Thursday, May 4, 2017

First Line Friday: Eleanor Edition VI


There is no cover this week, because what I am reading is not a book. Instead, it is a collection of letters. Thanks to this amazing website from Columbia University, Epistolae: Medieval Women's Latin Letters, I now have a treasure trove of goodies - the surviving letters to and from Eleanor in both English AND Latin.

This week's line then comes from one of the many letters Eleanor dictated to the public, dated May 4th, 1199. Almost to the day, this is a letter written 818 years ago, and (for the most part) are the words of a woman I admire greatly:

"Eleanor, by the grace of God, queen of the Angles, duchess of Normandy and Aquitaine, countess of Anjou, to the archbishops, bishops, counts, viscounts, barons, justiciaries, provosts, and all her bailiffs and faithful, and to all the sons, present and future, of the holy mother Church, greetings."

Quite the intro, no?

Let me know what you think of this line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week for you.


Happy Reading!
Sarah

26 comments:

  1. That is quite the intro! I'm glad we don't have to write that much when writing a formal letter today!

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    1. Right?? It would make people even less inclined to write formal letters now than they already are!

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  2. Now THAT is how you start a letter!

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    1. Right??!! I think I will come up with something similar. After all, 'Sarah' means princess in Hebrew, so I am practically royalty anyway. I can start all future blog posts that way, haha!

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  3. Lol! My next line would be, "Now, what was I going to say again?"

    I have the first line of Tosca Lee's 'Firstborn' on my blog today, but here I'm going to share the first line of "Wings of the Wind" by Connilyn Cossette:

    "Forging through the teeming mass of Canaanite soldiers in this vast army camp, I'd never felt more alone."

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    1. Exactly!! Good thing she had a secretary to write everything for her. In my research for my book, I am pretty consistently seeing the idea that she likely could read but not write (her documents signed with an X suggest this, as it was pretty common).

      The name 'Tosca' is very unusual. I keep seeing books by this author pop up in other FLFs. I am intrigued.

      Happy Friday!

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  4. First line from A Love So True by Melissa Jagears.
    If David Kingsman had any chance of making his father proud, this next decision could be it.

    I think I would not write letters if I had to write that much in the greeting!

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    1. Thanks for coming by Andrea! Maybe it would be easier for lengthy intros if you had a scribe to write it all for you! Happy Friday!

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  5. September 1939
    If I'd known I was about to meet the man who'd shatter me like bone china on terra-cotta, I would have slept in. ~ Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

    Dinh @Arlene's Book Club

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    1. Very powerful line Dinh, thank you for sharing. Happy Friday!

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  6. Happy Friday!!
    My first line is from True to You by Becky Wade:
    “Finding oneself at the mercy of a crazed gunman isn’t all fun and games.”

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    1. Happy Friday to you also Becky, thank you for coming by!

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  7. My first line comes from Live Free or Die by Hunter Lee.

    Friday, 19:00 GMT

    Dawkins Eames tugged on his collar while he gazed at pedestrians jockeying for position at the crosswalk.

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    1. Hey Caryl, thank you for coming by. Happy Friday!

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  8. That is quite the line! Happy Friday!

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    1. Isn't it though? No one could forget an intro like that. Happy Friday!

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  9. Isn't is amazing we can read letters that were written so long ago?! I remember getting to see letters penned by C.S. Lewis when I was at the Bodleian in Oxford...so incredible! :)

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    1. It was like Christmas in April! I was so excited when I stumbled upon it. Given that I have zero access to materials in France (obviously because I am not there, and also because I do not speak or read French and/or Latin), it was a miracle! I also love that the original Latin is included, and historical context too.

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  10. Awesome first line! :)
    Harley Diekerhoff looked up from peeling potatoes to glance out the kitchen window.
    From – Christmas at Cooper Mountain by Jane Porter

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    1. Thank you Kay, and thanks for coming by. Happy Friday!

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  11. Quite the intro indeed!! Happy Friday!!

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    1. Isn't it?? Happy Friday to you as well!

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  12. That IS quite the intro! And amazing to imagine back to 1199... such a different worls, and as she was dictating that she probably would scarcely think her words would be read 818 years later!

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    1. My thought exactly! And for the difficulties she endured while Henry had her imprisoned (albeit still as a queen, she just wasn't allowed to leave), she had no idea she would come to be viewed as one of the greatest figures of the middle ages. This thought was probably far from her mind as the Angevin empire was slowly being encroached on in her final years during John's reign. It must have been very hard for her to retire that final time, knowing how weak he was as a king.

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  13. Good website resources are always an amazing find!!

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    1. Agreed. It is especially helpful to find translated material, as I read neither Latin nor French (or Occitan or ny other French variation Eleanor herself might have spoken)

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