The medieval calendar in May

Trinity College Library, Cambridge – Labours of the Month – May

Time flies when you have your head down and are typing manically. Since I last posted I’ve been banished from court, gone on an adventure to the West Indies and am now absconding to Tuscany via Naples having deserted a wife and five children under the age of eight. I’ve built a galleon and pinnace and my Italian has improved – no seriously, my Italian really has improved. My only problem is that it relates to ship building and piracy and neither of those two options are something I would consider to be part of a lovely holiday. However it has finally dawned on me that despite the weather here it is May – so time for an occasional calendar post. Normal service will resume this week.

May – time for a spot of falconry or courtly love. I’m not sure whether either one of them counts as a labour. The Book of St Albans (1486) lists the kind of bird of prey that you would be allowed according to your rank. Emperors can fly eagles whilst knaves can fly kestrels – hence the book title. It was a bit of an extravagant way of labouring for food.

Unsurprisingly Henry VIII’s book of hours is about courtly love but also contains images for the two star signs of the month – Taurus and Gemini.

Morgan Library MS H.8, fols. 2v–3r  April and May. Houses of Henry VIII

2 thoughts on “The medieval calendar in May

    • Its not me its my reading – knee deep in research about Robert Dudley the illegitimate son of the Earl of Leicester. Totally engrossed.

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