Haggis on the Menu

Photo2 A bright sunny Thursday, and Susan Sarah is here again….

Questions! The Wenches have received so many great questions!  Please keep them coming (send them to our Whipster, Sherrie, who’s collecting them. If your question is answered, you win a free book!). My turn to pull one outta the hat….

RevMelinda asks “the dinner party” question: what 5 historical figures would you like to have dinner with, and why? Who would you seat next to whom? Whose conversation would be the most fun to eavesdrop on?

(the picture is me with my husband at a historical dinner…well, costume demo anyway!)

A great classic question, and one I’ve thought about now and then. It’s so hard to decide! My list changes every time I rethink it. I have trouble limiting myself to five people– hey, my dining room table’s bigger than that! We can handle twelve at our table with all the leaves in, and another four at the card table where the kids were banished each year until they insisted on eating at the big people’s table. And I could fit another six at the kitchen table…several out on the deck if the weather is good…the rest can eat on the sofas and other chairs. So that gives me what, over thirty historical people I could invite….

OK, five is simpler. And I’m hoping you’ll choose five historical people for your dinner wish lists too, and let us know what they’d be. My choices would depend on what historical research mode I’m in… whether it’s medieval, Regency, British or Scottish or something more international…hmm. Here goes:

Joan_of_arc_miniature Joan of Arc – I have admired her since I was little girl in CCD classes, bored by the catechism and the long roster of saints, but my ears perked up at the story of the teenage girl who spoke with angels, and left her little village to follow her convictions, and lead an army to war – and the courage, later, to face the fire. My great-grandmother grew up in an area of rural France very near where Joan grew up, so I hope that Jehanne la Pucelle and I would have lots to talk about (and some of it in French, because I’d try to brush up before she arrived!).
I would ask her to tell the story at my dinner table of why she called the English the “Goddams” – because she and other French soldiers overheard the English swearing by their campfires at night.
I’ve always been fascinated by Joan of Arc, and I have an extensive library shelf devoted to her. I had the chance to include her peripherally in one of my novels, The Sword Maiden, and I hope one day to develop another story focused around her. Ideas in progress….

Sirwalterscott_percy Sir Walter Scott – a lovely man, and I’d love to have him to dinner, in hopes that we could discuss Scottish history and the origins of great classic historical romance. In hopes, also, that he’d let me loose in his library of 9,000 volumes on history, legend, and British culture! Sigh. Sheer heaven. We could also talk about Abbotsford, his beautiful home that I’ve visited more than once, and will drool over forever.

Sargent_miss_ellen_terry_as_lady_macbeth Lady Macbeth and King Macbeth – I would invite the real couple, the Celts, not the characters that Shakespeare so brilliantly conjured out of a smidgeon of history and a whole lotta fiction. The real ones might be glad for a little attention at last, they’ve been overshadowed by the hand-wringing drama queen and her henpecked husband (really I admire the Shakespeare, though find the real story equally fascinating). The invitation would be addressed to Gruoch inghean Bodhe mac Coinneach mhic Dubh, and Mac bethad mac Findlaech, Rex et Regina Scottorum– Queen Gruoch and King Macbeth of Scotland.

I would be honored to have these two, the last truly Celtic monarchs of Scotland, sitting at my table, and I think their manners would be courteous, even if they’d never seen a fork before. The truth of their long, stable reign, and the remarkable events of that time period remains cloaked in myth, mystery, and speculation. I hope they would tell their actual story…Celts, Vikings, magic and power plays, and the lusty, raw struggle over many years to defend Celtic Scotland from the threat of Vikings to the north and Saxons to the south.

Wait, no daggers allowed at my table. Leave them by the door and retrieve them up as you go out!

Maryqueenscots Mary, Queen of Scots – a controversial guest for some, I suppose, but someone who has always had my sympathy, being a beautiful young woman who was little more than a teenager, raised in the elitist bubble of the French court, when she was sent back to Scotland to rule over some very rough, ruthless,  conniving men who did their best to bring her down, and spoil her idealism. She was a beautiful creature, a little selfish and naive, and too easily led for the position that she held. I’d like to ask her the truth about her relationship with Bothwell, and I’d like to know what really happened between her and her cousin, Elizabeth I…what was up with those casket letters, anyway?  And who blew up her whiny husband?

I’d seat Queen Mary beside Lady Macbeth, two strong and mysterious Queens of Scots. I’m sure Sir Walter Scott would want to pick Mary’s brain, once he finished picking Joan’s and Gruoch’s and Macbeth’s too. Joan of Arc and Queen Mary could converse easily in French, and Mary could speak a little Gaelic and a little Latin with the Macbeths, and Sir Walter could handle himself in all of those, so there would be some good general conversation. And I would try to keep up with all of them with English, French, and a smattering of Gaelic.  Joan of Arc would not be odd girl out in this Scottish bunch, since she kept Scottish knights with her throughout her campaign. She’d have a soft spot in her heart for them, and they for her. Well, the Macbeths would have to be caught up to speed on the whole saving France thing.

As to the menu, I could go with a typical Scottish dinner, though I’m not too fond of haggis myself (actually it’s quite good if you’ve ever tried it — I just don’t eat red meat). So I’d probably go with cock-a-leekie soup to start (chicken and leeks, pretty good and very easy), then fresh salmon, and of course neeps ‘n tatties (the Macbeths and Joan of Arc could discover a new taste sensation – potatoes! along with that old staple, turnips), and maybe a nice pastry for dessert. Scots are very fond of pastries and sweets (we’ll have to do without the fried Mars Bars, though). We’ll have tea and coffee later, along with a few rounds of whisky, good old uisge beatha, to loosen them up and warm the mood at the table.

For other dinners, I have a few other dream guests…

Leonardo da Vinci, seated next to Picasso: give them a big pad of paper and some charcoal and ask them to brainstorm a new mural!

