September 7th, 2011


Samarkand in the fifteenth century

I have two European travellers over-wintering in Samarkand in the 1420's.

Where could they go to socialise, get news, tell stories, play chess? Would it be a coffee-house, a tea-house, a caravanserai, an inn?

Did street life go on into the evening, or was there a curfew?

How about established Christianity in the city? I've found out a little bit about the Nestorians, but it's very vague.

What was the palace like?

I''ve read Ruy Gonzales de Clavijo's account of his journey to Samarkand in the early 1400's, tried to Google Ibn Battuta and his accounts of his travels in the 14th century, and read the Rubaiyat (way too early, I know.) This website gives a useful overview; and in desperation I re-watched Michael Wood's In the Footsteps of Alexander. Also I had a look at Fordham University's Medieval Sourcebook.

I can access the publications of the Hakluyt Society at the State Library next time I visit it, but there are oodles of them, and some guidance on which ones to look at would be very useful.

Any help will be much appreciated!


Mortuary jobs? + Mortuary procedures, paperwork

Hey all,

I have a high school kid who I need to get a job in a mortuary. I don't particularly care what job, so long as it puts him inside the building, where he'll have the opportunity to a) get curious and b) observe a lot of things. I'm having a hard time finding out exactly what kind of jobs there ARE at mortuaries--much less what the qualifications for them are. My character should be around seventeen or eighteen, is a math genius, and is fluent in both Spanish and English, but doesn't have any real qualifications beyond that. So, a) would it be possible for him to get hired at all? or would I need to invoke nespotism? (He has a slight connection with the owner's son.) And if I did, what sort of job might he end up doing, and what would it entail? The mortuary is in Arizona, if that helps.

Some secondary questions--most of which I have googled, but surprisingly a lot of this stuff isn't easy to find. 1) Do most mortuaries have crematoriums attached to their actual building, or do they outsource to a different facility? Would they have to, because of the smell?

Would, say, an office worker ever have cause to go to the part of the mortuary where they actually deal with the bodies, or would that be strictly off limits? What are the legal restrictions on who gets to see the bodies?
While I have been able to find a lot of information on the average cost of funerals and coffins, cremation, etc., I have not been able to find out what most of the actual paperwork the mortuary is responsible for filing is. Do they handle the death certificates? What forms would be necessary for a funeral to go forward? (I'm assuming there are many.)

Thanks so much in advance.

Terms googled: mortuary jobs, how do you get a job at a mortuary, mortuary forms, mortuary legal documents, etc.
i ship it

Late 18th Century Austrian Wedding Ceremony

I am writing a fanfiction story loosely based on the film/play Amadeus. Because I knew that I probably couldn't achieve the level of detailed research I wanted to in the period of time I had to write the story, I ended up setting it in an invented country (none of the countries mentioned in the story are real, but there are unmistakable parallels to real places) and I am aware that there are anachronisms and inaccuracies. However, I have done research and tried to evoke late 18th century Austria as much as possible.

I specifically wanted to know what a wedding in Vienna might be like (the characters getting married are a musician and a governess):

-What kinds of music might there be?
-I've read that there were receptions; where did they take place?
-Who was in the wedding party, and what were their roles?
-What was the ceremony like?
-Anything else I might need to know?

Any help would be much appreciated.