Legit medieval unit of measurement: the ass-load. pic.twitter.com/hytzNQiEIp
— Dr. Renée Trilling (@ReneeTrilling) November 16, 2021
Dr. Renée Trilling is a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her teaching and research emphases are in medieval English literature, so it is no coincidence that she discovered this passage in Natural Materials of the Holy Land and the Visual Translation of Place, 500-1500, a scholarly anthology published in 2017. Her photo is from p. 119 of Dr. Lucy Donkin’s contribution titled “Earth from Elsewhere: Burial in Terra Sancta beyond the Holy Land.”
Donkin’s passage here relates to the movement of dirt from the grave of Saint Peter by Saint Lolan, an 11th Century Scottish bishop. That’s a long haul from Rome, but four well-built asses were up to the charge.
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-via Rebecca B