Robert Burns, the lusty, rowdy poet of 18th century Scotland, seated beside Caravaggio, the lusty, rowdy painter and brat of the Italian Baroque. Caravaggio was arrested a few times with an ancestor of mine for drunken carousing — and I’ve done a few Burns Night addresses — so we’d all have something to talk about. We’d have to move the whisky far away from those two, though.

Oooh, maybe one day we could do Smackdowns in History. Who would you pit against whom?

How about you all?  Who would you invite to supper?

~Susan Sarah, promising a free book to RevMelinda for another great question (please email me for details)!

84 thoughts on “Haggis on the Menu”

  1. I don’t want the famous people. Not even the D list, like Queen Jane. I’d want the estranged sister of the second footman. You know, bitter, gossipy people. The person who had to pick up after the tantrums. Y’know, what did Joan’s childhood playmates think? Who was the Magdelene, really? What’s it like to work in a castle a pair of Prince’s just disappeared from? How many times did you catch Dudley sneaking out at dawn, anyway?

    Reply
  2. I don’t want the famous people. Not even the D list, like Queen Jane. I’d want the estranged sister of the second footman. You know, bitter, gossipy people. The person who had to pick up after the tantrums. Y’know, what did Joan’s childhood playmates think? Who was the Magdelene, really? What’s it like to work in a castle a pair of Prince’s just disappeared from? How many times did you catch Dudley sneaking out at dawn, anyway?

    Reply
  3. I don’t want the famous people. Not even the D list, like Queen Jane. I’d want the estranged sister of the second footman. You know, bitter, gossipy people. The person who had to pick up after the tantrums. Y’know, what did Joan’s childhood playmates think? Who was the Magdelene, really? What’s it like to work in a castle a pair of Prince’s just disappeared from? How many times did you catch Dudley sneaking out at dawn, anyway?

    Reply
  4. I don’t want the famous people. Not even the D list, like Queen Jane. I’d want the estranged sister of the second footman. You know, bitter, gossipy people. The person who had to pick up after the tantrums. Y’know, what did Joan’s childhood playmates think? Who was the Magdelene, really? What’s it like to work in a castle a pair of Prince’s just disappeared from? How many times did you catch Dudley sneaking out at dawn, anyway?

    Reply
  5. Lessee,
    I’d invite Mary Magdalene (no, I haven’t read the Davinci Code, so nothing to do with that), Mary the Mother of Jesus, Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother), Eve and Esther.
    Maybe that it’s near Christmas and Chanukah that I’ve come up with this list… hmm…
    I’d seat Eve next to Mary (the mother of Jesus). I’d seat Mary Magdalene next to Elizabeth (because she strikes me as a compassionate soul) and Ester on the other side of Mary Magdalene (a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, would be the conversation, I imagine.)
    I obviously want Eve’s side of the story. Ester’s fascinating, married to the scourge of the earth at the time. I’d like to hear how she coped with that when she wasn’t making the headlines. Elizabeth may be the least fascinating (to me) but her presence would really ground the table, I think. Mary (the mother Jesus) is shy, I imagine…an introvert, but surely she has her own gospel and she might be willing to share it with Eve.
    I think one night with these ladies could straighten a lot of things out, though we might need Sarah (Abraham’s wife) for that one, though I never imagined her to be a completely reasonable person.
    Cathy, who hopes she hasn’t insulted anybody.

    Reply
  6. Lessee,
    I’d invite Mary Magdalene (no, I haven’t read the Davinci Code, so nothing to do with that), Mary the Mother of Jesus, Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother), Eve and Esther.
    Maybe that it’s near Christmas and Chanukah that I’ve come up with this list… hmm…
    I’d seat Eve next to Mary (the mother of Jesus). I’d seat Mary Magdalene next to Elizabeth (because she strikes me as a compassionate soul) and Ester on the other side of Mary Magdalene (a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, would be the conversation, I imagine.)
    I obviously want Eve’s side of the story. Ester’s fascinating, married to the scourge of the earth at the time. I’d like to hear how she coped with that when she wasn’t making the headlines. Elizabeth may be the least fascinating (to me) but her presence would really ground the table, I think. Mary (the mother Jesus) is shy, I imagine…an introvert, but surely she has her own gospel and she might be willing to share it with Eve.
    I think one night with these ladies could straighten a lot of things out, though we might need Sarah (Abraham’s wife) for that one, though I never imagined her to be a completely reasonable person.
    Cathy, who hopes she hasn’t insulted anybody.

    Reply
  7. Lessee,
    I’d invite Mary Magdalene (no, I haven’t read the Davinci Code, so nothing to do with that), Mary the Mother of Jesus, Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother), Eve and Esther.
    Maybe that it’s near Christmas and Chanukah that I’ve come up with this list… hmm…
    I’d seat Eve next to Mary (the mother of Jesus). I’d seat Mary Magdalene next to Elizabeth (because she strikes me as a compassionate soul) and Ester on the other side of Mary Magdalene (a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, would be the conversation, I imagine.)
    I obviously want Eve’s side of the story. Ester’s fascinating, married to the scourge of the earth at the time. I’d like to hear how she coped with that when she wasn’t making the headlines. Elizabeth may be the least fascinating (to me) but her presence would really ground the table, I think. Mary (the mother Jesus) is shy, I imagine…an introvert, but surely she has her own gospel and she might be willing to share it with Eve.
    I think one night with these ladies could straighten a lot of things out, though we might need Sarah (Abraham’s wife) for that one, though I never imagined her to be a completely reasonable person.
    Cathy, who hopes she hasn’t insulted anybody.

