The tears of St. Lorenzo

San Lorenzo Tintoretto
(c) Christ Church, University of Oxford; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Each year in August there is a meteor shower which can be seen from all over the world, but best in the Northern hemisphere. Known as the Persied Meteor Shower the meteors are part of the comet Swift-Tuttle. They have been mentioned for two thousand years. In Italy, they often coincide with the festival of San Lorenzo on the 10th of August (in Florence, at least).

If the night is clear and the moon is near new, up to fifty “falling stars” per hour can be seen. Thats a lot of wishes!

The catholics assert that the meteors are the “tears of San Lorenzo”, shed as he was martyred. However he can’t have cried much if, as is stated in Wikipedia, ‘After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, “I’m well done. Turn me over!” From this derives his patronage of cooks and chefs, and also of comedians.’

I like the assertion, also from Wikipedia, that “In Roman times it was believed that the meteor shower were nothing more than an ejaculation of god Inuo-Priapus that fertilized the fields.” “Nothing more”! Thats quite a feat I reckon.

See wikipedia Perseids.

perseid-meteor

 

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