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Tuesday, July 05, 2005
UMBRELLA -- a portable folding protector from rain (French,Parapluie) the name parasol being given to the smaller and more fanciful article carried by ladies as a sunshade, and the en-toutas being available for both purposes. Primarily the umbrella (ombrella,Italian. dim, Latin. umbra, shade) was a sunshade along -- its original home having been in hot, brilliant climates. In Eastern countries from the earliest times the Umbrella was one of the insignia of royalty and power. On the sculptured remains of ancient Nineveh and Egypt there are representations of kings and sometimes of lesser potentates going in procession with an Umbrella carried over their heads; and through Asia the umbrella had, and still has, something of the same significance. The Mahratta princes of India had among their titles "Lord of the Umbrella". In 1855 the king of Burma in addressing the government general of India termed himself "the Monarch who reigns over the great umbrella-wearing chiefs of the Eastern countries." The baldachims created over ecclesiastical chairs, altars and portals, and the copies of thrones and pulpits,are in their origin closely related to umbrellas, and have the same symbolic significance. In each of the basilican churches of Rome there still hangs a large umbrella.

Among the Greeks and Romans the umbrella (umbraculum,umbella) was used by ladies, while the carrying of it by men was regarded as a sign of effeminacy. Probably in these southern climes it never went out of use, and allusions by Montagine show that in his day its employment as a sunshade was quite common in Italy. The Umbrella, was not unknown in England in the 17th century, and was already used as a rain protector. Michael Drayton, writing about the beginning of the 17th century, says, speaking of doves --

..... And, like umbrellas, with their feathers,
..... Shield you in all sorts of weathers.

Although it was the practice to keep an umbrella in the coffee houses early in the 18th century, its use cannot have been very familiar, for in 1752 Colonel Wolfe, writing from Paris, mentions the carrying of them there as a defence against both rain and sun, and wonders that they are not introduced into England. The traveler Jonas Hanway, who died in 1786, is credited with having been the first Englishman who habitually carried an umbrella.

(abstracted from the book:ALL THERE IS TO KNOW by: Alexander Coleman and Charles Simmons)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:44 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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