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Egyptology

All things Egyptian

An introduction

Why am I so fascinated with all things Egyptian??? The beauty of their art especially Egyptian tombs, clothes, hieroglpyhs, the mystery and the age of this civilisation.

On the topic of calenders. 24 hours a day, 60 minutes an hour, 60 seconds per minute... All of these numbers come from Egypt!

Calender

The meaning of the word "Calendar" comes from Latin "Calendae". In the ancient Roman Calendar, the day of the new moon and the first day of the month when it was publicly announced on which days the nones and ides of that month would fall.

("nones" - the ninth day before the ides of a month; the seventh of March, May, July and October; the fifth of the other months. "ides" - the fifteenth day of March, May, July, and October, or the thirteenth day of the other months).

The Egyptian Calendar System

The calendar system of ancient Egypt is unique to both the cosmology of the Egyptians and their religion. Unlike the modern Julian calendar system, with it's 365 days to a year, the Egyptians followed a calendar system of 360 days, with three seasons, each made up of 4 months, with thirty days in each month.  

The seasons of the Egyptians corresponded with the cycles of the Nile, and were known as Inundation (pronounced akhet which lasted from June 21st to October 21st), Emergence (pronounced proyet which lasted from October 21st to February 21st), and Summer (pronounced shomu which lasted from February 21st to June 21st).

The beginning of the year, also called "the opening of the year", was marked by the emergence of the star Sirius, in the constellation of Canis Major. The constellation emerged roughly on June 21st., and was called "the going up of the goddess Sothis". The star was visible just before sunrise, and is still one of the brightest stars in the sky, located to the lower left of Orion and taking the form of the dogs nose in the constellation Canis Major. 

Though the Egyptians did have a 360 day calendar, in a literal sense they did have a 365 day calendar system. The beginning of the year was marked by the addition of five additional days, known as "the yearly five days". These additional five days, were times of great feasting and celebration for the Egyptians, and it was not uncommon for the Egyptians to rituals, and other celebratory dealings on these days. The Egyptian calendar also took on other important functions within Egyptian life specifically in dealing with the astrology of the people.  

There are those known Calendars:

  • Chinese Calendar, - begun in 2397 B.C.;
  • Egyptian Calendar, made up of 12 months of 30 days each;
  • Jewish Calendar, lunisolar calendar, reckoning time from the year of creation, 3761 B.C.;
  • Hindu Calendar, believed to date in its modern form from 400 A.D.;
  • Mohammedan Calendar, used in Moslem countries reckoning time from July 16, 622 A.D.
  • Revolutionary Calendar, introduced in France on October 24, 1793, and abolished on December 31, 1805.
  • Roman Calendar, invented by the Romans. It had 12 months, with either 29 or 30 days. The year was 355 days long. Every other year Romans added one month more with 22 or 23 days to correct mistakes.

Following an order of Julius Caesar, Sosigenes , an Egyptian astronomer corrected this mistake, so 3 years are of 355 days and every 4th year of 366 days, beginning in January. It is Julian Calendar. This Calendar has also its mistake: there are about 11 minutes each year that are not taken care of by the Julian leap year. After about 1600 years, the Julian Calendar was wrong by about 1 0 days.

Gregorian Calendar (New Style). Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585) made change in Julian Calendar in order to correct the mistake. In his Calendar years ending in even hundreds (1700, 1800, 1900) are not leap years unless they can be evenly divided by 4. For instance, year 1600 was a leap year, and so it will be year 2000. The Gregorian Calendar is more correct then Julian Calendar, but it is not perfect too. The Western Church accepted Gregorian Calendar in contrary to the Canon Rule of the lst Eccumenical Council (In Nicea) 325. Gregorian Calendar was adopted by England and the American colonies in 1752. Our Serbian Orthodox Church still follows the Julian (Old Style) Calendar, in accordance with the Canon Rule of 1st Ecumenical Council.