While under lockdown I have not been able to progress any of my projects very much. I suspect the background strain is affecting us all. Everyone is on edge, I notice. But I am certainly more fortunate than most.
After a break, I have started to nibble again at my translation of John the Deacon’s Life of St Nicholas. It’s really not very pleasant going. Every sentence offers a problem. But all it really requires is time and effort. At least I have done something.
Today I saw that someone had posted online that a vision of St Michael was recorded at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall in 495 AD. I started to look into this, out of curiosity. It’s a bit of a puzzle.
After quite a bit of searching, the literature search seems to come down to a 5 page booklet published by G. Doble – who else? – in the early 1930s, titled “Miracles at St Michael’s Mount”. It must always have been very rare, and I could only find 3 copies listed in COPAC. [Update – the item is on Archive.org here, but does not in fact contain anything about the early legend].
Today I wrote to one university library who had it. The staff cannot have been busy, since the students are at home and the institution is not teaching. So I was quickly informed that they only deal with members of the university (!). So I shall try to find a member of that university to ask for me.
The legend is probably bogus, and perhaps copied from a similar legend about Mount Gargano in Italy in 492(ish), but it appears widely online. If I can check the Doble publication then I will then write a post about it.
Meanwhile here is a photograph of St Michael’s Mount which I found online.
Some newspaper stories in 2010 claimed that the Nazi foreign minister, Ribbentrop, was a regular visitor to the area during the 1930s, and that a remark about intending to take over the castle and live there when Germany ruled the world did not endear him to his British hosts. This tells us that he only visited the area in the summer time.
I have fond memories of my only visit to the area. In summer 2012, while staying at a house party in St Ives, I visited St Michael’s Mount, during a massive rainstorm. Indeed it had rained in the area every day for a month. The tide was in, so we had to take one of the little ferry boats. We were pretty much the only customers. On reaching the island we walked up to the castle and took the tour, somewhat hastened by the fact that standing on the battlements was simply a way to get soaked. The castle itself is very small. Down by the harbour there was a large modern tourist block, with restaurant, which was almost empty and a very welcome sight. After lunch the rain stopped. The tide had gone down and the boat trip was much shorter. For most of the way we walked back to my car. When we reached the hotel, one and all went to our rooms and took a hot shower and had a change of clothes. It was a memorable trip.
Looking at my “to do” list, I find that I have 29 items relating to photographs of monuments of Mithras. These I need to process into my “Roman cult of Mithras” pages.
But at this time of plague it’s important not to get drained, so I won’t push myself too hard. Now back to the sofa!