    Reply
  8. Lessee,
    I’d invite Mary Magdalene (no, I haven’t read the Davinci Code, so nothing to do with that), Mary the Mother of Jesus, Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother), Eve and Esther.
    Maybe that it’s near Christmas and Chanukah that I’ve come up with this list… hmm…
    I’d seat Eve next to Mary (the mother of Jesus). I’d seat Mary Magdalene next to Elizabeth (because she strikes me as a compassionate soul) and Ester on the other side of Mary Magdalene (a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, would be the conversation, I imagine.)
    I obviously want Eve’s side of the story. Ester’s fascinating, married to the scourge of the earth at the time. I’d like to hear how she coped with that when she wasn’t making the headlines. Elizabeth may be the least fascinating (to me) but her presence would really ground the table, I think. Mary (the mother Jesus) is shy, I imagine…an introvert, but surely she has her own gospel and she might be willing to share it with Eve.
    I think one night with these ladies could straighten a lot of things out, though we might need Sarah (Abraham’s wife) for that one, though I never imagined her to be a completely reasonable person.
    Cathy, who hopes she hasn’t insulted anybody.

    Reply
  9. Hmm, let me see. Narrowing it down to five certainly is difficult.
    1) Berengaria of Navarre – one of the forgotten queens of England. I’d love to meet her and hear her side of the story.
    2) Marie Sklodowska Curie – a brilliant woman I’ve always admired. I’d love to find out more about her childhood in Poland and about her life with Pierre.
    3) Marie-Antoinette – like Mary, Queen of Scots, she was a beautiful young woman thrust into a court of back-stabbing and intrigue. She realized too late life is more than pretty dresses and playing at being a milk-maid. Still, I do wonder if there was more to her than meets the eye, hence my desire to lunch with her
    4) Jane Austen – I’d love to hear about her life and her writing. Imagine she’d be a witty dining companion 🙂
    5) Helen Keller – She was a truly amazing woman. Would love to chat with her and learn about what life was like at Radcliffe in the early 20th century.
    Others? Well, Richard III, so I could find out once and for all what happened to the princes.
    King John, another king with a really bad rap – I’d like to meet him. Many historians now agree he wasn’t quite as bad as the character in the Robin Hood movies.
    Jan Sobieski III – King of Poland. He was well-loved, a great military and diplomatic leader. I don’t know much about the history of my ancestral land, so figure meeting and talking to him would be a good start
    I could keep on going, so I’d best stop now *g*.
    Thanks for sharing your choices with us – I would love to be a fly on the wall at your luncheon!

    Reply
  10. Hmm, let me see. Narrowing it down to five certainly is difficult.
    1) Berengaria of Navarre – one of the forgotten queens of England. I’d love to meet her and hear her side of the story.
    2) Marie Sklodowska Curie – a brilliant woman I’ve always admired. I’d love to find out more about her childhood in Poland and about her life with Pierre.
    3) Marie-Antoinette – like Mary, Queen of Scots, she was a beautiful young woman thrust into a court of back-stabbing and intrigue. She realized too late life is more than pretty dresses and playing at being a milk-maid. Still, I do wonder if there was more to her than meets the eye, hence my desire to lunch with her
    4) Jane Austen – I’d love to hear about her life and her writing. Imagine she’d be a witty dining companion 🙂
    5) Helen Keller – She was a truly amazing woman. Would love to chat with her and learn about what life was like at Radcliffe in the early 20th century.
    Others? Well, Richard III, so I could find out once and for all what happened to the princes.
    King John, another king with a really bad rap – I’d like to meet him. Many historians now agree he wasn’t quite as bad as the character in the Robin Hood movies.
    Jan Sobieski III – King of Poland. He was well-loved, a great military and diplomatic leader. I don’t know much about the history of my ancestral land, so figure meeting and talking to him would be a good start
    I could keep on going, so I’d best stop now *g*.
    Thanks for sharing your choices with us – I would love to be a fly on the wall at your luncheon!

    Reply
  11. Hmm, let me see. Narrowing it down to five certainly is difficult.
    1) Berengaria of Navarre – one of the forgotten queens of England. I’d love to meet her and hear her side of the story.
    2) Marie Sklodowska Curie – a brilliant woman I’ve always admired. I’d love to find out more about her childhood in Poland and about her life with Pierre.
    3) Marie-Antoinette – like Mary, Queen of Scots, she was a beautiful young woman thrust into a court of back-stabbing and intrigue. She realized too late life is more than pretty dresses and playing at being a milk-maid. Still, I do wonder if there was more to her than meets the eye, hence my desire to lunch with her
    4) Jane Austen – I’d love to hear about her life and her writing. Imagine she’d be a witty dining companion 🙂
    5) Helen Keller – She was a truly amazing woman. Would love to chat with her and learn about what life was like at Radcliffe in the early 20th century.
    Others? Well, Richard III, so I could find out once and for all what happened to the princes.
    King John, another king with a really bad rap – I’d like to meet him. Many historians now agree he wasn’t quite as bad as the character in the Robin Hood movies.
    Jan Sobieski III – King of Poland. He was well-loved, a great military and diplomatic leader. I don’t know much about the history of my ancestral land, so figure meeting and talking to him would be a good start
    I could keep on going, so I’d best stop now *g*.
    Thanks for sharing your choices with us – I would love to be a fly on the wall at your luncheon!

