NO class of figures occurs so frequently in the illuminations of our earlier manuscripts, as those of ecclesiastics of different grades; and as the older illuminators were almost exclusively monks, we are justified in concluding that none are represented more accurately with regard to their costume and other characteristics.
FIGURES OF ECCLESIASTICS.
FROM THE SCULPTURES OF THE CATHEDRAL OF CHARTRES.
Initial letter C
CHARTRES is one of the most ancient and interesting towns in France. Popular traditions carry the date of the foundation of the city back to the times of the deluge; and it has been pretended by some of the old antiquaries that its splendid cathedral stands on the site of an ancient Druidical temple.
Spanish warriors from a MS. of the end of the eleventh century
Ornamented initial letter E
EVERY step which we trace back in the history of the nations of Europe brings us nearer to a uniformity of costume. Fashions in dress did not begin to go through that quick vicissitude of change which characterizes modern times, till towards the thirteenth century. We can trace little variation in the dress of the Anglo-Saxons during the whole period of their history, and not much between that of the Anglo-Saxons and the Franks.
As people became more distinctly separated from each other by national jealousies, and long and obstinate wars, the new fashions adopted in one country were more slowly communicated to another, and thus the similarity of costume becomes separated by distance of date; while some countries became so entirely estranged from each other during a long period, that the resemblance of costume and the simultaneous variation was altogether lost.
Head-dresses of the ladies of the fifteenth century
L- Initial Letter
ELEGANCE and gracefulness, which had seldom exhibited themselves in the horned and peaked head-dresses of the ladies of the fifteenth century, began again to show themselves in the various headdresses of the beginning of the sixteenth. This was more especially visible in France, which country, then as now, took the lead in the fashions of dress.
QUIETNESS and peace were not among the most prominent characteristics of those ages, in which, unfettered by the sage power of judicious and efficient laws, people were taught to seek justice rather by their own strength, than by the intermediation of others. At that period, the songs which sounded most musical to the ears of the iron-cased barons were the romances that told of hard blows and doughty adventures, and the pictures most beautiful to their eyes were such as those which we here give in ouer plate.
DRESSES of ceremony for solemn occasions, particularly with persons in exalted stations, suffer fewer changes in the course of time, than those in common use. Our plate represents a king- of the latter end of the twelfth century, dressed in his robes of state; but we may probably take it as a good example of the regal costume during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.