Alpo Balognia: Calendar A
"History is more or less bunk."|
- Henry Ford
With all the hulabaloo going around about calendars and their reform, I thought I would present one of the oldest and probably the least known calendar in history. Calendar A had its origins in ancient Alpo Balognia (pronounced alpo-baloney-ah for you non-scholarly types), and is presented here for the first time in full reconstruction.
Let us first review the history and culture of the people from which this calendar arose. The Great Alpobalognian Empire stretched across the vast plains of central Alpo Balognia from the time before the Egyptians to another time, also before the Egyptians. They were primarily farm dwellers, and as such relied heavily on the seasons. They were a spiritual people as well, and to honor their gods, they built great structures of wheat and corn, some of which were a full thirty feet high and equally as big around. These structures, or alpots, must have been a great wonder to see. The original outlines of some of these alpots can still be faintly seen from the distant mountain tops if one squints just right. The Alpobalognians lived in family units tending their farms from season to season. At the height of their empire it is estimated that their farms ran into the hundreds or even the thousands - no, I think, more probably the hundreds, possibly fewer, the records are sketchy on this point. Sometime prior to The Days of Pestilence, their chief astrologer created a calendar based on the seasons. We know this calendar now by the title of Calendar A. The original name of the calendar, as well as most of the records of their language and written scripts have been lost to the reaches of time. Luckily for us, the calendar was documented in 3 fully illustrated volumes by the Monks of Alpo. All but one the volumes, however, appear to have been lost along with the Monks. A beautifully bound and time worn copy of volume 2 somehow survived and found its way into the hands of several individuals whose luck, and sometimes bad luck, are responsible for all we know of the Alpobalognian empire today.
The empire of Alpobalognia was all but forgotten by the time the Peloponnesian poet Hesiod wrote his now famous 'Works and Days'. He makes no direct reference to the Alpobalognian calendar, but the description of 2 of his days are remarkably similar to what we now believe to be the Feasts of Om and Og . Although Hesiod did not discuss the calendar directly, it is almost certain he was aware it. Some scholars have suggested that he was, for a time, in possesion of the only surviving volume. Regardless, the volume next surfaces again in ancient Greece. This time in the hands of the reknown historian Herodotus, who wrote 'The Histories'. Herodotus, does them a diservice by completely glossing over their accomplishments. He mentions their civilization only briefly in a slight reference to pre-Egyptian stone cutting . Later printings completely omit the reference.
In the time of the Caesers, the old and weathered copy of the second volume of the Alpobalognian monks' discourse found its way into the hands of the Roman prostitue, Demonstrada. There are several conflicting reports on how Demonstrada came into possesion of such a gift. According to Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius' 'Consolation of Philosophy'  which was written during his imprisonment, Demonstrada had been a tendant to the baths of Octavius Caesar. It is thought that Octavius had recovered the volume during his exploits in Asia or possibly he had bought it at a tent sale in Constantinople . By whatever means he came into its possession, he apparently gave it to Demonstrada late one evening when he was short of coin. A second account, from a less reliable source, and one that I do not mention here for fear of casting biased doubt on these remarks, says that Demonstrada, while travelling abroad in the east, had collected the belongings of a poor goat herder by the name of Puya, after he had defaulted on payments to her as consort. In his meager possessions, was found the book, and three odd stones with unknown markings. The stones were discarded. The third account, that of the Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemy, author of 'The Almagest', says that Demonstrada was a grandaughter many times removed from the Alpobalognian monk who scribed the original volumes . This account seems unlikely, and is presented here for completeness only.
