The egg dance was a traditional Easter game involving the laying down of eggs on the ground and dancing among them whilst trying to break as few as possible. Another variation (depicted in many of the images featured here) involved tipping an egg from a bowl, and then trying to flip the bowl over on top of it, all with only using one’s feet and staying within a chalk circle drawn on the ground.
Around the year 492, a monastery was founded in the Bay of Naples on the island of Megaride. This tiny speck of land was the site where Greek colonists from Cumae first settled. In the first century BC a magnificent Roman villa was built there by Lucius Licinius Lucullus (118-57/56 BC), a Roman consul and successful general. His name long remained attached to the complex: after it was fortified in the fifth century AD, it was known as the Castellum Lucullanum. One of its most famous residents was Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of the Western Roman empire before it collapsed. He was exiled there after his deposition in 476.
Today the fortification is called Castel dell’Ovo or “Egg Castle”. This unusual appellation refers to a legend that the Roman poet Virgil put a magical egg in the foundations of the castle. If it had broken, the structure would have collapsed, which would have spelled disaster for the city of Naples. If you are wondering why a poet would have magical eggs in his possession, that all has to do with Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue. Written around 42 BC, the poem speaks of the birth of a savior who will rule the world.
Only favour the child who’s born, pure Lucina, under whom the first race of iron shall end, and a golden race rise up throughout the world: now your Apollo reigns.
Isaiah 10:14 ESV
My hand has found like a nest the wealth of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken, so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing or opened the mouth or chirped.
Deuteronomy 22:6-7 ESV
If you come across a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. You shall let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long.
Isaiah 59:5 ESV
They hatch adders’ eggs; they weave the spider’s web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched.
Luke 11:12 ESV
Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
Job 39:14 ESV
For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground,
Job 6:6 ESV
Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt, or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?
Coprinus comatus, the shaggy ink cap, lawyer’s wig, or shaggy mane, is a common fungus often seen growing on lawns, along gravel roads and waste areas. The young fruit bodies first appear as white cylinders emerging from the ground, then the bell-shaped caps open out. The caps are white, and covered with scales—this is the origin of the common names of the fungus. The gills beneath the cap are white, then pink, then turn black and secrete a black liquid filled with spores (hence the “ink cap” name). This mushroom is unusual because it will turn black and dissolve itself in a matter of hours after being picked or depositing spores.
Such were our minor preparations for the journey, but above all we laid in an ample stock of good humor, and a genuine disposition to be pleased, determining to travel in true contrabandista style, taking things as we found them, rough or smooth, and mingling with all classes and conditions in a kind of vagabond companionship. It is the true way to travel in Spain. With such disposition and determination, what a country is it for a traveller, where the most miserable inn is as full of adventure as an enchanted castle, and every meal is in itself an achievement! Let others repine at the lack of turnpike roads and sumptuous hotels, and all the elaborate comforts of a country cultivated and civilized into tameness and commonplace; but give me the rude mountain scramble; the roving, haphazard, wayfaring; the half wild, yet frank and hospitable manners, which impart such a true game flavor to dear old romantic Spain Above the bridge a range of mountains bounds the Vega to the west: the ancient barrier between Granada and the Christian territories. Among their heights you may still discern warrior towns, their gray walls and battlements seeming of a piece with the rocks on which they are built. Here and there a solitary alalaya, or watchtower, perched on a mountain peak, looks down as it were from the sky into the valley on either side. How often have these alalayas given notice, by fire at night or smoke by day, of an approaching foe! It was down a cragged defile of these mountains, called the Pass of Lope, that the Christian armies descended into the Vega. Round the base of yon gray and naked mountain (the mountain of Elvira), stretching its bold rocky promontory into the bosom of the plain, the invading squadrons would come bursting into view, with flaunting banners and clangor of drum and trumpet. All this, say the ancient legends, will endure from age to age. The princess will remain captive to the astrologer; and the astrologer, bound up in magic slumber by the princess, until the last day, unless the mystic hand shall grasp the fated key, and dispel the whole charm of this enchanted mountain. High above the Alhambra, on the breast of the mountain, amidst embowered gardens and stately terraces, rise the lofty towers and white walls of the Generalife; a fairy palace, full of storied recollections. Here is still to be seen the famous cypresses of enormous size which flourished in the time of the Moors, and which tradition has connected with the fabulous story of Boabdil and his sultana. In fact she taught they should all retire to the country for the summer, that the children might have the benefit of the mountain air, for there was no living in the city in this sultry season. The sight of this talisman called up all the favorite superstitions about the Moors. The dance was neglected, and they sat in groups on the ground, telling old legendary tales handed down from their ancestors. Some of their stories turned upon the wonders of the very mountain upon which they were seated, which is a famous hobgoblin region. One ancient crone gave a long account of the subterranean palace in the bowels of that mountain where Boabdil and all his Moslem court are said to remain enchanted. “Among yonder ruins,” said she, pointing to some crumbling walls and mounds of earth on a distant part of the mountain, “there is a deep black pit that goes down, down into the very heart of the mountain. For all the money in Granada I would not look down into it. Once upon a time a poor man of the Alhambra, who tended goats upon this mountain, scrambled down into that pit after a kid that had fallen in. He came out again all wild and staring, and told such things of what he had seen, that every one thought his brain was turned. He raved for a day or two about the hobgoblin Moors that had pursued him in the cavern, and could hardly be persuaded to drive his goats up again to the mountain. He did so at last, but, poor man, he never came down again. The neighbors found his goats browsing about the Moorish ruins, and his hat and mantle lying near the mouth of the pit, but he was never more heard of.”
