Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/108

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NOTES AND QUERIES. ui s. XL JAK. 30,1913.-

the desecration of which by the Arabs led to the death of King Abraha in a battle near Mecca while attempting to punish the offenders, circa 550. This defeat of Abraha is known amongst Mohammedans as the " Day of the Elephant," Mohammed him- self devoting to it an entire surah of his Koran ; and the result of it was the decay of Christianity in Arabia, and the ultimate rise of Mohammedanism. The whole life of Bishop Gregentius and his dealings with Abraha are interwoven with legend.


There is a short and somewhat confused account of St. Gregentius, Bishop of Taphar, in vol. ii. of Smith and Wace's ' Dictionary of Christian Biography,' where we are told that, according to the Greek ' Mensea,' he was born at Milan on 19 Dec. in the second (? first) half of the fifth century, that he lived for many years as an anchoret, and was finally sent by Proterius of Alexander (sic : Proterius was Patriarch of Alexandria 452- 457) as Bishop of the Homerta.

" This account [the writer adds], which would date the episcopate of Gregentius from the middle

of the 5th century, cannot naturally claim any strong historical weight. Little more can be said for the tradition which ascribes the two works

above mentioned to him."

The works are the ' Leges Homeritarum ' and the ' Dialogus cum Herbano Judseo,' in Migne's ' Patrologia Grseca,' vol. Ixxxvi.

Like the ghost we hear of in Boswell, Gregentius seems to be " something of a shadowy being."

Tha Bishop's flock, the Himyarites, lived in the south-west of Arabia, in the modern vilayet of Yemen. As for the modern name of his episcopal city 2a7r<ap, 2a^>a^), or Ta<a/ooF there has been some difference of opinion. Pape, under 2a7r<a/o, gives Dhasar. Elsewhere I have seen Zhafar or Dhafar. A recent atlas identifies it with Sana. Evidently it is a matter for experts to decide. One would have read with pleasure what the late COL. PRIDEATJX had to say on this point. Did he not translate the ' Lay of the Himyarites ' and write ' A Sketch of Sabsean Grammar ' ?

EDWARD BENSLY. [L. L. K. also thanked for reply.]

DIBDIN AND SOUTHAMPTON (11 S. xi. 41). -I venture to suggest that the inconsistency between the record of Charles Dibdin's pri- vate baptism on 4 March, 1745, and the statement that he was born on 15 March, 1745, is apparent only. When the calendar

was reformed in 1752, the practice naturally arose of keeping anniversaries eleven nominal days later than they had been kept while the old calendar was in force. It has been pointed out more than once in ' N. & Q.' that the future George III. was actually born on 24 May, although throughout the whole of his reign his birthday was cele- brated on 4 June. It is true that all persons did not follow the practice, but those who did not clearly reckoned themselves to be eleven days older than they really were. When, therefore, it is said that Dibdin was born on 15 March, what is meant is that he was born on 4/15 March. The question remains whether he was baptized on the day of his birth. The Rev. J. W. Ebsworth (' D.N.B.,' xv. 2 = v. 907 of the reissue) says that " he was privately baptized, being no doubt sickly at birth." In that case it is almost certain that the birth and the baptism took place on the same day.


An interesting circumstance not men- tioned at this reference is that Dibdin was one of the first public performers on the pianoforte. A playbill of Covent Garden Theatre in 1767 says :

" Miss Brickler will sing a favorite song from Judith, accompanied by Mr, Dibdin on a new instrument called the pianoforte."


Glendora, Hindhead, Surrey.

REGENT CIRCUS (11 S. x. 313, 373, 431,

475; xi. 14, 51). As there seems some doubt as to where Piccadilly began, the following quotations will show that the east end was connected with Coventry Street. In 1708 (Hatton) Piccadilly is described as " a very considerable and publick street, between Coventry Street and Portugal Street"; and in 1720 (Strype) as " a large street and great thoroughfare between Coventry Street and Albemarle Street." From an ' Itinerary ' by G. A, Cooke, published after 1804: "Church Lane brings us back to Piccadilly, in the direction of which runs Coventry Street." Passing over the construction of Regent Street, and coming down to a map of London ( ' Post Office Directory ') dated 1865, Piccadilly begins from the north-west corner of the Regent Street that runs into Waterloo Place. At the top of this street is Regent Circus, and at the north-east corner Coventry Street. This map only gives one Regent Circus, the Piccadilly site. At the Oxford Street crossing of Regent Street it is simply called the Circus. TOM JONES