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I.

4. Charters and deeds of subjects, in which the Tenendum is “ de me et hæredibus meis,” are very frequently, though not always, without date; but they are anterior to the year 1290 ;* and an approximation to the time of their publication may often be obtained from the names of the witnesses, among whom will frequently be found the sheriff of the county, signing in his official capacity.

5. Charters, in which the Tenendum is “ de capitalibus dominis feodi,” are subsequent to the year 1290, and are usually dated.

6. In our printed records, the words “ Per Breve,” in the attestation of royal charters, signify instructions given by letter.

7. The words Per ipsum Regem, signify that the order was formally given by the king himself;

8. Per eundem, Per eosdem, by the same persons who attest; and,

9. Per M. N. N.O., by that person whose name is subscribed.

Considerable errors, sometimes amounting to six or seven Errors in weeks, arise from the tables, which have hitherto been con

tables of

regnal structed, of the regnal years of our early kings. They have years. all, not excepting Mr. (now Sir Harris) Nicolas's useful Notitia Historica, been formed on the modern law maxim, that the king never dies, and the principle that no interregnum, therefore, has occurred from the decease of a king to the reign of his successor. The following remarks, with their appendant notes, are extracted from the General Introduction to Close Rolls :t “King John did

ancient and modern, the plural of the first person sometimes takes place of the singular.-Eclaircissemens sur le Toi et sur le Vous. Journ. Britan., Tom. XI., p. 301.

* In consequence of the statute, “ Quia Emptores Terrarum," made in 18 Edward I., which enacted, that the feoffee shall hold his land of the chief lord, and not of the feoffor as heretofore.

+ Rot. Lit. Claus., p. xxxiv., xxxv.

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not assume the royal dignity and prerogative until he had been crowned, although his brother Richard had been dead seven weeks ;* and the reign of Henry III., like that of his father, was reckoned from the day of his enthronement.+ The accession of Edward I. was held to be the day of his recognition, and not upon the day of his father's demise, which happened four days previously. # The fact that all the rolls of Chancery, namely, the patent, charter, close, and fine rolls, commence the regnal year of each king agreeably to this mode of computation, supports this hypothesis, and moreover it does not appear that any of the early English monarchs exercised any act of sovereign power, or disposed of public affairs till after their election or coronation." A charter is extant, dated in the second year of king John's coronation ;|| and with respect to Henry III., the fact mentioned above is placed beyond dispute by the date of the Saxon proclamation, which has been mentioned in a preceding page. It is stated in these terms: Witness ourselves at London, on the eighteenth day of the month of October, in the two and fortieth year of our coronation.'

Richard died 6 April, 1199, (See Gloss., Art. Dominica in Ramis Palmarum.] king John was crowned the 27th of May following, which was the Ascension-day, and his regnal year was computed from one Ascensionday to the next; consequently some of the years of his reign exhibit an increase of seren weeks more than others, owing to the day of his coronation being that of a moveable feast, which of course sometimes fell earlier or later, as Easter happened.

+ Henry III. was not elected king till the feast of Simon and Jude, and his coronation took place on the following day, though John had then been dead since the 18th. “ Il est remarquable qu'on ne commença à dater du regne de ce prince que du jour de son courounement, comme l'est remarque dans le Livre Rouge de l'Echiquier. “Notandum,' y'est il dit, quod data Regis Henrici filii Johannis mutavit in festo Apostolorum Simonis et Judæ, viz. 28a die mensis Octobris.'”—L'Art de vérifier les Dates.

Anno 1272, in November, died Henry, in the 57th year of his reign, beginning on the feast of Simon and Jude of the preceding month.

Anno 1272, November, on the feast of St. Edmund, Edward began to reign after his father's burial.-Ex Vet. Memb, in Turr. Lond.

11 " Anno ijo coronationis regis Johannis, &c.”—Mador, Formulare Anglicanum, N. 464, p. 276.

