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Norman Castle
775675.  Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:20 pm Reply with quote

Stephen: Where in Avignon do we all dance?

Alan: Sur le pont.


The correct answer is sous le pont. People would have danced under the bridge, not on it. The bridge, as it originally stood, crossed over the Ile de Barthelasse. Fairs were held on this island, by the bridge.

775709.  Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:23 am Reply with quote

Well I never - and I always thought it was "tout le monde"... you live and learn...

775845.  Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:23 pm Reply with quote

Goodness - that's news to me as well.

775961.  Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:17 pm Reply with quote

This all reminds me of an anecdote related by a history professor in a semester-long graduate seminar on the Black Death:

Clement VI was a kind, generous man but the court at Avignon became one of the most spectacular places in all of Europe. Some cardinals took him aside to say, “Hey tone it down,” but he said “Hey they don't know how to live like a pope!”

Clement VI threw all kinds of balls and parties. One such banquet (spring 1343) was thrown by Cardinal Annibaldo di Ceccano (1327-1350), reported anonymously by an Italian: an army of liveried servants, somewhere between 12-16 courses of food served. Annibaldo kept giving the pope gifts: jewelry and a fantastic horse; revelers spilled out of Annibaldo’s palace where they were directed onto a specially built “party-bridge” (gag bridge). Everyone fell into the Rhone.

Edit: In other notes from the same seminar I found the note:

FYI: Mongols do not eat marmots!

That rather contradicts this post, but I don't have any backing information. I'd indubitably trust the professor who related that tidbit to get his information straight, though.

776064.  Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:45 am Reply with quote

People in Mongolia do, and long have, eaten marmots. See, for instance, Kolesnikov, V V et al (2009) 'Folk use of marmots in Mongolia', Ethology Ecology and Evolution, 21, pp. 285-287, which notes that "The meat of the tarbagan is popular in Mongolia. It was used by 75% of the interviewees." ("Tarbagan" being Marmota sibirica.) Only Muslims, who make up about 4% of Mongolia's population, make a point of not eating marmot.

Now, the government of Mongolia did ban marmot hunting in 2006, partly because of the plague issue and partly because Marmota sibirica is endangered. There has been no serious attempt to establish how strictly that ban is enforced, but there's some suspicion that the answer is "not very".

So, was that professor just plain wrong? Possibly, or it may be that he was implying "The people of Mongolia are not Mongols". But unless this were read as a rather tasteless reference to a by now deprecated term for people with Down Syndrome, any such assertion would be difficult to defend. The population of Mongolia is about 93% ethnic Mongol; the minority are mostly Kazakh, with handfuls of Chinese, Russian, and Volga German.

Spud McLaren
776066.  Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:53 am Reply with quote

I do not know for certain whether Mongolians, as a race, eat marmots. However, I can give circumstantial supporting evidence in the form of a Mongolian word, pronounced horshgawroolach*, meaning to get a marmot to sit up and whistle before shooting it.

*sorry, no Cryllic script available

776105.  Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:38 am Reply with quote

It's likely I will be running into this professor in the not-too-distant future. I will try to ask him what he meant exactly. Hmm....


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