    Reply
  12. Hmm, let me see. Narrowing it down to five certainly is difficult.
    1) Berengaria of Navarre – one of the forgotten queens of England. I’d love to meet her and hear her side of the story.
    2) Marie Sklodowska Curie – a brilliant woman I’ve always admired. I’d love to find out more about her childhood in Poland and about her life with Pierre.
    3) Marie-Antoinette – like Mary, Queen of Scots, she was a beautiful young woman thrust into a court of back-stabbing and intrigue. She realized too late life is more than pretty dresses and playing at being a milk-maid. Still, I do wonder if there was more to her than meets the eye, hence my desire to lunch with her
    4) Jane Austen – I’d love to hear about her life and her writing. Imagine she’d be a witty dining companion 🙂
    5) Helen Keller – She was a truly amazing woman. Would love to chat with her and learn about what life was like at Radcliffe in the early 20th century.
    Others? Well, Richard III, so I could find out once and for all what happened to the princes.
    King John, another king with a really bad rap – I’d like to meet him. Many historians now agree he wasn’t quite as bad as the character in the Robin Hood movies.
    Jan Sobieski III – King of Poland. He was well-loved, a great military and diplomatic leader. I don’t know much about the history of my ancestral land, so figure meeting and talking to him would be a good start
    I could keep on going, so I’d best stop now *g*.
    Thanks for sharing your choices with us – I would love to be a fly on the wall at your luncheon!

    Reply
  13. Good one, Liz! What fun your party would be.
    I think my party might be a bit somber. None of the women I’ve listed are very gossipy, to my understanding.
    I’d like to clarify some of my thoughts, lest anyone think I want Mary (the mother of Jesus) to evangelize Eve. Obviously I do expect or want that since it’s my opinion both women are/were devout Jews, though one could argue Eve wasn’t Jewish, that religion having officially started later with Abraham. However, I think a conversation between the two would be enlightening. I imagine Eve to be chattier than Mary, but Mary’s a well-traveled woman, having lived in Egypt for a fair amount of time, and all that.

    Reply
  14. Good one, Liz! What fun your party would be.
    I think my party might be a bit somber. None of the women I’ve listed are very gossipy, to my understanding.
    I’d like to clarify some of my thoughts, lest anyone think I want Mary (the mother of Jesus) to evangelize Eve. Obviously I do expect or want that since it’s my opinion both women are/were devout Jews, though one could argue Eve wasn’t Jewish, that religion having officially started later with Abraham. However, I think a conversation between the two would be enlightening. I imagine Eve to be chattier than Mary, but Mary’s a well-traveled woman, having lived in Egypt for a fair amount of time, and all that.

    Reply
  15. Good one, Liz! What fun your party would be.
    I think my party might be a bit somber. None of the women I’ve listed are very gossipy, to my understanding.
    I’d like to clarify some of my thoughts, lest anyone think I want Mary (the mother of Jesus) to evangelize Eve. Obviously I do expect or want that since it’s my opinion both women are/were devout Jews, though one could argue Eve wasn’t Jewish, that religion having officially started later with Abraham. However, I think a conversation between the two would be enlightening. I imagine Eve to be chattier than Mary, but Mary’s a well-traveled woman, having lived in Egypt for a fair amount of time, and all that.

    Reply
  16. Good one, Liz! What fun your party would be.
    I think my party might be a bit somber. None of the women I’ve listed are very gossipy, to my understanding.
    I’d like to clarify some of my thoughts, lest anyone think I want Mary (the mother of Jesus) to evangelize Eve. Obviously I do expect or want that since it’s my opinion both women are/were devout Jews, though one could argue Eve wasn’t Jewish, that religion having officially started later with Abraham. However, I think a conversation between the two would be enlightening. I imagine Eve to be chattier than Mary, but Mary’s a well-traveled woman, having lived in Egypt for a fair amount of time, and all that.

    Reply
  17. Oh, I dunno, Cathy. They’re women. And they had their stories told by men. I don’t know how I would come across if my story was told by men long after I’d lived. That might be a totally different party than you expect and they might not care about issues of faith at all. I think any of the biblical women would be interesting.

    Reply
  18. Oh, I dunno, Cathy. They’re women. And they had their stories told by men. I don’t know how I would come across if my story was told by men long after I’d lived. That might be a totally different party than you expect and they might not care about issues of faith at all. I think any of the biblical women would be interesting.

    Reply
  19. Oh, I dunno, Cathy. They’re women. And they had their stories told by men. I don’t know how I would come across if my story was told by men long after I’d lived. That might be a totally different party than you expect and they might not care about issues of faith at all. I think any of the biblical women would be interesting.

    Reply
  20. Oh, I dunno, Cathy. They’re women. And they had their stories told by men. I don’t know how I would come across if my story was told by men long after I’d lived. That might be a totally different party than you expect and they might not care about issues of faith at all. I think any of the biblical women would be interesting.

    Reply
  21. My goodness, I just wanted to comment that our Susan/Sarah has a book coming out (next year, is it?) about the real Lady MacBeth, and a rip roarer it is, too. You’d feel as if you’d been sitting at her table when you’re done.
    But I love the dinner parties listed above, too! I think I might be happiest with Teresa’s selection. Have you read Carolly Erickson’s TO THE SCAFFOLD about Marie Antoinette? Another scared child made queen. Who were the idiots who thought spoiled children could rule a country?
    And I agree, I suspect the biblical women would have a lot to say, provided they felt secure enough to say it. Some of those Biblical men were real sticklers for punishment!

    Reply
  22. My goodness, I just wanted to comment that our Susan/Sarah has a book coming out (next year, is it?) about the real Lady MacBeth, and a rip roarer it is, too. You’d feel as if you’d been sitting at her table when you’re done.
    But I love the dinner parties listed above, too! I think I might be happiest with Teresa’s selection. Have you read Carolly Erickson’s TO THE SCAFFOLD about Marie Antoinette? Another scared child made queen. Who were the idiots who thought spoiled children could rule a country?
    And I agree, I suspect the biblical women would have a lot to say, provided they felt secure enough to say it. Some of those Biblical men were real sticklers for punishment!

    Reply
  23. My goodness, I just wanted to comment that our Susan/Sarah has a book coming out (next year, is it?) about the real Lady MacBeth, and a rip roarer it is, too. You’d feel as if you’d been sitting at her table when you’re done.
    But I love the dinner parties listed above, too! I think I might be happiest with Teresa’s selection. Have you read Carolly Erickson’s TO THE SCAFFOLD about Marie Antoinette? Another scared child made queen. Who were the idiots who thought spoiled children could rule a country?
    And I agree, I suspect the biblical women would have a lot to say, provided they felt secure enough to say it. Some of those Biblical men were real sticklers for punishment!

