Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ante Diem XI Kalendas October

Modern Date : September 21st

Ante Diem XI Kalendas October
Eleventh Day to the Kalends of October

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

The rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries would continue this day.

On this day in 19 BC the poet Virgil died in the port of Brindisii upon his return from Greece. Virgil wrote the Aeneid, an epic account of the travels of the refugees from Troy as they settled successively in Carthage and in Latium, giving rise several generations later to the line of Romulus, the founder of Rome.

On this day in 454 AD, Aetius, who had defeated Attila the Hun, was stabbed to death by the emperor Valentinian III and his eunuch chamberlain Heraclius during a meeting in Ravenna. Aetius has been called the "Last Roman" because of his resourcefulness and vigor in fighting back the barbarians.

September is the 'magical' seventh month (after March).

Kappa-Aquarids Meteor Shower
The Kappa-Aquarids meteor shower peaks at this time. It is active from the September eighth to the thirtieth. This minor shower's radiant at its maximum lies near the "Water Jar" asterism in Aquarius, and consequently is well clear of the horizon for observers south of about 45° N all night. It has not been clearly studied, and further data is badly needed on it. Its meteors are slow and faint, making them good telescopic targets, and visual meteor plotting should not be too difficult, again because of the meteors' very low apparent velocity.

The Feast of Divine Life
The Egyptians celebrated this day as the Feast of Divine Life. It was an epagomenal day, added to the calendar to complete a 365 day year. On this day they celebrated the birthday of their mother-goddess, Hathor. The feast of Divine Life was an Autumnal celebration dedicated to the three-fold goddess - mother (creatrix, daughter (renewer), and dark mother (absolute).

Raud the Strong
In Norway, today is for remembering Raud the Strong. He was hideously tortured and martyred by the Christian king Olaf Tryggvason. A long time ago, back when King Olaf Tryggvason was converting Norway to Christianity by the time-honoured method of killing heathens, there lived a man named Raud the Strong. Like other truly strong men, he was a follower of the old Nordic Gods and had little time for the newly-mandated faith.

Raud was not only strong, he was also rich and influential - which made him an especially tempting target for the royal wrath. Tryggvason, hereafter known as Olaf the Lawbreaker for his numerous crimes against Norwegian law and custom, had him captured and forced to swallow a snake, resulting in his death. This got rid of an influential Asaman and cleared the way for the king to confiscate his land for his own use.

St. Matthew
In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Matthew, perhaps the most controversial of the Christian evangelists, as his gospel is the source of Christian beliefs about the tribulations of the "end times" in which God is expected to inflict natural disasters, plagues and other vindictiveness on the unrighteous, and their home on Earth.

As with other holidays, the Catholic Church assigned the feast day of a significant saint (St Matthew, one of the original Apostles and the writer of a Gospel) to a date near the pagan celebration (the Autumn Equinoxin this case September 21). For some reason (perhaps because Matthew is the patron saint of tax collectors and bankers), his holiday never became wildly popular. Instead all the seasonal customs one might expect to find on this day (like the harvest feast) migrated to the feast of St. Michael on September 29th.

However, the English note St. Matthew's Day with a few weather predictions:

St Mathee, shut up the Bee;
St Mattho, take thy hopper and sow;
St Mathy, all the year goes by
St Matthie, sends sap into the tree
St Matthew
Brings the cold, rain and Dew

In the Midlands, St Matthew's Day is viewed as the first of three windy days, also called "windy days " windy days of the barley harvest."