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A Martyrology f.31r

A Martyrology f.31r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Royal MS 7

Item number: f.31r

Length: 34

Width: 24

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

A martyrology was a collection of lives of saints (especially stories of their martyrdoms), lists of names and dates of death of members or patrons of a monastery arranged according to the calendar of feast days, and the 'Rule'--the guidelines for conduct and daily prayer, the most common being the Rule of St Benedict (benedictine rule). It was made to be read from during the meeting called 'chapter', which was held after early morning prayer (about 6 am) for the purpose of commemorating the dead and reading a chapter of the rule. After the reading, assignments for various tasks were made and any necessary punishments or complaints delivered. This martyrology belonged to the priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, and records the names and death dates of many of its monks, as well as those from its confraternity such as Glastonbury and Faversham.

The calendar used the Roman system (kalends, nones and ides), this page beginning with the kalends (1) of June. It depended on lunar phases, the reason for stating the numbers of days and 'moons' here in red. The red letters and number in the margins coordinate with numbers and letters which should have been written in the two double horizontal bands--but never were--a system for calculating the weekday of the date in any year. If a saint's day fell on a Sunday or a major feast such as Good Friday, special services would have to be accomodated. On the 1 June the dedication of the basilica of St Nicomedus was commemorated, the martyrdom of Sts Marcellinus and Peter on 2 June (iiii non. Iun, 4th nones of June). The marginal note ("origenis") references another of the priory's manuscripts.

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