Calendars of Ancient Greece

Sacha Stern

in Calendars in Antiquity

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589449
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191746178 | DOI:
Calendars of Ancient Greece

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This chapter examines the calendars of the Greek peninsula, Ionia, and the Greek islands, with a focus on the city of Athens. Greek calendars were very diverse and fragmented, reflecting the political fragmentation of the Greek world. They were all lunar, except for the prytanic calendar, a calendar peculiar to Athens that was used alongside Athens' lunar, archontic calendar. The lunar character of Greek calendars was poorly defined and often disrupted as a result of political tampering, the legitimacy of which was not necessarily regarded as an issue. The chapter considers the controversial questions of whether Greek calendars were regular or erratic, and whether they became more regularized after the invention of astronomical lunar calendars (e.g., the Metonic and Callippic cycles), the use of parapegmata, or the introduction, in the Hellenistic period, of dating ‘according to the moon’.

Keywords: calendar; Greece; Athens; fragmentation; lunar; prytanic; archontic; tampering; cycles; parapegmata

Chapter.  24188 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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