Calendars in Egypt

  • Jehane Ragai
  • Gregg DeYoung
Living reference work entry

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...


Modern Concept Ancient Egyptian Lunar Calendar Religious Festival Gregorian Calendar 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The American University in CairoCairoEgypt