A movable calendric feast!
It is thus time again write a bit about calendration, this time, about the Roman Calendar.
The Roman Calendar was a curious conglomeration of historical inputs, and yet, our own modern calendar in the Western world - with our non-astronomical months of varying durations and strange numerically disjointed names - was inherited directly from that Roman system as the Julian Calendar (Wikipedia), reflecting calendric reform made under Julius Caesar, who called upon the Egyptian astronomer priest Sosigenes of Alexandria (see also e.g. the Encyclopaedia Britannica) to correct the Roman calendar:
"[The Julian Calendar] has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months, and a leap day is added to February every four years. Hence the Julian year is on average 365.25 days long."Pliny the Elder, Book 18, 210-212 wrote:
"... There were three main schools, the Chaldaean, the Egyptian, and the Greek; and to these a fourth was added in our country by Caesar during his dictatorship, who with the assistance of the learned astronomer Sosigenes (Sosigene perito scientiae eius adhibito) brought the separate years back into conformity with the course of the sun. (Wikipedia translation - source unknown)A history of that Early Roman Calendar is found at WebExhibits.org in their Calendars through the Ages.
(or, from Perseus at Tufts, translation by John Bostock)"There have been three great schools of astronomy, the Chaldæan, the Ægyptian, and the Grecian. To these has been added a fourth school, which was established by the Dictator Cæsar among ourselves, and to which was entrusted the duty of regulating the year in conformity with the sun's revolution, under the auspices of Sosigenes, an astronomer of considerable learning and skill."
The Roman system of calendration prior to calendar reform was described by Plutarch in "Numa Pompilius," C.E. 75, Sanctum Library: 8th-7th Century B.C.E., in a translation by John Dryden as follows (from WebExhibits.org):
"During the reign of Romulus, they had let their months run on without any certain or equal term; some of them contained twenty days, others thirty-five, others more; they had no sort of knowledge of the inequality in the motions of the sun and moon; they only kept to the one rule that the whole course of the year contained three hundred and sixty days.
"Numa, calculating the difference between the lunar and solar years at eleven days, for that the moon completed her anniversary course in three hundred and fifty-four days, and the sun in three hundred and sixty-five, to remedy this incongruity doubled the eleven days, and every other year added an intercalary month, to follow February, consisting of twenty-two days, and called by the Romans the month Mercedinus...
"Many will have it, that it was Numa, also, who added the two months of Januarius and Februarius; for in the beginning they had a year of ten months...
"That the Romans, at first, comprehended the whole year within ten, and not twelve months, plainly appears by the name of the last, December, meaning the tenth month; and that Martius was the first is likewise evident, for the fifth month after it was called Quintilis, and the sixth Sextilis, and so the rest; whereas, if Januarius and Februarius had, in this account, preceded Martius, Quintilis would have been fifth in name and seventh in reckoning.
"It was also natural that Martius, dedicated to Mars, should be Romulus’s first and Aprilis, named from Venus, or Aphrodite, his second month; in it they sacrifice to Venus, and the women bathe on the calends, or first day of it, with myrtle garlands on their heads.
"But others, because of its being p and not ph, will not allow of the derivation of this word from Aphrodite, but say it is called Aprilis from aperio, Latin for to open, because that this month is high spring, and opens and discloses the buds and flowers.
"The next is called Maius, from Maia, the mother of Mercury, to whom it is sacred; then Junius follows, so called from Juno; some, however, derive them from the two ages, old and young, majores being their name for older, and juniores for younger men.
"To the other months they gave denominations according to their order; so the fifth was called Quintilis, Sextilis the sixth, and the rest, Septembris, Octobris, Novembris and Decembris. Afterwards, Quintilis received the name of Julius (July), from Caesar, who defeated Pompey; as also Sextilis that of Augustus, (August) from the second Caesar, who had that title...
When did Numa institute this calendar reform?
"Of the months which were added or transposed in their order by Numa, Februarius comes from februa; and is as such a Purification month; in it they make offerings to the dead, and celebrate the Lupercalia, which, in most points, resembles a purification. Januarius was also called from Janus, and precedence given to it by Numa before Martius, which was dedicated to the god Mars; because, as I conceive, he wished to take every opportunity of intimating that the arts and studies of peace are to be preferred before those of war."
