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Sun, Moon, and Sothis
A Study of Calendars and
Calendar Reforms in Ancient Egypt

by Lynn E. Rose




Published 1999 by
Kronos Press
226 Richmond C
Deerfield Beach,
FL 33442-2990
USA.

Cost including postage:
USA: $35
Canada: $40
World: $44

Hardcover 339pp.
ISBN 0-917994-15-9


Other books in the series:
Vol I: Let There Be Darkness:
The Reign Of The Swastika

Vol III: Predicting The Past:
An Exploration of
Myth, Science, and Prehistory


Other Website
Society for Interdisciplinary Studies
Science Frontiers



Sun, Moon, and Sothis
A Study of Calendars and
Calendar Reforms in Ancient Egypt

by Lynn E. Rose


The Osiris Series
Sponsored by Cosmos & Chronos
Series Editor -- Dwardu Cardona Volume II

The history, of calendars is far from cut-and-dried. Almost every topic that this book addresses has long been the subject of heated controversy. Rose sees Hellenistic and Roman Egypt as of unparalleled importance in the history of calendar development. Even the Julian calendar had its origins in Hellenistic Egypt. Very likely, the Julian calendar itself was Sothic -- that is, designed to follow the movements of the star Sothis (Sirius), and not just the annual motion of the Sun. Since the traditional Egyptian calendar of 365 days fell about one-fourth of a day short of the natural year, the ancients assumed that the heliacal rising of Sirius would move through the Egyptian calendar in 365 x 4 = 1460 Julian years (that is, one Sothic peniod).

Egypt's Middle Kingdom has conventionally been dated to some 4000 years ago, largely on the basis of documents indicating a heliacal rising of Sirius on Pharmuthi 16 in Year 7 of Sesostris III (in -1871, according to Parker).

From the Canopus Decree, Rose shows that the first heliacal rising of Sirius on Payin 1 was in -238. This, together with Censorinus' report that a heliacal rising of Sirius look place on Thoth 1 in the year +139, makes it possible to retrocalculate earlier Sothic dates much more precisely than ever before. It then turns out that the Middle Kingdom lunar documents fail to fit in the early second millennium! Rose finds that where the lunar documents do fit extremely well is in the fourth century -- which would put the heliacal rising of Sirius in -394. He then argues that the Middle Kingdom ended in -331, when Alexander the Great occupied Egypt!

The shifting of the Middle Kingdom by an entire Sothic period makes for radical changes in ancient historiography, not only with respect to Egypt but with respect to Egypt's neighbors. Gardiner was in that sense right: "To abandon 1786 B.C. as the year when Dyn. XII ended would be to cast adrift from our only firm anchor, a course that would have serious consequences for the history, not of Egypt alone, but of the entire Middle East."


Table of Contents


Part One:
Calendars, Cycles, and Periods

Chapter One:
Sun, Moon, and Sothis

The Year ... 3
The Month ... 3
Time, the Number of Motion ... 4
Venus and Sirius ... 4
The Julian Calendar ... 5
The Gregorian Calendar ... 5
The Russian Calendar ... 6
A.D., B.C., and B.C.E. ... 7
Astronomical Vs. Historical Datings ... 8
Anno Domini? ... 9
When the Julian and Gregorian Calendars Were in Phase ... 10
The Egyptian Calendar ... 10
The Dawn of Invisibility ... 12
The Egyptian Advantages ... 12
The Egyptian-Julian Quadrennia ... 13
Solar Calendars and Schematic Months ... 13
Luni-solar Calendars ... 14
The L9-year Cycle ... 14
The 25-year Cycle Table ... 15
Sothis ... 15
The Length of the Sothic Period ... 16
The Alexandrian Calendar ... 16
Solar, Or Sothic? ... 17
Retrojections and Retrocalculations ... 18
The Heliacal Risings of Sirius ... 20
Equating Dates From Different Calendars ... 21
The New Day ... 23

