Making Sense of Time: Observational and Theoretical Calendars

John M. Steele

in The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199557301
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Making Sense of Time: Observational and Theoretical Calendars

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This article describes observational and theoretical calendars in ancient Mesopotamia. Some of the earliest cuneiform sources attest to calendar systems for the reckoning of days for administrative and cultic purposes. There were hemerologies which set out good and bad fortune days throughout the year and astronomical almanacs which contain the length of each month calculated for a coming year. This article suggests that Mesopotamian calendars extended into two other areas of astronomy that provide information on solstices, equinoxes, and the planets.

Keywords: observational calendars; theoretical calendars; ancient Mesopotamia; cuneiform sources; hemerologies; astronomical almanacs; astronomy

Article.  7722 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Historical Archaeology

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