3. COMPUTUS TABLES AND TEXTS I: 22. COMPUTUS GRAECORUM OVERVIEWLocation:
fol. 13vReproduced in:
Blackburn and Holford-Strevens 1999, pl. 12.Edition:
Baker and Lapidge, 380-384.Related Manuscripts:
- Post-Conquest English Computus Manuscripts: Cambridge, St John's College I.15; Cambridge, Trinity College O.2.45; Cambridge, University Library Kk.5.32; Durham, Dean and Chapter Library 100; Glasgow, University Library, Hunter 85; Winchcombe Computus ; Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 614
- Computus Manuscripts in the Abbo of Fleury Tradition: Cambridge, Trinity College R.15.32
- Carolingian Computus Manuscripts: Bern, Burgerbibliothek 441; Paris Bibliothèque nationale lat. 5543
- Anglo-Saxon Computus Manuscripts: Cambridge, University Library Kk.5.32; London, British Library, Cotton Tiberius B.V.
Fol. 13v of MS 17, whose incipit identifies it as Computus tam grecorum quam latinorum et egyptiorum ceterorumque, is an assembly in the form of short notes or lists of all the fundamental data required for computing in relation to the two core documents of computus, the solar calendar and the Paschal table. These components of this ensemble as it appears in MS 17 are:
- 1. The rubric
- 2a-c. Divisions of the Roman months; arrangement of Roman months in relation to weekdays.
- Lists for calendrical calculations, namely:
- 3a-b. Ferial regulars: two versions.
- 3c. Concurrents
- 3d.-e. Lunar regulars: two versions.
- 3f. Epacts
- 3g. Litterae punctatae of full and hollow months.
- Lists for Paschal calculation, namely:
- 4a-b. Claves terminorum with lunar cycle.
- 4c. How to find the termini of moveable feasts
- 4d. Termini of moveable feasts
- And finally, two marginal notes:
- 5a-b. Marginal note: Days in the 19 year Paschal cycle
- 5c. Marginal note: Months and seasons
On its own admission, Byrhtferth's Proemium (fol. 12v-13r) was intended to introduce a suite of texts. The Computus graecorum is an introduction as well, though it is not a text. It is, in fact, one of the oldest and most common items in the catalogue of manuscript computistica: a tabular summary of basic data for ready reference. 1 The most common location for the Computus graecorum was directly preceding (or occasionally, following) the calendar, as in MS 17. This is the case with most English computus manuscripts contemporary with or earlier than MS 17, e.g. the Winchcombe computus fol. 34v, Cambridge St John's College I.15 pp. 4-5, Cambridge Trinity College O.2.45 p. 80, Cambridge University Library Kk.5.32 fol. 49v, Durham 100 fol. 1v, Glasgow Hunter 85 fol. 2v, Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 614 fol. 1v, and British Library Cotton Tiberius B.V fol. 2v, Leofric Missal p. 22, as well as in the 10th century manuscript Cambridge, Trinity College R.15.32 p. 14 and the Carolingian manuscripts Paris BNF lat. 5543 fol. 103r and Bern 441 fols. 1v-2r. Most manuscripts of the Tiberius-Leofric type of computus ensemble contain a Computus graecorum type page like MS 17, notably with paired Dionysian and Bedan lists of regulars. 2 In MS 17, a group of computistical poems and texts lies between the Computus graecorum and the calendar, but these are also part of the customary package preceding the calendar. Another place where the Computus graecorum is found -- and a logical one, considering its function -- is in association with collections of argumenta or computus formulae, or with tables. It accompanies argumenta in Paris, BNF lat. 14088, Munich CLM 14725 fol. 1v and Bern 417 fol. 1r; in British Library Harley 3017 fols. 2v-3r it precedes the Paschal tables.
A loose paraphrase of the rubric of the Computus graecorum in MS 17 serves as the opening words of Byrthferth's Enchridion (i.1.3-5), and the first two sections of Byrhtferth's treatise expound the contents of a Computus graecorum very like this one. Baker and Lapidge regard the Computus graecorum rubric as the incipit of Byrhtferth's computus in the widest sense, i.e. this page, plus the poetry, calendar, computus tables, cosmographical and prognostic materials which follow to fol. 41 of MS 17. It is certainly true that in MS 17, the Computus graecorum inaugurates a block of material, much of which is Abbonian, and much of which served as the textual backdrop of Byrhtferth's Enchiridion. It is very likely that fols. 13v-41r represent a copy of the computus collection assembled by Byrhtferth himself: for further discussion, see Background Essay "MS 17 as a computus manuscript." However, the title Computus graecorum (or the variants discussed in the commentary on the rubric) is normally applied exclusively to the material on this page.
2 Baker and Lapidge 1995, xlvii.