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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

2                  The Calendars and Chronology
the use of a  peculiar calendar for  the  purpose  of official
This calendar contained 365 days in a calendar year; no
intercalary day was inserted in any year. It resulted that the
opening day of this calendar worked back through the solar
year, until a whole cycle of that year had been completed in a
period of 1,456 to 1,506 years, according to the definition
employed of *a solar year'. It is beyond reasonable doubt that
this official calendar, often called the sliding calendar, was in
use from the protodynastic period until the Roman period.
It was the fundamental postulate of the chronology, which
may now be regarded as the orthodox chronology of Egypt [i]
(subject, however, to some reservations),1 that there was no
break in the continuity of this calendar during the whole of
the above-mentioned period. Closer examination of all the
chronological evidence has supported the validity of this postu-
late to the extent that it may now reasonably be regarded as
The organization of this calendar is in itself instructive; for
it throws light on the mathematical science of the early period
of the Old Kingdom. It consisted of 3 seasons each of 4 months,
each of 30 days, with 5 extra days which are now known as the
epagomenal days. These 5 days were the birthday festivals of
5 principal deities. The result was to give a 'temple' year of 360
days, with 5 dies-non. The 'temple' year was readily fractiona-
lized; whilst the dies-nonweie days of grace for business purposes.2
1 The chronology given by Meyer in Aegyptische Cbronologie^ in 1904, is
generally regarded as substantially correct, inasmuch as it has withstood the
results of subsequent research. A few amendments are required, with the
result of reducing his date for the opening of dynastic history by about 130
years, and of placing his astronomical key dates about 7 years later. Space
will not permit the inclusion here of the proofs of these amendments. It is
hoped, however, that these proofs, with those also of the incidence of a third
calendar, will be published in a subsequent work.
z In some records of a late period reference is made to days of the months