Calendar and chronology : almanac timetables

In addition to providing agricultural and astrological advice, almanacs worked in tandem with liturgical calendars to organise the time of daily life. As one of the most abundant genres of printed material circulating in early modernity, almanacs’ temporal structures saturated sixteenth- and seventeenth-century culture. An inexhaustive list of such models offered by almanacs includes the liturgical calendar, law terms, astrological and astronomical phenomena, the phases of the moon, agricultural seasons, the diurnal time of the duration of day and night, the schedule of fairs, bodily time (when it is auspicious to let blood, for example), regnal dates, and historical chronology, usually reckoned from the standpoint of the present in years since a given event. Almanacs routinely begin by providing their own date in both years since the creation and years since Christ, alongside a simple outline of the liturgical year. In the late sixteenth century, these concise chronological gestures become much more elaborate, with a page or more often being dedicated to a round-up of ‘years since’ a wide range of events in both sacred and secular history. Here, in Edward Pond’s 1604 almanac, we find ‘Iulius caesar slaine with Bodkins’ right alongside ‘the Birth of our Saviour Christ’ so that the distinction between sacred and secular is difficult to determine—if it is present at all. BW

Enchiridion: or, Pond his Eutheca: 1604. A new almanacke, for this present yeare of our Lord (London: E. Allde, 1604).

LPL: YY751.Z7 [**]

Further Reading

Max Engammare, L’Ordre du Temps: L’Invention de la Ponctualité au XVIe Siècle (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 2004). Translated as On Time, Punctuality, and Discipline in Early Modern Calvinism by Karin Maag (Cambridge, 2009).

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