Found on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, before 11 April 1831 (when first shown publically at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh); acquired by the British Museum between November 1831 and January 1832. Publication History: Madden, Sir Frederic, “Historical remarks on the introduction of the game of chess into Europe and on the ancient chessmen discovered in the Isle of Lewis,” in Archaeologia XXIV (1832), Knight no. 2, pp. 229 – 230; Dalton, O.M. Catalogue of the Ivory Carvings of the Christian Era in the British Museum (London, 1909), no. 114, p. 70, pl. XLV.
The Pied Piper, who charmed the rats from Hamelin is a part of legend; but who has heard of Bartholomew Chassenée, a French jurist of the sixteenth century, who made his reputation at the bar as the defence counsel for some rats? The rats had been put on trial in the ecclesiastical court on the charge of having “feloniously eaten up and wantonly destroyed” the local barley. When the culprits did not in fact turn up in court on the appointed day, Chassenée made use of all his legal cunning to excuse them. They had, he urged in the first place, probably not received the summons since they moved from village to village; but even if they had received it they were probably too frightened to obey, since as everyone knew they were in danger of being set on by their mortal enemies the cats. On this point Chassenée addressed the court at some length, in order to show that if a person be cited to appear at a place to which he cannot come in safety, he may legally refuse. The judge, recognising the justice of this claim, but being unable to persuade the villagers to keep their cats indoors, was obliged to let the matter drop.
For many rape survivors, today is an important day. It means that the devastating violence they suffered will now be counted in this nation’s crime statistics. Attorney General Holder announced today that the FBI will be changing the definition of rape used to collect data from local law enforcement about these crimes. This data is published in the Uniform Crime Report and is the nation’s main source of information about crime trends. Continue reading