As it were, Demonstrada would not have the book long. The unusual volume had somehow come to the attention of the Roman iconographer Luccius. It is said that Lucy paid an unusually high price for the tome, and never fully recovered his fortunes thereafter. Apparently Demonstrada spent the rest of her days in the shade of Maple trees sipping wine from the fingertips of young boys. Lucy would never get the chance to translate this second volume. After taking some assorted notes from the text, his villa in southern Italy was ransacked by invading armies, and the book was taken. It is next found in the hands of an unknown Egyptian scholar who took it to the port of Alexandria, and placed it in the library there. For the next several years it went unnoticed, however, Julius Caesar would eventually learn of its presence. It is assumed the Lady Demonstrada tipped him off. Several scholars have proposed that the library of Alexandira was burned to keep the book's secrets hidden for all time (I am not in agreement here). In that respect, Caesar was defeated. Several months before the invasion, a young boy with extra time on his hands, after having discovered the volume in the library while searching for pornographic lithographs, secretly tore an unknown number of pages from the book. He was able to peddle them in the city to collectors who had come to Alexandria in search of recovered manuscripts. Several of the pages exist today in the rare book collections of noted scholars.
You will remember from earlier discussians that Lucy had made notes from several of the pages before the Alpobalognian monk's book was stolen. The pages that he had copied contained most of the material for the calendar currently known. Lucy was able to piece together a reasonable construction of the calendar based on these notes along with several extended interviews with the beautiful Demonstrada. He published his findings in a small treatise, appended to a much larger volume entitled 'Goats and Their Use as Phallic Symbols' .
The treatise and calendar did not receive much attention over the next several hundred years. Constatine the Great may have read it and subsequently used the calendar as a reference when he converted the Roman calendar to a seven day week. A mere generation later, Augustine of Hippo in one of his lesser known works denounced the calendar, but no one seems to have noticed . A hundred years after that, the Indian astronomer Aryabhata makes several thinnly disguised remarks about it in a manuscript on the Vernal Equinox and its place in history. Alpo Balognia is never mentioned, but the Feast days are described, and he discusses at some length their possible function in calendar realignment . There is no mention in the records for quite some time until the Venerable Bede, England's most noted ecclesiastical figure of the time, in referencing Augustine, notes in his papers that a rumor of a possible lost calendar exists, but claims no direct knowledge thereof . The mathematician Mohammed Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, from whom we get the word algorithm, is the first to acknowledge the calendar, but refers to is as Albomongolian in origin, certainly an unintentional mistake in pronounciation, possibly due to his native dialect . The mistake does not go unnoticed though. Shortly thereafter, the Swiss priest Notker 'The Stammerer' attempts to correct the mispronounciation in a meeting of the learned clergy in Prague, however he seems to have made matters worse, because the next reference to the calendar which occured a half dozen generations later was by the French ecclesiastic Hermann 'the Lame', where he called it the Alpapalollolian calendar and was under the impression that each week had 77 days . The Paderborn Reiner was completely misled by his predecessors, and dismissed the calendar with a flippant quip in the Ecclesiastical News . It wasn't until Roger Bacon, being isolated for so many years in his monastery, took the time to acquire copies of some of the original references and then piece together a reasonable understanding of the calendar and its workings . This understanding may have led to his determining that the Julian calendar was misaligned with the seasons, and worse, with the observances of several religious holidays. However, by the time Pope Gregory XIII had repaired the Julian calendar, Calendar A had once again been forgotten. It surfaced again in Napoleonic France from within some scholarly circles that had access to the torn pages from the lost volume . The Emperor, after apparently considering it briefly, discarded it in favor of something a bit more flashy. Recently some noted numerologists have also disapproved of its adoption due to its lack of useful numbers in playing several lottery schemes . The calendar first came to my attention about 6 years ago while travelling in Alsace, France. A winemaker had in his possession one of the original torn pages, page 17B. The page had been in his family for many generations. Through him, I was able to contact several other individuals that had access either directly, indirectly, or otherwise to copies or originals of pages 93X, 117A, and 2048A. Using this material as well as some of the original references, I was able to piece together the reconstructed calendar in a fashion that I consider to be reliable.
The preceding short history of Calendar A was intended to shed some light on its origins and hopefully instill some appreciation for its place in history. What follows is a brief description of Calendar A as reconstructed by the author.
