Letters from CWA106

Tantra, Captain Boycott, and Parliamentarians in Coventry

Arminius’ battlefield

We have taken a keen interest in the Varusschlacht ever since Tony Clunn discovered the Kalkriese site of Arminius’ battlefield (and put at risk the tourist trade at the supposed battle-site at Detmold, with its Asterix-like statue of Arminius). The restoration of the original ground-level at Kalkriese, with its recreation of the plant cover, is fascinating. Your article suggests recent archaeological research could find out whether the restored ramparts were ambush cover for Arminius’ killers, or are relics of defence walls put up by the doomed legionaries. It would help us to read the battlefield if we had the answer.

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons, Wildhog66
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons, Wildhog66

Martin Axford
Bridge of Weir, Scotland

Cultural understandings

Having read the fascinating article on Tantra in issue 104, I was struck by how a complex and diverse belief system can be interpreted and perhaps largely misunderstood by a different culture with shallow understanding of its underlying principles. Inevitably, that superficial view is what we inherit in the West. On continuing through the magazine to Chris Catling’s thoughts on ‘cancel culture’ – Roman persecution of Christians can wait for another time! – I wondered if being ‘sent to Coventry’ might have a derivation unconnected with the city. In Hamlet, we hear the phrase ‘get thee to a nunnery’, so it is at least possible that being ‘sent to conventry’ (i.e. the state of being in a convent) could signify exclusion from society. Just a thought!

John Boden
Northampton, UK

Sent to Coventry

Regarding Chris Catling’s article on ‘cancel culture’ and being ‘sent to Coventry’. As a former resident of Coventry, it was never considered that this referred to Peeping Tom and Lady Godiva. Rather this originates from the English Civil War, when Coventry was a Parliamentary stronghold. Royalist prisoners were sent to Coventry, where they were not restrained, but allowed to move about quite freely, confident that they would be ignored by the local population.

Keith Appleyard
West Wickham, UK

Captain Boycott

Following Chris Catling’s mention of Captain Boycott in relation to ‘cancel culture’, I just thought I would share a photo of his barrack-like home on Achill Island, Co. Mayo.

I visited this beautiful island in 2009 to attend a three-day starter course at the local archaeology school there, and visit my relatives in the east of the island. As the weather was very wet that year, we could not access the Bronze Age houses site as planned, so were taken on a tour round the small island. Our tutor wondered if Boycott’s wife liked the rather austere house.

Helena McGinty
Málaga, Spain