medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

I am trying to understand whether the Latin phrase below and its source
text ought to be understood as solid evidence that the 11th Century
author/compiler and subsequent users of the source text, as a matter of
then accepted custom, placed January as the first month of the year. To
clarify, if you were to ask a typical cleric of this time and this place to
recite the names of the months from memory, would it be their mental reflex
to begin with January or some other month? Or if a bishop were to invite me
to visit him in the 'first month', in which month would he expect me to
show up?

The phrase:  *Principium Jani sanctit tropicus Capricornus*

The source: *Un manuscrit chartrain du XIe siècle *(A Chartrian Manuscript
of the 11th Century) by Merlet and Clerval 1893.

See page 10 in the PDF version here:

The exact context is that the phrase appears immediately below a
miniaturize showing Janus warming his hands before a fire above the
zodiacal sign of Capricornus. The broader context is that it is part of a
series of "*citations astronomiques qui se lisent dans notre **manuscrit
au-dessous de chaque miniature*."  (astronomical citations that read in our
manuscript below each miniature). The complete "citation" for January, on
page 24 of the PDF,  reads:

*Luna egyptiaca jan. I. IIII. V. VIII. XV.*

*Mensis jan. habet dies XXXI.*

*Luna trigesima.*

* Epactas ɵ : Concurrentes Г.*

*Principium Jani sanctit tropicus Capricornus.*

* Jani prima dies et VII fine timetur.*

* Nox horas quindecim.*

* Dies habet decem.*

*Prima luna embolisimi.*

Please understand that I have no Latin.


Richard J Legault

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