Chapter Two:
The 25-year Cycle

Papyrus Demotic Carlsberg 9 ... 24
Sources ... 25
Claudius Ptolemy and the 25-year Cycle ... 25
The Table That is Not There ... 26
What There is in Papyrus Carlsberg 9 ... 27
The Highly Idealized Character of the Table ... 28
With A Running Count ... 31
A Confluence of Uniformities ... 32
Reaching the 9125 Days ... 32
The Implied Lengths ... 33
The 1's and the 30's ... 34
The Placement of Intercalary Material ... 34
The "Great" Years ... 35
Intercalation Not Involved ... 35
The Effect of the Equinoxes ... 36
Computations of the Lunar Months ... 38
Starting-points ... 39
Thoth 1? ... 40
Leaving the Columns Blank ... 41
A Timing Problem ... 42
The Original Cycle Table ... 42
The Autumnal Equinox Again ... 43
Possible Thoth 1's ... 45
The Half-day Shift ... 46
Still Working After All These Years ... 47
Parker's 48 Lunations ... 48
A Sample for Testing ... 49
A Convenient Short-cut ... 49
The Results ... 51

Chapter Three:
Parker and Samuel: An Examination of Their Evidence

The 25-year Blocks ... 52
Filling in the "Missing" Columns ... 52
1 and 30 ... 53
The Advantages of Saying Less ... 54
Parker's Evidence ... 54
The Two Claims ... 56
The Dates That Fit the Cycle ... 57
The "Missing" Phamenoth and Epeiphi Columns ... 58
Cairo Demotic Papyrus 30801 ... 61
Samuel on Parker ... 62
Increasing All of the Dates by One ... 63
Samuel's Evidence ... 64
A Graphical Explanation ... 67
Papyrus Demotic Philadelphia 510b ... 69
The Pithom Stele ... 70
Opting for the Moon ... 71

Chapter Four:
The Rylands Cycle

Papyrus Rylands 666 ... 72
Repeating Cycles and "New Moons" ... 73
A Discrepancy ... 75
First Invisibilities ... 75
The Format of the Papyrus Rylands 666 Cycle Table ... 77
Parker and the Earlier Cycle ... 77
Papyrus Rylands 27 ... 78
"Two Solitudes"? ... 78

Chapter Five:
Theon and the Fifth Year of Augustus

The Ascension of Augustus in Egypt ... 80
-44 ... 81
The Roman Era of Augustus ... 82
The Fifth Year of Augustus in Egypt ... 83
The Ahistoricity of the -25 Starting-point ... 84
The Actual Starting-point of the Alexandrian Calendar 84
Theon of Alexandria ... 85
Martín and Velikovsky ... 86

Chapter Six:
Sirius and the Sothic Period

The Retrocalculated Heliacal Risings of Sirius ... 89
-1321 As the Start of A Sothic Period ... 89
The "Tetrad" ... 90
The Osculating Sothic Periods ... 90
The Egyptian-sothic Quadrennia ... 90
The Egyptian-sothic Triennia ... 91
The Three Triennia ... 92
-756 and -520 ... 94
The Effect on the Tetrads ... 94
The Exact Dates of the Triennia ... 96

Chapter Seven:
Censorinus and the Year of God

The Birthday of Cerellius ... 98
When Did Censorinus Write? ... 99
The Eras ... 99
Calends Xii? ... 100
-1313? ... 101
The Coins of Antoninus Pius ... 102
Parker's "Anchor in Time" ... 102

Chapter Eight:
The Theon Annotator and the Era of Menophreus

"A Formula for the Rising of the Dog Star" ... 104
Martín ... 105
By Round-about Ways ... 105
The Memphis Rising ... 106
The End of the Era of Augustus in Egypt ... 106
The Era of Menophreus ... 107
The Julian Reform? ... 107
What is the Theon Annotator Doing? ... 108
The Errors of the Theon Annotator ... 110
The Sixth Error and Related Natters ... 111
The Identity of Menophreus ... 114

