Since 2006, the Moore Institute of the National University of Ireland in Galway has hosted, under the direction of Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, a biannual conference on the science of computus in the Middle Ages. Computus – the mathematics required to calculate the date of Easter, and related topics (incl. astronomical observations and calculations) – straddles the fields of mathematics and astronomy, biblical interpretation and cosmology, empirical astronomical observation, and the perennial quest to understand the concepts of time and time-reckoning.

The core period covered by the Galway Conference stretches from the beginnings of Easter calculations in the third century to the introduction of Arabic and Greek science in the Latin West in the 12th century, but papers on the reckoning of time and its cultural context in the later Middle Ages have also always been welcomed. Each Conference has had a special theme (the formation of computus in Late Antiquity; the rise of prognostications in the early Middle Ages; the revolution of computus in the 11thand 12th centuries; Computus in the Carolingian Age; etc., etc.). The next conference will have as its special theme:

Computus and the Vernacular

In most western European societies, script came with Christianity, and with Christianity came computus. Thus, some of the earliest writings from many western European regions are computistical. The practice of writing in the vernacular in some areas started with the introduction of script, in others later. Either way, computistical texts often are the earliest witnesses to the respective languages. This year’s Conference seeks to gain a better understanding of the relationship between calendrical science and the vernacular.

Papers in the following areas, therefore, are particularly welcome:

  1. analysis of the earliest vernacular computistical texts in a given society
  2. the cultural context of the first vernacular computistical writings in a given society
  3. the relation between the new vernacular computistical texts and their Latin precursors
  4. the relation between Latin and the vernacular in these texts
  5. vernacular scientific glossing
  6. the invention of a vernacular technical terminology
  7. the role of specific schools and individuals (like Notker of St Gall and Byrhtferth of Ramsey) in the promotion of computus in the vernacular
  8. comparisons between simultaneous vernacular movements in different societies

But papers in all other areas dealing with the scientific and cultural history of Computus before the early modern period are also welcome.

The conference will be held in Galway on 27-29 June 2018.

Please send your paper proposal electronically before 15 February 2018 to: iwarntjes at