Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roman Calendration, Sosigenes and Numa Pompilius : Origins of the Julian and Gregorian Calendars in the Pharaonic Calendric System of Egypt

Happy Easter! (this is a bit late, but I have been traveling)
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)

(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."
A history of that Early Roman Calendar is found at WebExhibits.org in their Calendars through the Ages.

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...

"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."
When did Numa institute this calendar reform?

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 calendar
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]
I 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.

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)
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
Just what year BC or BCE is correct depends on when one puts the birth of Christ viz. the
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.

Monday, April 05, 2010

My Comment Reply to a "bad archaeology" posting at Bad Archaeology by anonymous posters about my book Stars Stones and Scholars

This is my comment to a libelous posting at Bad Archaeology by bad archaeologists about me and my book, Stars Stones and Scholars - they only post anonymously themselves about others but of course do not allow anonymous comments about THEM, so that they of course "moderate" any criticism of themselves -- hence, I do not know if they will post this text, nor do I care -- and that is why I reproduce it here for the record. Here is what I wrote:

" "Bullies" in my view are people who libel people online under the cloak of anonymity. The bullies are not, as you have alleged, those who post under their true identities to the Internet and who then try to defend their reputations against unseen foes.

Bad Archaeology writes:
"Looking through the book, we can see that he accepts untenable ideas about the past, such as the existence of ley lines, a fantasy dreamed up in the 1920s by Alfred Watkins."

In reply, the truth is:
In fact, the term "ley lines" is not mentioned once in the whole book, not even in the index, and the term "ley line" is mentioned only twice in the entire book as part of the general source material on megaliths covered in 420 pages - I just ran a Word search of the final .doc manuscript to be sure. I have NEVER "accepted" the traditional view of ley lines, dowsing lines, or whatever other people or you may think them to be - and there is no such statement in my book. I do not discuss ley lines at all in my book. My book discusses megalithic sites and alleges that many of these are land survey markers sited by ancient astronomy. That hypothesis is actually quite simple.

Conclusion: your first criticism of my book is simply false on the facts.

Bad Archaeology writes:
"He finds cup-and-ring marks on stones that depict constellations in the southern hemisphere (such as Musca) that were not defined until the sixteenth century: remember that constellations have no objective reality in the sky, that they are arbitrary groupings of unrelated stars and that different cultures make different groupings."

In reply, the truth is: You are imputing that I do not know the history of Musca, which is unfortunate, given what I have actually written in my book. As I wrote at page 88 of my book, Stars Stones and Scholars:
"Allen [Richard Hinckley Allen’s, Star Names, Dover Publications, N.Y., 1963, p. 104, ISBN 0-486-21079-0] cites Manilius, and Al Biruni (who repeats Sanskrit legend) and the Anglo-Saxon Manual in this regard. Hinckley writes:

'Before the observations of the navigators of the 15th and 16th centuries the singular belief prevailed that the southern heavens contained a constellation near the pole similar to our Bear or Wain; indeed, it is said to have been represented on an early map or globe....

[A]t one time in the history of the Creation an attempt was made by Visvamitra to form a southern heavenly home for the body of the dead king, the pious Somadatta; and this work was not abandoned till a southern pole and another Bear had been located in positions corresponding to the northern, this pole passing through the island Lunka, or Vadavamukha (Ceylon). The Anglo-Saxon Manual made distinct mention of this duplicate constellation ‘which we can never see.’...' "
Given the assumption that there were ancient seagoing vessels in the Southern hemisphere in the pre-Christian era, something which is very likely documented at least for the Pharaonic era -- http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/timelines/topics/exploration.htm -- which speaks of a journey around Africa, and given the evidence of sea-caapable vessels at Abydos dating to ca. 3000 BC, the major constellations of the northern skies thus may well have had their comparable models in the southern skies, already very long ago. We have no reason to conclude that the ancient tales of Southern constellations are necessarily wrong. Hence, the megalith makers as seafarers may very well have known such constellations -- or even created them.

