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Sign of the Cross December 20, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Twelfth Night , add a comment

Question: Did people in 1602 make the sign of the cross?

Answer: Yes.

There are examples of early Christians making the sign of the cross since 200-300 A.D. Early indication of the sign would have been made with two fingers marking the forehead. It was used as a greeting to other Christians and as a liturgical rite. Making the sign of the cross to include the shoulders would have been practiced at this time as well. The According to OrthodoxWiki, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) made an important change to the direction of the sign of the cross to distinguish the (papal) Roman Catholic Church from Orthodox Christianity. The distinction was reversed after the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated each other during the Great Schism.

The cross should therefore be made with the right hand. One should cross the body from forehead to heart, from left shoulder to right shoulder (up, down, left, right). The cross should be indicated by bringing together the thumb, forefinger and middle finger to symbolize the Holy Trinity.

Stewards December 4, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Twelfth Night , add a comment

I was very pleased with the description of the role of the steward at the “Life in Elizabethan England” site that I’ve included in the list of resources. I doubt I could describe the role more precisely as these articles:

The Steward and His Office

The Steward in Matters Domestical

Staffing a Great Household

A print copy of the three links will be available in my Dramaturg’s Black Book.

The role of the steward was honorable; in higher courts it would have been held by a gentleman. I wasn’t able to ascertain how one trains to become a steward. I believe one would work through the ranks as an understeward. I will keep my eye out for more information.

As a Beard of Avon note, The Earl of Derby was Queen Elizabeth’s steward for many years.