    Reply
  24. My goodness, I just wanted to comment that our Susan/Sarah has a book coming out (next year, is it?) about the real Lady MacBeth, and a rip roarer it is, too. You’d feel as if you’d been sitting at her table when you’re done.
    But I love the dinner parties listed above, too! I think I might be happiest with Teresa’s selection. Have you read Carolly Erickson’s TO THE SCAFFOLD about Marie Antoinette? Another scared child made queen. Who were the idiots who thought spoiled children could rule a country?
    And I agree, I suspect the biblical women would have a lot to say, provided they felt secure enough to say it. Some of those Biblical men were real sticklers for punishment!

    Reply
  25. I would pick Amelia Earhart because I have always wondered where she was, Mark Twain, Florence Nightingale, Benjamin Franklin and Annie Oakley.

    Reply
  26. I would pick Amelia Earhart because I have always wondered where she was, Mark Twain, Florence Nightingale, Benjamin Franklin and Annie Oakley.

    Reply
  27. I would pick Amelia Earhart because I have always wondered where she was, Mark Twain, Florence Nightingale, Benjamin Franklin and Annie Oakley.

    Reply
  28. I would pick Amelia Earhart because I have always wondered where she was, Mark Twain, Florence Nightingale, Benjamin Franklin and Annie Oakley.

    Reply
  29. Hmm. What I should really like would be to have a group of ‘ordinary’ middle-class Romano-British people (any period from the 1st to the late 4th century AD) to dinner and ask them about their everyday lives.
    However, if we are thinking of famous, historical names, five that come immediately to mind are (in chronological order):
    Hatshepsut, the female Pharaoh who ruled Egypt from 1498 to 1483 BC.
    Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180), Emperor of Rome, Stoic philosopher, writer, soldier.
    Hywel Dda (Howell the Good), (reigned c. 904-950), King of Wales, scholar, lawgiver.
    Carl von Linné (Linnaeus), (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and zoologist; the man who devised modern systematic taxonomy, and one of the great figures of the Enlightenment.
    Samuel Lysons (1763-1819), British archaeologist, one of the founding fathers of modern archaeology, and a personal hero of mine.
    Our modern world is full of people in positions of vast political power and influence who are stupid, arrogant, incompetent, vacillating and self-serving: I should like to talk to rulers who were not like that, an Emperor and a King from the past who combined intelligence and learning, thoughtfulness, and fairness in ruling their people. Hatshepsut was also an enlightened ruler, but above all, she was a very early example of an immensely powerful woman. Linnaeus and Lysons – they were part of the astonishing flowering of scientific thought in the 18th century, one of the truly dynamic and exciting periods in modern history.
    Gosh – I wonder how they’d get on with one another? The mind boggles…

    Reply
  30. Hmm. What I should really like would be to have a group of ‘ordinary’ middle-class Romano-British people (any period from the 1st to the late 4th century AD) to dinner and ask them about their everyday lives.
    However, if we are thinking of famous, historical names, five that come immediately to mind are (in chronological order):
    Hatshepsut, the female Pharaoh who ruled Egypt from 1498 to 1483 BC.
    Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180), Emperor of Rome, Stoic philosopher, writer, soldier.
    Hywel Dda (Howell the Good), (reigned c. 904-950), King of Wales, scholar, lawgiver.
    Carl von Linné (Linnaeus), (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and zoologist; the man who devised modern systematic taxonomy, and one of the great figures of the Enlightenment.
    Samuel Lysons (1763-1819), British archaeologist, one of the founding fathers of modern archaeology, and a personal hero of mine.
    Our modern world is full of people in positions of vast political power and influence who are stupid, arrogant, incompetent, vacillating and self-serving: I should like to talk to rulers who were not like that, an Emperor and a King from the past who combined intelligence and learning, thoughtfulness, and fairness in ruling their people. Hatshepsut was also an enlightened ruler, but above all, she was a very early example of an immensely powerful woman. Linnaeus and Lysons – they were part of the astonishing flowering of scientific thought in the 18th century, one of the truly dynamic and exciting periods in modern history.
    Gosh – I wonder how they’d get on with one another? The mind boggles…

    Reply
  31. Hmm. What I should really like would be to have a group of ‘ordinary’ middle-class Romano-British people (any period from the 1st to the late 4th century AD) to dinner and ask them about their everyday lives.
    However, if we are thinking of famous, historical names, five that come immediately to mind are (in chronological order):
    Hatshepsut, the female Pharaoh who ruled Egypt from 1498 to 1483 BC.
    Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180), Emperor of Rome, Stoic philosopher, writer, soldier.
    Hywel Dda (Howell the Good), (reigned c. 904-950), King of Wales, scholar, lawgiver.
    Carl von Linné (Linnaeus), (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and zoologist; the man who devised modern systematic taxonomy, and one of the great figures of the Enlightenment.
    Samuel Lysons (1763-1819), British archaeologist, one of the founding fathers of modern archaeology, and a personal hero of mine.
    Our modern world is full of people in positions of vast political power and influence who are stupid, arrogant, incompetent, vacillating and self-serving: I should like to talk to rulers who were not like that, an Emperor and a King from the past who combined intelligence and learning, thoughtfulness, and fairness in ruling their people. Hatshepsut was also an enlightened ruler, but above all, she was a very early example of an immensely powerful woman. Linnaeus and Lysons – they were part of the astonishing flowering of scientific thought in the 18th century, one of the truly dynamic and exciting periods in modern history.
    Gosh – I wonder how they’d get on with one another? The mind boggles…

