Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

anthologies of poetry, Almanacks of the Muses.' "The gardening book, which directs what work is to be done, what seeds are to be sown, every month, is fitly called the Gardener's Calendar.' 'A daily newspaper might aptly be denominated the Political Epbemeris.'

Verstegan fancies that almanack is derived from all.. monath ; but if the etymon was Anglo-Saxon, the present form of the word would be allmonth. The first European date-book, which assumed the title of almanack, is the almanach royale de France of 1579: it includes notices of post-days, fairs, and festivals..

YEARS-MONTHS-WEEKS-DAYS. Among different nations, the beginning of the year varied as well as the length. The Jews began their ecclesiastical year with the new moon of that month, whose full moon happened next after the vernal equinox. The church of Rome begin their year on the Sunday which falls on the said full moon, or that happens next after it; or on Easter Sunday. The Jews began their civil year with the new moon which has its full moon happening next after the autumnal equinox. The Grecians began their year with the new moon which happened next after the summer solstice. The Romans, according to Plutarch, began their year at March, from the time of Romulus to Numa, who changed the beginning to January. Romulus made the year consist of only ten nionths, as appears from the name of the last, December, or the tenth month; and that March was the first is evident, because they called the fifth from it quintilis, the sixth sextilis, and the rest in their order. The first inonth of the Egyptian year began on our August 29. The Arabic and Turkish year began on July 16. The antient Clergy made March 25 the beginning of the year.

The first division of the civil year is into civil months, of

which there are twelve. These cannot be of an equal length, because the number of days in a year is not die visible by 12. There are therefore, in every year, seven months of 31 days each, four of 30 days each, and in the common years one of 28 days, but which contains 29 in every leap year. These are the months used for civil purposes. But the space of 28 days is also called a month, and it is by the division of this into four equal parts that the year is subdivided into weeks, each consisting of seven days. Hence, a common year consists of 13 of these months, or 52 weeks and i day; and a leap year of the same, and 2 days.

The days into which the civil year is divided, are called natural, and contain 24 hours. But there is a day called artificial, which is the time from sun-rise to sun-set. The natural day is either astronomical or civil. The astronomical day begins at noon. The British, French, Dutch, Germans, Spaniards, Portuguese, and Egyptians, begin the civil day at midnight; the antient Greeks, Jews, Bohemians, and Silesians, began it at sup-setting, as do the modern Italians and Chinese ; and the antient Babylonians, Persians, Syrians, and modern Greeks, at sun-rising. The Jews, Chaldeans, and Arabians, divide the hour into 1080 equal parts, called scruples'.

- the day and has

DAYS OF THE WEEK. The old Latin names for the days of the week are still retained in the journals of parliament and of medical men; they are as follow, beginning with Sunday—dies Solis, dies Luna, dies Martis, dies Mercurii, dies Jovis, dies Veneris, and dies Saturni. The northern nations substituted, for the Roman divinities, such of their own as

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

· For an explanation of the Metonic Circle, Golden Number, Cycles, and Dominical Letter, see pp. 91, 120.

most nearly resembled them in their peculiar attributes, and hence the derivation of the names now in use. VERS. TEGAN, in his Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, 4to, Lond. 1634, tbus describes the Saxon deities who presided over each day of the week. The characters sometimes employed to depote each day are prefixed.

O Sundap. Unto the day dedicated to the idoll of the Sun, they gave the name of Sunday, as much as to say as the Sunsday, or the day of the Sun. This idoll was placed in a temple, and there adored, and sacrificed unto, for that they beleeved that the Sun in the firmament did with or in this idoll correspond, and co-operate. It was made like halfe a naked man, set upon a pillar, his face, as it were, brightened with gleames of fire, and holding, with both his armes stretched out, a burning wheele upon his breast; the wheele being to signifie the course which he runneth round about the world; and the fiery gleames, and brightnes, the light and heat wherewith he warmeth and comforteth the things that live and grow.'—(Verstegan, pp. 68, 69.)

) Mondap. The next, according to the course of the dayes of the week, was the idoll of the Moone, whereof we yet retaine the name of Monday, instead of Mooneday. The forme of this idoll seemeth very strange and ridiculous, for, being made for a woman, shee hath a short coat like a man: but more strange it is to see her hood with such two long eares. The holding of a Moone before her breast may seeme to have beene to expresse what she is; but the reason of her chapron with long eares, as also of her short coat and pyked shooes, I do not finde:-(Verstegan, pp. 69, 70.)

Tuesday. Tuisco, or Tuiscon (was), the father and conductor of the Germans, who after his name, even unto this day, doe in their owne tongue call themselves Tuytsh, and their country of Germany Tuytshland: and the Netherlanders using herein the D for the T, doe make it Duytsh and Duytshland, both which appellations of the people and country I doe here write right according as we, in our English orthography, would write them, after their pronunciation:'-(Verstegan, p. 9.)

$ Wednesdap. •The next was the idoll Woden, who was made armed, and, among our Saxon ancestors, esteemed and honoured for their god of battell, according as the Romans reputed and honoured their god Mars.-(Verstegan, p. 72.)

Odin (or Wodin) is believed to have been the name of the one true God among the first colonies who came from the east, and peopled Germany and Scandinavia, and among their posterity for several ages. But at length a mighty conqueror, the leader of a new army of adventurers from the east, over-run the north of Europe, erected a great empire, assumed the name of Odin, and claimed the honours which had been formerly paid to that deity. From thenceforward this deified mortal, under the name of Odin, or Wodin, became the chief object of the idolatrous worship of the Saxons and Danes in this island, as well as of many other nations. Having been a mighty and successful warrior, he was believed to be the god of war, who gave victory and revived courage in the conflict. Having civilized, in some measure, the countries which be conquered, and introduced arts formerly unknown, he was also worshipped as the god of arts and artists. In a word, to this Odin his deluded worshippers impiously ascribed all the attributes which belong only to the true God: to

him they built magnificent temples, offered many sacri. fices, and consecrated the fourth day of the week, which is still called by his name in England, and in all the other countries where he was formerly worshipped. Notwithstanding all this, the founders of all the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy pretended to be descended from Wodin, and some of them at the distance only of a few generations.'-(Henry's History of Great Britain, vol. iii, pp. 175, 176.)

2 Thursday. • The next in order was the idoll Thor, who was not onely served and sacrificed unto of the antient PaganSaxons, but' of all the Teutonicke people of the septentrionall regions, yea, even of the people that dwelt beyond Thule or Island, for in Greeneland was he knowne and adored; in memory whereof a promontory or high poynt of land lying out into the sea, as also a river which falleth into the sea at the said promontory, doth yet beare his name. This great reputed god, being of more estimation than many of the rest of like sort, though of as little worth as any of the meapest of that rabble, was majestically placed in a very large and spacious hall, and there set as if he had reposed himselfe upon a covered bed. On his head he wore a crowne of gold, and round in compasse above, and about the same, were set or fixed twelue bright buruished golden starres. And in his right hand he held a kingly scepter. He was of the seduced Pagans beleeved to be of most maruelous power and might, yea, and that there were no people through out the whole world that were not subjected unto him, and did not owe him divine ho. nour and seruice. That there was no puissance comparable to his: his dominion of all others most farthest extending it selfe, both in heaven and earth. That in the aire he governed the winds and the cloudes; and, being

« ElőzőTovább »