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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

CHAPTER 1
THE CALENDARS AND CHRONOLOGY
THE chronology of Egypt is an inexact science; and must so
remain, in the absence of far more data than are at present
available. The primary evidence lies in records, scattered over
many centuries, from which must be inferred the use of several
calendars and of a seasonal year with a special definition. These
records prior, at any rate, to the period of the Eighteenth
Dynasty are open to more than one interpretation. The solution
of the chronological problem therefore lies in finding that
interpretation in each case which will produce concordance;
so that the resulting inferences will afford a conclusion which
is logical, acceptable, and consistent with all the evidence at
present known, such as old chronological records partially pre-
served, monumental records, and the conclusions drawn from
other archaeological remains. To aid in this study, it is neces-
sary to invoke the assistance of astronomers, numismatists,
historians of other peoples, and other experts.
The question may be asked, indeed has been asked, whether
it is credible that a people whose writing was in its infancy at
the opening of dynastic history should be capable of astronomical
observations and computations. The primary answer is that
there is ample evidence that they actually did make surprisingly
accurate observations. It is unnecessary to offer conjectures as
to the method adopted for observation of an equinox, since
the only reasonable inference from the evidence is that they
knew the length of a year measured from autumn equinox to
autumn equinox within one or two minutes. Such accuracy
could be attained only by the use of records which showed
the interval which had elapsed between autumn equinoxes, for
example, 100 years apart. It was perhaps the very fact that
the science of writing was in its infancy which accounts for
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