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?
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.
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.’
If a hen and a half lays an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many eggs will five hens lay in 6 days?
5 hens would lay 5 eggs in a day and a half.
In 6 days, there are 4 day-and-a-half
5 x 4 = 20
(each hen lays 2/3 egg per day)
I saw the other day an experiment which pleased me much, as I thought it would serve our purpose here. (I ought to have held my tongue for four or five minutes before beginning this experiment, because it depends upon my lungs for success.) By the proper application of air, I expect to be able to drive this egg out of one cup into the other by the force of my breath; but if I fail it is in a good cause, and I do not promise success, because I have been talking more than I ought to do to make the experiment succeed.
— Michael Faraday