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The Egyptian Calendar

Egyptian Calendar Research

Egyptian Calendar

The Egyptian calendar, introduced sometime between c. 2937 and c. 2821 BCE, was the first calendar to have a year comprised of 365 days, which closely approximates a solar year. Ancient Egyptians used this solar-based calendar for civil purpose and a lunar calendar for religious purposes.

The Egyptian Lunar Calendar

Before developing a solar based calendar, the Egyptians had formulated a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months of varying duration. These months were based on a full lunar cycle, which is normally 28 or 29 days. Months began with a new moon, which they determined from the first morning after the waning crescent could no longer be seen.

Because their lunar calendar was 10 to 11 days shorter than the solar year, they would add a 13th month (named Thoth) every few years in order to keep the calendar synchronized with the agricultural seasons and their respective feasts. The determination of whether the extra month would be added to a year depended on the annual midsummer rising of the star Sothis (Sirius) in the east just before dawn. Although it seems odd to us, this was actually their New Year’s Day.

The Egyptian Solar Calendar

The solar-based calendar developed by the Egyptians was likely developed out of a need for a more precise calendar for civil purposes. This calendar is believed to have been introduced somewhere between c 2937 and c.2821 BCE. It consisted of 12 months with 30 days each for a total of 360 days—which is 5 days short of the solar calendar.

To make up for the five days the year fell short of an astronomical year, 5 days were added at the end of the year. Known as epagomenal days, they were regarded with a great deal of trepidation because they weren’t part of the normal year. Ancient texts show there were even warnings about what could or could not be done during these 5 days. Adding to the uneasiness, the 5 days added to the calendar were mythologized as the days on which the Egyptian deities Osiris, Horus, Seth, Isis and Nepththys were born.

Unfortunately, adding these 5 days to the year didn’t solve the problem of their calendar matching up with a solar year (a period of 365.25 days), and their calendar fell back one day every four years. This may not seem all that bad, but over time it resulted in the annual flooding of the Nile no longer occurring in the flood season and the warm weather months not coinciding with summer.

Reforms to The Egyptian Calendar

In an effort to synchronize the calendar with the solar year, Egypt’s Ptolemaic rulers ordered in 238 BCE that every fourth year would be 366 days long instead of 365. However, most Egyptians at this time were farmers who refused to accept this change because of the manner it affected the determination of agricultural seasons.

Eventually, this reform was implemented with the Alexandrian calendar in approximately 25 BCE, which added an extra day in the calendar each leap year. This reform was effected by Augustus Caesar in an effort to keep the Egyptian calendar synchronized with the Julian calendar, which was introduced in 46 BC. It was essentially the same calendar the Egyptians had before, but modified with the addition of a leap-year day to keep it from moving backward through the seasons.

The Alexandrian calendar is also known as the Coptic calendar, and is the one still used by the Coptic Orthodox Church. To this day, farmers all over Egypt track agricultural seasons by the Coptic calendar, which has 13 months—12 of which are 30 days each, with an extra month of 5 or 6 days added at the end of every year.

The Biblical Calendar vs The Egyptian Calendar

The greatest similarity between the Biblical calendar and the Egyptian calendar is that the Egyptian calendar was synchronized with the Julian calendar from 25 BC on. Since the Julian calendar predates the birth of Jesus, this facilitates cross-referencing historical dates in Rome, Egypt and Israel.

Don Roth, an engineer by profession, has conducted extensive research into the Biblical calendar and its relationship to the Hebrew Calculated calendar. In his free 3-DVD collection, Don explains his mathematical proof for why the Hebrew Calculated calendar is true to the Biblical calendar and can be considered the true calendar of God.

Order your free DVDs revealing Don’s proof today, or ask a question regarding the Biblical calendar and the Egyptian calendar.

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