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Leofranc Holford-Strevens
Oxford
Classical scholar of wide interests
Interests: Classical languages,modern languages,history,literatyre,computistics,musicology
Recent Activity
The ancient Egyptian calendar had twelve months of thirty days each followed by five days 'on the year', which the Greeks called epagomenai, 'brought in'. After a failed experiment in the third century BC at adding a sixth such day every four years, the task was achieved, initially in Alexandria, by Augustus; before then, the old Roman calendar of four 31-day months, seven 29-day months, and a 28-day February whose last four or five days were displaced every few years by a 27-day Interkalaris, had been replaced by Julius Caesar, whose leap-day, ante diem bix sextum Kalendas Martias (added for the first decades are his death every third instead of every fourth year by mistake), to judge by official sources properly followed the normal a.d. VI = 24th but was popularly misunderstood as preceding it, whence the custom of celebrating St Matthias on the 25th in leap year except in Norway and Iceland, which kept hom on the 24th; Pope Alexander III ruled both practices permissible.The Greek church, which had given up Roman reckoning by Kalends, Nones, and Ides, simply numbering the days continuously from 1 to 28, 29, 30, or 31 as the case might be, assigned the 29th to St Cassian, culted only every fourth year (allegedly as punishmen for being the last to show up for assignment of duties); the 29th was also the obvious leap-day in Western civil calendars basd on the forward not the backward count.
I suppose now someone moved or instructed to draw or paint a stereotypical Asian would reproduce something vaguely Chinese-looking, but not I imagine at that time. And a Turk in a turban might have been thought inappropriate after the Ottoman conquests in Europe. Just speculation.
The Bedford hours are indeed beautiful, but textually the Athelstan Psalter is the most interesting.
Magna Carta was extorted from the King by disloyal subjects and quashed by the Pope. In an age when the Sovereign was God's captain, steward, deputy-elect (so the Bishop of Carlisle in Richard II) and the Pope's right to interfere in English affairs was denied by all but extremists, what was there to like?
The papal Bull annulling the Charter.
The first for ['in' is US] 800 years, or the first ever? We were told that they had never been in the same room even when they were being made. Julian Harrison (British Library) writes: They had never been together before, so this was the first time ever.
Surely 'nigenteoðe healfgear', literally 'nineteenth halfyear' means 'eighteen and a half years'; cf. German 'dritthalb' meaning two and a half; likewise in Greek τρίτον ἡμιτάλαντον, 'third half-talent', means 'two and a half talents'.
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Jan 13, 2015