Egghead and Olga, Queen of the Cossacks, steal the golden Egg of Ogg, and the Silver Scimitar of Toras Bulbul to boot. The caper goes awry and Egghead begs for Batgirl’s mercy, only to lead her into a trap. Olga trips Batgirl up with caviar and sabers and then tosses her into a giant ice kettle just as Batman and Robin arrive.
I’ll seer yr bacon, and raise you a stink and a hay. A bona dea keeps the anchor awake. Yes we have no null modems. I’d like you to meet my niche. Suckle me choppers at Pa’s moll and pick a peck of pox malt, apocryphal of rye. Ask me no algebra and I tell you no lie. No stone’ll be unturned, nor thrown out at first. Singasing of Sack’s pence, fractal Jack in the pluton green, and yet those cratons keep rolling along.
Head cheese or brawn is a cold cut that originated in Europe and should have stayed there. A version pickled with vinegar is known as souse. Head cheese is not a cheese but a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig (sometimes a sheep or cow), and often set in aspic. The parts of the head used varies, but the brain, eyes, and ears are usually removed. The tongue, and sometimes even the feet and heart, may be included.
Accipe ovum & igneo percute gladio.
There are many & diverse kinds of Birds whose number is uncertain & their Names unknown to Us. Story tells us of a very great Bird named Ruc, that appears at certain seasons of the Year in a small Island of the Ocean, which can bear an Elephant up with it into the Air. India & America send us Crows & Parrots of diverse Colors. But it is not the Philosophical intention to enquire after the Eggs of these birds. The AEgyptians yearly persecute the Crocodiles’ Eggs with weapons of Iron & destroy them. The Philosophers do indeed smite their Eggs with fire, but it is not with an intent to mortify it, but that it may live & grow up. For, seeing that an animate & living chicken is thence produced, it cannot be said to be Corruption, but generation. It ceases to be an Egg by the privation of the Oval form, & begins to be a two-footed & volatile Animal by the introduction of a more noble Form, for in the Egg are the seeds of both male & female joined together under one Shell or Cover.
The Yolk constitutes the Chicken with its radical parts & Bowels, the seed of the male forming it & becoming the internal Efficient, whereas the White… [**”Albumen materiam seu subtegmen & incrementum dat rudimento seu stamini pulli.”] The external heat is the first mover which by a certain Circulation of the Elements & change of one into the other, introduces a new form by the instinct & guidance of Nature. For Water passes into Air, Air into Fire, Fire into Earth, which being joined together, & a specific being transmitted by the stars, an individual Bird is made of that kind whose Egg it was & whose seed was infused into it. This is said to be smitten with a fiery sword when Vulcan performing the office of a Midwife as he did to Pallas coming from the brain of Jupiter, does by his ax make a passage for the newborn Chicken. This is what Basil Valentine affirms, that Mercury was imprisoned by Vulcan at the command of Mars, & could not be released before he was wholly purified & dead. But this death is to him the beginning of a New life, as the Corruption or death of the Egg brings new generation & life to the Chicken.
So an Embryo being freed from that human vegetable life which alone it enjoyed in the Mother’s womb, obtains another, more perfect one, by his birth & coming into the light of the world. So when we shall pass from this present life, there remains for us another that is most perfect & Eternal. Lully in many places calls this fiery sword a sharp Lance, because fire as a Lance or sharp sword perforates bodies & makes them porous & pervious [?], so that they may be penetrated by waters & be dissolved & being reduced from hardness become soft & Tractable. In the Stomach of a Cormorant, which is the most voracious of all Birds, there are found long & round worms which serve it as the instruments of Heat, & as we have sometimes observed, seize upon those Eels & other fish which she has swallowed & Pierce them like sharp needles, & so consume them in a short time by a wonderful operation of Nature. As, therefore, Heat pierces, so that which pierces will sometimes supply the absence of Heat. Upon which Consideration, that wherewith the Philosophical Egg ought to be smitten may not undeservedly be called a fiery sword.
But the Philosophers had rather have it understood of Temperate Heat, whereby the Egg is cherished, as Morfoleus in Turba declares: ‘It is necessary [that a] wise man’s moisture be burned up with a slow fire, as is shown us in the Example of the generation of a Chicken, & where the fire is increased, the Vessel must be stopped on all sides, that the body of the Air (or brass)[‘aeris’ in original] & the fugitive spirit of it may not be extracted.’ But what Bird’s Egg must it be? Moscus tells us in the same place: ‘Now I say that no instruments are made except of our white starry splendid powder, & of the white Stone, of which powder are made fit instruments for the Egg. But they have not named the Egg, nor what Bird’s Egg it must be.’
Method of curing hams and Puteolan ofella [Supposed to be the same as the offulae carnis, lumps of salted pork, mentioned by Columella (XII, 55, 4)]. You should salt hams in the following manner, in a jar or large pot: When you have bought the hams cut off the hocks. Allow a half-modius of ground Roman salt to each ham. Spread salt on the bottom of the jar or pot; then lay a ham, with the skin facing downwards, and cover the whole with salt. Place another ham over it and cover in the same way, taking care that meat does not touch meat. Continue in the same way until all are covered. When you have arranged them all, spread salt above so that the meat shall not show, and level the whole. When they have remained five days in the salt remove them all with their own salt. Place at the bottom those which had been on top before, covering and arranging them as before. Twelve days later take them out finally, brush off all the salt, and hang them for two days in a draught. On the third day clean them thoroughly with a sponge and rub with oil. Hang them in smoke for two days, and the third day take them down, rub with a mixture of oil and vinegar, and hang in the meat-house. No moths or worms will touch them.
— Cato the Elder (234 BC – 149 BC), De Agri Cultura