The Bard’s birthday

>Today is Shakespeare’s birthday. Well, we really don’t know that, actually. He was baptized on April 26, 1564 (almost exactly 444 years ago), but when he actually was born is debatable. We do know that he died fifty-two years later, on this day in 1616, which is why we celebrate this date.

There are some interesting books related to Shakespeare in the collections, but I will pass them by and focus on another, for a couple of reasons. First, this book was printed that same year (1616), across the channel in France. Second, it is unlikely that I would blog about this book for any other reason, so in the interests of kicking things into the light, here it is:

Johannes Cassianus (ca. 360–445 AD) was educated in a monastery at Bethlehem, made a pilgrimage to Egypt, where he remained for seven years, and then traveled to Constantinople, where he was consecrated a deacon; in 404 he went to Rome. The sack of Rome by Alaric convinced him that peace and safety could not be attained except by settling down in solitude. he went to Massilia, founded two monasteries (one for men and one for women), and wrote, for the instruction of his pupils, the external rules after which a hermit’s life is led, and the internal labor by which the final goal is reached. By his books, and by his two foundations, he introduced monasticism in the Western Church. Shown here is the standard edition of his complete works, printed in Douay (a small town in France), prepared by a Benedictine monk of the Abbey of St. Vaast at Arras, Allart Gazet (1566-1626).


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