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SAINT CECILIA

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 594 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SAINT CECILIA, in the Catholic Church the patron saint of music and of the blind. Her festival falls on the 22nd of November. It was long supposed that she was a noble lady of Rome horizontal direction, tier upon tier, coveringa compass of ground the diameter of which is often greater than the height of the tree. William Gilpin, in his Forest Scenery, describes a cedar which, at an age of about 118 years, had attained to a height of 53 ft. and had a horizontal expanse of 96 ft. The branchlets of the cedar take the same direction as the branches, and the foliage is very dense. The tree, as with the rest of the fir-tribe, except the larch, is evergreen; new leaves are developed every spring, but their fall is gradual. In shape the leaves are straight, tapering, cylindrical and pointed; they are about r in. long and of a.dark green colour, and grow in alternate tufts of about thirty in number. The male and female flowers grow on the same tree, but are separate. The cones, which are on the upper side of the branches, are flattened at the ends and are 4 to 5 in. in length and 2 in. wide; they take two years to come to perfection and while growing exude much resin. The scales are close pressed to one another and are reddish in colour. The seeds are provided with a long membranous wing. The root of the tree is very strong and ramifying. The cedar flourishes best on sandy, loamy soils. It still grows on Lebanon, though for several centuries it was believed to be restricted to a small grove in. the Kadisha valley at 6000 ft. elevation, about 15 M. from ?3eyrout. The number of trees in this grove has been gradually diminishing, and as no young trees or seedlings occur, the grove will probably become extinct in course of time. Cedars are now known to occur in great numbers on Mt. Lebanon, chiefly on the western slopes, not forming a continuous forest, but in groves, some of which contain several thousands of trees. There are also large forests on the higher slopes of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus mountains. Lamartine tells us that the Arabs regard the trees as endowed with the principles of continual existence, and with reasoning and prescient powers, which enable them to prepare for the changes of the seasons. The wood of the cedar of Lebanon is fragrant, though not so strongly scented as that of the juniper or red-cedar of America. The wood is generally reddish-brown, light and of a coarse grain and spongy texture, easy to work, but liable to shrink and warp. Mountain-grown wood is harder, stronger, less liable to warp and more durable. The cedar of Lebanon is. cultivated in Europe for ornament only. It can be grown in parks and gardens, and thrives well; but the young plants are unable to bear great variations of temperature. The cedar is not mentioned in Evelyn's Silva (1664), but it must have been introduced shortly afterwards. The famous Enfield cedar was planted by Dr Robert Uvedale, (1642–1722)., a noted schoolmaster and horticulturist, between 1662-1670, and an old cedar at Bretby Park in Derbyshire is known to have been planted in 1676. Some very old cedars exist also at Syon House, Woburn Abbey, Warwick Castle and elsewhere, which presumably date from the 17th century. The first cedars in Scotland were planted at Hopetoun House in 1740; and the first one said to have been introduced into France was brought from England by Bernard de Jussieu in 1734, and placed in the Jardin des Mantes. Cedar-wood is earliest noticed in Leviticus xiv. 4, 6, where it is prescribed among the materials to be used for the cleansing of leprosy ; but the wood there spoken of was probably that of the juniper. The term Eres (cedar) of Scripture does not apply strictly to one kind of plant, but was used indefinitely in ancient times, as is the word cedar at present. The term arz is applied by the Arabs to the cedar of Lebanon, to the common pine-tree, and to the juniper; and certainly the " cedars " for masts, mentioned in Ezek. xxvii. 5, must have been pine-trees. It seems very probable that the fourscore thousand hewers employed by Solomon for cutting timber did not confine their-operations simply to what would now be termed cedars and fir-trees. Dr John Lindley considered that some of the cedar-trees sent by Hiram, king of Tyre, to Jerusalem might have been procured from Mount Atlas, and have been identical with Callitris.quadrivalvis, or arar-tree, the wood of which is hard and durable, and was much in request in former times for the building of temples. The timber-work of the roof of Cordova cathedral, built eleven centuries ago, is composed of it. In the time of 594 who, with her husband and other friends whom she had converted, suffered martydom, c. 230, under the emperor Alexander Severus. The researches of de Rossi, however (Rom. sott. ii. 147), go to confirm the statement of Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers (d. 600), that she perished in Sicily under Marcus Aurelius between 176 and 180. A church in her honour existed in Rome from about the 4th century, and was rebuilt with much splendour by Pope Paschal I. about the year 820, and again by Cardinal Sfondrati in 1599. It is situated in the Trastevere near the Ripa Grande quay, where in earlier days the Ghetto was located, and gives a " title " to a cardinal priest. Cecilia, whose musical fame rests on a passing notice in her legend that she praised God by instrumental as well as vocal music, has inspired many a masterpiece in art, including the Raphael at Bologna, the Rubens in Berlin, the Domenichino in Paris, and in literature, where she is commemorated especially by Chaucer's " Seconde Nonnes Tale," and by Dryden's famous ode, set to music by Handel in 1736, and later by Sir Hubert Parry (1889). Another St Cecilia, who suffered in Africa in the persecution of Diocletian (303-304), is commemorated on the Ilth of February. See U. Chevalier, Repertoire des sources historiques (1905), I. 826 f.
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