Calendars in Egypt

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-3934-5_8484-2

Otto Neugebauer (1969, 81) described the ancient Egyptian civil calendar as “the only intelligent calendar which ever existed in human history.” His statement can be appreciated by tracing the ancient Egyptians’ gradually developing sense of time from an initial awareness of the day to the full realization that the year had a constant length of 365 days. The introduction of the Egyptian civil calendar, based on solar years as opposed to lunar years, resulted in the development of our present-day Gregorian calendar.

Humans first became conscious of the existence of the day through the regular reappearance of the sun after its disappearance the evening before. Observing the regular change of one crescent moon to the next, they became aware of the longer time unit of the month. The practical demands of temple administration led them to develop their ability to count and calculate and they realized that one lunar month was made up of 29 or 30 days.

With the advent of agriculture in the...

Keywords

Modern Concept Ancient Egyptian Lunar Calendar Religious Festival Gregorian Calendar 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

References

  1. Belmonte, J. A. (2003). The Ramesside star clocks and the ancient Egyptian constellations. In Calendars, symbols, and orientations: Legacies of astronomy and culture (pp. 57–65). Uppsala, Sweden: Universitetstryckeriet.Google Scholar
  2. Clagett, M. (1995). Ancient Egyptian Science: Calendars, clocks, and astronomy. Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society.Google Scholar
  3. Depuydt, L. (1997). Civil calendar and lunar calendar in ancient Egypt. Leuven: Peeters.Google Scholar
  4. Hornung, E., Krauss, R., & Warburton, D. (Eds.). (2006). Ancient Egyptian chronology. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  5. Neugebauer, O. (1969). The exact sciences in antiquity (2nd ed.). New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  6. Parker, R. A. (1950). The calendars of ancient Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Parker, R. A. (1971). Calendars and chronology. In J. R. Harris (Ed.), The legacy of Egypt (2nd ed., pp. 13–26). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  8. Symons, S. (2007). A star’s year: The annual cycle in the ancient Egyptian sky. In J. Steele (Ed.), Calendars and years: Astronomy and time in the ancient world (pp. 1–33). Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
  9. Winlock, H. (1940). Origin of the ancient Egyptian calendar. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 83, 447–464.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The American University in CairoCairoEgypt