Chapter

The Egyptian 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/9780199589449.003.0004
The Egyptian Calendar

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This chapter deals mainly with the Egyptian civil calendar, a fixed scheme of 365 days. Questions arise about its ancient origins, its gradual drift from the sun and seasons (e.g., whether it was compensated by an alternative, ‘Sothic’ calendar), and whether attempts were ever made to reform it (the decree of Canopus). The chapter also examines the lunar calendars that were used in temples, how these calendars were regulated, whether fixed lunar cycles were used (e.g., the Carlsberg papyrus), and how these calendars related on the one hand to the civil calendar, and on the other to the lunar, Macedonian calendars introduced by the Ptolemaic rulers. It considers the evidence of the Ebers papyrus and other key documents. It concludes with a discussion of the peculiarity of the Egyptian civil calendar, in the context of Egypt and in the ancient world.

Keywords: calendar; Egyptian; civil; lunar; Sothic; Canopus; Ptolemaic; cycles; Carlsberg; Ebers

Chapter.  23224 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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