In the past week or so since I posted ‘Time Considerations I’ I have learned a few things.
First of all, the number six has been considered important by a host of cultures in a tradition going back through the Babylonians (for a contrary tradition, take a look at the pre-Babylonian Hebrew calendar that is completely based on cycles of seven). I have thus always balked at the number six in Celtic tradition as it seems too obviously derivative of this continental tradition that came in with Christian learning.
Mirabile dictu, in looking through Mac Neill’s article on the Coligny Calendar – Ériu 10 (1926) – he finds evidence of an organizing principle within the calendar that groups months into two triads and three pairs: the very same explication for the perfection of the number six. Now this does not mean that it was natively Celtic. The calendar itself shows the influence of Greco-Roman culture in both lettering and format, but this shows evidence that the Druids of Gaul (particularly the ones near Lyons where the Calendar was found) incorporated this particular facet of classical tradition (possibly through contact with the Pythagoreanism?) into their computistical calculations.
.. and if it’s good enough for first / second century druids in Gaul, it’s good enough for me.
Incidentally, the calendar was found along with a “bronze statue of a male youth”. I cannot find a picture anywhere. If someone can, would you see that I get it? I am dying to know what they buried this partial calendar with (it’s a five year portion of what seems to be a thirty year cycle as per Pliny’s description – again with the six!).