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Meton

(c. 432 bc)


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Callippus (c. 370—300 bc)

astronomy

Aristophanes (c. 448—380 bc) Greek comic dramatist

 

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Athenian astronomer, is dated by his observation of the summer solstice, together with Euctemon, in 432 bc. He introduced the luni‐solar calendaric cycle named after him, with nineteen solar years and 235 months, of which 110 were ‘hollow’ (containing 29 days) and 125 full (containing 30 days), making a total of 6,940 days. The basis of the cycle (though not the year‐length of 365519; days) was undoubtedly derived from Babylonian practice. We may presume that Meton intercalated a thirteenth month in the same years as the Babylonians, and prescribed a fixed sequence of full and hollow months. He used the month‐names of the Athenian calendar, but his cycle was intended not as a reform of that, but to provide a fixed basis for dating astronomical observations and for Meton's own astronomical calendar. Meton erected an instrument for observing solstices on the Pnyx, and appears as a character in Aristophanes' Birds. See astronomy.

Subjects: Classical Studies — Science and Mathematics.


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