Monday, January 7, 2013

Knowing Where the Books Are Buried

Someone asked what that title meant and I proceeded to explain a bit of history.

From the Book of Kells
Vikings plundered Ireland over several centuries and as a result many of the monks charged with preserving and copying the religious texts began to hide the works.  The covers where sometimes gold or jewel encrusted to signify the great sanctity of the volumes and of recovered they nearly always came minus those added features.  The insides, however, were the real jewels as brilliant colors and fine designs preserved symbols of Celtic history merged with Christian theology and history along with the sacred texts.

One particular story from the early 11th century details how such a raid had occurred but the books were safe because they had been hidden under the sod. This means they might have been buried (and other texts and archaeological findings do infer that) in the ground or hidden in the peat moss roof.

So, image you are on the wind swept coast of Ireland as the single goes up that the dreaded dragon headed ships approached.  The people scurrying to hide themselves and their precious items of food, weapons, and, in the case of the monks, their books and bibles.

Now, image the raid being very successful and the villagers and the monks killed or taken for slaves.  Now, an empty ghost village, there would be known left who knew where the knowledge had been hidden, who had no clue where to recover the manuscripts, the Bible, the weapons, or the food.

How sweet must have been the sound, in the chaos of such a catastrophe and such devastating loss, of the words, "I know where the books are buried..."

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