HAPPY EPONALIA – DECEMBER 18TH

Roman Horse from Bunwell, Norfolk. Illustration by Sue Walker

I’ve been too busy working on my Jane Austen and Christmas Virtual Tour (Sunday 19th December 7.30) to post over the last few days. And I have, therefore, shamelessly stolen this post off my facebook friend Sue Walker, who is a talented archaeological illustrator, artist and a very good photographer.

She wrote: ‘the 18th December is the festival of the Celtic goddess Epona, the protector of horses she was adopted by the Romans and became a favourite with the cavalry. This finely sculpted bronze horse with a head dress and symbol on its chest is 37mm high – found in Bunwell #Norfolk #Archaeology’

DECEMBER – THE MONTH OF ADVENT OF ‘EXPECTANT WAITING’ LOOKING FORWARD TO CHRISTMAS, YULE, SATURNALIA SOLSTICE

Advent begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. This year it was Sunday 28th November but it can be as last as 3rd December.

Advent divides the world into those who love to plan; who love to anticipate and people like me who buy all my presents in a mad flurry on Christmas Eve. Surely, my nephew will like the Arsenal Yearbook, my father ‘The History of the Spitfire’ and my brother the remastered version of the early Fleetwood Mac LP that I have, he tells me, already bought him three times. (In my defence, not the middle-of-the -road Fleetwood Mac but the one with Peter Green in it and capable of the Green Manalishi).

In my mind, people should be heavily fined for mentioning the C-word before December, and whipped, for mentioning the X word at all. So, not sure advent is my favourite time of the year.

Epulum Jovis – The Capitoline Cult

Capitoline Triad – Museum of Guidonia (Wikipedia)

This was the second festival in the year dedicated to the three most important deities in the Roman pantheon. Jupiter the Sky God, God of Justice, God of Rome. His wife and sister, ‘Queen’ Juno, protector of women. Minerva, Daughter of Jupiter. Goddess of Wisdom and Craft.

The main Temple was in Rome on the Capitoline Hill, known as aedes Iovis Optimi Maximi Capitolini (“Temple of Jupiter Best and Greatest on the Capitoline”). Similar temples spread throughout the Roman world, normally with a triple cella (inner sanctum) to allow separation of worship between the three cults.

In London, a temple was discovered to the west of the first Forum (built AD 75). There is no clue as to its dedication, but the Capitoline Cult has been suggested as well as for the Cult of the Emperor.

Painting of the Roman Forum of London from the air
Painting of the Roman Forum of London from the air (Note Temple on the left)

Originally posted on November 12th, 2021. Revised November 15, 2023

NOVEMBER 27th – NOVEMBER 30TH St Andrews

27th November – Eels now in Season.

Eel Pie Island . Ordnance Survey In 1871 to 1882 map series (OS, 1st series at 1:10560: Surrey (Wikipedia)

Sad loss of a East End Jellied Eels outlet (author's copyright)
photo of sold sign on Pie and Mashshop F Cooke in Broadway market
Sad loss of a East End Jellied Eels outlet (author’s copyright)

28th November – Time to Wed before Advent

Traditionally, you could not marry after Advent and before 12th Night. So now might be the last chance to marry before that bump gets too big!

19th Century Illustration (Author’s Copyright)

Wedding dresses were traditionally whatever really pretty dress you had. White only became de rigueur once Queen Victoria worn one, and the costs of material reduced because of mass production.

29th November To make a Dish of Snow

Thanks to Zdenek Machacek -unsplash

Snow is increasingly possible, and if you are keen to see some – try this medieval recipe:

To make a dish of Snowe / Take a potte of sweete thicke creme and the white of eight egges and beate them altogether with a spoone then putte them into your creame with a dish full of Rose Water and a dishfull of Sugar withall then take a sticke and make it cleane and then cutt it in the ende fowre square and therewith beate all the aforesayd thinges together and ever as it ariseth take it of and putte it into a Cullander thys done take a platter and set an aple in the middest of it and sticke a thicke bush of Rosemarye in the apple then cast your snowe upon the rosemarye and fill your platter therewith and if you have wafers cast some withall and thus serve them forth

From Medieval Manuscripts Blog. https://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/medieval-history/page/2/

30th November St Andrew’s Day

One of the first Apostles. It seems all Christian martyrs have to be killed in a different grizzly way and Andrew was martyred on a X-shaped cross. As he was formerly a simple fisherman so patron of fishermen.

Celebrate with a Haggis and a Whisky!

In Kent and Sussex Andrewtide gave the right to hunt squirrels, and in Hasted’s History of Kent (1782) it allowed the ‘lower kind’ to form a lawless rabble hunting any manner of hares, partridges and pheasants.

The sort of squirrel that might deserve hunting? Cheeky devil.

RING IN THE EQUINOX VIRTUAL WALK

This walk has finished but will be repeated next year.

Listen to Podcast


Tuesday 21st September 2021 7.30pm

Druids on Tower Hill for the Equinox
Druids on Tower Hill for the Equinox


On this walk we look at London at the Equinox, its calendars, folklore and events associated with the beginning of Autumn


The Ancient Britons divided up the year according to the major movements of the Sun and the Moon. On this tour we look at the Equinox and the various calendars associated with the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn, from the prehistoric period to the present.

We walk around the City of London in search of evidence of how the celestial bodies affects our legal, financial, religious, educational, political, agricultural and human systems. We look at different calendars such as the Pagan year, the Egyptian year, the Roman year, the Christian year, the Jewish year, as well as the various secular years, and explore how they began and how they relate to each other.

On the route we examine folk traditions & customs, festivals and events. We find interesting and historic places in the City of London to link to our stories of the Equinox. We begin at Borough Market and walk over the Thames on London Bridge and explore the City of London and the calendars that have ruled it over the millennia.

To Book:


MYTHS, LEGENDS, & HALLOWEEN WALK

Bran's head taken to Tower Hill
King Bran’s head buried at Tower Hill

Physical Walk: SUNDAY 31st October 2021 2.30pm Tower Hill Underground Station

Virtual Walk: SUNDAY 31st October 2021 6.30pm

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the Celtic origins of Halloween.

The walk is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, who has an interest both in the archaeological evidence as well as the myths and legends of London’s origin.

The walk will tell the story of a selection of London’s Myths and Legends, beginning with the tale of London’s legendary origins in the Bronze Age by an exiled Trojan called Brutus. Stories of Bladud, Bellinus, Bran and Arthur will be interspersed with how they fit in with archaeological discoveries.

As we around the City we also look at the origins of Halloween celebrations and how they may have been celebrated in early London
The virtual route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St Pauls.

This is a London Walks Guided Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To book: Physical Walk click here

To book: Virtual Walk click here

REVIEWS (from London Walks website)
“Kevin, I just wanted to drop you a quick email to thank you ever so much for your archaeological tours of London! I am so thrilled to have stumbled upon your tours! I have wanted to be an archaeologist since 1978 at the ripe old age of 8 years,… I was told for years that I could not be an archaeologist [for any number of reasons, which I now realise are completely ridiculous!], so I ended up on a different course of study. And now at the age of 50, it is my one great regret in life. So, I am thoroughly enjoying living vicariously through you, the digs you’ve been on, and the history you bring to life for us! British archaeology would have been my specific area of study had I pursued it. ?? Thank you SO MUCH for these! I look forward to them more than you can imagine, and honestly, I’ll be sad if you get them down to 1.5 hours! They’re the best 2 hours of my week! 🙂 Best, Sue