Chapter Nine:
The Venus Year

The Retrocalculations of Venus ... 115
The Velikovsky Divide ... 117
The Star of Isis ... 119
The Venus Year ... 120
Events on or About Thoth 1 ... 120
The Backsliding of Venus Through the Egyptian Calendar ... 120
Western Disappearances At the Beginning of Thoth ... 121
Western Elongations At the Beginning of Thoth ... 121
The Morning Star and the Nile Flood ... 122
The Approaching Crisis in the Third Century ... 123
The Timing of the Canopus Decree ... 124
1461 / 4 = 365 Days ... 124
The Anticlimax ... 125

Part Two:
The Canopus Decree

Chapter Ten:
The Texts of the Canopus Decree

Why Did the Canopus Decree Fail? ... 129
Of Stones and Decrees ... 130
But for the Rosetta Stone ... 130
The Purposes of the Memphis Decree ... 131
The Discovery of the Tanis Stone ... 132
Translation of Parts of the Canopus Decree ... 132
Which Text Was the Original? ... 135
The Purposes of the Canopus Decree ... 136
Solar and Sothic ... 137
Parker's Formulation of the Issues ... 137
The Silence From Both Sides ... 138

Chapter Eleven:
Equatings, Rules, and Crescents

The Use of the 25-year Cycle Table ... 139
The Accuracy of Macedonian Dates ... 140
The Ascension of Ptolemy Iii Euergetes ... 141
The Regnal Years ... 142
Dystros 24 Macedonian ... 142
Year 2 ... 144
The Intercalations Under Euergetes ... 146
The Date(s) of the Canopus Decree ... 146
Apellaios 6? ... 147
Approximation Rules ... 147
A Simpler and Unified Approximation Procedure ... 148
Too Narrow A Sample? ... 149
The Canopus Equation ... 150

Chapter Twelve:
The Epoch of the Canopus Decree

Year 9 of the Reign of Ptolemy Iii Euergetes ... 152
The Possible Tetrads ... 152
The Past Tense ... 153
Year 10 ... 154
The Four Scenarios ... 155
-238 ... 155
Papyrus Tebtunis 814 ... 156
The Hyperberetaios Embolismos in Year 4 ... 161
Papyrus Cairo Zenon 59355 ... 162
-237 ... 162
The Rate of Intercalation ... 163
Papyrus Petrie III 53 (S) ... 166
The Panemos Embolismos in Year 16 ... 166
The Case for Scenario (2) ... 169

Chapter Thirteen:
The Muddled Seasons

The Egyptian Seasons ... 172
From Prt to Smw ... 174
Velikovsky on the Moveable Feast of Isis ... 176

Chapter Fourteen:
The Implementation of the Canopus Decree

Effective As of When? ... 178
Widening Perspectives ... 178
18-19-19-19 ... 181
18-18-19-19 ... 181
Dystros 24 Macedonian Passes the Heliacal Risings
... of Sirius ... 182
A Favorable Omen for Calendar Reform ... 183
Completing the Transition ... 183

Chapter Fifteen:
The Aftermath of the Canopus Decree

The First Quadrennium of the Canopic Calendar ... 185
Year 16 and Year 12/13 ... 186
The Abandonment of Biennial Intercalation ... 187
The Unexpected Triennium ... 188
-4240 and All That ... 189
If They Had But Known ... 191

Part Three:
The Implications for Earlier Egyptian Chronology

Chapter Sixteen:
Some Calendrical Anachronisms and Their Possible Resolution

A Look Farther Back ... 195
"Do Ancient Calendars Contradict Velikovsky?" ... 196
Who Said That? ... 197
Eclipses ... 197
Did They Really Say That? ... 198
A Nickel in Change ... 199
And They Said That When? ... 200
The Two Lands ... 200
Heinsohn ... 201
Free Fall ... 203

