Fragmentation: Babylonian and Julian Calendars in the Near East, Third Century <span class="smallCaps">bce</span>–Seventh Century <span class="smallCaps">ce</span>

Sacha Stern

in Calendars in Antiquity

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589449
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191746178 | DOI:
Fragmentation: Babylonian and Julian Calendars in the Near East, Third Century bce–Seventh Century ce

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This chapter considers how the disintegration of large empires in the Near East led to the fragmentation of Near Eastern calendars in later Antiquity. Under the Seleucid Empire, the Macedonian calendar was largely standardized through assimilation to the official, imperial Babylonian calendar. But in the post-Seleucid period, Macedonian and Babylonian calendars started to be reckoned differently in the cities and kingdoms of the Near East (of which the largest was, for example, the Parthian kingdom). Diversity persisted in the Roman period when local calendars became adapted to the Julian calendar in a variety of ways (e.g., the Alexandrian, Asian, Antiochene, and Syriac calendars), as is distinctly evidenced by the late antique hemerologia. The history of Babylonian and Julian calendars in the Near East was driven by political objectives, ranging diversely from political independence and particularism to political alliances and loyalty to imperial rulers.

Keywords: calendar; Seleucid; Near East; Babylonian; Macedonian; Parthian; Alexandrian; Julian; hemerologia; fragmentation

Chapter.  34919 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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