JANUARY 11TH – NEW YEAR’S EVE OLD STYLE AND CARMENTALIA

1375, French Caesarian Birth, (most likely to have killed the Mother or be performed when the Mother is dead or is dying.)

When Britain reluctantly joined the Gregorian Calenda, in 1752, we lost 11 days, so if you add 11 to 31st December you get to New Year Old Style. You can do this with any date, and when celebrating feel you are being really authentic.

So, anything you do on the New Style 31st Dec. you can do on the 11th – except convince your boss that you have a legitimate reason for not coming to work because of the hangover! In case you have forgotten what you should be doing look here to look back on New Year’s Eve, New Style.

It is probably a particularly ‘witchy’ evening because its the traditional Eve, not the new-fangled one. So, according to Reginald Scot in his ‘Discovery of Witchcraft’ 1584 all you need to do to discover a witch (who has bewitched your cow) is to put your breeches on the cow’s head, and beat the poor animal out of the field with a good cudgel (best done on a Friday). The cow will run right to the witch’s door and strike it with her horns. It does make you wonder whether they really believed this nonsense. Clearly, the cow is most likely to go to the house that is nearest the exit from the field? And why the breeches and not a blindfold? and why be so cruel to the cow? I guess the people who believe this sort of thing are the same type who believe QAnon?

It is also Carmentalia, the festival for the Roman Goddess of prophecy and childbirth. She was a much loved Goddess in the Roman pantheon but little is known about her perhaps because she has no clear match in the Greek.

She has a long history in Roman history being said to be the mother of…. well this may surprise you because I didn’t know this before, she was the mother of Evander and Evander is the founder of Pallantium, which was a City on the site of Rome that predated Rome!

Who knew that? (the people at Vindolanda Roman Fort know and they have a great page on Carmenta here. ) She also commanded one of the the fifteen flamen. These were priests of state sponsored religions. They prohibited anyone coming to the Temple wearing anything of leather.

Carmenta had two sidekicks who were her sisters and attendants. Postvorta and Antevorta, They might be explained by Past and Future. (in fact, after and before). Or dedicated to babies that come out head first or legs first.

Vindolanda make the point that 2% of births in the past are likely to have caused the death of the mother, and, because of a high mortality in the children, to keep a population stable a mother might have to have 5 children on average, giving her a 12% chance of death by giving birth.

Good reason to have a Goddess on the Mum’s side.

Please leave me a comment - its great to hear what you think.

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