Courtiers of the time of Richard II. MS. Reg. 15 D. Ill, and MS. Harl. No. 1319.
COURTIERS OF THE TIME OF RICHARD II.
Anjou-Plantagenêt ruling dynasty
ABOVE all other periods in the history of England, that of the weak Richard II. was remarkable for the variety and gaiety of its fashions. The satirists and reformers of the day were zealous and loud in their outcries against the extravagance of the higher classes.
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.
Byzantine Cross. Mount Athos. Monastery of Caracalla
CROSS FROM MOUNT ATHOS.
Initial letter B, Manuscript 10th century.
BEFORE the Christian era, Mount Athos was celebrated for the length of its shadow (ingenti tellurem proximus umbra vestit. Stat.), which was said to reach as far as the isle of Lemnos, for the multitude of its hares (quot lepores in Atho. Ovid.), and for having been the scene of one of the most wonderful exploits of Xerxes, who in his invasion of Greece is said to have cut a passage for his ships through the lower part of this vast mass of mountains.
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