Chapter

The Babylonian Calendar

Sacha Stern

in Calendars in Antiquity

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589449
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191746178 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589449.003.0003
The Babylonian Calendar

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter deals with the standard Babylonian calendar that was adopted, in the late second millennium bce, as the official calendar of the empires that ruled the Near East from then until late Antiquity. This lunar calendar was remarkably regular. The first part of the chapter deals with how the new moon and month lengths were determined, mainly based on astrologers' observation of the new moon crescent and astronomical predictions. The second part deals with the practice of intercalation, i.e., the intermittent insertion of a thirteenth lunar month. It is argued that although various intercalation cycles were adopted during the Achaemenid and Seleucid periods, the Babylonian calendar was never formally fixed. These cycles were not the outcome of progress in Babylonian mathematical astronomy, but of political interference and royal policy.

Keywords: calendar; Babylonian; lunar; official; new moon; intercalation; astronomy; cycles; Achaemenid; Seleucid

Chapter.  27333 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.