Chaucer’s Pilgrims and calculating Easter Sunday 1394….

We all know that pinpointing Easter in the medieval period is awkward – well, it’s awkward in any period, come to that. I want to know exactly when Easter Day fell in 1394. But do all the clever-clogs sites agree? Nope. They say they give you the correct date, but one of them had moved it to a Monday, 30th March, which was indeed marked as a Monday on their own calendar! Easter Sunday on a MONDAY?

To be difficult, two other sites swear blind that 30th March was indeed a Sunday, Easter Sunday, to be precise. So it all depends which calendar you read.

Then another site declared that Easter Day in 1394 fell on 19th April.

So I kept looking, and a further site proved the final straw for me. I couldn’t make head nor tail of it!

“….If Harry’s eighteenth day of April precedes Easter, only 1394 works out as a possible “Chaucerian” year to associate with the pilgrimage. The Moon reaches full on Thursday, April 16 at 4.44 p.m., and Easter follows on Sunday, April 19. Sigmund Eisner argues, quite separately from considerations like these of celestial locations, for the pilgrimage date of Saturday, April 18, 1394, on the basis of “an amalgam of historical, allegorical and astrological information, all of which was certainly known to Chaucer” (“Fresh Aspect” 37). His paper buttresses the present paper.

“….There remains the problem with this 1394 date that the Moon is not physically  in Libra or even, as yet, in the sky (this is where Brea was wrong; he was not wrong about the non-astrological “real” Moon). On April 18 the Moon rose well after dark, by 4 p.m. being already in Sagittarius 6oaccording to Eisner’s calculations….”

And so on and so on. Um, sorry, it’s all Martian to me. But do all the knowledgeable words about the doings of the heavens actually mean what they say is 100% trustworthy? Dare I proceed on the assumption that 19th April is definitely the date of Easter Day in 1394?

Well, I think so. Wouldn’t swear on it though.

Medieval Astrologer is a photograph by Science Source which was uploaded on March 13th, 2013. from

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