    Reply
  32. Hmm. What I should really like would be to have a group of ‘ordinary’ middle-class Romano-British people (any period from the 1st to the late 4th century AD) to dinner and ask them about their everyday lives.
    However, if we are thinking of famous, historical names, five that come immediately to mind are (in chronological order):
    Hatshepsut, the female Pharaoh who ruled Egypt from 1498 to 1483 BC.
    Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180), Emperor of Rome, Stoic philosopher, writer, soldier.
    Hywel Dda (Howell the Good), (reigned c. 904-950), King of Wales, scholar, lawgiver.
    Carl von Linné (Linnaeus), (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and zoologist; the man who devised modern systematic taxonomy, and one of the great figures of the Enlightenment.
    Samuel Lysons (1763-1819), British archaeologist, one of the founding fathers of modern archaeology, and a personal hero of mine.
    Our modern world is full of people in positions of vast political power and influence who are stupid, arrogant, incompetent, vacillating and self-serving: I should like to talk to rulers who were not like that, an Emperor and a King from the past who combined intelligence and learning, thoughtfulness, and fairness in ruling their people. Hatshepsut was also an enlightened ruler, but above all, she was a very early example of an immensely powerful woman. Linnaeus and Lysons – they were part of the astonishing flowering of scientific thought in the 18th century, one of the truly dynamic and exciting periods in modern history.
    Gosh – I wonder how they’d get on with one another? The mind boggles…

    Reply
  33. Also, what on earth would one give them to EAT? That menu would require quite careful planning, I think. I am assuming that language problems would be solved in some mysterious way, presumably with a babel fish in everyone’s ear.

    Reply
  34. Also, what on earth would one give them to EAT? That menu would require quite careful planning, I think. I am assuming that language problems would be solved in some mysterious way, presumably with a babel fish in everyone’s ear.

    Reply
  35. Also, what on earth would one give them to EAT? That menu would require quite careful planning, I think. I am assuming that language problems would be solved in some mysterious way, presumably with a babel fish in everyone’s ear.

    Reply
  36. Also, what on earth would one give them to EAT? That menu would require quite careful planning, I think. I am assuming that language problems would be solved in some mysterious way, presumably with a babel fish in everyone’s ear.

    Reply
  37. I am not sure Hatshepsut would be someone one would *love*, exactly: after all, she’d probably have you summarily executed if you didn’t carry out the correct rituals in her presence. Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt was not exactly a democratic society… But she was certainly a woman worthy of respect.
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  38. I am not sure Hatshepsut would be someone one would *love*, exactly: after all, she’d probably have you summarily executed if you didn’t carry out the correct rituals in her presence. Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt was not exactly a democratic society… But she was certainly a woman worthy of respect.
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  39. I am not sure Hatshepsut would be someone one would *love*, exactly: after all, she’d probably have you summarily executed if you didn’t carry out the correct rituals in her presence. Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt was not exactly a democratic society… But she was certainly a woman worthy of respect.
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  40. I am not sure Hatshepsut would be someone one would *love*, exactly: after all, she’d probably have you summarily executed if you didn’t carry out the correct rituals in her presence. Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt was not exactly a democratic society… But she was certainly a woman worthy of respect.
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  41. Okay I’ll “bite,”
    Terry Gilliam, he’s my creative idol, E. Annie Proulx, Mary Wollstonecraft & daughter, Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Clutterbuck, and Rosa Bonheur.
    Oops, too many. I’ll squeeze em in round the table and be cozy.

    Reply
  42. Okay I’ll “bite,”
    Terry Gilliam, he’s my creative idol, E. Annie Proulx, Mary Wollstonecraft & daughter, Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Clutterbuck, and Rosa Bonheur.
    Oops, too many. I’ll squeeze em in round the table and be cozy.

    Reply
  43. Okay I’ll “bite,”
    Terry Gilliam, he’s my creative idol, E. Annie Proulx, Mary Wollstonecraft & daughter, Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Clutterbuck, and Rosa Bonheur.
    Oops, too many. I’ll squeeze em in round the table and be cozy.

    Reply
  44. Okay I’ll “bite,”
    Terry Gilliam, he’s my creative idol, E. Annie Proulx, Mary Wollstonecraft & daughter, Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Clutterbuck, and Rosa Bonheur.
    Oops, too many. I’ll squeeze em in round the table and be cozy.

    Reply
  45. I am going to break the rules!
    At my house we shall have the seven Wenches and the lovely Georgette Heyer for afternoon tea.
    Laughter would rule the pallor as the tea pots were emptied and the almond cakes quaffed. We would talk of history… lots of history. And of books and plots and heroes and Old Hooky himself. A gay time would be had by all. (and I would be feverishly taking notes)

    Reply
  46. I am going to break the rules!
    At my house we shall have the seven Wenches and the lovely Georgette Heyer for afternoon tea.
    Laughter would rule the pallor as the tea pots were emptied and the almond cakes quaffed. We would talk of history… lots of history. And of books and plots and heroes and Old Hooky himself. A gay time would be had by all. (and I would be feverishly taking notes)

    Reply
  47. I am going to break the rules!
    At my house we shall have the seven Wenches and the lovely Georgette Heyer for afternoon tea.
    Laughter would rule the pallor as the tea pots were emptied and the almond cakes quaffed. We would talk of history… lots of history. And of books and plots and heroes and Old Hooky himself. A gay time would be had by all. (and I would be feverishly taking notes)

    Reply
  48. I am going to break the rules!
    At my house we shall have the seven Wenches and the lovely Georgette Heyer for afternoon tea.
    Laughter would rule the pallor as the tea pots were emptied and the almond cakes quaffed. We would talk of history… lots of history. And of books and plots and heroes and Old Hooky himself. A gay time would be had by all. (and I would be feverishly taking notes)

    Reply
  49. Macsweens (of Edinburgh) do really good vegetarian haggis.
    And re the Macbeths, I have a distant memory of having read Nigel Tranter’s novel, ‘Macbeth the King’ and it was based on the historical Macbeth, not the Shakespeare version.

