just had another history lesson ó this time in Medieval monastic history.
seem that in the monasteries and nunneries the monks and
nuns, being human, sometimes found it hard going saying
difficult to see why.
to seven offices a day, the night one being required at 2 am, sleepiness
and carelessness could easily take over. The result was a tendency to
gabble the plainsong or mumble the reading. In this the monks were
worse than the nuns.
desperation, the Church ended up defining a special little demon named
Tittivillus, whose sole mission was to go round collecting in a ďpokeĒ (a
sack) every such dropped or slurred syllable. When Judgment Day came
around, his evidence would be tendered to help weigh the individual
destiny of those in holy orders.
duties didnít stop there. According to social historian Eileen Power, in
her 1924 Medieval People,
. . when he was not engaged in picking up those unconsidered trifles which
the monks let fall from their psalms, Tittivillus used to fill up odd
corners of his sack with idle talk of people who gossiped in church; and
he also sat up aloft and collected all the high notes of vain tenors, who
sang to their own glory, instead of to the glory of God, and pitched the
chants three notes higher than the cracked voices of their elders could