Pre-Julian Solar Calendars and RE: TIDBITS: Intercalary month

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Pre-Julian Solar Calendars and RE: TIDBITS: Intercalary month

Karl Palmen

Dear Irv and Calendar People


Also it referred to the Egyptian Calendar and Qumran calendar as solar calendars, when they were plain calendars with fixed years of 365 and 364 days respectively, which drift slowly with respect to the seasons. The important point was that they were not lunisolar and so pure solar, pure lunar or pure cycle.


I recall raising the issue pre-Julian solar calendar beforehand on this list, because I did not think any existed before the Julian Calendar. I also recall that a reply did suggest the existence of a pre-Julian solar calendar, but I don’t remember which calendar it was. A look at reveals a bronze age Pentecontad Calendar , which was a predecessor to the lunisolar Hebrew Calendar and also lists some Bronze age Chinese calendars.

Were these calendars really solar and if so how was a leap year determined?






From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Irv Bromberg
Sent: 10 February 2016 18:34
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: TIDBITS: Intercalary month


Another big mistake: The author mentioned many ancient lunisolar calendar but then apparently assumed that these calendars were all in common. He neglected the very substantial differences in how month lengths were reckoned, how leap years were reckoned (fixed leap rules vs. court decisions vs. the algorithms [employed especially by the east asian empires and complex arithmetic employed on the Indian subcontinent]), which month started the calendar year, where the leap month was inserted, how weekdays were counted or named. The author just dismissively "smushes" all these differences together as if they were insignificant, and as if he believes that the other societies imitated the Jewish calendar.

-- Irv Bromberg, Toronto, Canada

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Re: Pre-Julian Solar Calendars and RE: TIDBITS: Intercalary month

The evidence for the pentecontad calendar is not as clear-cut as Lewy thought.  Not everyone has accepted its existence as a historical fact.

Here is how Lewy's proposal worked, as best I recall:  The year began with the barley harvest.  There followed seven periods of 50 days, followed by a variable-length period (15 or so days) until the harvest  began again.  So the year went from harvest to harvest, and did not refer directly to any astronomical phenomenon.  The use of this calendar did not preclude the use of lunar months as well.