The earliest known device of fish, the zodiacal sign, is emblematical of the fishery of the Nile, commencing in the month of February, about the time when the sun enters Pisces, which is the best season for fishing, accord- ing to Pliny. Modern travellers relate that the walls of the temple of Denderah are literally covered with magnificent sculpture and painting. The figures representing the Zodiac are on the ceiling of the portico, and are engraved in the great work on Egypt published by order of the French Government. The signs of the Zodiac were frequently sculptured on the exterior of ancient churches, presenting a sort of rural calendar for the labors of the field in each month of the year, which was of practical use. On many churches and other buildings both in England and on the continent the same device is found. The porch of the Virgin at Notre Dame at Paris has a number of compartments representing the zodiacal signs and the labours of the different months. The doorway of the church of St. Margaret, York, is similarly adorned, as is one of the porches of Merton College, Oxford. The western doorway of Iffley Church, said to be one of the most beautiful specimens of Anglo-Norman architecture in England, bears the sign of the fishes.
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