The March Poems in the Chronography of 354

A number of manuscripts contain an image for March.  But here again it is the Vatican Barberini manuscript that gives us the 4-line poem, the tetrastich:

Cinctum pelle lupae promptum est cognoscere mensem
Mars olli nomen, Mars dedit exuvias.
Tempus vernum haedus petulans et garrula hirundo
indicat et sinus lactis et herba virens.

Know the month clothed with the wolf’s pelt;
Its name is Mars, and Mars gave us the skins.
The springtime brings the unruly kid, and the chattering swallow,
And the pail of milk, and the greening grass.

These items are depicted in the image, as we shall see.

The 2-line poem (= distich) is also present, one line under the left-hand page, one under the right:

Condita Mavortis magno sub nomine Roma
non habet errorem: Romulus auctor erit.

Rome was founded under the great name of Mars
There is no mistake. Romulus will be the founder.

The images show a consistency for once: a figure dressed in skins, holding a goat, standing on greenery, with pails of milk and a swallow, with characteristic forked tail.  A butter churn is to the left, and above it metal tools that perhaps relate to cheese-making (or so I am told!)

The 16th century Vienna manuscript 3416 (online here) gives us this, clearly redrawn, image:

Vienna 3146, f. 4v – March

The 17th century R1 manuscript, Vat. (online here) gives us this, with the tetrastich and the first line of the distich:

Vatican, Barberini lat. 2154B, f.18 – March

As before, the offline Brussels MS. , f.201, gives us an image mid-way between the two:

Brussels MS 7543-7549, f.201 – March

(For more information on this series of posts, please see the Introduction to the Poems of the Chronography of 354).


One thought on “The March Poems in the Chronography of 354

Leave a Reply