Page 327. " Jephtha's Rash Vow "
Jephtha's daughter
Public DomainJephtha's daughter - Credit: Bon Boullogne

Jephthah’s tale is in the Old Testament’s Book of Judges.  The story tells show the Israelites had abandoned God and did not worship him. God took vengeance against them, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites.  The elders of Gilead asked Jephthah to lead them against the Ammonites, agreeing that if he secured victory, he would be their permanent chieftain. Jephthah swore an oath, that whatever emerged from his home to meet him when he returned victorious, would be sacrificed as a burnt offering to God.  Unfortunately it was his much loved daughter who rushed out to greet him first.  But he had to honour his vow and offer her up nonetheless. 

Page 330. " as mad as a March hare "
March hare
Public DomainMarch hare - Credit: Chris

Mad as a March Hare has been a common English phrase for hundreds of years.  The phrase appears in John Heywood’s collection of proverbs published in 1546.  It seems to have been inspired by the hares’ behavior at the beginning of the long breeding season, in March (the season lasts until September in Britain). Early in the season, unreceptive females often use their forelegs to repel overenthusiastic males. This energetic behaviour looks rather like boxing, and often includes vertical leaps into the air. 

Blowbol's Test, a poem from about 1500, includes the line:

Thanne þey begyn to swere and to stare, And be as braynles as a Marshe hare

(Then they begin to swerve and to stare, And be as brainless as a March hare)

Page 331. " they were both truly Jacobites in principle "

Jacobites, 1745
Public DomainJacobites, 1745 - Credit: John Pettie
The Jacobites were dedicated to restoring the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland.  The movement arose in response to the deposing of James II and VII, in 1688, when he was replaced by his daughter Mary II and her husband William III.  The Stuarts went into exile in Europe, and made several bids to regain the throne, with help from France and Spain. The Jacobite movement was particularly strong in Scotland and Ireland.  The movement took its name from Jacobus, the Latin form of James.

Page 338. " and drank it off to the health of his dear Lalage "

Lalage is a woman for whom the Roman poet Horace professes his love in "Integer vitae," a famous poem in his ode, Carminum liber primus, published in 23 BC.  Integer vitae begins as a solemn praise of honest living, and ends in a mock-heroic song of love for Lalage.

Erastes (lover) and eromenos (beloved) kissing
Public DomainErastes (lover) and eromenos (beloved) kissing - Credit: Detail from the tondo of a red-figure Attic cup, ca. 480 BC

Page 340. " this light was a Jack with a lanthorn "

A primitive form of candle lantern, made from white horn and wood and called a lanthorn, was first made in the time of King Alfred of England. 

Jack o' Lantern made for the Holywell Manor Halloween celebrations in 2003
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJack o' Lantern made for the Holywell Manor Halloween celebrations in 2003 - Credit: Toby Ord
The tale of jack o’ lantern, or will o’ the wisp, is told in different forms across Great Britain.  In its various forms, Jack, or Will, is a sly man, who has crossed the devil while living.  In death, he is refused entry into heaven, and is punished by the devil by not being allowed into hell either.  The Devil tosses him an ember from the flames of hell, which will burn forever, to help him on his way as he ceaselessly wanders the Earth looking for a resting place.  Jack carves out a turnip, and puts the ember inside.  According to the legend, he can often be seen by travellers at night as a ghostly light, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. His image appears as a flickering lamp and is said to recede if approached, drawing travellers from the safe paths.

The earliest known use of the term jack-o'-lantern dates to the 1660s.

The use of the term jack-o'-lantern to describe a carved vegetable lantern is first recorded in 1837.

Page 341. " whether Beelzebub or Satan was about actually to appear in person "

Beelzebub originated as a Philistine god.  In the Bible’s 2 Kings, King Ahaziah of Israel sends messengers to inquire of Ba‘al Zebûb, the god of the Philistine city of Ekron, to learn if he will recover from injuries sustained in a serious fall (and gets into a great deal of trouble from the prophet Elijah for his idolatrous ways).

The Ba'al religion worshipped multiple deities, which were prefixed by the word Ba'al, which means "Lord" in Ugaritic.  Baalzebub translates as "Baal (or Lord) of flies." It is possible that this was a derogatory name used by the Hebrews to deride the Ba’al religion.   

The gospel of Mark refers to Beelzeboul, prince of demons, who is interchangeable with Satan. The 17th century exorcist Sebastien Michaelis, in his Admirable History (1612), placed Beelzebub among the three most prominent fallen angels, beside Lucifer and Leviathan.  Other texts identify Astaroth as the third angel, rather than Leviathan.  In Paradise Lost, 1667, John Milton wrote of Beelzebub, "than whom, Satan except, none higher sat."

Page 341. " a company of Egyptians, or as they were more vulgarly called gypsies "

The term gypsy originates from the Greek word gifti. It derives from an erroneous belief that the Romanies originated in India, and were exiled as punishment for allegedly harboring the infant Jesus.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines a 'gipsy' as a member of a wandering race, of Indian origin, which first appeared in England about the beginning of the 16th century.  According to the OED the word was first used in English in 1514.  During the 16th and 17th centuries the name was written in various ways, including Egipcian, Egypcian, and 'gypcian.

Page 342. " Aeneas is not described under more consternation in the Temple of Juno "

Aeneas and his Father Fleeing Troy
Public DomainAeneas and his Father Fleeing Troy - Credit: Simon Vouet
In Greek mythology, Aeneas is a Trojan hero, son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite.  Virgil’s Aeneid tells how Aeneas, after surviving the sacking of Troy, is commanded by the gods to flee.  He gathers a group, collectively known as the Aeneads, who travel to Italy, and became progenitors of the Romans. 

Ruins of the Temple of Juno at Girgenti Lancinia
Public DomainRuins of the Temple of Juno at Girgenti Lancinia - Credit: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
Juno (Rome) or Hera (Greece) is Aeneas’ chief antagonist. She opposes Aeneas because she sided with the Greeks in the Trojan war, and because he is fated to found an empire that will destroy her favorite city, Carthage. She uses her supernatural powers to try to thwart Aeneas, bringing storms, love and war to bear against him, and raging against her inability to alter fate.

Page 344. " Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, and the two Antonini "
Hadrian
Public DomainHadrian - Credit: Capitoline Museum

The Nerva–Antonine dynasty comprised seven Roman Emperors, who ruled over the Roman Empire from 96 to 192. The Emperors were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus. The first five of the six successions saw the reigning Emperor adopt the candidate of his choice to be his successor. They are thus referred to as Adoptive Emperors. 

Antoninus Pius (86–161 AD)
Public DomainAntoninus Pius (86–161 AD) - Credit: Spanish Royal Collection, Prado Museum

The rulers commonly known as the Five Good Emperors were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. The term Five Good Emperors was coined by Machiavelli in 1503, who argued that most of the Roman emperors who inherited the throne by birth were bad, whereas those who came to it through adoption were good. 

The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon described the period of the Five Good Emperors rule as one “during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous.”

Page 350. " first on the banks of Hebrus didst produce "
Origin of the Maritsa river, Bulgaria
Public DomainOrigin of the Maritsa river, Bulgaria - Credit: Preslav

The Maritsa or Evros river was known in ancient times as the Hebrus.  It runs for 480km, across the Balkan interior.  It originates in the Rila Mountains in Western Bulgaria, and flows southeast between the Balkan and Rhodope Mountains, to Turkey.  It forms a border between Bulgaria and Greece, and between Turkey and Greece.