Many years ago (before you were born I’m sure) Hernando Colón, son of Christopher Columbus, collected many books from around the world–close to 15,000 tomes.
After amassing his collection, Colón employed a team of writers to read every book in the library and distill each into a little summary in Libro de los Epítomes, ranging from a couple of lines long for very short texts to about 30 pages for the complete works of Plato, which Wilson-Lee dubbed the “miracle of compression”. — Alison Flood, The Guardian
That summary, The Libro de los Epítomes, was picked up by the Icelandic scholar Árni Magnússon and donated with his collection to the University of Copenhagen in 1730. It has now been rediscovered for the gold mine into forgotten reading that it is and will be made digital next year, giving us good look into the printed material being read in those days. (via Prufrock News)
Stupid Leif Eriksson statue at Minnesota State Capitol
Leif Eriksson Day 2018. A day America pauses to… pretty much do nothing. Various Scandinavian groups have small celebrations sometime around the date (I’ll be speaking at one on Saturday, and it’s a good one) but the Leif Eriksson parades are few, and nobody gets a school day off.
However, as Christopher Columbus rapidly becomes an Unperson and an Enemy of the People, Leif seems to be gaining ground. Not by winning, but by losing less. For now.
I’m frankly a little embarrassed by most of the comparisons between Leif and Chris. It was fun when Columbus was riding high, and Scandinavians could pretend to be unfairly overlooked. Now it’s just kind of like kicking a guy when he’s down.
So here’s a moment of respect for Cristóbol Colón, who did not intend to genocide anyone. He intended to spread the Kingdom of God, and to save Europe from economic strangulation by the Islamic world. He was successful at both – at least until recently.
Big men do big things. Columbus did pretty big stuff. You can spit at the castle your grandfather built, but knocking it down will take some work. And it will leave you poorer.