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Sun, Moon, and Sothis : Calendars & Calendar Reforms in Ancient Egypt : Lynn E Rose

Sun, Moon, and Sothis : Calendars & Calendar Reforms in Ancient Egypt : Lynn E Rose

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

By Lynn E. Rose

Published by Kronos Press, Florida, 1999. First edition. Hardback, glossy pictorial covers, 339 pages.

A very good clean copy throughout. No names or writing. The covers are very good and pages very clean throughout. Overall a very good copy.

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."
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