Each year of Calendar A is divided of four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. The year ends in a Feast period which can last anywhere from 1 to 5 days. Each year begins with 1 Spring. Each season is made up of 91 days divided into 13 weeks of 7 days each. The names for the days in Alpobalognian, once translated, are remarkably close to those used in the Gregorian and Julian calendars, so for convienience, the English names are used. All seasons start on Monday. In Alpobalognian times, the changing of the seasons was physically and spiritually intense, and involved much supplication. In these modern times, this should be a time of celebration. The Feast days at the end of the year are used to periodically realign the calendar with the seasons. There will be at least one Feast day every year. The number of Feast days are based on the average length of the time between Spring Equinoxs which the Alpobalognians calculated to be roughly 365.2423 and 1/30000 days. This calculation matches most modern calculations almost exactly when allowing for slowing of the tropical year over time. Still, Calendar A, after almost 7000 years, is only off by a little less than 6 hours. There will be totals of 2 Feast days every 5 years, 3 Feast days every 25 years, 4 Feast days every 450 years, and 5 Feast days every 9000 years. After this time the cycle renews. The Alpobalognians did not name the current cycle, so in deference to their great empire, I have given the first, or current, cycle the name 'The Alpobalognian Cycle'. The five Feast days are named as follows: The Feast of the Dead (Ar), The Feast of the Mother (Om), The Feast of the Earth (Po), The Feast of the Father (Og), and The Feast of the Living (Ri).
Calendar A is made up of the following periods of time: cycles, collapses, generations, stages, years, and days. Seasons, and weekdays are also used to divide up the year with catchy names. Weeks and weekday numbers were used to divide up the seasons. The cycle is the period of time in which the calendar comes full circle and is completely realigned. Each cycle is made up of exactly 3287181 days, 9000 years, 1800 stages, 360 generations, or 20 collapses. It is believed that the Alpobalognians considered a collapse to be the duration of a typical civilization. In the end, they were probably too optomistic if we consider their empire as an example. A collapse is exactly 164359 days, 450 years, 90 stages, or 18 generations. A generation is today much as it was then. A generation is exactly 9131 days, 25 years, or 5 stages. Each generation is divided into 5 stages of development: infant to child, child to adolescent, adolescent to young adult, young adult to adult, and adult to parent. A stage is exactly 1826 days, or 5 years. Each year consists of 365, 366, 367, 368, or 369 days, depending on how many Feast days the year includes. Each season is exactly 91 days or 13 weeks. Each week is exactly 7 weekdays.
M T W T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 Ar Om Po Og Ri
|||Hesiod, "Works and Days", Troy, c. 22.214.171.124, pp. 65-66.|
|||Herodotus, "The Histories", Athens, 10.8.2.4, pp. 299-303.|
|||Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, "Consolation of Philosophy", Rome, 126.96.36.199, pp. 18-19.|
|||Octavia Claudius, "Constantinople: Obtaining Treasures Without a Fight", Rome, 188.8.131.52, Vol. 4, pp. 2014-2234.|
|||Claudius Ptolemy, "The Almagest", Athens, 184.108.40.206, pp. 1045-1094.|
|||Luccius , "Goats and Their Use as Phallic Symbols", Rome, 220.127.116.11, pp. 99-98, Appendix|
|||Augustine of Hippo, "The Denounciation of an Archaic Covenant", Rome, 18.104.22.168, pp 1-2.|
|||Aryabhata, "Vernal Equinoxes and You", Calcutta, 22.214.171.124, Vol. 2, pp. 675-6.|
|||Sir Matthew Wallingsford, "Venerable Bede: The Lost Papers", London, 126.96.36.199, pp. 817-912.|
|||Mohammed Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, "Calendar Numerics And Their Relation To Lotteries", 188.8.131.52, pp 198-202.|
|||Abbot Hermann, "The Reasons Empires Fail", Aix, 184.108.40.206, pp 1043-1057.|
|||Central European Publishing Company, "Letters To The Editor", Ecclesiastical News, c. 220.127.116.11, Vol. 2, p. 4.|
|||Bartholemew Morganstein, "The Secret Life of Roger Bacon", Bristol, 18.104.22.168, pp. 34-35.|
|||Francoise de la Veux, "The Society of French Women's Proposal to Napoleon Concerning All Things Domestic", Paris, 22.214.171.124, pp. 14-17.|
|||"Report on Mathematics in Everyday Use", ACM, Vol. 57. 126.96.36.199, pp 88-90.|