Colloquium on ‘Roman Provincial Calendars and the Hemerologia’

University College London
Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 July 2016

The ERC Advanced Grant Project ‘Calendars in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages’ is delighted to issue a call for papers for a colloquium to be held on 4-6 July 2016 at University College London on the theme of ‘Roman Provincial calendars and the Hemerologia’.

Calendars were an important manifestation of cultural diversity in the Roman Empire, especially in the provinces of the Roman East, where the Julian calendar was generally not in use. The calendars of cities and provinces were very diverse, some remaining lunar or lunisolar, but most becoming adapted in a variety of forms to the solar, Julian calendar of the imperial rulers.

This diversity is evident in epigraphic sources, but most explicitly in texts known as Hemerologia, which are attested in a few early medieval manuscripts. The Hemerologia consist of calendar tables with the days of the Julian calendar in the first column, and in the rest of the table, the equivalent days in a range of calendars from the Roman Eastern provinces and cities. These texts are a powerful testimony of calendar diversity in the Roman East, but at the same time, of the standardization of these calendars and their assimilation with the 365-day year of the Julian calendar. The historical reality behind the Hemerologia was probably more complex and flexible than they convey. But by describing or indeed prescribing a changeless, fixed relationship between the Julian and provincial calendars, the Hemerologia may have played a critical role in the standardization of time reckoning in late Antiquity.

One hundred years after W. Kubitschek’s (1915) edition and study of the Hemerologia, the time has come to reconsider the contents and meaning of these texts, and their relationship with ever-increasing epigraphic discoveries. How consistent are the Hemerologia with the evidence of epigraphic and literary sources, and how can one account for differences? When and how were the Hemerologia originally composed, and what was their intended function and purpose? Did they serve the needs of the imperial administration, of local government, or of commercial and other private uses? Were they produced, alternatively, purely out of intellectual interest, or for the sake of making some sort of political, ideological statement? Were they a ‘celebration of diversity’ or, on the contrary, an instrument for forcing provincial calendars into conformity with the Julian calendar?

This colloquium will also be an opportunity of re-assessing our knowledge of Roman provincial calendars, particularly in the light of new epigraphic discoveries including dated inscriptions, calendar inscriptions (e.g. the hemerologium from Metropolis), etc.

Proposals are invited on any question relating to Roman provincial calendars, as well as on the Hemerologia and the manuscripts in which they are attested. The ERC project will cover the costs of fares and accommodation for all speakers at the colloquium.

Proposals for papers including title, abstract (c. 300 words), and CV should be sent to the project administrator, Georgia Panteli ( by 25 January 2016. Queries about the colloquium can be addressed to Sacha Stern ( Further information about the ERC project and its relevant research area can be found at

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