Chapter Seventeen:
The Remaining Sothic Dates

The Eight Sothic Dates ... 205
The Aswan Inscription ... 205
The Medinet Habu Inscription ... 206
The Elephantine Inscription ... 207
The Ebers Papyrus ... 207
Confirming What? ... 208
El-lahun ... 209

Chapter Eighteen:
The "Firm Anchor": A Reassessnent

The Edgerton Challenge ... 210
A Useful Convention ... 211
The Lunar Evidence ... 211
Neither Consequences Nor Trivial ... 212
The Four Variants ... 212
An Important Tetrad ... 213
Memphis ... 214
A Day Away ... 215
The Days of D ... 216
Hypothesis I and Hypothesis Ii ... 218
The Quality of the "Fit" ... 219
Posting the Scores ... 221
The Dates on the Right ... 222
Poor Seeing ... 223
Assessing the "Firm Anchor" ... 224
A Rule for Intercalation ... 225
The Moveable W3g-feast ... 226
The Chronology of Krauss ... 227
The Chronology of Luft ... 231

Chapter Nineteen:
In Search of A New Anchorage

Down to the First Millennium ... 236
Limited Options ... 237
The First Approximation ... 237
A New Approach ... 238
The Fit ... 240
The Wag-feast ... 242
"Lettered" and "Unlettered" ... 243
The Three "Unlettered" Cases ... 244
The,three "Lettered" Cases ... 248
Déjà Vu ... 249
The Scribe of D ... 250
Summary ... 253

Chapter Twenty:
Middle Kingdom, Middle First

"A Family Feud" ... 255
Sebeknefru and Alexander the Great ... 256
The Last Amenemhet ... 257
More on the Co-regencies ... 258
The End of the Era ... 259
Co-regencies and Chronology ... 260
A Co-regency in Reserve ... 261
213 Years, Or 169 Years? ... 263
The Beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty ... 264
Kings of the Valley ... 265
Valley of the Kings ... 266
Worn-out Labels ... 266
The Velikovskian Nomenclature ... 267
The Revised Chronology ... 268
What About the Eleventh and Thirteenth Dynasties? ... 271
The King of Kings ... 271
What About the Old Kingdom? ... 272
What About the King-lists? ... 273
Gardiner's "Archaistic Revival" ... 273
Pervasive Antiquarianism? ... 274
The Last Obelisk ... 275
Bronze Age? ... 276
Radiocarbon Dating ... 278
And More ... 281

Chapter Twenty-one:
Manethon Redux

The Last of the "Three Pillars" ... 282
"The Shackles" ... 282
"None the Less" ... 284
Of Two Minds ... 284
The Dynastic Sequence ... 287
The Surviving Stretches ... 289
How Much of this Did Manethon Understand? ... 290
Thirty-one? ... 291
The Original Manethon ... 292
The Aigyptiaka ... 292
The Three Sequences ... 294
Having His Cake and Eating It, Too ... 295

Appendices

Appendix One:
Astronomical Support for the Amuru-persian Equation

Ammisaduqa-ochos ... 299
Hammurabi-darius ... 300
The Agricultural Contracts Under Hammurabi ... 302

Appendix Two:
Some Calendrical Comments: A Miscellany

The Osorkon Flood ... 304
The Modern Olympics ... 305
The Chinese Eclipse of -775 ... 305
The Assyrian Eclipse of -762 ... 305
The Founding of the City of Rome ... 305
Heaven Not Devouring the Moon ... 306
The Era of Nabonassar ... 306
The Chinese Eclipse of -708 ... 306
Other Eclipses From the Spring-autumn Annals ... 307
Sin Mao ... 307

Appendix Three:
Was the Julian Calendar A Sothic Calendar?

The Julian Reform ... 308
Sosigenes ... 308
Julian-sothic? ... 309
Egypt, Too? ... 310
The Luck of the Triennia ... 311
Other Explanations? ... 312

Bibliography ... 315

Index ... 329


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