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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





2 articles for "Almanac"

Almanac [Astro*Index]

A periodic publication, giving a calendar of days, weeks, and months together with various astronomical, astrological, and meteorological data, noting holidays, and providing assorted useful miscellany.

An almanac is essentially a concise ephemeris spilling over with eclectic margin notes. It has a provincial flavor, espouses practical home remedies, and serves also as an advertising forum. Its popularity is tied directly to the fall of astrology from public favor and royal patronage during late renaissance Europe.

Alamacs were a part of a process whereby astrologers, stripped of subsidies, vied for public support in the face of rapid advances in science. Lilly was referring to an almanac when he wrote (in his preface to Christian Astrology), "Annuall and Monthly judgement I have not yet degisted into a Method, I hope to live and performe it; I am the first ot men that ever adventured upon Monethly Observation is such plaine language, yet it is my harty desire to communicate hereafter what ever I know unto Posterity."

Modern almanacs range from the "pop" to the technical. Several astrological magazines represent the former and include daily transits, general forecasts, and planetary highlights geared for hobbyists. An annual astronomical almanac is issued by the U.S. Naval Observatory and the Royal Greenwich Observatory is representative of the latter. The first known almanacs date from ancient Greeks living in Alexandria. The writings of Dorotheus of Sidon greatly influenced how we interpret the Moon's effects. Lunar gardening owes a lot to him.

Astrology's link with agriculture is very ancient. Roman almanacs provided lists of feasts; that of Solomon Jarchus (1150 AD) is the earliest known of those. Peurbach's almanac appeared between 1450-6 AD. Regiomontanus, a pupil of Peurbach, provided the first printed almanac in 1475. During the Middle Ages, the almanac of Nostrodamus was the best known. In the USA, the first almanac was published by William Pierce (1639). Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac (1732-57) contained many of the proverbs and witty sayings still is use today. Watkin's Almanac was first issued in 1868. The Farmer's Almanac, first issued in 1792 for the year 1793, is still published. And, the Moon Sign Book, a lunar gardening almanac first published in 1901 by Llewellyn George, remains popular. George also published the excellent Astrological Bulletina.

See also:
♦ Calendar ♦ Ephemeris
Almanac [DeVore]

A book or table containing a calendar of days, weeks and months, to which are added astronomical or other data. Its use dates back at least to the Alexandrian Greeks. The Roman almanac was the fasti – days on which business could be transacted. The earliest of which we have concise record is that of Solomon Jarchus, 1150 A.D. Purbach published one from 1450-6. His pupil Regiomontanus issued the first printed almanac in 1475. The most outstanding almanac maker of the Middle Ages was Nostradamus. An English almanacs were prophetic until the year 1828; and until 1834 the stamp duty was 1s.3d. per copy. The first almanac in the U.S. was issued in 1639 by William Pierce. It was exceeded in popularity by Poor Richard's Almanac (1732-57) issued by Benjamin Franklin. Watkins Almanac, issued since 1868, has an annual circulation of upward of two million copies. The chief Astrological Almanacs of the present epoch are "Raphael's," first published in 1820; and "Zadkiel's" first published in 1830. All governments now issue an Ephemeris and Nautical almanac. (v. Ephemeris)

See also:
♦ Calendar ♦ Ephemeris


Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine


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