An eight-century Irish computus in Lombardy

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This essay examines the Computus Amiatinus (CA), a work written in Lombardy in AD 747 and preserved only in three eleventh-century manuscripts copied at the Badia Amiatina in southern Tuscany. Although its dating clause was first published in 1872, the work as a whole has not previously received full scholarly attention, partly because it was considered to be little more than a reworking of passages from Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae. On closer inspection, CA actually incorporates a distinctive early version of the Irish De divisionibus temporum (DDT) tradition that also gave rise to the Munich Computus of AD 718/19. It also contains cosmological and computistical material consistent with what one might expect from an early-eighth-century text based on insular learning and developed in Lombardy. The essay outlines key features of CA and its possible context, and argues that the author was motivated to reflect on the order and nature of time as they engaged with the belief that the world might end after 6000 years — a date they believed would fall a little over half a century after the date of composition. An appendix includes a preliminary edition and translation of the DDT section of CA.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPre-Carolingian Latin computus and its regional contexts
Subtitle of host publicationtexts, tables and debates
EditorsImmo Warntjes, Tobit Loevenich, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín
Place of PublicationTurnhout
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9782503605579
ISBN (Print)9782503605562
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2024

Publication series

NameStudia traditionis theologiae
ISSN (Print)2294-3617
ISSN (Electronic)2566-0160


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