Speaking of the Second Spring - Joseph Pearce highlighted Blessed John Henry Newman's 1852 sermon "The Second Spring" in his first lecture at the the Fall Forum last weekend. He cited t...
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|The immeasurable depths of God|
"He was heavily built, sturdy, and of considerable stature, although not exceptionally so, since his height was seven times the length of his own foot. He had a round head, large and lively eyes, a slightly larger nose than usual, white but still attractive hair, a bright and cheerful expression, a short and fat neck, and he enjoyed good health, except for the fevers that affected him in the last few years of his life. Toward the end, he dragged one leg. Even then, he stubbornly did what he wanted and refused to listen to doctors, indeed he detested them, because they wanted to persuade him to stop eating roast meat, as was his wont, and to be content with boiled meat."The physical portrait provided by Einhard is confirmed by contemporary depictions of the emperor, such as coins and his 8-inch (20 cm) bronze statue kept in the Louvre . In 1861, Charlemagne's tomb was opened by scientists who reconstructed his skeleton and estimated it to be measured 1.90 m (75 in). An estimate of his height from a X-ray and CT scan of his tibia performed in 2010 is 1.84 m (72 in). This puts him in the 99th percentile of tall people of his period, given that average male height of his time was 1.69 m (67 in). The width of the bone suggested he was gracile but not robust in body build. He has been described as a result as "very tall but not robust" by the modern researchers on his skeleton cited below.
"He used to wear the national, that is to say, the Frank, dress - next his skin a linen shirt and linen breeches, and above these a tunic fringed with silk; while hose fastened by bands covered his lower limbs, and shoes his feet, and he protected his shoulders and chest in winter by a close-fitting coat of otter or marten skins."He wore a blue cloak and always carried a sword with him. The typical sword was of a golden or silver hilt. He wore fancy jewelled swords to banquets or ambassadorial receptions. Nevertheless:
"He despised foreign costumes, however handsome, and never allowed himself to be robed in them, except twice in Rome, when he donned the Roman tunic, chlamys, and shoes; the first time at the request of Pope Hadrian, the second to gratify Leo, Hadrian's successor."He could rise to the occasion when necessary. On great feast days, he wore embroidery and jewels on his clothing and shoes. He had a golden buckle for his cloak on such occasions and would appear with his great diadem, but he despised such apparel, according to Einhard, and usually dressed like the common people.