The two "red letter days" for the PoS seem to have been fairly close to each other - December 23rd and January 17th. Lots of people have written about the latter date, what about the significance of the former?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_23
1888 - absinthe drinker Vincent Van Gogh offers a prostitute his ear
1913 – The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve
245 – Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra (*)
1805 – Joseph Smith, Jr., American religious leader (d. 1844) - founder of Mormonism
679 – Dagobert II, King of Austrasia (b. c. 650)
1588 – Henry I, Duke of Guise, French Catholic leader (b. 1550)
1789 – Charles-Michel de l'Épée, French philanthropist (***)
The Hinge Day of the Celtic Calendar (**)
(*) Seem to remember de Cherisey making a big deal about Queen Zenobia in one of his writings, forget where.
(**) Robert Graves says it's the new year ...http://everything2.com/title/Celtic+Tree+Calendar
December 23 is not ruled by any tree for it is the traditional day of the proverbial "Year and a Day" in the earliest courts of law.
... but, looks like his Celtic Tree Calendar is only 500 years old, not 3000.
(***) I'm wondering if anybody's noticed this before.
"MORT EPEE" is the decryption keyword used to solve the so-called "tombstone/parchment cipher". But does it mean "sword of death" or ... "the death of Epee"? The Abbe de'l'Epee died on December 23rd. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles-Michel_de_l%27
Charles-Michel de l'Épée was born to a wealthy family in Versailles, the seat of political power in what was then the most powerful kingdom of Europe. He trained as a Catholic priest but was denied ordination as a result of his refusal to denounce Jansenism, a popular French heresy of the time. He then studied law but, soon after joining the Bar, was finally ordained as an Abbé—only to be denied a license to officiate.
Épée turned his attention toward charitable services for the poor, and, on one foray into the slums of Paris, he had a chance encounter with two young deaf sisters who communicated using a sign language. Épée decided to dedicate himself to the education and salvation of the deaf, and, in 1760, he founded a school. In line with emerging philosophical thought of the time, Épée came to believe that deaf people were capable of language and concluded that they should be able to receive the sacraments and thus avoid going to hell. He began to develop a system of instruction of the French language and religion. In the early 1760s, his shelter became the world's first free school for the deaf, open to the public.
Though Épée's original interest was in religious education, his public advocacy and development of a kind of "Signed French" enabled deaf people to legally defend themselves in court for the first time.
Abbé de l'Épée died at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, and his tomb is in the Saint Roch church in Paris. Two years after his death, the National Assembly recognised him as a "Benefactor of Humanity" and declared that deaf people had rights according to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In 1791, the Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets à Paris, which Épée had founded, began to receive government funding. It was later renamed the Institut St. Jacques and then renamed again to its present name: Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris. His methods of education have spread around the world, and the Abbé de l'Épée is seen today as one of the founding fathers of deaf education.
The Instructional Method of Signs is a real educational method emphasised using gestures or hand signs, based on the principle that "the education of deaf mutes must teach them through the eye what other people acquire through the ear." He recognised that there was already a signing deaf community in Paris but saw their language (now known as Old French Sign Language) as primitive. Although he advised his (hearing) teachers to learn the signs (lexicon) for use in instructing their deaf students, he did not use their language in the classroom. Instead, he developed an idiosyncratic gestural system using some of this lexicon, combined with other invented signs to represent all the verb endings, articles, prepositions, and auxiliary verbs of the French language.
In English, Épée's system has been known as "Methodical Signs" and "Old Signed French" but is perhaps better translated by the phrase systematised signs. While Épée's system laid the philosophical groundwork for the later developments of Manually Coded Languages such as Signed English, it differed somewhat in execution. For example, the word croire ("believe") was signed using five separate signs—four with the meanings "know", "feel", "say", and "not see" and one that marked the word as a verb (Lane, 1980:122). The word indéchiffrable ("unintelligible") was also produced with a chain of five signs: interior-understand-possible-adjective-not