    Reply
  50. Macsweens (of Edinburgh) do really good vegetarian haggis.
    And re the Macbeths, I have a distant memory of having read Nigel Tranter’s novel, ‘Macbeth the King’ and it was based on the historical Macbeth, not the Shakespeare version.

    Reply
  51. Macsweens (of Edinburgh) do really good vegetarian haggis.
    And re the Macbeths, I have a distant memory of having read Nigel Tranter’s novel, ‘Macbeth the King’ and it was based on the historical Macbeth, not the Shakespeare version.

    Reply
  52. Macsweens (of Edinburgh) do really good vegetarian haggis.
    And re the Macbeths, I have a distant memory of having read Nigel Tranter’s novel, ‘Macbeth the King’ and it was based on the historical Macbeth, not the Shakespeare version.

    Reply
  53. What great guest lists! I’d love to eavesdrop on every one of these dinners (and I’d be invited to Nina’s *g*).
    Hatshepsut, a very interesting choice! I’d love to know the story there as well. Nefertiti as well, along with Akhenaten and Tut and that whole gang….
    Cathy, the Biblical choices would make a fascinating dinner group. Have you read Diamant’s The Red Tent? There are several other Biblical novels out there — currently Marek Halter is writing a series of Biblical women for Crown/Random House: Sarah, Zipporah, etc.
    Laura, Tranter and Dunnett both wrote Macbeth stories based on research into the real king. Dunnett had her own theories on Macbeth’s Viking relationship as well. Fascinating stuff.
    This is probably a topic to revisit, since our lists would keep changing!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  54. What great guest lists! I’d love to eavesdrop on every one of these dinners (and I’d be invited to Nina’s *g*).
    Hatshepsut, a very interesting choice! I’d love to know the story there as well. Nefertiti as well, along with Akhenaten and Tut and that whole gang….
    Cathy, the Biblical choices would make a fascinating dinner group. Have you read Diamant’s The Red Tent? There are several other Biblical novels out there — currently Marek Halter is writing a series of Biblical women for Crown/Random House: Sarah, Zipporah, etc.
    Laura, Tranter and Dunnett both wrote Macbeth stories based on research into the real king. Dunnett had her own theories on Macbeth’s Viking relationship as well. Fascinating stuff.
    This is probably a topic to revisit, since our lists would keep changing!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  55. What great guest lists! I’d love to eavesdrop on every one of these dinners (and I’d be invited to Nina’s *g*).
    Hatshepsut, a very interesting choice! I’d love to know the story there as well. Nefertiti as well, along with Akhenaten and Tut and that whole gang….
    Cathy, the Biblical choices would make a fascinating dinner group. Have you read Diamant’s The Red Tent? There are several other Biblical novels out there — currently Marek Halter is writing a series of Biblical women for Crown/Random House: Sarah, Zipporah, etc.
    Laura, Tranter and Dunnett both wrote Macbeth stories based on research into the real king. Dunnett had her own theories on Macbeth’s Viking relationship as well. Fascinating stuff.
    This is probably a topic to revisit, since our lists would keep changing!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  56. What great guest lists! I’d love to eavesdrop on every one of these dinners (and I’d be invited to Nina’s *g*).
    Hatshepsut, a very interesting choice! I’d love to know the story there as well. Nefertiti as well, along with Akhenaten and Tut and that whole gang….
    Cathy, the Biblical choices would make a fascinating dinner group. Have you read Diamant’s The Red Tent? There are several other Biblical novels out there — currently Marek Halter is writing a series of Biblical women for Crown/Random House: Sarah, Zipporah, etc.
    Laura, Tranter and Dunnett both wrote Macbeth stories based on research into the real king. Dunnett had her own theories on Macbeth’s Viking relationship as well. Fascinating stuff.
    This is probably a topic to revisit, since our lists would keep changing!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  57. Does anyone know Penelope Hughes-Hallett’s book ‘The Immortal Dinner’ (London, 2000), a fascinating study arising out of the real-life dinner-party held by the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon on 28 December, 1817? Present, amongst others, were Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth and John Keats. I recommend it as highly readable social history.

    Reply
  58. Does anyone know Penelope Hughes-Hallett’s book ‘The Immortal Dinner’ (London, 2000), a fascinating study arising out of the real-life dinner-party held by the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon on 28 December, 1817? Present, amongst others, were Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth and John Keats. I recommend it as highly readable social history.

    Reply
  59. Does anyone know Penelope Hughes-Hallett’s book ‘The Immortal Dinner’ (London, 2000), a fascinating study arising out of the real-life dinner-party held by the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon on 28 December, 1817? Present, amongst others, were Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth and John Keats. I recommend it as highly readable social history.

    Reply
  60. Does anyone know Penelope Hughes-Hallett’s book ‘The Immortal Dinner’ (London, 2000), a fascinating study arising out of the real-life dinner-party held by the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon on 28 December, 1817? Present, amongst others, were Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth and John Keats. I recommend it as highly readable social history.

    Reply
  61. What fascinating guests you all have chosen! If I had to assemble such a party today, I would choose Cicero (Roman orator/writer); Abraham Lincoln; Martin Luther King, Jr; WH Auden (the poet); and Sacagawea.
    Cicero, Lincoln, and King could talk about politics, race, and the art of oratory. Auden would read some of his poetry, discuss words and language with Cicero and Lincoln, drink a lot, and tell scandalous stories. Sacagawea, who would probably be right at home amongst a crowd of men, would astonish us with the real story of her adventures with the Lewis and Clark expedition and her life afterwards. She and Lincoln could talk native american issues, and there could be a wholesale discussion about racial (and other) prejudices, the right to vote, and the causes and outcomes of war/conflict between peoples between all the guests.
    I think it would have to be a potluck dinner because, as AgTigress points out, what would one serve that would appeal to all? (Maybe a nice salad with a balsamic vinaigrette?)
    (PS Susan Sarah, I emailed you at the address I found on the Sarah Gabriel site. Hope you got it! If not, Sherrie has it.)

