Coligny Calendar

This page was created by Marc Carlson
It was last edited 9 June 2004

The so-called "Calendar of Coligny" is a fragmented bronze plaque that was found in 1897 in the remains of a Roman Temple of Apollo in Coligny, Ain, France. As a "Celtic" calendar, there are a few problems with it, not the least of which is the uncertainty that it is, in fact, either a Calendar or "Celtic". Both are plausible assumptions, but remain essentially unproven.

Conversely, the circumstantial evidence in favor of the artifact being some sort of calendar is fairly straightforward. It shows 12 repeating units comprised of alternating 29 and 30 lesser units, and so appearing to correspond to the 13 lunar months of the solar year made up of  29 or 30 days. This appearance is enhanced by the insertion of two alternating "months" that are inserted once each along the five year cycle. The first is inserted before "Samon", and the second before "Gaimon", months that appear to correspond with the Irish terms for Samradh (Summer) and Geimredh (Winter). It should be noted that this calendar would yield a total of 354 or 355 days (as one month alternates its length), as compared to the pre-Gregorian Roman calendar of Numa Pompolius of 355 days.

Other assumptions for the Coligny calendar are that each month is made up of 2 "weeks". The first week is 14 days long, of which  the 15th begins Atenouxtes "Again nights". The second week is either 14 or 15 days long, depending on the month. The last night of the month is Divertom. Days are identified as "D", "MD", "N","NSDS", or no nomenclature.   A month with 30 days is considered Matus "Good, Lucky", While those with only 29 days are considered Anmatos "Unlucky". The notes of "Feast" and "Barren" are a likely translation of Iuos, and a probable translation of Amb.

Some people have suggested that since the "Celts" always began their months at the new moon, that this meant that the major festivals would be held under the full moon.

Please note, if you want to examine other interpretations of the Calendar of Coligny, please try

The Months: