Chapter

The 8‐Year Cycle and the Invention of the Epacts

Alden A. Mosshammer

in The Easter Computus and the Origins of the Christian Era

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199543120
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720062 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199543120.003.0007

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The 8‐Year Cycle and the Invention of the Epacts

Show Summary Details

Preview

Eusebius attributes to Dionysius of Alexandria (249–65) both the earliest known assertion of a rule that Easter can be observed only after the equinox and the use of an eight‐year cycle (octaeteris) for Paschal calculations. The Coptic tradition, however, remembers Demetrius of Alexandria (189–232) as ‘the inventor of the epacts’ and Ethiopic texts attribute to him a Paschal computus beginning in AD 214. The earliest extant Paschal cycle is a 112‐year period attributed to Hippolytus, beginning with the full moon of 13 April in AD 222. The cycle of Hippolytus is based on the octaëteris and probably represents the adaptation of the cycle of Demetrius to the Roman calendar. Another 112‐year cycle is extant, composed in 243, but beginning with the full moon of 1 April in the year 242. Its authorship and provenance are unknown.

Keywords: Dionysius of Alexandria; Demetrius of Alexandria; eight‐year cycle; octaëteris; Hippolytus; 112‐year cycle; computist of 243

Chapter.  9898 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.