Ancient Macedonian calendar

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The Ancient Macedonian calendar is a lunisolar calendar that was in use in ancient Macedon in the 1st millennium BCE. It consisted of 12 synodic lunar months (i.e. 354 days per year), which needed intercalary months to stay in step with the seasons. By the time the calendar was being used across the Hellenistic world, seven total embolimoi (intercalary months) were being added in each 19 year Metonic cycle. The names of the ancient Macedonian Calendar remained in use in Syria even into the Christian era.

Names[edit]

The names of the Macedonian months, just like most of the names of Greek months, are derived from feasts and related celebrations in honor of the Greek gods.[1] Most of them combine a Macedonian dialectal form with a clear Greek etymology (e.g Δῐός from Zeus; Περίτιος from Heracles Peritas (“Guardian”) ; Ξανδικός/Ξανθικός from Xanthos, “the blond” (probably a reference to Heracles); Άρτεμίσιος from Artemis etc.) with the possible exception of one, which is attested in other Greek calendars as well.[1]

Description[edit]

The Macedonian calendar was in essence the Babylonian calendar with the substitution of Macedonian names for the Babylonian ones,[2] and as such it paralleled the Hebrew calendar which is also lunisolar, and was used during the Parthian Empire too. An example of 6th century CE inscriptions from Decapolis, Jordan, bearing the Solar Macedonian calendar, starts from the month Audynaeus.[3] The solar type was merged later with the Julian calendar. In Roman Macedonia, both calendars were used. The Roman one is attested in inscriptions with the name Kalandôn gen. καλανδῶν calendae and the Macedonian Hellenikei dat. Ἑλληνικῇ Hellenic.[4] Finally an inscription[5] from Kassandreia of about c. 306–298 BCE bearing a month Ἀθηναιῶν Athenaion suggests that some cities may have used their own months even after the 4th century BCE Macedonian expansion.

Order  Greek name(s) Transliteration Approximate
modern
month
Remarks
  1 Δίος Dios October
  2 Ἀπελλαῖος Apellaiios November also a Dorian month – Apellaiōn was a Tenian month
  3 Αὐδυναῖος
or Αὐδναῖος
Audunaios
or Audnaios
December also a Cretan month
  4 Περίτιος Peritios January and festival of the month; Peritia
  5 Δύστρος Dystros February
  6 Ξανδικός
or Ξανθικός
Xandikos
or   Xanthikos
March and festival of the month;
Xanthika, purifying the army, Hesych
  ‡ Ξανδικός
Ἐμβόλιμος
Xandikos
Embolimos
intercalated 6 times over a 19 year cycle
  7 Ἀρτεμίσιος
orἈρταμίτιος
Artemisios
or Artamitios
April also a Spartan, Rhodian, and Epidaurian month – Artemisiōn was an Ionic month
  8 Δαίσιος Daisios May
  9 Πάνημος
orΠάναμος
Panēmos
or   Panamos
June also an Epidaurian, Miletian, Samian, and Corinthian month
10 Λώιος Lōios July Ὀμολώιος, Homolōios, was an Aetolian, Boeotian and Thessalian month
11 Γορπιαῖος Gorpiaios August
12 Ὑπερβερεταῖος Hyperberetaios September Hyperberetos was a Cretan month
  ‡ Ὑπερβερεταῖος
Ἑμβόλιμος
Hyperberetaios
Embolimos
intercalated only once over a 19 year cycle
‡   Months marked with a double-dagger and including the word "Embolimos" were used only occasionally, for intercalation, as noted in the remarks

Year numbering[edit]

Under the Seleucid Empire, the Macedonians adopted the Seleucid era. The year beginning on the 1st of Dios during what we call October 312 BCE was declared to be the year one of the Seleucid era.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hatzopoulos, Miltiades B. (2020). Ancient Macedonia. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 78. ISBN 978-3-11-071876-8.
  2. ^ McLean, Bradley Hudson (2002). An introduction to Greek epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman periods from Alexander the Great down to the reign of Constantine (323 B.C.–337A.D.). University of Michigan Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-472-11238-8.
  3. ^ Syria, S. / Arabia – DecapolisGerasa (Jerash) – 6th CE Epigraphical Database [1] 531 CE [2]
  4. ^ Thessalonica – 141–252 CE, last lines [3] [4]
  5. ^ Makedonia (Chalkidike) – Poteidaia-Kassandreia – c. 306–298 BCE