    Reply
  62. What fascinating guests you all have chosen! If I had to assemble such a party today, I would choose Cicero (Roman orator/writer); Abraham Lincoln; Martin Luther King, Jr; WH Auden (the poet); and Sacagawea.
    Cicero, Lincoln, and King could talk about politics, race, and the art of oratory. Auden would read some of his poetry, discuss words and language with Cicero and Lincoln, drink a lot, and tell scandalous stories. Sacagawea, who would probably be right at home amongst a crowd of men, would astonish us with the real story of her adventures with the Lewis and Clark expedition and her life afterwards. She and Lincoln could talk native american issues, and there could be a wholesale discussion about racial (and other) prejudices, the right to vote, and the causes and outcomes of war/conflict between peoples between all the guests.
    I think it would have to be a potluck dinner because, as AgTigress points out, what would one serve that would appeal to all? (Maybe a nice salad with a balsamic vinaigrette?)
    (PS Susan Sarah, I emailed you at the address I found on the Sarah Gabriel site. Hope you got it! If not, Sherrie has it.)

    Reply
  63. What fascinating guests you all have chosen! If I had to assemble such a party today, I would choose Cicero (Roman orator/writer); Abraham Lincoln; Martin Luther King, Jr; WH Auden (the poet); and Sacagawea.
    Cicero, Lincoln, and King could talk about politics, race, and the art of oratory. Auden would read some of his poetry, discuss words and language with Cicero and Lincoln, drink a lot, and tell scandalous stories. Sacagawea, who would probably be right at home amongst a crowd of men, would astonish us with the real story of her adventures with the Lewis and Clark expedition and her life afterwards. She and Lincoln could talk native american issues, and there could be a wholesale discussion about racial (and other) prejudices, the right to vote, and the causes and outcomes of war/conflict between peoples between all the guests.
    I think it would have to be a potluck dinner because, as AgTigress points out, what would one serve that would appeal to all? (Maybe a nice salad with a balsamic vinaigrette?)
    (PS Susan Sarah, I emailed you at the address I found on the Sarah Gabriel site. Hope you got it! If not, Sherrie has it.)

    Reply
  64. What fascinating guests you all have chosen! If I had to assemble such a party today, I would choose Cicero (Roman orator/writer); Abraham Lincoln; Martin Luther King, Jr; WH Auden (the poet); and Sacagawea.
    Cicero, Lincoln, and King could talk about politics, race, and the art of oratory. Auden would read some of his poetry, discuss words and language with Cicero and Lincoln, drink a lot, and tell scandalous stories. Sacagawea, who would probably be right at home amongst a crowd of men, would astonish us with the real story of her adventures with the Lewis and Clark expedition and her life afterwards. She and Lincoln could talk native american issues, and there could be a wholesale discussion about racial (and other) prejudices, the right to vote, and the causes and outcomes of war/conflict between peoples between all the guests.
    I think it would have to be a potluck dinner because, as AgTigress points out, what would one serve that would appeal to all? (Maybe a nice salad with a balsamic vinaigrette?)
    (PS Susan Sarah, I emailed you at the address I found on the Sarah Gabriel site. Hope you got it! If not, Sherrie has it.)

    Reply
  65. I’ve read the Immortal Dinner and enjoyed it most thoroughly!
    I could give a different answer to this question any day of the week. Today my answers are:
    King Charles II
    Cassandra Austen (she might reveal more about sister Jane than Jane herself)
    Abigail Adams
    Count Rumford
    Queen Mary II

    Reply
  66. I’ve read the Immortal Dinner and enjoyed it most thoroughly!
    I could give a different answer to this question any day of the week. Today my answers are:
    King Charles II
    Cassandra Austen (she might reveal more about sister Jane than Jane herself)
    Abigail Adams
    Count Rumford
    Queen Mary II

    Reply
  67. I’ve read the Immortal Dinner and enjoyed it most thoroughly!
    I could give a different answer to this question any day of the week. Today my answers are:
    King Charles II
    Cassandra Austen (she might reveal more about sister Jane than Jane herself)
    Abigail Adams
    Count Rumford
    Queen Mary II

    Reply
  68. I’ve read the Immortal Dinner and enjoyed it most thoroughly!
    I could give a different answer to this question any day of the week. Today my answers are:
    King Charles II
    Cassandra Austen (she might reveal more about sister Jane than Jane herself)
    Abigail Adams
    Count Rumford
    Queen Mary II

    Reply
  69. Interesting challenge. I’d like
    Wilhelm Reich
    Shakespeare
    Dorothy Sayers
    Ben Franklin
    Jane Austen
    But how about fictional characters? Would we all like to chat with Sherlock Holmes?
    Merry

    Reply
  70. Interesting challenge. I’d like
    Wilhelm Reich
    Shakespeare
    Dorothy Sayers
    Ben Franklin
    Jane Austen
    But how about fictional characters? Would we all like to chat with Sherlock Holmes?
    Merry

    Reply
  71. Interesting challenge. I’d like
    Wilhelm Reich
    Shakespeare
    Dorothy Sayers
    Ben Franklin
    Jane Austen
    But how about fictional characters? Would we all like to chat with Sherlock Holmes?
    Merry

    Reply
  72. Interesting challenge. I’d like
    Wilhelm Reich
    Shakespeare
    Dorothy Sayers
    Ben Franklin
    Jane Austen
    But how about fictional characters? Would we all like to chat with Sherlock Holmes?
    Merry

    Reply

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