The information that you just happen to stumble upon when looking for other things is really quite remarkable. Or, could that be coincidental? Whatever it is, and why it happens I don’t know, I am just pleased that it does!
This morning for instance, I found myself looking for the history of Britannia, the icon of Britain, or as stated in Wikipedia, “the female personification of the island”. I was actually looking to find out if any other countries have icons similar to this (which they must have, I’m pretty sure of that), also similar to Uncle Sam of the USA. I must have worded my search terms incorrectly, as I didn’t find anything. Well, I didn’t find anything that I was actually looking for, but I found further information which (kind of) pads out my dossier on 1642 (and the surrounding years!) Unless the search engines know that I want information relating to this year, so they bring to me anything they can find regarding that first. Not that I’m complaining, of course! Anything that I can find that may give me a clue as to why I’m fascinated by this time period is a bonus – or baffle me further, which is probably more true to the case.
So, Britannia, first of all, was the name of a ship built by Phineas Pett and launched in 1682. Phineas himself died in 1647 apparently. I have found a painting of this first HMS Britannia, from 1683, and the ship itself is similar to one of those that I can see in my mind’s eye from time to time. I still see it as a galleon though, but it is very similar. (Phineas, incidentally, is a nickname that one of my friends calls me occasionally, well, Phineas Bump, to be exact due to the fact that I used to be quite accident prone! I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t know that I have this irrational obsession with 1642, nor do I think he would have heard of Phineas Pett – although I could be wrong…) I have also found an on-line autobiography of Phineas’, which may give me some more information regarding this time period, and I will have to make some time in the present for me to read it.
The image of Britannia first appeared on a British coin in 1672, on a copper farthing. Farthing comes from an Old English word, Feorthing, which means fourth thing. A farthing is a quarter of a penny. Charles II was the monarch who introduced these coins. The Latin name for Charles is Carolus. The Caroline Era is a period of British or English history that ran from 1625 to 1642, around the same time that Charles I was on the throne. And 1642 was the year that came to me in a dream about one of those ships I mentioned earlier.
It isn’t a far cry to think that Britannia would eventually ‘crop up’, especially where ships are concerned, but as she has been around since Roman times, I didn’t expect to find out that her image has only appeared on coins since the latter part of the Seventeenth Century.
So, things have brought me back to ships – and money this time. They still don’t tell me anything that I really want to know, that is, how I am connected to this period, but I find them interesting all the same. One day, everything will connect together in one great ‘Aha!’ moment. Until then, I’ll have to keep on looking for snippets of information.
I like learning about new things – old things for that matter as well! – they help me to continue to feel good, and I love doing that! This post, incidentally, or co-incidentally is made up of 642 words. Honest! Count them and see! Told you!