Tag Archive for 'Christmas'

Two Pannonian monuments connecting Mithras with 25 Dec.?

The Hungarian scholar Istvan Toth died this year.  I learn this from his page at Academia.edu, where may be found all his papers and books in electronic form.  This is no small thing, for many are quite inaccessible in the west, even in major research libraries.  Well done, Dr Toth, for making all this mass […]

Gaudete! Christus est natus!

Via Monday Evening I find a link to an audio of Steeleye Span performing the acapella Gaudete.  The uploader has added a transcription of the lyrics, with English translation.  Worth a listen.

Greek wit 2

Another snippet from antiquity: The wife of King Hiero once asked Simonides whether it was better to be born wealthy or wise? “Wealthy, it would seem,” he replied, “for I always see the wise hanging about the doors of the rich.” — Aristotle, Rhetoric, ii. ch. 16.

‘Twas Christmas Eve in the workhouse…

It is now Christmas Eve.  A minority of people will be sat at home, in a traditional Dickensian family circle, waiting for Christmas.  In rather more households there will be excited children rushing around, and all blessing to them and their harried parents. But for a great many people, including most people who spend their lives […]

More on the “birth of the sun” at Chronicon blog

Tom Schmidt is still excerpting material from ancient sources on this mysterious “birth of the sun” on 25 Dec.  And he’s translating some untranslated material himself!  He’s got a bit from Hephaistio of Thebes on Antiochus of Athens.  Read it here.

The sun as a child at the winter solstice

I’ve been reading the article in which Franz Boll published the calendar of Antiochus of Athens, with special reference to the entry on 25th December. It is good to have a publication of the calendar, although the lack of a translation for the Greek is irksome.  But I haven’t read many articles which are less satisfactory […]

The calendar of Antiochus and the new birth of the sun

Roger Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun, Oxford University Press, 2006, makes the following interesting remark on p.209-10: … the nominal solstice on 25 December, becomes the Sun’s birthday, the ‘Natalis Invicti’, as the Calendar of Filocalus famously notes—to which phrase in Greek (heliou genethlion) […]

Gifts at Christmas, “strenae” on 1st January

The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that the Romans gave gifts on 1st January (the Kalends of January), called strenae.  Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas. Tiele (Yule and Christmas, London, 1899) has collected many interesting examples. The strenae (étrennes) of the Roman 1 January (bitterly condemned by Tertullian, de Idol., xiv […]

Legends about what the Chronicon Pascale says

After Eusebius invented the idea of the “Chronicle of World History”, subsequent writers produced considerable numbers of these.  As a rule these start with Adam, using the Bible and Eusebius to cover stuff up to Constantine, and then whatever continuations and paraphrases were available. The Chronicon Pascale is an example of this genre.  It’s a […]