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A Martyrology f.36v

A Martyrology f.36v

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Royal MS 7

Item number: f.36v

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 brothers from Glastonbury, Faversham and others in its confraternity.

The two colourfully decorated letters on this page begin the days for St Peter (modern date 29 June) and St Paul (30 June). The two highly important saints, believed to have died on the same day, were commemorated on consecutive days because the pope celebrated their feasts separately in Rome at St Peter's (for Peter) and at St Paul-Outside-the-Walls. Commuting the distance between the churches in the July heat prevented services on the same day. In the manuscript the days are given as the third and second kalends of July. Medieval calendars used the confusing Roman lunar-based system of kalends, nones and ides, causing dates at the beginning or end of modern months to fall sometimes in the medieval calendar in the month before or after the modern one.

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