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Witnes ur reluen ær Lundæn. þane egtetenbe bay on be monpe of October. in þe zpo fopertigbe geare of ure crunninge. In the case of Richard I., the present tables are still more wide of the truth than in that of John; for between the decease of his father and his own coronation, no fewer than fifty-six days intervened. It is, therefore, necessary for those who desire historical accuracy, to note these circumstances in the reigns of our early monarchs ; because, if modern historians have reduced the regnal years of those princes, who commenced not from their accession, but from their recognition and coronation, to the vulgar era without examining which manner of dates was adopted by their authorities, it is more than probable that some events are ascribed to a wrong year. For this reason the regnal years from the conquest to the end of the reign of Edward the First should be recomputed according to the preceding principle. To the tables of regnal years ought to be added the dominicial letters and the Easter days, the keys of the moveable feasts. By this obvious improvement, and with the assistance of the kalendar, the reduction of the ancient expression of dates into modern terms would be very considerably expedited.

BOOK II.

POPULAR CUSTOMS AND SUPERSTITIONS CONNECTED WITH

DATES.

“ Hi ritus, quoquo modo inducti, antiquitate defenduntur."

TACITUS.

Section 1.

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II.

Ethnic origin of church festivals.

Many of the festivals in the church kalendar are of high ethnic antiquity, and some of the customs connected with them, are so remote and obscure in their origin, that a satisfactory explanation cannot always be reasonably expected. It has long been well known, that the fathers of the church, as a means of extirpating heathen superstitions, adopted many of the pagan festivals, of which they merely changed the names into others more consonant with christianity. In this way, the Feast of St. Peter's Chair* displaced the Charistia Virorum,t though imperfectly; for the memory of the pagan customs attendant on the Cara Cognatio, was preserved in one of the synonymes of its Christian successor. I In other cases, the customs alone are identified with the mythological rites of Greece and Rome, themselves deriving an origin in still more remote forms of idolatry; thus Christmas, the season of the year in which the orgies of Bacchus and the Saturnalia were celebrated, was, like those and other Cabiric festivals

* See Gloss. Art. Cathedra Sancti Petri.
+ Ovid, Fast., Lib. II., v. 533 et sqq.

See Gloss. Festum Sancti Petri Epularum.

II.

in honor of the sun, attended by revelry and merriment.

BOOK Several of the feasts, instituted in commemoration of the Virgin and Apostles, and particularly the customs which extensively prevailed in Christendom on the eve of the Baptist, are, under other designations, ethnic celebrations of the sun's entrance into different constellations of the zodiac. The infernal dragon, which was formerly paraded in the Symbolical

dragon. processions of the Rogations, in all Christian churches, and which was the symbol of the monster destroyed by the valour of St. George, in one place; of St. Romanus, in another; and of St. Martha, St. Radegundis, and other holy warriors in different places, has been demonstrated to be the astronomical monster slain, for the relief of Andromeda, Perseus by Perseus,* whose very name proclaims his identity with

dromeda. the sun.t You,” said Faustus, the Manichean, to St. Augustine, in the fifth century,“ have substituted the ceremonies of your love-feasts in the place of sacrifices, martyrs instead of idols, and you honour them as the Pagans

and An

* By M. Lenoir, in the Memoires de l'Academie Celtique, Tom. II. M. Eusebe Salverte, in a clever discussion on the legends of the middle ages, compares M. Lenoir's demonstration to the egg of Columbus ; ' You have,'. he says, 'established your opinions on proofs so clear and convincing, that we should be astonished that we had not previously discovered it, if we did not remember the anecdote of the egg, which is applicable to all discoveries supposed easy to be made-when they are made.'-- Mag. Encyclopedique, An. 1812, Tom. I., p. 24 et sqq. I have little doubt that the coincidence between the mythological and legendary adventures of the dragon and its destroyer, had often been observed before M. Lenoir. Our own Gibbon, we shall see, had previously hinted the connection.

+ P’Eres Zeus, the sun. It is remarkable, says Mr. Faber, that the story of Perseus and Andromeda is well known to the Hindoos. A pundit, being requested to point out in the heavens the Hindoo constellation of Parasica and Antarmada, immediately pitched upon that of Perseus and Andromeda. -See Asiat. Researches, Vol. III., p. 222. As for Perses, the fictitious son of Perseus, he was, like his father, no other than the sun : Ilepony rov jov deyal.-Schol. Hesiod. Theog., p. 269. Faber, Diss. on Cabiri, Vol. II., p. 105. Sir Francis Palgrave says, that “ Mythology has not been diffused from nation to nation, but all nations have derived their belief from one primitive system,” which he finds to be Sabæism.-Quart. Review, 1820, Vol. XXII., p. 352.

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