Calendologia

CALENDOLOGIA

Treatises comparable to those used in astrology and containing prognostications about future events, made either by correlating a given date of the year with a certain day of the week or by correlating certain atmospheric phenomena with a particular day of the week. Since they are well known in Greek, it is quite probable that the Copts derived them or simply translated them from Greek examples.

In Coptic we have the remnants of three (perhaps four) codices containing a calendologium: (1) Vienna, National Library, K1112 and 9885-9900 (ed. Till, 1936); (2) K5506 (ed. Till, 1936); (3) University of Michigan Library (Papyri in the University of Michigan Collection, Inv. 6590, ed. Browne, 1979); (4) (uncertain) State Museum of Berlin (see Browne, p. 56).

The calendologia in the first three texts are substantially alike, each consisting of two parts: (1) the connection between 6 Tubah and various days of the week, that is, if the sixth falls on Sunday, a certain prognostication will be made, but if it falls on Monday, another prediction is called for, etc.; (2) the connection between the week of 6 Tubah and the wind, which may blow more or less severely during one of those days. The date of 6 Tubah was chosen because it corresponds to January 1, that is, the beginning of the legal year of the Roman empire (perhaps another indication of the Greek origin of these treatises).

The prognostications refer to the increase in the Nile’s flow and to events concerning agricultural life. In such texts as these there were probably interpolations made by Egyptian

  • Browne, C. M. Michigan Coptic Texts, no. 13. Barcelona, 1979.
  • Till, W. C. “ koptische Bauernpraktik.” des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Kairo 6 (1936):108-149, 175-76.