This engraving is made from a manuscript of the tenth century in the Cotton Library. The bow is curiously ornamented having the head and tail of a serpent carved at the ends; and was, probably, such a one as was used by the nobility. In all these bows we may observe one thing remarkable, that is, the string not being made fast to the extremities, but permitted to play at some distance from them. How far this might be more or less advantageous than the present method, I shall not presume to determine.
Here we see a youth playing upon a harp with only four strings, and apparently singing at the same time, while an elderly man is performing the part of a buffoon or posture master, holding up one of his legs, and hopping upon the other to the music.
One part of the gleeman's profession, as early as the tenth century, was, teaching animals to dance, to tumble, and to put themselves into variety of attitudes, at the command of their masters.
This engraving is the copy of a curious though rude delineation, being little more than an outline, which exhibits a specimen of this pastime. The principal joculator appears in the front, holding a knotted switch in one hand, and a line attached to a bear in the other; the animal is lying down in obedience to his command; and behind them are two more figures, the one playing upon two flutes or flageolets, and elevating his left leg while he stands upon his right, supported by a staff that passes under his armpit; the other dancing, in an attitude exceedingly ludicrous. This performance takes place upon an eminence resembling a stage made with earth; and in the original a vast concourse are standing round it in a semicircle as spectators of the sport, but they are so exceedingly ill drawn, and withal so indistinct, that I did not think it worth the pains to copy them. The dancing, if I may so call it, of the flute player, is repeated twice in the same manuscript.
We here see a man throwing three balls and three knives alternately into the air, and catching them one by one as they fall, but returning them again in a regular rotation. To give the greater appearance of difficulty to this feat, it is accompanied with the music of an instrument resembling the modern violin.
The Augustinians claim the great St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, as their founder, and relate that he established the monastic communities in Africa, and gave them a rule. That he did patronise monachism in Africa we gather from his writings, but it is not clear that he founded any distinct order; nor was any order called after his name until the middle of the ninth century.
Time-chart A.D. 800-A.D. 1500
France at the Close of the 10th Century
Empire of Otto the Great
Charles the Simple (Charles III) of Francia