Can anyome tell me what this really is? ... om-about-c

It says it is a pocket calendar for a farmer, but that's clearly wrong.

Endeed i doNt know if its a poket or wall but obviously its a sort of calendar of activities.

Its pretty simple and very easy to understand and follow moon/month by moon/month for those analphabet peasants.

Describes the primary work to do under each auspice and the hours of ligth you will have to do it and during witch zodiacal sign....

Dunno any other info i miss?

Ps: i really love it, did you found more? May i recomend you some other old stuff?

I'd be inclined to go with the initial suggestion of "Farmer's Calendar" of sorts.

The upper row seems to give the hours of daylight/sunshine during the month, as well as the zodiac sign. The lower row seems to suggest the primary field/farm task in the month? Interestinglyu, the names for some months seem to be off from the current usage. Aug to December is almost identical.
Jan and Feb I can't decipher.
March is 'Merge" instead of Maerz.
April is as it is now, May seems to be "Meisze" instead of Mai.
Interestingly enough, June and July seem to be qualified ... Moons???

My 15th century german isn't particularly good, sorry :slight_smile:

What makes you think it isn't a Farmers pocket calendar, Timothy?

Well, it clearly shows the 12 astrological signs and the circle appears to represent the relative proportion of daylight/night one can expect in each of the astrological months. Perhaps the illustrations are meant to depict the sorts of chores the farmers might be performing during that time frame?

Some of those chores puzzle me.

The first one - looking into a tube? Not sure what that is.

Then we have hoeing and chopping wood. Those are pretty plan, as is the garden-tending.

Next though - err, what? This is the right month to pose in your underwear holding Brussels sprouts?

The next few are clear: scything, sickle-ing, goat massacre, threshing, sowing, and... Pig buttering? Again, not sure what's happening there.

And then we end with the traditional, umm, holiday Fruedian pot ... thing. Ok, again, no idea.

Anybody able to fill in those blanks for me?

I have the same opinion as sirobishi. Monthly calendar (clearly marked) with the circle being a sun dial.

Come now, gents, try harder. 8)

It's clearly not a farmer's calendar to be carried in the pocket.

What farmer would need to be told "This month you need to harvest grain." or "This month you need to loose hogs into the woods" or "This month, pick grapes." and even if he needed telling, why in a form that can be carried and looked at multiple times in a month?

I'm tempted by the idea that it's a Book of Hours, which were for nobles and often had a scenic peasant, but it lacks the devotional material, so it can't be.

I was hoping someone had seen its like before.

Ah, you've stumbled upon the family hobby calendar! No, no, keep it for your own pleasure; we've got a spare.

Looks like an educational aid, a proto flash-card perhaps. The student, I'm guessing an illiterate farmer, already knows what to do each month and the spoken terminology for his seasonal activities. The cards teach him the corresponding written terminology along with the time symbols that correspond to his already possessed practical knowledge of day lengths.

The kind of farmer who turns to religion to tell him such things?

It also shock me a little bit too at the beggining....


  • A tool for an administrator/accountant to help in its calculations ( im not understanding well why the zodiacal signs)

-A a tool to teach basic astronomy/astrology ( so not for a framer) or as a quick reference.

Its very visual but in fact it have words such as the months that would be useless for any farmer.

How that time Timoty?

In order to raise money for charity, a number of farmers posed for a local artist to come up with a calendar showing them in a range of provocative poses while about their work. Some were more suggestive than others but the calendar sold by the tens; Frederick the Scribe could barely keep up with demand.

It's a tradition that continues today.

Well, doing a n image search flags it up numerous times as a "pocket calendar" of sorts. German wikipedia has it under "Images of Months" cited as:
"Faltbarer Taschenkalender (ca. 1400; SBB-PK, Lib. Pic. A 72) – kompletter Monatsbilderzyklus mit Tierkreiszeichen und Verzeichnis der Stunden mit Tageslicht je Monat." here:
Roughly translated:" Foldable Pocket Calendar (approx 1400;<...>) - complete Month Cycle with Zodiac Image and a list of daylight hours for each month."

The item is clearly intended to be folded and carried in a pocket, since in the originally linked image, the January image is heavily worn and folding lines are clearly visible. While it may not have been a farmer's property, it could have easily been that of a landowner or a Bailiff or similar who were overseeing a number of farms? A small reminder what his serfs were supposed to be up to, for someone whi wasn't as 'connected to the land' as they were? As mentioned before, it could have been used as a teaching aid? A lady's work of leisure for her husband?

Story Hook: A travelling artist encounters a bout of 'creative block'. Travelling around for new inspiration the simple life of a peasant family inspires him to new work. As a thank you to the family he stayed with, he made them a small and partly useful piece of artwork. Travelling on the artist realises that he is suddenly unable to paint creatively again and wants the artwork back. The grogs are tasked with retrieving it for a good amount of silver, since he is ashamed to ask back a gift.
What is the reason for the artist's problems? Are the fey playing a cruel trick on him? Is it more nefarious, involving infernal powers? Or has the farmer's daughter something to do with things?

Oh, and as an aside: There are numerous image sets titled "labours of the Month" out there that look remarkably similar... wiki or google is your intellego here :slight_smile:

Did you mean a sort of this ? : ... teresting/

A very young farmer perhaps ? This might be something a farmer would buy for his young son... like, a five year old son perhaps ? It's got pretty pictures (for the time), a nice indicator of the hours of sunlight for the day, and the sign of the zodiac.

I agree looks like a pocket version of a "Labours of the Month".

Seems unlikely to be used by an actual peasant for either education or daily information purposes. It also seems to be of dubious technical value for someone like an "estate manager". Although it might have some marginal value as a planning tool, so that someone can count up how long until some task needs to be done.

However, I think it would have been mostly used as a kind of religious focus. It illustrates the whole agrarian cycle and thus celebrates the completeness and perfection of creation and man's role in it. It is of much the same genre as a sequence of images illustrating the lives of either saints or Christ. There are similar "Labours of the Month" built in stone or stained glass in many cathedrals.

I think probably it would be owned by a wealthy peasant, or perhaps someone of the merchant class, or a cleric. If a noble wanted something like this, they'd have a permanent one built in stone or glass in a chapel.

I would expect this to be for wealthy children.

We have similar pictures nowadays in children's books, though more than the wealthy have access to them. You had to have seen something like this, either as a kid or with a kid of your own, a 3 x 4 or a 4 x 3 grid with a snowman for January, showers in April, flowers in May…

I am just back from a long voyage, and don't have time to explain things in detail.

Medieval cycles on the months of the year, their zodiacal signs and associated activities (typically of peasants) can be found in many places in Europe from the 12th century on. They were typically displayed in places where the most people could see them: e. g. at portals of churches. Their purpose was not instruction, but symbolic, affirmative representation of the work of a year.

Here is for starters a film on the baptistery of Parma, and the Antelami cycle of months in it: ... l/?page=21 . There are many more sites on this topic.


EDIT: Here is an excellent paper on the topic, that shows how to read such a cycle - namely the trade cycle on the central portal of San Marco in Venice: Mark Rosen, The Republic at Work: S. Marco's Reliefs of the Venetian Trades. And it is free: ... ian_Trades . Of course the little cycle - on the photography it looks like a woodcut colored after printing - that Timothy found on the internet is a very late and simple example.