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231.—Boar-Hunting.—(From Cotton MS.), in England more
The woodcut here is a drawing showing two men, each holding a spear, and in Anglo-Saxon dress with short tunics ending above theknee, and a dog;they are in a forest and in front of them are tw boars, running away, In front of those are two more boars, eating beach-nuts (called beech masts in the book).
The illumination of the Saxon Calendar for this month [September] exhibits the chace of the wild boar in the woods, where he fattened on acorns and beech-masts. The Saxon name of the month was Gerst-monat, or Barley-month; the month either of the barley harvest or the barley beer making. But the pictorial representation of September shows us the bold hunting with dog and and boar-spear.
The young nobles were trained to hunting after their school-days of Latin, as we are told in Asser’s ‘Life of Alfred.’ Harold Harefoot, tbe king, was so called from his swiftness in the foot-chace. The beating of the woods for the boar, as represented in Fig. 231, was a service of danger, and therefore fitted for the training of a warlike people. (p. 71)
The original illustration is from Cotton Tiberius B. V, Part 1, f.7. and headed a calendar, where it was coloured green.