|bonfoi (bonfoi) wrote in adventdrabbles,|
@ 2011-12-17 23:54:00
|Entry tags:||contributor: bonfoi, dec18, fandom: harry potter, prompt15, prompt16, year: 2011|
#16 ~ The Dunderhead's Miracle [G] (RL/SS; HP/DM)
The Dunderhead’s Miracle 16
Unlike the four collie birds in the previous stanza who just had their name changed to a different, and non-existent, species of bird, the five rings in this stanza have, in singers' and illustrators' minds, changed from five ring-necked pheasants to five pieces of jewelry. While gold rings for one's fingers have been around since ancient times, the word ring, even today, has different meanings.[…]
Pheasants were a prized bird as they were both tasty and, more importantly, had long been associated with the nobility. Old legends, popular in the middle ages, tell of Jason and the Argonauts bringing back golden birds. It didn't take long for people to conclude that the ring-necked pheasants were a sub-species of these golden birds and from Roman times onward the eating of pheasants was reserved for royalty.
So the five golden rings in this stanza refer to five ring-necked pheasants, a dish that was sure to be served at some of the king or queen's Twelfth Night feasts during the Twelve Days of Christmas celebrations.
Numerous sources describe two classes amongst the patrician gentes, known as the gentes maiores, or major gentes, and the gentes minors, or minor gentes. No definite information has survived concerning which families were numbered amongst the gentes maiores, or even how many there were. However, they almost certainly included the Aemilii, Claudii, Cornelii, Fabii, Manlii, and Valerii. Nor is it certain whether this distinction was of any practical importance, although it has been suggested that the princeps senatus, or speaker of the Senate, was usually chosen from their number.