Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Tentacles of Research

I find myself with more time on my hands while abstaining from computer games during Lent. Last night I used that time to return to research on Doctor Luke's Assistant, things that have been nagging me and leaving me fearful that some things might not be historically accurate. So, using the miracle of search engines, I began this task.

In the book, I have the educated farmer, Jacob of Ain Karem, making ink from animal blood and keeping it in a container fashioned from a leg bone of an ox. Is this even possible? Would the blood congeal, even if mixed with something? Would it be absorbed into the bone? Or would it form a film, that maybe would prevent very much from absorbing? This may not be a major item, but I'd like to get it right.

So I searched for "ancient documents" and "ink", and had the usual large number of hits, many of which were not germane. One, however, was to the book Forty Centuries Of Ink, by David N. Carvalho. Who knew such a book existing, or that it was on-line at . I haven't yet found the answer to my question, but I have much more of this to read, and other links to pursue.

Then, since I'm preparing the correspondence of Augustus ben Adam, assistant to Doctor Luke, I wanted to research some expert references regarding ancient letters for form and content. I've done some of this already, but not as extensive as I'd like. So I searched for "ancient letters" and had thousands of returns, some amazing documents, either books or articles on-line, or blogs, or professors' web sites. And these sites have hundreds of references to original sources they used. It's a veritable treasure trove of information. When I am at home tonight, I will edit in some of the names of the originally found document and some of the references of interest. How I would love to access and read it all!

But, maybe I don't need to go that far. While perhaps one article or book cannot be considered definitive, maybe two is enough for the purpose at hand. The derivative research, which would be more pleasure than research, will have to wait.

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