Tradescant Collection

 

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  The Catalogue: Runic Almanac  
Introduction
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The John Tradescants
The Tradescant
Collection
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About this Resource
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DIMENSIONS:
(each leaf) Length 105 mm; Width 40 mm; Thickness 5 mm
DESCRIPTION:
This perpetual almanac consists of ten (originally eleven) leaves of boxwood, fastened through paired perforations along one edge by a cord, so as to form a "book". The leaves are carved on both sides with runic and other symbols. When complete, twenty of the sides (or "pages") comprise the calendar itself with the other two forming the covers. The front cover, with the first page of the calendar on the back of it, is missing. Each of the calendar pages bears a central line of runic characters which, reading from left to right, consists of a continuous repetition of the first seven letters of the runic alphabet. These runes represent the days of the year, the seven individual letters serving to differentiate the days of the week.
COMMENTARY:
The use of runes, and the particular saints' days marked on this almanac, support the 1685 catalogue in indicating a Scandinavian origin; the inclusion of St. Hallvard (May 15), a specifically Norwegian saint who is not generally recognized in either Sweden or Denmark, strongly suggests that it was made in Norway sometime in the early sixteenth century. In all probability this is one of the almanacs recorded in the Ashmolean's Book of Benefactors as the gift of John Heysig in 1683.
Museum Id. No:
1685 A no. 452: Calendarium Suecicum ex asseribus oblongis fabricatum literis Runicis inscriptum, suecis a Rimstock
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