Every year on September 11th Egypt witnesses the beginning of its "Egyptian Year," the first invented calendar in the world.
The story of the Egyptian calendar dates back to the year 4241 BC when Egyptians retired their old lunar calendar after discovering the discrepancy between it and the actual passage of time. They had become more knowledgeable about astronomy and mathematics, which allowed them to develop a new revolutionary system that made it feasible for them to track celestial bodies more accurately.
They started to use stars instead of just the Sun and Moon in calculating time, counting up the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, centuries and even millennia. They invented their new Sidereal calendar which is considered the oldest invented calendar on earth and one of the most accurate. Some argue that this calendar is actually the most accurate one because it depends on the rising of the star Sirius (or Sopdet as the ancient Egyptians called it) which, as observed from Earth, allows for a more measurable calendar than by just using the Sun and the Moon.
During the reign of the Egyptian king Djer of the First Dynasty (3000 BC), ancient Egyptian scientists succeeded in forming a link between the heliacal rising of Sirius and the beginning of the year. In other words, they discovered that sunrise and Sirius’s rise happen in conjunction with one another for one day only each year. On that day, Sirius appears as a gradually burning sphere with an incomplete rising above ground horizon.
This Ancient Egyptian calendar was divided into the three seasons; Akhet (inundation/ flooding), Proyet (growth/ winter) and Shomu (harvest/ summer). The first Nile inundation, according to the Egyptian calendar, was observed in Mn Nefer (or Memphis), Egypt's capital at that time, at the same time as the heliacal rising of Sirius.
Later, medieval astronomers resorted to this calendar in their studies because of its mathematical accuracy. One of the greatest examples of this was the outstanding Polish scientist Nicolaus Copernicus who constructed his tables for the motion of planets based on the Egyptian year.The calendar year consists of 365 days, subdivided into 12 months each with 30 days, with each month being divided into three 10-day weeks. Five leap days are added to the end of the year. The Egyptian months (4 months per season) have names, yet, the days are nameless and just numbered from 1 to 30 within a single month.
And here is a list including the names of the 12 Egyptian months:
1- Abd W3 Akhet.
2- Abd Sn Akhet.
|Interestingly, Sirius; the star which the Egyptian calendar depends on, is a 5-Star system and not a single star. (Image credit: Haitham Esheshtawy & Psamtik Allahfu)|
3- Abd Khmt Akhet.
4- Abd Fdw Akhet.
5- Abd W3 Proyet.
6- Abd Sn Proyet.
7- Abd Khmt Proyet.
8- Abd Fdw Proyet.
9- Abd W3 Shomu.
10- Abd Sn Shomu.
11- Abd Khmt Shomu.
12- Abd Fdw Shomu.
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