, blowing huge clouds of dust=20 and sand that felt like hail. =8A 'In terrible=20 gusts the wind carried the sand among the=20

dwelling-houses of the people=8A' Some villagers=20
had to break out through the rear walls of their=20
houses. They grabbed a few possessions and freed=20
their cattle from the advancing dunes, then fled=20
through the wind and rain to higher ground, only=20
to find themselves trapped by rising waters of=20 the now-blocked river. The resulting flood swept=20 away the village of Findhorn as the river cut a=20 new course to the sea. Fortunately, the=20 inhabitants escaped in time. The next day,=20 nothing could be seen of the houses and fields of=20 the Culbin estate. Sixteen fields and their=20 farmland, extending over twenty and thirty square=20 kilometers, were buried under thirty meters of=20 loose sand."

"In the end, a tenth of Louis XIV's subjects=20
perished from famine and its attendant epidemics=20 in 1693/94."

-- 

David Dunham
Glorantha/HQ/RQ page: http://www.pensee.com/dunham/glorantha.html
Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein



--__--__--

To unsubscribe from the Glorantha Digest, send an "unsubscribe"
command to glorantha-request_at_rpglist.org, or visit 
http://www.rpglist.org/mailman/listinfo/glorantha. Glorantha is a
Trademark of Issaries Inc. With the exception of previously
copyrighted material, unless specified otherwise all text in this
digest is copyright by the author or authors, with rights granted to
copy for personal use, to excerpt in reviews and replies, and to
archive unchanged for electronic retrieval.
-
Official WWW at http://www.glorantha.com
Archives at http://www.kondalski.org/brian/Glorantha

End of Glorantha Digest
Received on Sun 22 Aug 2004 - 07:00:30 EEST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Sun 04 Feb 2007 - 19:57:54 EET