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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Tolkienistas

need not concern themselves with this simple observation, since they will no doubt be aware of it. But for any fellow non-aficionados - it gladdens the medievalist's heart to read that Sauron was overthrown on 25th March, and that this (Gandalf declares) will henceforth be New Year in Middle Earth. Not only (as I suspect any laodicea readers will know) is this the Feast of the Annunciation, but also, in much of Christendom for much of the middle ages, it was indeed the first day of the new year. Hurrah.

Oh, the magic of Google - someone has worked all this out and more besides. I had forgotten that 25th March is also traditionally thought to have been the day of the Crucifixion. Er, and someone else says that the end of the world is also expected for that day. Oh.

This year the Annunciation and Good Friday fall on the same day. John Donne wrote about this most beautifully in 1608.

... Sad and rejoiced she's seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty, and at scarce fifteen ;
At once a son is promised her, and gone ;
Gabriell gives Christ to her, He her to John ...