Gauging historical time in multiple measures

This 1649 almanac is just one example among a great number that registers a significant fissure in English Reformation time: the disjuncture between the Julian calendar, retained in Great Britain until 1752 and the Gregorian calendar, introduced in Rome in 1582 and rejected by Protestants on ideological grounds. International commerce and communication required coordinating the two systems, often referred to as the ‘Old’ and ‘New Style’, or more pointedly ‘English’ and ‘Beyond Sea’, respectively, which are here laid out in two columns, registering a tension between division and simultaneity. On the right hand side begins a chronology that, like the one in Pond’s 1604 almanac, seamlessly integrates sacred and secular history in a list of famous men that accommodates the likes of Julius Caesar and Ovid on a scale that begins with Moses. This in turn is followed by a regnal table ‘shewing the Beginning, Continuance, and Ending of the reigns of any King or Queen of this Land since the Conquest, with how long it is since the same’. History, like the calendar, is measured according to several different scales. BW

Joseph Chamberlain, A new almanacke and prognostication for the yeare of our Lord, 1649 (London: T. W. for the Company of Stationers, 1649).

CUL: Syn.8.64.124

Further reading:

Robert Poole, Time’s Alteration: Calendar Reform in Early Modern England (London, 1998).

Anne Lake Prescott, ‘Refusing Translation: The Gregorian Calendar and Early Modern English Writers’, Yearbook of English Studies, 36 (2006), pp. 1-11.

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