Hence, at p. 292-294 of my book in discussing the Temples of Malta as representing various star groups, I wrote:
"Not all of the representations of stars at Malta find comparables in our modern constellations...."
The stars at the position of the Southern Musca -- there also used to be a Northern Musca -- have a definite shape which lent itself to being seen as a bee or a fly in the modern era of navigation. I even suggested it might be a chicken at Malta, full well realizing that these stars -- which also existed prior to the modern era -- may have had another identity to stellar observers millennia ago."

Conclusion: your second criticism of my book is simply false on the facts. I am aware of the history of the stellar constellations -- and I know them far better than most, thank you.

Bad Archaeology writes:
"His mangling of linguistics allows him to state that the name of Merlin – who is identified as a genius behind megalithic carvings that no-one else has yet recognised! – can be derived from a root “MER- meaning “measure, survey” in ancient Indo-European” when it comes from Welsh Myrddin, probably derived from the Brittonic placename Moridunon, now Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin in Welsh), meaning “sea fort”."

In reply, the truth is, as currently written at the Wikipedia, open for all to read:
 "The Welsh name Myrddin (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈmərðɪn]) is usually explained as deriving from a (mistaken) folk etymology of the toponym Moridunum, the Roman era name of modern Carmarthen...."
Conclusion: your third and last criticism of my book is simply false on the facts. Myrddin has absolutely nothing to do with "sea fort", as you allege. That is a "folk etymology". Obviously, the etymological origin of the name for Merlin will always remain speculative since there is no agreement even about his actual identity, or his actual time of existence, much less about the origin of his name. What I actually did in the book was to write a couple of  fun paragraphs about Merlin and it is quite clear that I do not mean "the Merlin" that people are always trying to place in the modern era and I specifically refer to "a legendary name". What I actually wrote was:
"A number of megaliths show a singular sculpting style of absolute genius, perhaps from one artist, who we call Merlin, presumably residing anciently at Kents Cavern. We equate Merlin with the legendary physician Aesculapius of the fabled Argo of Jason and the Argonauts (argos=earth) whose Minyans we hold to be the first men to ever conduct a geodetic survey of Earth by astronomy.... Merlin” as a legendary name perhaps goes back to the root MER- meaning “measure, survey” in ancient Indo-European...."
As for my challenge to Egyptology and Astronomy, the U of Chicago has moved its list from the given link -- I am not responsible for that -- and that challenge is in fact easily found through Google at http://lexiline.blogspot.com/2005_10_01_archive.html.

It may be - as you write - that the U of Chicago now has people who have criticized some of my work, but when I applied to law school there years ago, that university offered me a full scholarship - tuition plus room and board, which is rather rare. I do not think they were wrong....even though I ultimately chose Stanford. Chicago is a great university - not everyone there is going to agree with me, nor should they. That is what academic dialogue is all about."

The Secret of the Kells: The Book of Kells retold as an Indie Film Nominated - Improbably - For an Oscar

The Secret of the Kells is The Book of Kells retold as an Indie film nominated - improbably - for an Oscar.

Melena Ryzik writes at the New York Times:
"The film arrived with strong buzz from animation fans, earned when it won the top audience prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival in July, the first animated film to do so, and helped by Mr. Moore’s blog, theblogofkells.blogspot.com, on which he has chronicled its production since 2005. To capitalize on that, GKIDS set up screenings at animation schools and organized Facebook and Twitter campaigns. "

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Ancient Voices from Egypt: The Cairo Genizah Manuscripts : Lost Segment of Jerusalem Talmud Found in Geneva

Lost segment of Jerusalem Talmud unearthed in Geneva - Israel Jewish Scene, Ynetnews
by Tzofia Hirshfeld
"Researchers find whole missing Talmud sentence in collection of Cairo Genizah manuscripts which renders part of Tractate Bikkurim intelligible

Manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah, a collection of ancient Jewish writings stored in an Egyptian synagogue, which were recently examined reveal new segments of the Talmud, Mishnah (oral Jewish laws) and rabbinic literature.

Among the scriptures was a whole sentence off the Jerusalem Talmud's Tractate Bikkurim which had been missing until now. The incorporation of the phrase in the Gemara renders the tractate chapter intelligible."
We wrote about the Cairo Genizah manuscripts previously.

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Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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