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Misseri-calendar - Literature Review and References

Kristín Bjarnadóttir (University of Iceland)

Mapping time: The calendar and its history by E. G. Richards, is a comprehensive overview of the calendar in theory, calendars of the world, calendar conversions, and computations of dates of Easter. It mentions briefly the Icelandic misseri-calendar when the author explains the geographical difficulties involved in using lunar calendars, as was done by Teutons, including the Angles, Saxons, and Vikings (Richards 1998, pp. 203-205).

Svante Janson has written a scientific analysis of the Icelandic calendar from earliest times (Janson 2011). Janson based his work partly on research by physicist and science historian Vilhjálmsson (see  Vilhjálmsson 1990, 1991). See also GKS 1812 4to on medieval Icelandic sources.

The handbook, Bishop Árnason’s Dactylismus Ecclesiasticus eður Fingra-Rím, is a valuable source on the farming calendar.

Furthermore, the current article includes extracts from two additional papers (Bjarnadóttir 2010, 2015) on the Icelandic calendar by its author.


Almanak fyrir Ísland 2015. Reykjavík: University of Iceland.

GKS 1812 4to [quarto]. The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, manuscript collection, Reykjavík.

Grágás. Konungsbók. Laws of early Iceland: Grágás, the Codex Regius of Grágás, with material from other manuscripts. 1980–2000.Translated by A. Dennis, P. Foote, R. Perkins. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Árnason, J. 1838; 1946. Dactylismus Ecclesiasticus eður Fingra-Rím. Originally printed in 1739, reprinted in 1838, photocopied in 1946. Copenhagen: P. Jónsson. Available at HathiTrust Digital Library:

Beckman, N., and Kr. Kålund (Ed.). 1914–1916. Alfræði Íslenzk. Islandsk encyklopædisk Litteratur. II Rímtöl, pp.83–178. Copenhagen: STUAGNL.

Benediktsson, J. (ed.), 1968. Íslendingabók. Íslensk fornrit I, 1. Reykjavík: Hið íslenska fornritafélag.

Bjarnadóttir, K. 2010. Ethnomathematics at the margin of Europe – A pagan calendar. Journal of Mathematics and Culture, 5(1). Available at

Bjarnadóttir, K. 2015. Calendars and Currency – Embedded in Culture, Nature, Society and Language. History and Epistemology in Mathematics Education. Proceedings of the 7th European Summer University, ESU 7, pp. 605 – 624. Copenhagen: Aarhus University: Danish School of Education.

Björnsson, Á. 1993. Saga daganna. Reykjavík: Almenna bókafélagið.

D’Ambrosio, U. 1985. Socio-cultural bases for mathematics education. Unicamp, Campinas.

Janson, S. 2011. The Icelandic calendar. Scripta Islandica, Isländska Sällskapets årsbok 62/2011, pp. 51-104. Uppsala.

Kristjánsson, J. 1980. Icelandic Sagas and Manuscripts. Reykjavík: Iceland Review.

Richards, E. G. 1998. Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, Oxford: Oxford University Press 199

Thom, Alexander, Megalithic sites in Britain, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1967.

Vilhjálmsson, Th. 1990. Raunvísindi á miðöldum. In Frosti F. Jóhannsson (Ed.). Íslensk Þjóðmenning VII. Alþýðuvísindi. Raunvísindi og dulfræði, pp. 1–50, 271–273. Reykjavík: Þjóðsaga.

Vilhjálmsson, Th. 1991. Time-Reckoning in Iceland before Literacy. In C. L. N. Ruggles (Ed.), Archaeoastronomy in the 1990s, 69–76. Loughborough, UK, Group D Publications. Available at

Kristín Bjarnadóttir (University of Iceland), "Misseri-calendar - Literature Review and References," Convergence (December 2016)