Runic Almanac, 1560


The Runic almanac at the National Library of Sweden belongs to an exclusive group of illustrated almanacs on parchment dating from the late Middle Ages to the 16th century. It has the character of a perpetual calendar, and its content is similar to that of medieval calendars. However, some astronomical data and calculations are written in runes, linking the almanac to the tradition of Nordic runic calendars, or rune-staffs. The form of the almanac is similar to that of an accordion book; it is folded both lengthwise and crosswise and has opening flaps for each month. The months are illustrated by pictures showing the different kinds of agricultural work typical for each month. In addition to each picture, there is a wheel with spokes that indicate the hours of the day. Red spokes indicate the daylight hours, black spokes the night time. At the end is a picture of the Crucifixion. This almanac is closely related to another almanac, from 1513, which is held at the Royal Library in Copenhagen (shelfmark NKS 901 8:o). Both almanacs probably originated in Scania, which is now a part of southern Sweden but which at that time belonged to Denmark. The Runic almanac belonged to King Ericus XIV (1533–77) of Sweden. It was acquired by the National Library together with the Rålamb Collection in 1886.

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Physical Description

Parchment ; folded, approximately 5.4 x 4.6 centimeters


  • Shelfmark: Rål. Fol. 195

Last updated: February 18, 2016