Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/187

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9"-- S. V. MARCH 3, 1900.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


minute examination of this underground chapel the author came to the conclusion that a temporary masking wall now conceals a door which may give entrance, he thinks, to the sepulchral vault which contains the remains of the Apostle.

This somewhat shadowy and speculative theory, as it may be considered, is the raison d'etre of the large and handsome volume before us. The remain- ing chapters deal with the oft- written and much debated subject of St. Peter's last years, his visit to Rome, and his martyrdom there. The numerous traditions which have gathered around the small amount of historical fact which is available Mr. Barnes tells over again in an interesting and straightforward way, from the Romanist point of view, and with abundance of archaeological, monu- mental, and literary evidence. On some subsidiary points we might fairly differ from his conclusions. We cannot see, e.g., that the dismemberment and distribution of portions of a saint's body among competing churches by authority of the Pope was a pious and laudable way of avoiding the similar danger that might be likely to occur from the profane hands of the barbarian invaders, especially as Pope Gregory the Great had already laid it down to be a thing " most intolerably sacrilegious for any man to touch the bodies of the saints," and had declared, " We are astonished almost beyond belief to hear it asserted that it is the custom among the Greeks thus to raise the bones of the saints. ' Surely there was a falling-off here in later Roman practice. The heads of St. Peter and St. Paul are still kept, without rebuke, above the Papal altar in the church of S. Giovanni Laterano ! Again, we are surprised that a divine so well read as Mr. Barnes should appear to find a difficulty in the fact of the "strange" epithet lupus, a wolf, being given to St. Paul in an old inscription of the .ninth or tenth century which was extant in Rome in the fifteenth century. It occurs in the lines :

Quod lupe Paule tup ore vehis Domino Hie Petre Divini tribueras fercula Verbi.

The allusion is obviously to Genesis xlix. 27: "Benjamin lupus rapax, mane comedet prsedam, et vespere dividet spolia," it being a well-known commonplace of the Fathers (Tertullian, Ambrose, Augustine, &c.) to refer these words to the Ben- jamite St. Paul as the sometime persecutor of the Christian Church. We have noticed a few other slips. In quoting St. John xxi. 18, " When thou art old another shall guide thee"(p. 101), the word italicized is a mistake for gird (" alius te cinget "). Moreover, in an inscription of Innocent III. the word coisrcelita as ending an hexameter ought rather to be printed coisraelita. We should not forget to say that the work is beautifully printed and fully illustrated with plans and views.

The Mysteries of Chronology, with Proposal for a New English Era to be called the Victorian. By F. F. Arbuthnot. (Heinemann, 1900 and V.E. 64.) WHEN an author commences his book by telling us that it is "a very slipshod work," we hardly know whether he is deprecating or inviting criticism and asking for contradiction. Other puzzles come upon us as we glance through the work. This, however, we may say, that much in it is well worthy of con- sideration, though we cannot assent to all our author's conclusions, some of which are of a rather dreary kind. He claims, however, that truth has ever been his guiding star, and naively adds,

"What a difficult pursuit!" By the expression which we first quoted is probably meant that the subject-matter is of rather a miscellaneous kind and only loosely coherent ; therefore the contents are given in the preface as well as in a table. Much of the book is occupied with learned dis- cussions regarding the times of the introduction of the Arabic numerals into Europe and that of reckoning dates by Anno Domini. In reference to the former, a date on the tower of the church at Monken Hadley seems to have been overlooked ; and in relation to the latter we may point out that quite recently it was shown in If. & Q.' that Dionysius Exiguus did give dates from the Incarna- tion of our Lord, which makes needless the sugges- tion that what are called Bede's writings are of much later date than his time. Our author also doubts the authorship of the works ascribed to King Alfred, and, with similar historical scepticism, suggests that the Bayeux tapestry was manu- factured centuries after the Norman Conquest. Now in all matters of this kind it is a truism that much caution is necessary in elaborating the history of periods before we have existing manuscript authority, and there is always a risk of later copyists intentionally or unintentionally altering or modifying their originals, yet it is not beyond the power of research to construct truthfully the great lines of history. Dates, of course, form the skeleton of history, and here we are often able to check those of important events by records of celestial appearances, particularly of eclipses. Several are mentioned in the ' Anglo-Saxon Chro- nicle': and one of these enables us to prove that Alfred's great victory over the Danes took place one year earlier than that given in the copies from which pur printed version is taken the probability of errors in which had already been shown by Mr. Stevenson on other grounds. We need not, then, date authentic English history from the accession of bluff King Hal, though future historians will doubtless be obliged to Mr. Arbuthnot for his discussion of the dates of the births, accessions, and deaths of the English kings and queens. But whilst yielding to none in respect for her present Majesty, or appre- ciation of the greatness and importance of her reign, it would, we think, be a retrograde step to introduce another era of reckoning dates from her accession, as is suggested by our author and exem- plified in his title-page.

Some Principles and Services of the Prayer-Book Historically Considered. Edited by J. Wickham Legg. (Rivingtons.)

FOUR essays on current topics of Church interest by three well-informed laymen are here gathered into a volume. The writers being more or less specialists on the subjects with which they deal, their opinions will doubtless obtain the attention they deserve. The editor, himself a conservative representative of the old High Church school, pretty well defines his position by referring at the beginning of his essay to " the disastrous pontificate ofl)r. Tait"; but he is far from consenting to the claim of the modern priestling that each may be a law unto himself if he thinks he knows better than his ecclesiastical superiors. As he pithily puts it, " When clergymen put on the surplice they Ibecome the servants of the Church and cease to be their own masters." He consistently condemns in one breath the three hours' service on Good Friday, and lantern services, egg services, flower services,