Six years ago in my posting at 31 LexiLine Newsletter 2004 I gave the following chronology based on 480-year intervals from the time of what I consider to be the official calendric founding of "dynastic" Egypt (see also Ancient Calendric Stele Newly Discovered in Egypt):
"3117 BC start of the calendarI have since then considered moving the start of the modern calendar even further back to an earlier date at Göbekli Tepe, perhaps having a close relationship with the start of the Hebrew Calendar, but although that is relevant to the question of the date of the start of the calendar in Egypt, I am not yet finished with that ongoing analysis.
2637 BC reform of the Calendar by Khasekhemwy for the tropical year
2157 BC First Intermediate Period
1677 BC Second Intermediate Period
1197 BC Rule of King David (Sethos) begins - whence his Hall of Records
717 BC Start of the reign of Numa Pompilius, the 1st calendric king of Rome, begins
237 BC Restoration of the Etruscan "Secular (calendric) Games" in Rome - whence the building of Edfu" [emphasis added]
For purposes of demonstration only of the multiple intervals of 240 years and 480 years in a calendric system going back (at least) to Göbekli Tepe -- we can turn the clock back a couple of years as follows to get round BCE numbers - the astronomical year would however not change:
""3840 BCE start (?) of the calendar at Göbekli Tepe near Urfa, i.e. Ur, the birthplace of Abraham (the Hebrew Calendar starts by current calculation on October 7, 3761 BC according to the Julian Calendar and on September 7, -3760 according to the Gregorian Calendar - see the instructive Calendar Converter at Fourmilab.com from John Walker)Just what year BC or BCE is correct depends on when one puts the birth of Christ viz. the
3600 BCE ??
3360 BCE start of the "calendric predynastic period" in Egypt
3120 BCE start of the dynastic calendar in Pharaonic Egypt - actually -3116 by astronomy
2640 BCE reform of the Calendar by Khasekhemwy for the tropical year
2160 BCE First Intermediate Period in Pharaonic Egypt
1680 BCE Second Intermediate Period in Pharaonic Egypt
1200 BCE Rule of King David (Sethos) begins - whence his Hall of Records
720 BCE Start of the reign of Numa Pompilius, the 1st calendric king of Rome, begins
240 BCE Restoration of the Etruscan "Secular (calendric) Games" in Rome - whence the building of Edfu - this is the same date as the ancient Ancient Calendric Stele Newly Discovered in Egypt which the archaeologists date to 238 BC....
0 BC viz. 0 AD The start of the modern method of calendration and the alleged birth of Jesus
alleged birth of Jesus.
Originally I set the 3117 BC date near what my astronomy software program identified as a solar eclipse at the Winter Solstice at that time, whereas more recent tentative results indicate that it may in fact have been a solar eclipse near the Summer Solstice -- this is a calendric calculation problem caused by academic dispute on the matter of the variable Delta T, the change in the rate of the spin of the earth over millennia -- which determines the location of ancient solar eclipses -- about which there is a great deal of uncertainty, but this matter is not critical for the 480-year interval dates, although all will ultimately require some calibration.
At any event, there is in my opinion strong evidence in the ancient sources that a ca. 480-year interval was used for calculation in ancient Egypt [this was 479 years plus 120 days as inscribed on the statue of Khasekhemwy (my discovery)]:
"The casualties that are portrayed at the side of the pedestal to Khasekhemwy’s statue symbolize the dead, expired years. It is quite clear that the first nail-formed hieroglyph, written four times consecutively, stands for four 100’s and not for four 10000’s. The seven middle flower-shaped hieroglyphs represent seven 10’s. This is not disputed. The nine left "stick" hieroglyphs represent nine 1’s. This is also not disputed. The number represented here is thus the number 479 and not, as the Egyptologists would have us believe, he number 40079. A study of the magnified hieroglyphs confirms our analysis.
Figure 20 (ab0ve):
Khasekhemwy and his Numbers (slightly magnified).
Figure 21 (above):
Khasekhemwy and his Numbers (strongly magnified)
The individual numbers from the right to the left are 4-7-9 = 479 years, plus 120 days intercalated (2x 60), the @-shaped hieroglyphs. These numbers are clear. The Pharaohs would never have written the number 40279 this way, with 100's between the 10's and 1's, above the 1's."This interval is also reflected in Biblical chronology, e.g. we can read in the Book of Kings, Chapter 6:1, King James Version of the Bible:
"And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD."That date too will have been a calendric construction.
Sosigenes, as an astronomer priest of Egypt will also have utilized the 240-year and 480-year calendric intervals for his secret and expert calculations for the Romans.
In this manner, our modern calendar, strangely enough, is also a direct descendant of the Pharaonic system, thanks to the astronomer priests of Pharaonic Egypt working with the Romans.